Anti-Aging Secrets: The Daily Skincare Routine

Paul M. Graham, D.O.

“Protect, Renew, & Restore!”

Developing the perfect skincare regimen is often complicated, if not overwhelming. There are an abundance of products currently on the market, making it nearly impossible to choose the right one. In this article, I will discuss four different categories of products that are vital to your daily skincare routine. In each category, I will give specific recommendations of several products that I have personally used and highly recommend to my patients.

aging-skin.jpgBefore we begin the discussion on designing the perfect skincare regimen, lets briefly touch on the process of skin aging. The skin is made up of proteins called collagen and elastic fibers, which function to give structure, support, and elasticity. As we age, environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation (UV) radiation (artificial tanning beds and sun exposure) and pollutants cause cellular damage, weakening and destroying the collagen and elastic fibers. This inevitably results in the development of fine lines, wrinkles, irregular pigment, and blood vessel formation. As depicted below, skin cell turnover and renewal begins to slow as we age. Skin also losses the ability to retain water effectively, contributing to an uneven skin tone and a dull complexion. In order to slow down this aging process, it is vital to PROTECT (sunscreen & antioxidants), RENEW (retinols/retinoids), and RESTORE (moisturizers) the largest organ of our body; the skin.


Daily Skincare Regimen








1. Sunscreen – AM Application

Sunscreen is one of the most important skincare products to have in your daily skincare regimen. It is very important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen; that which blocks both UVA and UVB radiation. Please refer to our previous article entitled, Sun Protection: The Burning Truth & SPF: What does it really mean?, for more information on sunscreen and UV radiation.

Two of my favorite sunscreen products both have broad-spectrum UV coverage and have been proven effective in clinical trials to decrease the risk of UV-induced damage, while preventing the development of skin cancer.

  • SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 34
    • Broad-spectrum UV protection
    • Antioxidant complex
    • Clinically-proven to protect from infrared radiation (responsible for collagen and elastic fiber destruction)
  • Elizabeth Arden TPF 50
    • Broad-spectrum UV protection
    • Antioxidant complex
    • DNA repair enzyme complex 
  • Aveeno Positively Radient SPF 30 and Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46


2. Topical Antioxidants – AM Application

Antioxidants are another staple in a well-designed anti-aging skincare regimen. Exposure to environmental pollutants, tobacco smoke, and UV radiation all play a role in the production of damaging molecules called free radicals. Free radicals directly induce cellular damage and increase the breakdown of collagen and elastic fibers. This is why antioxidants are so important in your daily skin care regimen. They work by neutralizing the free radicals, thus slowing the aging process. Although antioxidants are contained within the above mentioned sunscreens, I still recommend using a separate antioxidant product for the most beneficial effect.

The two preferred antioxidant products that I recommend are made by SkinCeuticals. They both contain antioxidant complexes that work together to prevent UV-induced cellular damage as described above.

  • Phloretin CF – triple antioxidant complex containing:
    • 2% Phloretin – derived from apples and root bark of fruit trees
    • 10% Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)
    • 0.5% Ferulic Acid – plant-based antioxidant
  • CE Ferulic – triple antioxidant complex containing:
    • 15% Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)
    • 1% Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
    • 0.5% Ferulic acid – plant based antioxidant
    • *Clinically-proven to shield against signs of aging induced by environmental pollutants
  • Glytone Age-Defying Vitamin C+E Serum
    • Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)
    • Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
    • Green tea flavonoids


3. Topical Vitamin A (Retinol/Retinoids) – PM Application

If there are any anti-aging products that you should be using, it would be a topical retinol or retinoid. Both of these vitamin A derivatives function in a similar manner with several differences. Topical retinol and retinoids work to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin pigmentation, while simultaneously stimulating the production of collagen and elastic fibers.

Topical retinol can be obtained over-the-counter, but requires conversion to retinoic acid at a cellular level before the beneficial effects are attained. However, prescription retinoids (AKA retinoic acid) work immediately upon application, bypassing the activation process. Retinol is more gentle on the skin, but typically takes longer to work as opposed to its prescription counterpart. Both of these products can produce mild to moderate facial dryness and may require every other day application initially until the skin becomes more tolerant.

  • Tretinoin (Retin-A, Atralin) and Adapalene
    • Preferred topical retinoids for anti-aging
    • Adapalene causing less skin irritation/dryness
    • Prescription medication only
  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 cream
    • Pure retinol formulation
  • SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5
    • Pure retinol formulation
  • *Prescription retinoids offer the most benefit for your money with quicker results


4. Moisturizer – AM & PM Application

Moisturizers are very important in your daily skincare regimen in that they help keep the cells hydrated, decrease inflammation, prevent dryness, and contribute to a healthy skin appearance. There are hundreds of moisturizers available, but which ones provide the most benefit? All moisturizers are not created equal, as several great products contain peptides and growth factors combined with a moisturizing base.

  • CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM
    • Moisturizing cream containing ceramides (natural constituant of our skin barrier) and niacinamide (vitamin B3; anti-inflammatory)
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost
    • Moisturizing gel made of purified hyaluronic acid and olive extract
  • Neocutis Bio Cream
    • Moisturizing cream containing a peptide blend composed of human growth factors, cytokines, interleukins
      *Good product for anti-aging and sensitive skin
  • SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 – anti-aging cream containing natural constituents of the skin barrier
    • 2% ceramides, 4% natural cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids


Photo Credit:,,


Griffiths C, Russman AN, Majmudar G, et al. Restoration of collagen formation in photodamaged human skin by tretinoin (retinoid acid). N Engl J Med. 1993;329(8):530-535.

Please note, our medical disclaimer applies to all information, images, recommendations, and comments published on this page.

Published by Dr. Paul M. Graham

Paul M. Graham, D.O. (Founder/Editor-in-chief) founded Dimensional Dermatology in May 2016 with the vision to provide concise, easy to read, up-to-date dermatology and aesthetic medicine information to patients, medical staff, providers, and the general public. Dr. Graham is currently completing his training as a cosmetic dermatologic surgery fellow in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the McDaniel Laser and Cosmetic Center. He completed his dermatology training at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and was a clinical instructor at Michigan State University. He received his B.S. degree as Summa Cum Laude at Old Dominion University, his D.O. degree as Cum Laude at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, completed his internship at Largo Medical Center in Largo, Florida as chief intern, and completed his dermatology residency training at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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