What is Skin? It’s Not Just Our Outside!
A friend of mine was once asked by a male patient who came to his clinic as to whether or not women who use skincare products on a daily basis really have better or healthier skin than those who do not use any supplementary products? This arose from his observation that although his wife of the same age had been using various types of cosmetics and skincare products each day for age spots, wrinkles, dryness, etc., his bare skin – he only washed and shaved daily – seemed to be in the same condition as his wife’s!
Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies. No, it doesn’t look like our internal organs such as our hearts or livers, but it does cover our bodies for protection, temperature regulation, secretion, elimination and immune defense. You would be surprised as to the number of toxins that are absorbed through our skins in daily life. Long before a woman leaves her bathroom in the morning, she has already exposed herself to more than 200 toxins in all of the products she uses to bathe and get ready to face each new day. Men do the same, but their exposures are less since they do not have the variety of products available that our ladies do.
What are the Functions of Skin?
The real question is “What is Skin?” Skin is the largest of all the organs in the human body. It’s not just a “film” or “bag” that covers the body; skin has numerous functions beyond just covering the body.
Coverage Protection and Barrier Defense
The main function of skin is protection. This is coverage protection and barrier defense. As a physician and scientist, I teach my nursing students that the human body is made up of approximately 70% water. Our skin helps prevent us from losing fluids from our bodies much the same way we cover food in the refrigerator to prevent them from losing moisture through evaporation. Our skin is really our “natural wrap” that prevents evaporation of water from our bodies.
Conversely, our skin does not allow water to enter easily. This seems to be in contradiction to keeping water inside our bodies, but this helps to protect us from allowing foreign substances from being absorbed through our skin. A good example of this is when we receive a cut in our skin. Frequently, we do not feel any pain until the cut is immersed in water. We disinfect the area and cover it with a bandage which acts as a “temporary” skin.
Elimination, Secretion, Sense and Immune Defense
Elimination and secretion are two very important functions of skin. Cells in our skin are formed in the deeper layers of our skin. After they are formed, they move up through the different layers (or strata) of the skin as they move closer to the surface and differentiate into the different components of our skin. Some of our waste products are eliminated from our bodies through skin. In addition, we help maintain our body temperature through sweating (evaporation to lower temperature) or constriction of blood vessels deep in the skin (to maintain or raise temperature).
Our skin also functions as a sensory organ. There are numerous nerve endings in our skin to help us determine where we are, heat, cold, danger, etc. This is evident when we get a mild to moderate sunburn. The skin turns red and we feel the pain. This is a reminder to get out of the sun and/or use a safe sunblock to prevent burns. If the burn is severe, like a third-degree burn, we feel no pain because the nerve endings have been lost.
The last function is immune defense. This is very complicated, but the basics have to do with our body’s ability to “police” for possible infections or wounds. In addition, our skin allows us to make vitamin D3 – the body’s natural “steroid” which directly affects many of our genes. For instance, recent research has shown that elevated levels of vitamin D3 directly affect some cancers, infections, depression, etc.
Common Problems of Skin and How to Treat Them
Two terms are often used to describe our skin’s surface to return to its original state (bounce back) when pressure is applied. These are “resilient” and “elastic.” This is mostly due to our skin being fully hydrated and partly due to the spongy subcutaneous layer of fat which is located under the dermis. It is nearly impossible to control the absolute amount of subcutaneous fat we produce under the dermis, so in terms of skincare, it is best to focus on hydration. The basis of most cosmetics is to give moisture (water) to the skin and help retain it.
When we age, either naturally or prematurely, resilience and elasticity of our skin gradually deteriorates. Age spots and wrinkles then appear.
One of the cell types in skin is the melanocyte. This cell has a main function of producing a pigment called melanin. This is a defense response to various stimuli like UV rays, inflammation and hormonal effects. When activated, melanocytes make melanin pigments. Age spots are an accumulation of melanin pigments that have come together and have not been eliminated by the turnover process or metabolism in the skin. We don’t know exactly why this occurs, but it may be a response to aging itself or our skin metabolism has changed. As we age (we make more melanin) and our skin becomes thinner, this dark spots become more pronounced. Some cosmetics were designed to “erase” these spots simply by lightening up the area around them so they did not appear as pronounced. Some spots never disappear especially if the melanin pigments have broken through the basement layer of the epidermis.
