Anti-Aging Protocol

In Art & Beauty, Beauty by Cynthia Lou1 Comment

Butterflies aren’t the only creatures that can emerge more beautifully later in life. WE CAN ALSO!

Our bodies, minds, and skin are capable of magnificent feats of self-healing. Physically, there are thousands of documented stories of people reversing illnesses and healing cancer. Emotionally and spiritually, there are thousands documented stories of people turning their lives around from broke, depressed, and destitute to happy, healthy, and wealthy.

Applying similar kinds of attitudes, beliefs, attention, alongside a system of products and processes, we can yield similarly miraculous results in how we look.

We can reverse the damage that’s been done to our skin and bodies, and even surpass the levels of beauty and vitality we had in our youth, by cracking open the code to reactivate the body’s magnificent ability to heal itself.

This is what I learned to do. I am happier, healthier, stronger in mind and body than I ever was in my 20s. My skin glows more, my body composition is better than it was in my 20s, I feel confident in who I am, I have a better attitude about life. Sure there is a level of nonchalant beauty that comes with the 20s, but I know that my whole package (self-esteem, love for people, spiritual awareness) is much more effervescent now than back then.

My experiences just started to turn into hints of wisdom in my mid-30s. Yet while I was getting happier and emotionally stronger, my external appearance started to give. I needed to cover things up when I used to be able to get away with just tinted moisturizer. Fine wrinkles crept onto my face, freezing scowl lines into my skin even though I felt happy. People start to call me “lady” rather than “miss”. Sales ladies started suggesting creams for “firming” when what I wanted was a plain moisturizer!

My wearied external appearance didn’t reflect who I was becoming on the inside.

It seemed like an overnight downfall, going from the always-young-looking Asian girl to the mildly wrinkled, tired looking “Asian lady”.

Specifically, I got photos back from a photoshoot, and was appalled to see how I looked in high-res.

When did that happen?
When did I start to look old?

It made me depressed for a while. I had been shooting a lot of videos for YouTube, but seeing my tired looking, wrinkly face made me not want to shoot anymore videos.

I was DJing more and more and was afraid of being perceived as too old to be relevant as a DJ.

I tried lots of serums, potions, procedures. I tried toxic chemicals, but didn’t like that they didn’t fit my health-conscious value system. Most of them didn’t work anyways. I tried laser treatments, but they left permanent burns on my face, burns that I am still in the process of healing. Lasers can do more damage to the skin than the good they are supposed to bring. Laser treatments thin the skin, leaving it vulnerable and weak. The thinned skin meant I had to hide from the sun, and people who get a lot of laser treatments can look like they have plastic skin. Think: Real Housewives.

I wanted to be strong and vital! I didn’t want to live in a box of fearing getting old! I wanted to look like myself, the youthful, vibrant and alive version of myself!

The processes outlined below are what I developed to help me to look my best. I studied and obsessed, learned and tried many different things. I spent a lot of money on expensive products and processes, and I spent a lot of money finding the lower priced hidden gems that work.

Using the right products and processes in a systematic way can reverse visual signs of aging. Alone, each product and process works. Used together, in this order, the body turns into a wellness engine that taps into its natural inclination towards healthy vitality.

The body grows in the direction of our intentions. If we treat it well, give it the right nutrients and products, and intend youthful vibrancy, we can direct our own growth.

You may not see results overnight, but you should see improvement over time, like planting seeds and watching the fresh, new growth spring to  life.

I’m happy that most days now I don’t wear makeup. It’s nice to have that time back.

With love and beauty,



Truth hurt. Then I did something about it.
Skin Before and After


Three Phases of Regeneration

Yes you could use any one of the products or techniques separately, in isolation, and they would work. You would most likely see some difference. But using the products and techniques in a specific order, in a specific way, within a system yields 10x the results, noticeably visible results.

Phase 1: Stabilize, Balance & Clear

Bring your skin to a balanced, primed, stabilized state, a strong foundation for growth. Strengthen skin and body.

Phase 2: Nourish & Kick Start Growth

From a strong foundation, encourage cell turnover and growth. Nourish the skin through this process.

