If you are open to more invasive treatments, dermatologists can inject neuromodulators, like botulinum toxin, also known as Botox, to relax particular facial muscles. This helps to soften existing wrinkles and stop the development of deeper, etched lines on the forehead, between the brows, and around the eyes, which can result in crows feet.
We also use it to sculpt the jawline and lift the neck — by injecting the thick muscular neck/platysma bands — as well as to reduce the appearance of a widened jawline and prominent masseter/chewing muscles.
This is by far the most popular cosmetic procedure I perform in my office. Treatments, such as botulinum toxin, fillers, and lasers help round out a balanced routine for aging skin and need to be maintained a few times a year. And they are best used when coupled with a great skincare routine.
Here's everything I suggest you do in-between your Botox appointments to keep your skin looking its best.
Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day
It is important to continue to wear sunscreen every day, even when indoors. UV light is the ultimate ager, and longer UVA rays (the rays that cause wrinkles, sunspots, and skin cancer) can travel through windows. So unless you have zero windows in your home, you are still susceptible to UV damage. It's also important to re-apply. During the day, you can use a mineral powder SPF over your makeup to make things easier.
In addition to UV light, blue light is also a real concern as we are staring at our computer and phone screens much more as we work from home. I recommend tinted sunscreens with iron oxide, as well as antioxidants in the morning to help protect the skin from these HEV blue light rays that we know can contribute to hyperpigmentation of the skin and may also cause collagen breakdown and contribute to wrinkles, although the evidence is less clear.
And Don't Forget About Retinoids
Whether you use an over-the-counter formula or prescription strength, retinoids are an essential part of any skin care routine, especially for those interested in anti-aging benefits. They work by increasing collagen production as well as increasing the rate of skin cell turnover. They also improve the texture of skin and give it a glow, along with minimising fine lines and wrinkles, evening out skin tone, and decreasing pore size.
I recommend using them at night.
Ideally, apply a small pea sized amount to the entire face 30 minutes after washing your face. Start off only using it three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) as dryness and peeling can be expected for four to six weeks. The prescription strengths retinoids (i.e. tretinoin, retin a micro, Tazorac) will be stronger and more effective, but over the counter options, such as Differin 0.1% gel (which you can purchase with a prescription from chemists), and Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair are especially good for beginners or those with sensitive skin, since they are a lower strength than prescription versions.
Skinbetter Alpharet is one of my favorite cosmeceutical grade retinoids and contains so many antioxidant and anti-aging ingredients including retinol, glycolic acid, niacinamide, ubiquinone, squalane, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.
Add in Peptides
Peptides can help boost production of collagen and elastin, which improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. My favorite is the No7 Laboratories Line Correcting Booster Serum. The key ingredient in this product is a proprietary blend of peptides, called Matrixyl 3000 Plus, which boosts skin's production of elastic fibrillin and is used specifically to soften the appearance of individual deeper lines.
Additionally, Skinbetter Interfuse Eye Cream has a combo of peptides, antioxidants, glycerin, niacinamide, and caffeine for the delicate eyelid skin to hydrate and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles as well as dark circles.
Use an Antioxidant Serum
An effective and high-quality antioxidant serum is a key morning step in every daily skincare routine. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect from and repair free radical damage, can reduce the appearance of brown spots, and even out skin tone and hyperpigmentation.
Serums containing this ingredient protect the skin from oxidative free radical damage and therefore work best in the morning. Vitamin C also plays a critical role in the formation of collagen. Skinceuticals Phloretin, Skinbetter Alto Defense and ISDIN Flavo C ampoules are some of my favourite medical-grade antioxidant vitamin C serums.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, Olay Luminous Tone Perfecting Treatment Serum with vitamin C and B3, and L’Oreal Revitalift Concentrated Serum are over the counter options to try for those who don’t want to make the immediate splurge. But keep in mind that these cosmeceuticals are not FDA regulated and I have no studies comparing the efficacy and clinical benefit of the over the counter options.
Stay in Touch with Your Dermatologist
As restrictions in certain states are lifted (for example, Queensland salons commencing treatments once more under the government's three step plan), elective procedures are being permitted with the proper guidelines and precautions. Check in with your dermatologist to see if they might have re-opening plans in the works, so you can try to get back on their calendar in the coming months.
At the very least, you might be able to set up a virtual consultation for them to answer any of your other immediate skincare questions.
This article originally appeared on InStyle US.