Wrinkles and Sags
Wrinkles or fine lines that appear on the outermost surface of the skin are caused by a too-dry horny layer. They are removed or reduced by hydrating the surface of the skin. True wrinkles or furrows are produced when we lose elasticity in the dermal layer. These are difficult to eradicate completely.
Ninety percent of the skin is made up of the dermis. One of the primary components of this dermal layer is collagen. This collagen is constantly undergoing a cycle of synthesis and breakdown as a normal process of life. When you expose your skin to strong UV rays, an enzyme in the dermis, called collagenase, is produced in large quantities and this enzyme breaks down collagen. This accelerates the breakdown of collagen and the synthesis of collagen is also reduced. This collagen breakdown weakens the elasticity of the skin and wrinkles begin to form. If there is a gap that forms between the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin, sags begin to form.
How Does Skin Moisten and Dry?
By the time we reach the ripe old age of 20, our cellular and skin metabolism has reached its peak. Before this age, hormones and the rapid growth of our bodies has produced skin prone to pimples and shine. This is due to the production of sebum in our skin. After age 25, the secretion of sebum by the sebaceous glands, has decreased and is more controlled. This reduces our chances of getting pimples and shine. Our skin appears to be healthier, but in reality, its capability to stay moisturized has decreased and the “horny layer” of the skin is beginning to dry. In fact, for every decade (10 years) we age, our skin layers shrink and dehydrate by about 10%.
What Affects Skin Moisture Content?
Various factors affect skin. Some, like diet, we have control over. Others, like aging, are harder to control. As we age, the health conditions of our skin are affected by several physiological consequences. This includes less efficient and reduced production of our three natural moisturizers: Sebum, Natural Moisturizing Factor(s) and Intracellular fat.
What are the Different Types of Skin? How Do They Differ?
Let’s face it – Our skin makes an enormous impression on others. While we shouldn’t judge a person or make assumptions about that person based on their appearance, it is possible to determine if a person is healthy or not based on their skin condition. We all know people who appear much younger or older than their actual age, so what is it that makes us not age equally and simultaneously? Even when our environments, lifestyles (including skincare regimens) and ages are comparable, there are still vast and diverse differences in the rates and signs of aging of our skin. When those signs appear, like wrinkles, deep furrows and folds, and dark (age) spots, the aging and one’s age becomes more obvious.
Stress, lack of sleep or proper rest and unbalanced diets also directly affect our skin. The natural quality of our skin is also affected by our genetics, making our skin look more youthful or older regardless of our actual age or environmental factors.
All skin types can also be enhanced by a skincare or moisturizing program, even if our family genes are not so inclined toward healthy and clear skin.
How Does Modern Living Affect Our Skin?
There are many extrinsic factors that can cause serious damage to our skin. The one that can cause the most serious damage, however, is ultraviolet rays. It doesn’t matter if these rays come from the sun or from a lamp – they both cause serious damage.
UVA rays are the most damaging. Even on a cloudy day, these UV rays can reach us through clouds or through our windows. This is independent on season too. Most cars now have tinted windows. The tint was designed to block the sun’s rays from reaching us and making the cars hot in the summer months. Unfortunately, the only rays it seems to block out are the UVB rays. These are shorter wavelength rays and are effectively blocked out by the tint on the windows.
We tend to protect ourselves better from the UVB, but UVA rays are more damaging. There are no telltale signs of damage like peeling or redness with UVA. The damage that UVA does to our skin goes relatively unnoticed. With overexposure to UVA as time passes, dark spots eventually begin to show. Because UVA has the longest wavelength of the rays, it can reach the dermal layer deep in the skin. This can promote the production of active oxygen which damages collagen and elastin in the skin. This allows folds and wrinkles to develop.