Phase 3: Actively Induce Skin & Cell Regeneration

The healthy, prepped skin is ready to actively generate new growth.



But First… A Word About Exfoliation

In all of these phases, exfoliation is a key factor for results. Exfoliation physically stimulates new growth, it supports cell turnover once we encourage it with products, it keeps the skin clear so that the pores don’t get clogged which causes bumps, blackheads, and general roughness.

In Phase 1, exfoliation means old, dead, stagnant skin is gently released to reveal clearer skin. Topical products are better absorbed into exfoliated skin. Exfoliation during this phase means a slight thinning of the skin.

In Phase 2, we get the skin to turnover faster with a topical Vitamin A ointment. To support this process, we gently remove the rapidly collecting old skin, to support the new skin that is emerging. In Phase 2 we exfoliate with a gentle gel that does not thin the skin, but gently removes dead skin cells that stagnate on the skin’s surface.

In Phase 3, we begin to strengthen and thicken the skin back by inducing collagen growth. We still use the gentle gel exfoliator that removes dry, flakey surface skin. We also add a weekly clay exfoliator that naturally pulls out impurities and exfoliates. We don’t want to thin the skin – instead we support the healthy strengthening of the skin that comes with inducing collagen production (collagen is what makes baby skin look flush, smooth, and baby-fresh!).

In all exfoliation, it is important to avoid harsh, abrasive means of exfoliation: Clarisonic (scrubbing brushes), rough “beads” meant to scrub the skin, chemical peels. These methods are too harsh for most skin (even though their marketing will tell you otherwise), leaving it damaged.


Phase 1 Protocol: Stabilize, Balance, Clear

PHASE DURATION: 2-3 weeks.

PHASE OBJECTIVES: Slough off dead skin to reveal brighter, clearer skin, start to bring balance to the skin (hydrate dry skin, normalize oil production of oily skin).

In Phase 1 we restore the skin to balance by gently exfoliating with an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), adding balancing serums, and properly hydrating the skin with the right cream/lotion and masks. We give the body vitamins and nutrients it needs to grow beautiful skin and hair. This primes the skin for Phase 2 and Phase 3 growth.


  • Begin a gentle exfoliation program with an AHA such as Alpha Hydrox 10% lotion to slough off dead skin and reveal fresh skin.
    Do a small patch test on your neck to see if you are sensitive.
    If your skin is on the sensitive side (most women), use this lotion every other day for about 3 weeks. If your skin is not sensitive, or if you are a man (men have thicker skin, more collagen), use this lotion every day for 2-3 weeks.
  • Nourish the skin with serums and moisturizers (vitamin C&E serum, and the best moisturizer for your skin. Product recommendations below)
  • Start taking skin-specific vitamins (see Vitamins shopping list)
  • Start using hydrating Japanese masks weekly (Kracie from Japan, see Products chart). These just feel good, and are nourishing and hydrating. The skin will plump up and look fresher.


Phase 2 Protocol: Nourish & Kick Start Growth

PHASE DURATION: 2-3 weeks.

PHASE OBJECTIVES: Start the growth engine! – Stimulate cell turnover, nourish the skin with topical products, start to treat problem areas (spots, dark circles, wrinkles)

Now the skin is fresh and primed, we’re giving our bodies the nutrients and vitamins we need, it’s time to take our skincare up a notch and introduce a topical Vitamin A ointment that encourages skin turnover. We increase nourishment of the skin with a topical oil. We add a treatment serum to even skin tone and fade dark spots.

Uneven skin tone is a marker of age – collagen thins with age, resulting in more blotchiness of skin tone and the development of dark spots.


  • Add topical Vitamin A ointment (A313, see Product chart) – this encourages skin and cell turnover.
  • Add anti-dark spot corrector (Nuhanciam, Anti-Dark Spot Serum) – it’s best to wait until Phase 2 to begin this because the skin is primed, cleared, and more able to accept this more delicate serum.
  • Add nourishing oil to your night program (Pomegranate Repair Serum + Rose Geranium Hydrosol, evanhealy).
  • Stop exfoliation with AHAs, or reduce to just a few times a week. We don’t want to thin the facial skin too much, only a bit in the beginning to kick start the process. Alpha Hydrox is excellent to use on the body for exfoliation, where the skin is thicker. I mix Alpha Hydrox with another moisturizer because Alpha Hydrox is not hydrating enough to me on its own.
  • Start exfoliating with the gentle Japanese gel (see Product chart). Do this a few times a week – gentle exfoliation will support the cell turnover being caused by the Vitamin A ointment


Phase 3: Actively Induce Skin & Cell Regeneration

PHASE DURATION: Forever! With adjustments as needed.

