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  • The Scary Truth Behind Halloween and Accelerated Skin Aging!

    When it comes to celebrating Halloween, many of us don’t realize that the “trick really is in the treat”! Those sugary delights that await us as we eagerly go knocking from door to door, could be leading to more than the anticipated side effects of tooth decay!

    Researchers have discovered that sugar consumption leads to a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, which triggers a series of biochemical reactions in the cells that cause inflammation and glycation, which ultimately leads to accelerated aging of the body.

    Glycation in the skin occurs when blood sugar levels rapidly rise and sugar molecules attach to one of the fundamental architectural structures in the skin, Collagen. Once sugar bonds with Collagen, the process of “Glycation” takes place, and produces harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End products, which ultimately undermine the skin’s internal scaffolding, weakening its strength and turgor. With the repetitive attack of sugar to the skin, fine lines and wrinkles will eventually start to manifest and the skin will take on a more fragile and flaccid appearance! YIKES!!!

    Scientists from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and Unilever in the UK measured the blood sugar levels of 600 men and women aged between 50 and 70. Photographs of these people were presented to a board of 60 independent evaluators. What these evaluators perceived in this study was that those with higher blood sugar levels looked older than those with lower blood sugar levels. The researchers also discovered that with every 1mm/liter increase in blood sugar, the perceived age of that person rose by five months! Now if that does not scare you then I don’t know what will!

    How much you can tolerate before glycation occurs depends on your age, metabolism and how much you exercise. If you’re an active 25-year-old, your body can tolerate more sugar than if you are a sedentary 35-year-old.

    The good news is if you change your ways and start to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, then you should quickly see benefits manifesting on the surface of your skin. The aim should be to ensure that high Glycemic Index foods make up less than ten percent of your total diet. The results you achieve from your dietary changes will be further accelerated by making sure you use skin care formulations that fight the effects of sugar from the outside in. Skin care products rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients and sugar trapping cosmeceuticals such as Arginine Lysine Polypeptide are a definite must have!

    Try to repair existing damage by using ingredients that can stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. Examples of ingredients with collagen stimulating capabilities include:
    • Hydroxypenacolon Retinoate, a brand new, non-irritating form of Vitamin A
    • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a stabilized form of Vitamin C
    • Palmitoyl Hexapeptide 14, a small amino acid chain molecule that stimulates the fibroblast cell into action.

    And if you simply can’t help but give in to those sugary cravings, then try some fresh strawberries dipped in 70% dark chocolate, which has a substantially lower glycemic index and is considered by some to be an antioxidant “super food!”

    Here’s to a happy, healthy Halloween!

  • The Tricks and Treats of Halloween Skin Care Survival

    Heather HickmanBOO! Happy Halloween!

    Oh yes, it’s that time of year already. Candy, costumes and copious amounts of makeup… sign me up!

    While there is no shortage of websites and You Tube videos demonstrating makeup application techniques to transform you into your favorite vampire, pop star, pirate or super hero, where are the sites with information on removing all of that makeup, while still keeping your skin intact? Right here, that’s where!

    Halloween makeup is generally heavier and thicker than normal every day makeup and is designed to adhere to the face to give a masking-type effect, while depositing color onto the skin. They are high in artificial colors, fragrances, waxes, fats, chemicals and oils, and they are designed to withstand sweat (for stage & screen) and form an occlusive coating on the skin, which may result in comedones, congestion and full-on breakouts.

    Let’s Start With the “Tricks”

    Before you even consider applying that green glitter or black face paint, make sure you have a good protective base. One word: silicones.

    A silicone-based moisturizer will not only provide you with a smooth makeup application, it will impart a protective shield between your skin and your chosen disguise. This can help prevent irritation on the skin from artificial colors or fragrances. Silicones are also a great aid in reinforcing the skin’s lipid barrier layer, particularly if combined with Evening Primrose Oil, which is high in Gamma Linoleic Acid to further enforce the barrier lipids.

    Once the party is over, do not – and I repeat – do not, fall into bed with your fright mask intact. Makeup should always be cleansed off of the skin to avoid breakouts. Un-cleansed skin is dirty skin, as it naturally produces oils, sweat and around 40 million dead skin cells a day; mix that with atmospheric pollutants and the waxes and oils from the make-up and you have a soupy, dirty mixture than can cause a multitude of skin problems and can worsen conditions such as oiliness and sensitivity.

    A hydrophilic (water loving) oil-based cleanser is the key to removing that heavy makeup easily and without sensitizing the skin. Oil attracts oil; therefore this type of cleanser will dissolve all the dirt and grime. Oil-based cleansers are also excellent at dissolving waterproof products and substances you may have used to achieve your chosen look, such as eyelash glue or other adhesives (I’ve never tried it on fake blood, but I’m pretty sure it will do the trick!). Double cleansing the skin is imperative, so a second cleanse can be performed with a skin-specific cleanser.

    Another good “trick” is a leave on exfoliant with a Salicylic Acid base. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) have a larger molecular structure then their alpha hydroxy acid ( AHA) cousins. BHAs are lipid soluble (meaning they are attracted to oil), versus water soluble or water loving (like glycolic acid); BHA’s are also keratolytic, meaning that when used on the surface of the skin, they will effectively penetrate clogged pores and other lipid debris, exfoliating within the pore, making them an ideal formula choice after application of oil and color rich cosmetics.

    Now for the “Treats”

    Okay, if you can look in the mirror & recognize yourself again, it’s time to ensure your skin has plenty of moisture to get over its night of horrors. Start the hydration boost with a concentrated serum. A good bet is Hyaluronic Acid, which is able to hold a thousand times its own weight in water, intensely moisturizing your skin. Then seal and protect with an amino acid rich moisturizer to further hydrate the skin, & voila! You’ve reached your ghoul (sorry goal). It’s like it never happened – what happens on Halloween, stays on Halloween.

    Before you go… One final tip: try to give the Trick or Treaters at least some of the “good” candy; don’t eat it all yourself, you’ll only regret it in the morning!