UVB rays are the most well-known of the three types of ultraviolet rays. UVB is a shorter wavelength rays which causes the skin to turn red, blister and peel as a result of sunburn. By using sun blocks or sunscreens or covering, we attempt to prevent sunburns. There are more important reasons to avoid burning. UVB can actually damage the DNA of our cells and cause a skin cancer known as malignant melanoma. In addition, UVB rays help make vitamin D3 in our skin which helps protect against malignant melanoma. So it’s important for you to balance your exposure to UVB rays so you get the protective effect but not the deleterious effect. The lighter your skin color is, the easier it is to burn. But remember, people of color can also burn as the color of the skin just represents the distribution of the melanin in the skin, not how much more the pigment will protect the skin cells underneath.
UVC rays have the shortest of the wavelengths of the three UV rays. It poses little threat now as most of the UVC rays are absorbed by our ozone layer. But as we poke holes in our ozone layer with air pollutants, it may be more of a threat in the future.
The Effects of UV Rays
Exposure to UV rays causes our skin to darken, causing dark spots and wrinkles. When this happens, we call it “photo-aging.” By time we reach the ripe old age of 18 or 19 years, the average person has already bathed in almost 50% of the total UV rays one would expect in a lifetime. The effects of UV exposure accumulate over a lifetime. During the summer months when the sun’s rays are more intense, we must take extra precautions to protect our skin.
Air pollution is another force that we expose our skin to. This occurs both externally and internally. Car exhaust pollution is high in nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Both of these gases cause problems with the surface of our skin. They are both carcinogenic. They are also probable causes of “acid rain” and smog. These airborne pollutants adhere to our skin surfaces and help allow bacteria, molds and other organisms to reproduce in our skin. Our faces may be exposed to so much pollution from the air we really have to face them as thoroughly as we do our hands to remove the toxins. If our skin is not cleansed properly, it will lead to rashes and pimples.
Stress causes a negative effect on our overall health. If we are not physically well, the condition of our skin also reflects this. When we are under stress, more active oxygen is generated in our bodies and this over-production of active oxygen accelerates the aging of our skin. This is caused by the over secretion of steroids (cortisol) by the body in response to the stress. We know the production of active oxygen promotes aging in the skin. There is a direct correlation in the amount of active oxygen produced and the amount of destruction that takes place.
Cigarettes and Cigarette Smoke
Cigarette smoke triggers oxidation which allows oxygen based free-radicals (agents known to age the skin) to attack the skin cells. This results in the damaging of the skin cells in a way that inhibits cells from repairing DNA and connective tissue fibers. This leads to wrinkles, lines, and skin discoloration. Every time you smoke or sit next to a smoker, you are not only breathing in toxins that can cause cancer and other health complications, but you are also damaging your skin. This puts yourself at increased risk for premature skin aging. Premature aging is not the only skin condition associated with smoking either. Poor wound recovery, psoriasis, and skin cancer can also result from both smoking and inhaling second hand cigarette smoke.
Additionally, CNN reported (March 19, 2007) that a study published in the Archives of Dermatology showed that smoking affected the skin of the entire body. Damage caused by cigarette smoke was not limited to the face, but actually affected all skin on the body. This means that if you live with a smoker, or are around people that smoke often, their cigarette smoke affects your skin too. This causes a premature aging of the skin even though you do not smoke. Even skin wholly and completely protected from the sun was proven to be affected by the influence of cigarette smoke.
And lastly, with the aid of a microscope, smokers as young as in their twenties have been shown to have already developed fine wrinkles in their faces.
Our skin has many pores, making it very important to consider the effects of chlorine in our tap water (and bottled water – 40% of bottled waters sold in the United States is just plain tap water) when we wash our hands and faces, bath, shower or cook with it.