PHASE OBJECTIVES: Induce collagen production, enhance capillary density to the skin (to supply more nutrients and support the look of glowing, radiant skin).

We’ve been feeding our skin and our bodies. We’ve been rubbing creams and serums into our skin that absorb gently in the top layers of the dermis and cause topical cell turnover.

Now we actively force the skin to grow, actively stimulate it to generate collagen, actively create channels into the skin (the dermis) to allow the serums we’ve been using to penetrate more deeply and work more effectively.

This active growth happens from Derma Rolling (also called micro-needling).

Derma Rolling was a game changer for me.

Derma Rolling + the right serums helped to even out my skin coloring and increase the skin tone/visual quality of my skin. It was the only thing that helped to heal the laser burns on my cheeks. It regenerated my skin so well that I had multiple people, from different walks of life, tell me I looked “younger every time I see you.”

What Derma Rolling does:

The Derma Roller pokes holes in your skin, 1) allowing serums to penetrate more deeply, and 2) forcing your body to grow new skin and collagen where the skin was “damaged”. This step thickens the skin back up the right way – by telling the body to produce collagen. Kids have smooth, dewy skin because their skin is thick and full of collagen. Collagen production wanes as we age, resulting in thinner skin.

Waiting until Phase 3 to begin derma rollering allows the skin to first stabilize, then begin the cell turnover engine by treating the top layers of the skin. By this time the body is already signaled to give attention to the skin, so the slight “damage” that occurs through micro-needled holes is easily attended to by the skin and body. It is primed and ready to regenerate cells at the skin.

In Phase 1 we sloughed off old thick dead skin, slightly thinning the skin in the process. In Phase 3 we grow back strong, thick, collagen-rich skin.

Derma Rolling induces the regrowth of that youthful dewy skin again. Derma rolling direct the body’s resources and natural growth abilities towards the re-growth collagen and youthful skin.

EXERCISE also supports progressive growth. Increasing blood flow forces the body to build more capillary density to pump the blood through the body.

Increased capillary density means more oxygen and nutrients can be carried to the skin, more toxins can be removed, and we get a naturally healthy flush.

Exercise releases endorphins, and nothing says youthful vibrancy like being happy and feeling alive!

Steps for Phase 3, Actively Induce Growth:

  • Derma Roller (micro-needle), 1-4x per month:
    • STEP 1: Clean your skin! Clean the derma roller by soaking in alcohol
    • STEP 2: Apply a thick layer of Vitamin C serum onto your face, more than you’d use during normal day/night application
    • STEP 3: Roll your face with the Derma Roller. Go over small sections of your face in an asterisk (*) pattern. That is, roll horizontally, vertically, diagonally right, diagonally left. Do this over your whole face
    • STEP 4: Spray face with a healing thermal water mist, such as Eau Thermale by Avene. This helps to ease inflammation or irritation.
    • STEP 5: Layer on more Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C serum stimulates/encourages collagen production, and freshly roller-ed skin will be more receptive to this serum.
    • STEP 6: Layer on the rest of your serums. I usually use the Anti-Dark Spot serum next, so it best absorbs into my skin since I’m still trying to fade the burn marks on my face.
    • STEP 7: Moisturize with your choice of moisturizer
  • Exercise! Do what you can to get out and exercise. Go for a walk, lift weights, go for a run, jump on a bike. Break a sweat!
  • Add exfoliation and deep cleaning once a week with a clay mask (Rose Clay, evanhealy). The Japanese gel exfoliation will help to gently slough off dead, already flaking skin, but the clay mask will more actively draw out impurities and exfoliate.



Phase 4 and Beyond: Refinements and Continued Growth

Once the skin is balanced and actively regenerating, maintenance is about paying attention to the skin and adjusting based on skin changes from seasons, hormones, or time.

