How to prioritize when you have multiple prevention and aging issues to address. Part 1 of 2

Dr Irwin, thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am 79 and have normal to dry skin. I have been using Retin every other night and have had no problem. Should I be using an exfoliator like Biologique P50W to start and then move up. Or just a hydrating toner instead, or both. I use HA5 with DML Forte over it. I don’t feel my skin looks as hydrated and moist as it should. I am also doing a double cleanse at night and nothing in the morning. Should I add or take away from this routine? Thank you for any help you can give. Arleene

Thank you for writing.  For your skin care regimen, please see my regimen and also do you have a good dermatologist or aesthetician that you trust? They would be the most helpful since actually seeing and feeling your skin helps to individualize your treatment.

And you bring up the larger point that’s good to address. How to prioritize issues when your list might look something like this:

  • Forehead wrinkles
  • Frown lines
  • Crow’s feet
  • Hooding of the eyelids
  • Dark circles
  • Sagging and jowls
  • Skin texture problems
  • Skin color problems like red or blotchy
  • Wrinkles
  • Lips disappearing
  • Body skin can be included
  • Any skin cancer or precancerous (AKs) problems

And there are lots of others.  When we look in the mirror we tend to get critical…too critical. So if you can enlist a trusted friend to help you it truly helps. Photographs are not always helpful because the lighting, angles, color perception of the camera are not always true to real life.  Think of all the Zoom angst these past two years.

First thing to do:

Make a list of whatever you are seeing. Try to be unedited about it and just list stuff.  You’ll cross off things later. This is a good place to ask a trusted friend what they see. You want someone kind, loving and honest. Once you have a list made, as honestly as you can, try to rank them in order of what would make the most difference to you. It doesn’t need to be what other people think.

Since for most of us, fixing all the small and large pain points would be time and cost prohibitive, it’s really a what matters most to you. It’s about healthy self-care and healthy aging, bearing in mind that loving our bodies and how we look often matters to our sense of well-being. Even though we often wish it didn’t. 🙂

Then….think about events you have coming up, other health priorities, and other time you spend on self-care like careful eating, exercise/movement/meditation, etc.  Redo that list you just made with those things in mind. Think about your budget.  If you just need maintenance ….like great skincare products and a little Botox/Dysport say ….then 1-2K a year may be enough. But if you really want to fix some things…then a budget of 3-10K for the year may be more realistic.

Then next week, I’ll discuss how to take on that list, and help make it happen!

Brandith Irwin, MD



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