Chlorine is very effective at promoting oxidation which prematurely ages and damages our skin. In addition, the ability of chlorine to oxidize and create other dangerous chemical compounds also poses more serious health risks. A simple 15-minute shower (especially hot) can expose us to a chlorine content equivalent to almost 180 gallons of tap water. This is the same as drinking 180 gallons of chlorinated water with respect to the amount of chlorine we ingest! Bathing or swimming in chlorinated water exposes our skin to skin problems too. This includes dry and irritated skin.
The United States government published (Federal Register, 1997) that prolonged exposure to chlorinated water, either by ingestion or contact, leads to an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. More information on obtaining pure drinking water, follow this link to Puritii Water.
What are the Ingredients for Healthy Skin?
The skin of all individuals in inherently different. Some do not have damaged skin even though they have never given any special care to their skin. There are also others who have attempted to properly care for their skin, but have skin that is irritated or roughened regardless of what they have tried. The structure of one’s skin may also play a role in who has healthy skin and who doesn’t. The secretion of sebum from our skin and the amount of intracellular fat play a role in the structure of our skin and this can have a positive or negative effect on the degree of aging, dryness or appearance of aging we have. All of these factors influence our skin.
It would be very wise to learn what type of skin we have and to observe closely what affects it. It our skin becomes irritated, discontinue whatever it is that has caused this. This could be a soap, cleanser or cosmetic. Daily observation for small changes can be helpful in keeping our skin healthy.
The following are a few suggestions for healthy skin:
- Cosmetic items should not be automatically incorporated into a skin care regimen. They should be added one at a time to determine their safety and efficiency.
- The visible rate at which our skin ages is directly affected by the use of heavy makeup. Makeup items such as foundations, lipsticks or eye shadows are used to beautify the skin. They are actually treated like dirt on our skin and can contain toxins, like mercury, that can be absorbed by our skin.
- When makeup is removed, we use cleansing lotions to remove the residuals of the makeup. These cleansing lotions may be more damaging than the makeup as they can contain detergent agents. So if the makeup is applied too heavily, we need more of the cleansing agents to remove it. The more cleansing agents, the more potential for skin damage.
- Makeup should not be used when you are just relaxing at home, etc. Instead of using harsh cleansing agents, it would be best to wash with a cleansing milk or facial soap.
- Makeups or skin care products that use synthetic surfactants (emulsifiers) and additives such as preservatives, antioxidants or fragrances (synthetic ones are made from coal tars) have negative effects on our skin. The cosmetic industry considers them necessary to stabilize the quality of their products and maintain that they are safe for the “majority” of users. But more and more scientific studies are coming out that show that preservatives like the “parabens” actually cause breast cancers. So choose your skin care products carefully – preservative-free or fragrance-free, for example.
- Since skin is difficult to nourish from the outside in, we must nourish from the inside out. The “age-less” skin has a healthy amount of collagen and elastin. To allow our bodies to make these skin structural items, we must have adequate amounts of vitamins A and C. To achieve optimal amounts of these two important vitamins, use a good, food-sourced vitamin supplement like ARIIX Optimals .
- Find safe cover from ultraviolet rays. If you are using a sun block, only use ones that have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as the ingredients as these are safe. The other chemical blockers, like oxybenzone, have been shown to cause skin cancers in preliminary studies. In addition, the blockers that contain titanium and zinc do not wash off of the skin as easily as the lotions, so you may only need to apply it once or twice during the day. They are also safe for children of all ages.
- Proper diet and sufficient sleep are two of the most important elements of any healthcare program. This is especially true for proper skincare. Eat a well-balanced diet, supplement with the proper antioxidants and keep regular and sensible hours. Doing this will help insure that our skin is healthy too. Remember, there are no matches in any active ingredient found in cosmetic products or nutrition that are derived from raw or cooked edible foods. Sleep is just as important. It is the quality of sleep and not the quantity of sleep that is important. Sleeping on one’s back is better for the relaxation of our facial muscles than sleeping on your side or face down. Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep may disrupt our skin’s cycle of regeneration. In addition, for every decade we age, our skin loses about 10% of its thickness, so proper eating, sleeping and supplementation is important in keeping healthy skin.