Mix and match serums and moisturizers to find your best fit. Add an extra moisturizer for harsh East Coast winter months. Find a lighter moisturizer for summer. Stack products for effectiveness. Try removing products and see what happens.

By now hopefully you’ve developed a relationship with your skin and can tune in to what it might need next.

Meditate, do qi gong, still the mind and let the joy radiate through your being.

Sometimes I ask God and my Spirit Guides for advice on what products to use, and I’ve always been guided to what’s next for me in my skin care lineup.

Once I asked for help soothing the bumps on my skin. I got the guidance to go to Whole Foods and find an oil. I found the perfect oil – the Pomegranate Repair Serum by evanhealy – and it’s been a great skin balancer for me. The bumps smoothed out!

Try out different things. Ask for guidance.

And most importantly, know that it IS possible to continuously regenerate, heal, and grow! To proactively improve.



Morning, Evening, and Weekly/Occasional Routines


Morning Routine

Gentle, Non-Stripping Cleanser

  • Micellar Water/Cleanser, by Avene or Bioderm
    What It Does: When properly balanced, your face doesn’t need that much “cleansing” in the morning – you should have a good balance of the previous night’s products and stabilized production of your own sebum (not too greasy, not too dry). Cleaning your face in the morning with this gentle cleanser helps to maintain proper balance of your skin’s natural moisture.
    How to Use: Put some on a cotton pad, wipe away the gunk and sins of the day.

Serums absorb best on freshly cleansed skin. Stacking serums helps to maximize effectiveness. Applying more expensive serums to damp skin helps to stretch the lifetime of the product – the serum “slips” better on damp skin, allowing even and complete distribution of the serum.

  • Vitamin C+E Serum, by Pure Body Naturals
    What It Does: Evens skin tone, antioxidant to prevent/reverse wrinkles
    Notes: This is a good, inexpensive (mostly) organic version that I find works well.
    How to Use: Squeeze a few drops onto fingertips with dropper, then smooth over face.
  • Dewy Glowy, by Clean Living Soap
    What It Does: Natural serum that makes skin more hydrated, has a lot of vitamins, and indeed helps to give the skin a glow
    How to Use: Squeeze a few drops onto fingertips with dropper, then smooth over face.
  • The Concentrate, by La Mer
    What It Does: Makes your skin amazing! Skin texture, luminosity, and makes it look healthy and “dewy”.
    Notes: Expensive, but worth it if you can afford it.
    How to Use: Apply a few drops and smooth over face. By the time your reach this serum (after the above serums), you should have a slightly damp face. This will help you use less of this (more expensive) serum, and ensure that it spreads smoothly and evenly over your whole face. Extends the life of this product!

Cream or Lotion Moisturizer.

  • Creme de la Mer, by La Mer
    What It Does: Moisturizing! Healing! Very smoothing for the skin.
    How to Use: Take a little bit of cream onto your fingertips, rub between your hands (at the fingertips!) to warm, then smooth over face.


  • Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection SPF 38 PA++
    What It Does: Keeps wrinkles at bay, protects skin from sun damage (spots, wrinkles, oxidative damage). Keeps skin tone even and more wrinkle-free over time.
    How to Use: Pour out a few drops onto fingertips, smooth over face.


Evening Routine

Gentle, Non-Stripping Cleanser
Same gentle process as Morning Routine:

  • Micellar Water/Cleanser, by Avene or Bioderm
    (same as morning routine – Micellar Water is an excellent, gentle way to remove makeup)

Add a nourishing oil to your night time routine, where it can best soak in and work its magic overnight.

Unique to Evening Routine:

  • Pomegranate Repair Serum and
    Immortelle Hydrosol, by Evan Healy
    What It Does: Forms a nourishing, moisturizing, balancing barrier of goodness on your skin.
    How to Use: The serum is really an oil, and the “hydrosol” is a moisturizing spray. The oil is too heavy to use on its own, so you spray some hydrosol onto the oil/serum, mix together and press that into your skin.
    I use this first after cleansing so that the balancing properties of the hydrosol + serum meld into my skin, then I proceed with the rest of my products.

