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How to make your face work for you

Staying youthful doesn't have to cost a lot


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You balance spreadsheets all day long, manage M&A’s with the dexterity of a guy named Buffett, and you alone secured enough capital to back your business for the next five years.

Yet when it comes to remaining “business presentable” – youthful, invigorated and bright-eyed – you’ve bought into the “a face lift and all that goes with it is a $18,000 investment minimum” myth.

Just stop it. For under $500 (and often with over-the-counter product), you can see sun spots melt away, watch fine lines soften, and wrinkles, for the most part, disappear. A wise, strategic and economical skin-health-care regime means that light will reflect off the surface of your skin instead of absorbing into the dead skin cells that are now taking twice as long to turn over than they did twenty years ago – and people will notice the change. You’ll feel better, you’ll look better and, as a result, all you touch will likely benefit.

Here’s how to make this happen – for the best bang for the skin-care buck:

Great, expensive facial cleansers are readily available but you can pick up Neutrogena Facial Cleanser for about seven bucks. No, Dial soap is not an option, but there are some effective clinical options that run from $20 to $42 and can last up to 6 months. It’s about simply getting your face clean with a quality facial cleanser, whether that be over-the-counter Neutrogena – or a clinical option chosen by you and your medical-grade aesthetician.

Toner returns your skin to its normal PH level so everything you put on your skin sinks in. It costs about $40. Spend the money.

Antioxidants protect us externally and internally by neutralizing free radicals – those nasty things that munch on your healthy cells like Pac-Man, breaking them down. Studies show that free radical damage accumulates with age. A good antioxidant is about $125 and, used daily, shows very noticeable skin repair and skin health results.

Pro-Niacin Skin Strengthener. As we get age, our skin takes longer and longer to turn over, getting thinner, and breaking down the structure. As a nutritional supplement, Niacin aids in cholesterol reduction and energy metabolism – but more recently, it has emerged as a key factor in helping the skin protect and repair itself from sun damage and aging. It will cost you $100, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy (or skin cancer).

SPF 46 or above is about $32 and worth every penny. I hear it every day: “But I don’t go out into the sun.” Seriously? Eighty-seven percent of damage to the skin is a result of incidental exposure; take twenty minutes of incidental sun exposure a day and add it up. Over a year’s time, it is equal to two straight weeks on the beach with no protection. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. The skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place. It also bruises and tears more easily - taking longer to heal. So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you're young, it definitely shows up later in life.

A couple of prescriptions will round out your skincare routine: Retin A and Hydroquinone, about $70 and $66, respectively. Retin A penetrates to the lower regions of the skin and speeds up the metabolism of your cells, causing them to move faster on their way to the surface. What this means is, those wicked pre-cancerous mutated cells that have been lingering down in the basement will move faster and faster, then off the surface of your skin, resulting in less sun damage. Then, with the help of Hydroquinone, those unattractive brown lesions that looked oh-so-cute as freckles in your twenties will stop over-producing and your skin will be more evenly toned, brighter and much more youthful.

Yes, of course you can spend up to and beyond $18,000 and get the brow lift, or the face lift or the chin liposuction – the possibilities are nearly endless.

But if you’re as frugal – yet effective – in your skin health care as you are in your business, you’ll appreciate what a $500 (or less) wise skin-health-care regime can do not just for your skin, but for your psyche.

And that’s just good business.

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Beryl Reker

Beryl Reker, PMA, is Lead Aesthetician and Clinical Director of Aesthetics by Design at Colorado Facial Plastic Surgery, aestheticsbydesign.com, specializing in medically directed skin care. She is educator and preceptor for a number of internally recognized and FDA-cleared services and products for medical skin treatment.

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