What You Should Avoid Putting on Your Skin
There are a number of skincare ingredients that you should avoid. Even though in the United States, The FDA says these are safe, there are numerous studies now published that show these ingredients to be dangerous.
Propylene Glycol (PEG or PG)
Propylene glycol (PG or PEG) is used as a moisturizer, water retention agent, solvent, lubricant and viscosity reducer. It is also referred to as a “delivery ingredient.” In the auto industry, it is also known as anti-freeze. Your veterinarian will also tell you not to let your dog drink it because it is fatal. Yet the skincare companies want us to put it on our skin (remember, things get absorbed through our skin).
PEG or PG is metabolized into lactic acid in our bodies. We all remember lactic acid from those “mile runs” we did in high school. After about 100 feet, most of us had severe side aches due to lactic acid. But lactic acid also makes the body more acidic than usual. We do better when the body is alkaline. This acidity has effects on our kidney and liver functions. It has also been shown that a person with delicate skin is sensitive to it. The FDA determined that there is no toxicity if a skin care product contains less than 50% PEG or PG. Recent studies have shown reddened skin and allergic reaction with products containing only 10% PEG or PG. Most skincare products contain more than on
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS or TEA Lauryl Sulfate) is a synthetic surfactant. It is used to enhance the effective penetration of medical agents in pharmaceutical products. But in regards to skincare, its use should be limited as it dries the skin by removing natural oils. It is not used in cosmetics for this reason, but is still found in toothpaste and shampoo as a foaming agent. Another name for this is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. It is known that when SLS is absorbed through the skin, it can cause allergies and irritation of the skin and mucosa. It has also been implicated as a possible cancer-causing agent.Triethanolamine (TEA)
TEA is used to balance the pH of the skincare product. In addition, it is an emulsifier and a cleansing agent in products that are used as cleansers, foundations or mascaras. It is a known cancer-causing agent as it produces cancer-causing nitroso compounds by reacting with nitrous acid. It is readily absorbed by skin and has been known to cause irritation to skin and mucosa.
Parabens are preservatives. They are very common in many industries. They are in cosmetics, hair care products, deodorants, foods, sunscreen products and pharmaceutical medications. Parabens have a longer history than most preservatives! This, unfortunately creates a false sense of security with it. Parabens are extremely good at restricting the growth of bacteria and preventing product deterioration, but recently a study was published which confirmed the suspicion and earlier works that parabens cause breast cancer. Parabens go by the following names: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben. The evidence is very convincing as to the association of parabens and the onset of breast cancer in women. This ingredient is one to absolutely stay away from.
Dyes and Colorants
Dyes and colorants are used for foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks, blush or rouge. These add color to the face. They are also used to color a number of other skincare products. This tinting process disperses inorganic and organic (tar dyes) pigments into the base materials during the coloring process. When the skincare product contains tar dyes as the coloring agents, the label will have these coloring agents as “Red No. X,” Blue No, X” or “Yellow No. X.” These artificial colors have been shown to be irritating and have suspicious links to causing cancer.
Fragment materials are often added to skincare products to mask the smell or odor of the raw materials. They relax or decrease the intensity of a scent and the final product is a pleasant smell. Some fragrant materials also act as preservatives. Fragrant material produced from coal tar is typically labeled as “Parfum.” Some of the fragrant materials also act as irritants. When a skincare product is said to be “fragrant-free” on the label, it does not mean the product is odorless, but that no fragrant material was added to mask the smell of the raw ingredients. These skincare ingredients are not needed to moisturize skin or activate your skin cells, so it would be wise to avoid products with these ingredients added to them.
Mineral Oil, Paraffin and Petrolatum
These petroleum products coat the skin like plastic. They clog pores and create a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They are also implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. They are also known to disrupt hormonal activity. Since these ingredients come from oil, just keep thinking about that black oil pumped from deep underground and ask yourself why you’d want to put that kind of stuff on your skin?
