• Preventative Measures to Take for Aging Skin

    Bettina ZammertThere are many myths and legends surrounding magical potions and elixirs which, combined with mysterious rituals, promise eternal beauty and youth. The cosmetics industry also often benefits from these fairytales; even though we ought to know better, many of us still seek the ultimate rejuvenating product and are only too willing to believe even the strangest promises.
    So let’s start with the bad news. The fact that skin ages is a part of life; it’s something we simply cannot deny. The good news? There are things we can do about it, because over 90% of skin aging is caused by the environment! Lifestyle plays a major role in determining how our skin ages; fortunately, we can choose it for ourselves. Factors such as stress and smoking increase the number of so-called free radicals that attack our cell structures. This in turn leads to lines and wrinkles and accelerates the loss of elasticity in the skin.
    Prevention is the best anti-aging care there is, achieved on the inside with a balanced diet and on the outside by the appropriate skin care. Studies have shown that sufficient quantities of Calcium, Zinc, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphor and Iron can help the skin stay young for longer. Whereas meat, animal fats and sugar tend to accelerate skin aging.
    The best way to protect our skin on the outside is by applying suitable sun protection of at least SPF 15 – daily! Physical sunscreens are particularly suitable, because they help to optically cover up tiny lines and wrinkles.
    An antioxidant vitamin cocktail containing Vitamins A, C and E helps the skin to protect itself against free radicals. These vitamins are supported by antioxidants such as White Tea and Soy. And those who really want to do their skin a favor will complete this cocktail of care with peptides, the benefits of which include boosting collagen synthesis.
    What also helps in the fight against skin aging (and also happens to be very, very pleasant): treat yourself to your own relaxation rituals – and allow yourself the time to perform them regularly.

  • Treatments for Aging Skin

    Sharon MaxwellAging is the natural process of life. When we reach 30 we start to lose 1% of collagen per year, and after menopause this rises to 2.5%! Everything slows down, we get sagging and bagging, sensitivity, and there is a real battle against dryness. Our skins have become tired. We cannot stop aging (unless we die – a bit drastic!), so as skin therapists our goal is to prevent premature aging (aging before our time). With regular treatments and good products and ingredients, the results can be dramatic.

    Exfoliation (including Retinol, enzymes, Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid) is important to remove the dull, dead cells that have been lying around on the surface of the skin. This will, in turn, stimulate cell renewal, hydrating and brightening the skin. It also provides a clean canvas on which to layer wonderful active ingredients.

    We then need to apply water attracting humectants, skin softening emollients, lipid barrier reinforcements and collagen stimulating peptides, as well as infuse the skin with a super concentrated dose of nourishing and conditioning agents. Layering of product is key.

    For daily care we would recommend a concentrated oil-based serum containing peptides and Hyaluronic Acid to firm, tighten and hydrate the skin. Don’t forget to include the neck and décolleté area. I am a hill walking fanatic and I notice how many times the back of the neck is neglected, and becomes weathered, a real telltale sign of a person’s age.

    It is not how old we are that matters, it is how we are old!

  • Dr. Diana Howard on the Benefits of Retinol

    Dr. Diana HowardI am forever asked what I think is the best ingredient for fighting the signs of aging skin. With so many high-tech ingredients such as peptides and the many vitamins available to the cosmetic formulator, I have to say the one ingredient that comes to mind with the most scientific evidence in support of its efficacy is indeed pure vitamin A. Known as the normalizing vitamin, it is a real work-horse when it comes to reversing the signs of aging in skin. Vitamin A, more accurately called Retinol, has been shown to reverse the signs of natural or chronological aging (intrinsic) and environmentally induced (extrinsic) photoaging.

    According to Dr. Voorhees and his research team at the University of Michigan, lotions containing Retinol were demonstrated to improve the appearance of skin that had wrinkled through the normal aging process, not just skin that has been damaged by exposure to the sun. Researchers tested lotions containing retinol on the skin of elderly patients. Lotion containing 0.4% Retinol was used on one arm of each participant, while a lotion without Retinol was applied to the other arm. Wrinkles, roughness and overall aging were all significantly reduced in the Retinol-treated arm compared with the control arm, according to the study, which appears in the Archives of Dermatology.

    The scientists are quick to note that the production of collagen, due to the Retinol treatment, not only improves the skin’s appearance, but is an important means of protecting skin as it becomes more fragile with age. The study showed that the reduction of wrinkles was due to increased collagen production (that strengthens the skin) and a significant induction of glycosaminoglycans, which are known to retain large quantities of water keeping tissues well hydrated and supple.