Unique to Evening Routine:

  • Anti-Dark Spot Serum, Nuhanciam
    What It Does: Clears up dark spots! Evens skin tone.
    Notes: This is the ONLY product I’ve found that effectively gets rid of dark spots! And I’ve tried lots of things, such as laser treatments, toxic things like hydroquinone, and a myriad of other strange serums. This product is more natural and safe, it comes from France where ingredients standards are much higher than the US. This product is designed for people with darker skin.
    How to Use: Squeeze a few drops onto fingertips with dropper, then smooth over face. Use this before most of the serums so it has greatest absorption into the skin.

Same as Morning Routine:

  • Vitamin C+E Serum, by Pure Body Naturals
  • Dewy Glowy, by Clean Living Soap
  • The Concentrate, by La Mer

Unique to Evening Routine:

  • A313 (French Vitamin A Ointment)
    What It Does: Another fabulous French product, this is a Vitamin A ointment sold by French pharmacies. This promotes cell turnover to reveal fresh, plump, radiant skin. This has been a game changer in my skincare routine.
    How to Use: Using fingertips, mix equal parts ointment with your moisturizer then smooth the concoction over face and neck.
    Vitamin A can be irritating to the skin, so mixing it with your moisturizer ensure 1) your skin is moisturized, 2) chance of irritation is minimized.

Same as Morning Routine:

  • Creme de la Mer, by La Mer


Weekly/Occasional Routines


Gentle Gel Exfoliation
Just say No to harsh exfoliation! No Clarisonics, no scrubs – they are typically too harsh for skin more than 30+ years old.

  • Ocean Mire White Peel (Japanese brand)
    What it Does: Exfoliates GENTLY, without abrasion, by coaxing off already dead and flaking skin – NOT by forcing skin off with abrasion or harsh chemicals. Once the cell-turnover machine starts (via the Vitamin A ointment), you’ll get a little bit of flaking as your skin turns over at a faster rate. Support skin turnover with this gentle exfoliating gel that can be used dry (after washing face) or wet (in the shower).
    How to Use: Pump a bit onto your fingertips, gently massage on face. The product will clump and gently rub away dead skin with it.


  • Rose Clay Mask, Evan Healy
    What it Does: Pulls impurities and blackheads out of the skin; helps to exfoliate the skin.
    How to use: Mix a little bit of the dry clay powder in a bowl or your hand with a LITTLE BIT of purified water. Smooth onto face, let dry 10-20 minutes, then rinse off.


  • Derma Roller
    What It Does: Strengthens and thickens the skin by inducing collagen growth. Rolling the derma roller’s little needles over your face creates little pricks/holes in your skin. Serums are better absorbed into these little holes, and the holes are a gentle amount of damage that forces the skin to grow new collagen in response.

    How to Use:
    STEP 1: Clean your skin! Clean the derma roller by soaking in alcohol
    STEP 2: Apply a thick layer of Vitamin C serum onto your face, more than you’d use during normal day/night application
    STEP 3: Roll your face with the Derma Roller. Go over small sections of your face in an asterisk (*) pattern. That is, roll horizontally, vertically, diagonally right, diagonally left. Do this over your whole face
    STEP 4: Spray face with a healing thermal water mist, such as Eau Thermale by Avene. This helps to ease inflammation or irritation.
    STEP 5: Layer on more Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C serum stimulates/encourages collagen production, and freshly roller-ed skin will be more receptive to this serum.
    STEP 6: Layer on the rest of your serums. I usually use the Anti-Dark Spot serum next, so it best absorbs into my skin since I’m still trying to fade the burn marks on my face.

  • STEP 7: Moisturize with your choice of moisturizer



Shopping List

Serums, Creams, and Treatments

Vitamin C+E Serum, by Pure Body Naturals. ~$16

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) 10% lotion, by Alpha Hydrox. ~$11
Gentle exfoliator. Use this for a few weeks to kick start skin turnover (Phase 1). This is a bit harsh to use every day over time because it thins the skin, so use the rest on your body after Phase 1 (skin on the body is thicker and less sensitive).

Creme de La Mer, by La Mer. $85+
Expensive, but excellent.