Acrylamides are found in many facial creams. Studies have shown that acrylamides may cause cancer and may be mutagenic and cause may cause heritable genetic damage. There is also the possibility that acrylamides may impair fertility. They have also been linked to mammary (breast) tumors. At the very least, they are harmful by inhalation and in contact with skin and are irritating to the eyes.
Dioxanes are hidden in ingredients like PEG, polysorbates, laureth and ethoxylated alcohols. They are very common in personal care products. These chemicals are often contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane that is easily absorbed through the skin. Its ability to cause cancer was first reported in 1965 and later confirmed by studies including a 1978 article from the National Cancer Institute. Nasal passages are considered extremely vulnerable. You should not use this at all on your face.
Toluene is one of those ingredients which may be very dangerous. It is made from petroleum and coal tar and is found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure to toluene has been linked to anemia, lowered blood cell counts and liver or kidney damage. More importantly, chronic exposure to toluene may also affect a developing fetus.
Phenol Carbolic Acid
Phenol carbolic acid is found in many lotions and skin creams. Exposure to this ingredient can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma and even death from respiratory failure.
Skin Care Basics
Our skin has some very basic needs. Determining and meeting you skin’s essential needs with a comprehensive skincare regimen is very important in maintaining your skin’s healthy function and beautiful appearance. In order to do this, it is important to slow the rate at which your skin ages with a regimen that both supplements and protects the structure and function of your skin.
Basic and Advanced Skincare Needs
Our skin has about 10 essential needs to maintain optimal form and function. These are divided into two categories: basic and advanced needs. The basic needs are the minimum daily steps that are the same for all skin types. The advanced needs are those that address specific concerns of your skin. These require additional steps as needed. Remember, we begin to age differently after age 20, so these advanced needs steadily increase as we age chronologically. Together, the basic and advanced needs form the essential needs of our skin.
There are four basic daily needs for optimal skin. They are cleanse, tone, protect and hydrate. We will look at each of these needs below.
Cleansing is the very first step for optimal skin. This helps meet your skin’s basic need to be free of excess oil, dirt (includes makeup) and pollutants. If these impurities are not removed, your skin may become dull or sallow in color. Your pores can become clogged and inflamed, leading to discoloration and scarring. Damage can occur in your skin cells by free radical oxidation from pollutants which may affect healthy cell renewal, irritate your skin or initiate hyperpigmentation (age spots). To avoid these negative effects, cleansing should be done twice daily.
Toning fulfills a basic daily need. It prepares the skin to receive the benefits from other products. It should also be done twice a day after cleansing. How does toning work? It calms and soothes the skin and minimizes the appearance of pores. It also helps to balance the pH of the skin.
The protect step is important because the skin has a basic need for moisture. In addition, sun damage degrades the moisture barrier and structural proteins and promotes discoloration. These are all signs of premature aging.
The hydrate step provides vital nutrients to the skin as well as replenishing moisture and key repair components for optimal skin recovery. Since the skin is impermeable to moisture from the outside, it is important to remember that you must hydrate from the inside as well as supply the added nourishment to rejuvenate and refresh your skin. Supplementing with the proper vitamins and minerals will also help you from damaging your skin.
In addition to the four basic skin needs, your skin may also have advanced needs. When specific skin concerns such as discoloration, acne, free radical damage and aging exist, it is critical that these concerns be addressed for skin health and beauty. Incorporating these steps to target your skin’s advanced needs gives your skin the needed advantage of advanced skin care. Depending on your particular skin, you might need to consider some of the following advanced skin care needs:
For skin health protection and to maintain youthfulness, the nourish step is essential. It first starts out with a good diet since to nourish your skin, you have to feed it from the inside as well as the outside. Organic fruits and vegetables provide a large number of powerful antioxidants to neutralize free radicals that damage and prematurely age your skin. When diet alone is not enough, consider using a supplement to supply these important nutrients. ARIIX’s Optimals as well as ARIIX’s Rejuveniix provide a wide range of these important antioxidants as well as vitamins A, C and E which are important in our skin cell’s ability to regenerate collagen and elastin to help reduce premature aging.
