Because our skin is the largest organ of our body, we should begin taking care of it as early in life as possible. However, we don’t typically become aware of the need to do that until we see something we don’t like. Something like acne, large pores, age spots, wrinkles, etc. While genetics plays a large role in the type of skin we have, there are things we can do to improve the things we don’t like. And it’s never too late to start. Clearly, the sooner you begin nourishing and caring for your skin, the less you will have to do to regain lost ground. But if you are just getting started, don’t lose hope. It’s better to start now than to put if off any longer.
Skin care is truly just common sense. There are several key areas to be addressed and we’ll discuss those here. You must continually detoxify, stimulate, nourish, hydrate and protect your skin. As I tell all of my clients, doing expensive treatments to correct problems is only part of the process. If you are not willing to follow up with quality products to maintain your results, then you are simply wasting your money on treatments. Unless, of course, you inherited the Howard Hughes or Steve Jobs fortune and money is not an issue. However, that is not the case for most of us. So for that reason, I want to educate you on the best treatments and products for your individual needs.
After a thorough skin consultation and evaluation, we will decide what treatments will address your issues of concern. Many things will be taken into consideration, including your lifestyle and activity level, the amount of downtime you can afford and the cost of procedures to best improve your skin. We will work together making a well-laid plan and start putting it into action.
Almost immediately we will also start you on a course of skin care that is best for your skin type. We will address all of the issues mentioned above to prevent, protect and correct your skin. Let’s start by addressing skin protection.
Protection of our skin is extremely important. If you don’t protect your skin, then the problems resolved by procedures and treatments will only return. Protection, both externally and internally, are mandatory for a desired result. External protection is best achieved with a quality stand-alone sunscreen. When I say “stand-alone”, I mean a sunscreen that is not mixed with your moisturizer or makeup. Those are usually not enough protection. The sunscreen should offer UVA and UVB protection and have an SPF of no less than 30. It should be developed for use on the face, neck and chest. The heavier, over the counter sunscreens are best for whole body protection, but are typically too tacky for comfortable use on the face. Sunscreen should be re-applied every 1-1 ½ hours that you are in continual sun or enjoying water sports. Applying one thin coat in the morning before leaving the house will never be enough protection while you are playing golf, outside watching a ballgame, or having a picnic at the lake. Sunscreen is the last product to be applied before your foundation or mineral makeup. Protection for sun exposure and its damaging rays is also attained by using antioxidant serums. Antioxidant serums work with your sunscreen to offer added protection. Structured correctly, some have the ability to pierce the dermal layer and do not “sweat off or wipe off” thus offering uninterrupted protection usually equivalent to an SPF of 8-10. Lastly, for proper protection you must cover up! Clearly we cannot live in our lives in a cave, but if we do not cover delicate skin, things will regress. A large brimmed hat is best as it casts a bigger shadow over the face and neck. A ball cap is never sufficient for proper coverage.
Wraparound sunglasses best protect the thin skin around the eye area. Tightly woven fabrics offer best protection for the body.
Hydration is our next topic. Our skin needs moisture to function properly. Hydrated skin is beautiful skin. If our skin becomes too dry too often, we can become wrinkled much quicker. Hydrated skin stays plump while dry skin becomes shriveled. We need a combination of products to stay externally hydrated. We need humectants to attract water to the skin, occlusives to keep the hydration from evaporating and emollients to lubricate the skin. Hyaluronic acid is an excellent humectant because it binds water into the skin and helps hold a thousand times its weight in water. Moisturizers are excellent occlusives as they work to hold the body’s own moisture close to the skin keeping it from evaporating. Moisturizers do not add moisture, but instead seal our own moisture in. It is best to mist your face with a light layer of water prior to applying your moisturizer. This not only helps with spread ability, keeping us from overusing our products, the moisturizer then holds that water next to the skin keeping it hydrated much longer. Internal hydration can be improved by water consumption since we rarely drink enough water. There are many different rules of thumb about how much water is enough. I like taking your weight then dividing by two. The answer to that equation is the number of ounces we should be drinking daily. Fish oil and flaxseed oil are beneficial in helping to lock moisture into skin cells.
Nourishing our skin is a key step in good skin care. Topical vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essentials oils are great tools for feeding our skin. Vitamins A, B, C and E are essential both externally in internally. Externally, all of these vitamins can be found in the skin care lines we carry. For more information on internal protection, read the insert entitled Vitamins for the Skin.
Stimulating our skin is extremely important. Vitamin A (Retin A) is an excellent exfoliant and stimulates new skin cell growth. Peptides are essential as well. Clinical studies show that both stimulate collagen, reducing fine lines, smoothing texture, minimizing pores, and strengthening elasticity to add plumpness to the skin. We not only need these two products, we need to be sure they possess a delivery system capable of carrying them into the dermal layer. Light therapies also stimulate our skin. For example, Photo Rejuvenation and LED therapy. Internal stimulation comes with a healthy diet full of foods containing vitamin C, zinc and magnesium. Also any foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids help to support the production of collagen.
Last but not least, we should detoxify our bodies routinely. Externally cleansing our skin daily is the best way to detoxify. Exfoliating is another great way, too. Having a deep cleansing facial once a month is beneficial as well. Also massage is one of the most beneficial ways to achieve this goal as massage encourages the lymphatic system to release toxins harbored in the body.
Finding the perfect combination of treatments and products is easy and can be discerned during the skin care consultation. After deciding what treatments and products are best for you and your skin type, using them correctly and continually will definitely give you visible results. And when we look better, we also feel better. If you have bad skin care habits they can be changed. Anything we do consistently for 28 days becomes a habit. So if you will remain disciplined enough to make it through the first 4 weeks of your new regimen, you’ll be well on your way to healthier, younger looking skin.