Japanese Masks, by Kracie. ~$12 for 5 masks
I like the blue version, “Whitening”

A313. ~$34
Topical Vitamin A. French pharmacy brand, very gentle while being very effective (topical vitamin A can be very irritating to skin)

Anti-Dark Spot Serum, by Nuhanciam. ~$53
Dark-Spot Corrector, to even skin tone Another French brand, has more natural ingredients and is the only product I’ve found that truly works!

Pomegranate Repair Serum + Rose Geranium Hydrosol, by evanhealy. Oil: $38, Hydrosol: $24
Available at Whole Foods, sometimes on sale, or Pomegranate oil: , Immortelle Hydrosol:
Nourishing, balancing oil. Hydrates skin and balances oil production.

Ocean Mire White Peel. ~$25
Gentle gel-based, non-irritating Japanese exfoliator.

Derma Roller. ~$29
Link above is a good place to learn about and purchase a Derma Roller (page directs you to eBay to purchase). I recommend the 1.0mm roller.

Eau Thermal, by Avene. ~$16
Thermal water spray reduces inflammation and irritation from Derma Rollering.

Rose Clay Mask, by evanhealy. ~$22  or Whole Foods (sometimes on sale)Exfoliating and deep cleaning clay mask.


Skin Vitamins

Vitamins make a distinct visual difference in skin quality, and can help reverse fine lines and wrinkles and reduce under eye circles.
Rev the body (and thus the skin) to be strong and radiant with the right vitamin and nutrient building blocks.

Phytoceramides, by Sports Research. ~$20
(Note: This brand is important! I’ve tried other brands that didn’t work, didn’t make a difference.)
Dark undereye circles disappear! General wrinkles disappear! Without this people ask why I look so tired; with this I look like I’ve been sleeping.

Borage Oil, by Nature’s Way. ~$10
As I got older my skin started to get more and more dry, not just on my face but on my body also. I got ashy (since I’m so dark) and wrinkly. Borage Oil + Phytoceramides have turned this around for me. (I was already taking fish oil, so I know the main improvement in skin dryness/wrinkles was from the addition of these two supplements)

Multi Vitamin for Skin, Multi+ Glow by Genuine Health.~$26
General multi-vitamin, geared towards health and radiance of skin.

Biotin, by Natrol 10,000mcg Tablets. ~$13
Increases the growth of hair, nails, and skin! I’ve been sprouting all kinds of new hair (on my head!), and my nails grow even faster now. Biotin allows the cells to grow and divide quickly, which is great as we encouraging our skin to grow and renew itself faster – hello new, healthy, fresh, dewy skin!

Fish Oil, Betancourt Omega-3 EFA Stack. ~$14
Fish oil is just good for you. Keeps the skin and nails well hydrated, PLUS it’s good for depression which I used to battle. Being depressed = not caring so much about life, let alone taking care of the body, thus fish oil is and always will be important in my overall wellness. (Any high grade fish oil/omega-3 stack is good, I prefer this brand just because it’s marketed towards bodybuilding/fitness)


Alpha Lipoic Acid, by Source Naturals. ~$12
Neutralizes free radicals (as antioxidants do), supports metabolism, improves skin texture.

Turmeric, by Nature’s Way. ~$20
Turmeric is good for inflammation, and a solid antioxidant. This supplement is especially good if you are physically active, or in a strenuous workout program – it’s recommended to endurance and strength athletes to support quick recovery.

Vitamin C, NOW Foods C-1000 Buffered C Sustained Release Tablets. ~$17
Vitamin C is a good antioxidant, and the slow release ensures that you receive antioxidant goodness over a longer period of time, so your body can best use and process it.


  1. Jane

    This post has definitely inspired me to take action with my skin problems. I feel the same way you did…just so depressed about my skin. I’m in my late 30’s and have been noticing how much my skin has changed. Since I got older, my skin takes forever to heal from a breakout. Every zit I get just turns into a red mark that stays on my skin forever! And even though I finally got my breakouts under control, I’m left with pitted and red marks on my cheeks. Ugh so frustrating! I came across your blog just by googling different ways to heal scars. Your before and after pictures looks so amazing and gives me hope!

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