The treat step meets the advanced need of your skin when key components, functions or structures within your skin become compromised. This helps lead to signs of premature aging. Treatment products are specially formulated to target these problems.
This step focuses on skin that has become dull and rough. Refinishing helps to resurface and polish your skin for a fresh, glowing complexion.
Tired and stressed skin requires this essential step to restore vibrancy and promote cellular energy. This can be accomplished by taking a good supplement like ARIIX’s Omega-Q or BioPro-Q to provide the essential fatty acids our skin needs to slow down the premature aging and provide more energy to our cells.
Formula for Great Skin
If you’re like everybody else, you want healthy, great-looking skin — no matter what age you are. Skin that is clear, smooth, and radiant proclaims good health and lends tremendous confidence to how you feel about your appearance. By following some fundamental rules and by giving your skin everything it needs to function at its peak, you have the formula for younger, healthier, smoother skin at any age.
Great Skin in Your Twenties
At this age, you are enjoying probably the best skin of your life – moist, smooth, and supple . However, your skin cell renewal rate has already begun to decrease and dead cells are not being shed quite as easily. This leaves your skin dull. In addition, the acne of your teenage years might still be hanging around. This is a great time to establish a beneficial skin care regimen that will keep your skin in great shape while protecting it against damage from the environment. Use a gentle cleanser that removes dirt and dead cells while moisturizing. Follow with a toner to add radiance and restore proper pH balance. Then apply a product to preserve youthful collagen and elastin in your skin. Finally, use a good moisturizer and SPF 15 sunscreen to guard against the sun’s damaging rays.
If you’re still struggling with acne, consider using a cleanser, toner, and lotion that have been specifically formulated to clear and calm irritated skin, manage oil levels, and protect against future breakouts.
Consumers across the world are happy to turn back the hands of time. According to a recent Internet survey by AC Nielsen, conducted in 41 global markets (the largest of its kind), 60% of participants agreed that the 40s are the new 30s, and more than half considered the 30s the new 20s, and 60s the new MIDDLE AGE. (see graphs)
Great Skin in Your Thirties
In your thirties, sunlight and environmental pollution will have begun to have noticeable effects on your skin’s collagen. And with collagen production naturally dropping, you might be noticing some wrinkles and sagging as your skin doesn’t bounce back quite as readily as it used to.
Keep a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen as part of your daily regimen. To counter the damage being done by the environment, it’s also important to get a balanced diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, B, C and E. These and other powerful antioxidants protect your skin against free radical damage and help your skin repair itself, and stay healthy looking and moist. Finally, a product that contains polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) can help stimulate cell renewal and enhance your skin’s radiance for a smooth, more youthful looking complexion.
You might also like to try a home microdermabrasion treatment. This kind of treatment can quickly and gently polish your skin while removing dull skin cells and toxins for a fresher, healthier looking appearance. You might also like to try a home microdermabrasion treatment. This kind of treatment can quickly and gently polish your skin while removing dull skin cells and toxins for a fresher, healthier looking appearance.
Great Skin in Your Forties
In your forties, your skin’s sebum production slows down, meaning your skin is getting dryer. Plus, you are losing fat beneath your skin’s outer layer, which means your skin is becoming more fragile. You are losing the elasticity that made your skin spring back, and you are probably noticing more wrinkles appearing and getting deeper.
With dryer skin, you may benefit from an antioxidant-rich cleanser and a hydrating moisturizer. Also, a product containing procollagen peptides can help soften lines and wrinkles around your mouth, eyes, and forehead. Continue to include plenty of antioxidants in your diet to help your skin repair itself, and never stop protecting your skin with sunscreen.
Great Skin in Your Fifties and Beyond
As you pass your fifties, the pigment cells in your skin may clump together more, creating “age spots.” Plus, your skin has lost much of its plumpness and tone, and may be drier, more itchy, and more sensitive to allergens. It is thinner and more fragile, and takes longer to heal.