    This research serves as an important step forward in the understanding of how aging skin can be improved, researchers say. In the past, everyone believed that retinoids would treat only photoaging, or damage from exposure to sun. These latest findings show that “it improves any kind of aging – photoaging as well as natural aging,” says co-author John J. Voorhees, M.D., chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “You can rub it anywhere, and it will help to treat the signs of aging.” So while we may all be thinking only in terms of our appearance, these findings are significant for maintaining the health of an aging global population. Call me vain but I’m off to find my Retinol.

  • Does Our Skin Have Different Needs From Day to Night?

    Annet KingThe answer is quite simply yes! Our skin is a dynamic organ that reflects our inner health but also changes with the seasons and environment, and it fluctuates from day to night. It’s not only you that has to work during the day, your skin has a long list of job responsibilities, too!

    Having trouble explaining this to your clients? Use the below tips to better help them understand.

    Skin During the Day
    Your skin excretes the most sebum at mid-day, which coincides with the least amount of Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL.) It is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, environmental pollution, smoke, poor diet, caffeine, make up and extreme temperature changes. It subsequently is harder at work and more stressed during the day, fighting Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS – free radicals) and capturing chemical invaders, shielding from UV rays and producing more lipids to adjust to changing temperatures and humidity levels.

    Skin at Night
    Your skin excretes less sebum, loses more water and is hotter and more acidic at night. It is likely to be drier and perhaps more vulnerable to irritation as well, which may explain why some people complain of “nighttime itch” or “flare-ups” of inflammatory skin conditions at night. Skin also repairs itself more, and cell renewal is enhanced in the evening.

    AM Tips:
    Daytime exposure is similar to sending skin into battle. Prep it with an arsenal of antioxidants and cell energizers to neutralize free radicals. Always protect from UV rays and mop up excess oil production mid-day.

    PM Tips:
    Make sure you start by deeply cleansing your skin at night to remove deep down dirt, long-lasting makeup and sunscreens. Repair damage and stimulate cell renewal while replenishing lost lipids with a powerful cocktail of peptides, Retinol and botanicals.

    Number One Tip: Don’t Forget to Catch Some Zzzzzs!
    The body uses sleep time for internal housekeeping – processing nutrients, detoxifying, renewing and recharging. If your body is chronically starved for sleep, the effects will eventually become visibly and physically noticeable!

  • Good Night, Great Skin

    You may not realize this, but your body undergoes many changes while you’re deep into slumber. Although our minds may no longer be racing, our bodies continuously grow, change and renew during this ‘rest’ period. Our skin, being a dynamic organ, also behaves differently at night than it does during the day. Think about your typical day. Your skin is exposed to much stress- both internally from your emotions and lifestyle habits, and externally from the environment and the elements. Nighttime is the prime time for your skin to catch up and repair any damage brought about by these stressors. It is at this time, while you float along into dreamland, that the skin repairs itself. It is also warmer, loses more water and has a slightly more acidic pH. So taking care of your skin at night is just as important as protecting it during the day. But how can we accomplish this?

    Add More Beauty to Your Beauty Sleep
    Much like the skin, certain ingredients also behave differently at night. Some, like Retinol, are degraded with UV radiation, making it excellent for nighttime application. Sophisticated ingredient technology has allowed us to utilize the skin’s diurnal – that is day to night – cycles to maximize ingredient efficacy. At this time, you want to look for super concentrated doses of nourishing, reparative and conditioning agents. Serums pack a punch of highly concentrated ingredients and are a great way to effect change in a skin that is ready for nightly repair. At night, we are free from the protective films of make-up and sunscreen, so applying serums is a great way to ensure that the active ingredients penetrate effectively to address skin issues. Some essential oils are also a great way to nourish the skin at night. Argan Oil is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and essential fatty acids, which can all reinforce the barrier lipid layer. In fact, it has been used for centuries as a skin and hair hydrator. Another great lipid enhancer is Sunflower Seed Oil, for its ceramide content. Rosehip Seed Oil has natural retinoids that help reduce the appearance of aging skin. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is also more stable when used at night due to photo-degradation. Some oils, like Rosemary and Cinnamon Leaf Oils can even provide antimicrobial properties, making a blend of all these different essential oils both protective and reparative.

    Using antioxidants and serums at night will give you more bang for your buck. Of course, you may also want to try sleeping on your back, drinking water before bedtime and starting your skin care routine after a shower, when your skin is still moist and clean. And of course…sleep more!