Skin Care 101
Arm yourself with the right skin care knowledge and products, and healthy, flawless skin is just around the corner! Check out these skin care tips below.
Skin care PREPARATION Tips
You have to have the necessary products to prep your skin for perfection!!
Purchase a gentle cleanser that removes makeup and cleans the skin without damaging or drying it. The purpose of the cleanser is to gently clean the skin without removing valuable oils. This prepares our skin for the more important bioactive products to penetrate and nourish the skin. Preferably use a cleanser that is gentle and ophthalmologist and irritancy tested for use on sensitive skin.
Exfoliating / Resurfacing Treatment:
You need a gentle resurfacing treatment which can occasionally be used to remove those dry flaky dead skin cells that dull the appearance of the skin. Removing the superficial layer of cells uncovers the fresher skin cells underneath which provide a healthy glow. The treatment should be non irritating and suitable for sensitive skin. The frequency of administration varies depending on when you want the "pick me up". Doing this to often or with more robust resurfacing agents can be damaging and cause unwanted irritation and inflammation.
Skin Care DEFENSE TipsFirst, we have to protect our skin from potential damage that may occur every day. We must defend against the internal and environmental factors which are working against our skin to promote aging! This includes exposure to ultraviolet light, pollution, thermal and mechanical damage. Suboptimal genetics, poor health and nutrition, and free radical formation from stress and the normal consequences of everyday cell metabolism play a part. We are getting older!
Excessive UV light is incredibly damaging to our skin and the effects are cumulative. Aside from posing a cancer risk, sunlight chronically injures skin cells leading to a loss of elasticity, increase wrinkles, pigmentation changes, dryness, and undesired texture changes. A sunscreen should have ingredients that cover both UVA and UVB rays and are photostable. Some sunscreens claim to cover both UVA and UVB but are not photostable! (The protective ingredients are broken down by sunlight!) This should be applied year round, not just the summer.
Antioxidants are important elements of a good skin care system as they have anti-inflammatory properties and disarm free radicals. Free radicals damage healthy skin and contribute to aging. They are formed in our cells as the consequence of normal cell metabolism but also secondary to stress such as excess UV exposure among others.
Vitamin C is critical for collagen production and is the most plentiful antioxidant in our skin to neutralize free radicals! Topical Vitamin C improves fine and course wrinkling, improves smoothness, tone, laxity and can lighten hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin E is the predominant antioxidant at the superficial skin barrier (stratum corneum) and works synergistically with Vitamin C. Topical administration of Vitamin E before UV exposure can reduce skin responses such as erythema, edema, and sunburn cell formation.
Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant to protect cells and also increases cell turnover to keep skin looking fresh!
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA):
This universal antioxidant penetrates the skin readily to reach the deeper dermis. It has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is useful in treating photo aged skin.
Polyphenols are great antioxidants found in most legumes or fruits as well as broccoli, cabbage, olive oil and red wine. Although the dietary supplementation offers the greatest source, they are also effective topically.
Other effective antioxidant ingredients include vitamins B3 (Niacinamide), B5 (Pathenol), green tea, grape seed extract, coffeeberry® and idebenone.
Moisturizers provide hydration externally, but more importantly should strengthen our skin barrier to reduce water and nutrient loss from the inside out. Proper skin hydration also is necessary to allow the normal shedding process of dry dead skin to occur. Fatty bonds (lipids) glue our skin cells together and must be replenished to repair our skin barrier. Use moisturizers that replenish these lipids and help repair our barrier. Look for ingredients such as ceramides, essential fatty acids (linolenic and linoleic acid), and humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid to reduce trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
Skin Care OFFENSE TipsRegenerative or Proliferative agents: After defending our skin against factors that promote aging, we should train our skin cells to behave or perform in a more youthful way. Put your skin in an exuberant renewal mode to repair your skin from the inevitable daily environmental insults and damage and look more youthful!
Retinol continues to be a critical benchmark for promoting skin renewal. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that increases production of collagen and elastin, and decreases UV damage. Retinol is great for photo damaged skin for treatment of fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation changes. The strength or concentration can be adjusted for sensitive skin.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that can be synthesized in an infinite order of different combinations. Fatty ends are added to enhance their penetration into the skin (lipo-peptides). Not all peptides are created equal however. These peptides "communicate" with skin cells and either exert a positive anti-aging influence, no influence at all, or a negative influence! Positive influences of some peptides include increased antioxidant activity, collagen and elastin production, enhanced wound healing, and pigmentation modulation among others. Unfortunately, some products contain just enough peptides to make label claims for marketing reasons but have no real effect. Some products also have peptides that exert a negative influence by actually stimulating collagen breakdown.
A valuable high performing peptide can stimulate cell renewal and offer many or all of the antiaging benefits listed above. This translates to more rapid turnover of skincells andhealthier looking skin!
How diet affects your skin
Optimizing your diet is vital in maintaining proper skin nutrition and health. Avoid excess sugar, excess foods, and fill your plate with bright colored fresh vegetables rich in antioxidants. Avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol, drug use, and optimizing your medical health is also extremely critical!