In addition to cleansing and moisturizing, consider adding a skin brightening system to your skin care regimen to reduce skin discoloration and achieve a more even tone. Continue to apply pro-collagen peptides, and don’t slack off on getting the antioxidants your skin needs to combat environmental damage and maintain its healthy look and radiance. Also, a product designed to help increase elastin production while slowing elastin degradation can help to firm up sagging, undefined skin around your chin, eyes, and jaw.
The greater understanding we have today about taking care of skin, combined with advanced skin care products and technology, gives you the formula for great skin at any age. By paying attention to your skin’s needs, adopting beneficial skin care habits, and applying today’s skin care advances, you can have fresher, smoother, more radiant skin now and for many years to come.
Rules for a Beautiful Future
Skin is much more than beautiful. Skin is amazing. Stop and think about it. The same skin that a baby is born with expands at an incredible rate, providing protection for a lifetime. Although your skin is remarkable, it still gets wrinkled, discolored, and rough with advancing age.
However, learning about the aging process—the mechanical, biological, and environmental factors that affect your skin over time—can help give you an effective strategy for protecting the skin that protects you. To enjoy a truly beautiful future, incorporate the following simple rules and use scientifically developed products that feature the latest breakthroughs in skin care technology.
Your parents warned you not to make faces “because your face might stay that way,” and they were right. The facial movements you repeatedly make over a lifetime create creases that deepen with age and translate into worry lines on the forehead, frown lines between the eyebrows, and squint lines around the eyes.
Other behaviors that contribute to this kind of mechanical aging are improper skin care (using water that is too hot or cleansers that are harsh and drying), losing and gaining weight rapidly and repeatedly, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake. Even everyday actions like sucking on a straw and squinting can undermine your best skin care efforts.
RULE 1: Make skin friendly lifestyle choices and avoid wrinkle causing behaviors to prevent future impressions. To repair existing fine lines and creases, supplement your skin’s natural collagen with products designed to help promote collagen production.
Looking older is also a result of changes that naturally occur over time. These changes include increased skin dryness from a decline in oil production, roughness from a reduction in cell turnover, and a natural ebb in skin self-healing brought on by a decrease in the production of new collagen and elastin. These processes are all regulated from within the body through a complex interaction of hormones and cell messengers, which slow with advancing age.
RULE 2: Keep your skin functioning at its youthful best by identifying the best diet, nutritional supplements, and skin care products to help compensate for biological changes.
Summer lovers beware: sun exposure causes many of the wrinkles associated with aging due to the damage it does to the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers—key structural components of healthy skin. UVA radiation also damages the skin’s pigment cells, leading to an overproduction of brown pigment and the appearance of dark splotches sometimes called liver or age spots. These changes are collectively termed photoaging.
Pollution, weather, and the specific environment in which you live also influence the way your skin responds to the aging process. The damaging effects of UV radiation are increased by changes in altitude, low humidity, and wind. Extreme weather can be a challenge for your skin, too. The increased oil production and excess perspiration that often occur in a warm, humid environment heighten the potential for sweat related skin irritation such as acne. And although breakouts are temporary, the scarring that can result is not. Likewise, cold temperatures and dry air damage the skin’s protective barrier through increased moisture loss.
RULE 3: Shield your skin from the negative effects of the sun by using sunscreens that provide both UVA and UVB protection. In addition, your comprehensive skin care program should include products formulated for your specific skin type and environment to protect your skin from irritation and weather related dryness.
Practice a Winning Combination
Learning the rules of the game is the best way to begin defending your skin against damage caused by repeated behaviors, biological breakdowns, and the environment. Optimize your skin’s look and longevity by following the three simple rules outlined above, and by taking advantage of the scientifically formulated and technologically advanced skin care products on the market today. Play to win, and ensure a future of beautiful skin.
Adapted from Zoe Diana Draelos ,M.D., F.A.A.D.
Dr. Draelos serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Dermatology and has a research interest in cosmetics, toiletries, and biologically active skin medications. Dr. Draelos is a practicing, board certified dermatologist in High Point, North Carolina, and a clinical associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
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