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  • How to Repair the Skin From Sun Damage

    Bettina ZammertSome people are surprised to find someone in Germany writing about the effects of the sun’s rays – after all, Germany is not necessarily a country that is automatically associated with super sunny summers. Yet we do have a surprising number of days on which the thermometer rises to 30°C (86°F) and higher, and we find ourselves longing for a refreshing rain shower. And people who want to be sure of seeing the sun in summer will often travel south to do so, but not many of them will use regular sun protection to protect themselves against the daily damage that is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays.

    Without a doubt, the easiest signs of sun damage to treat are visible changes in the skin, such as dry, dull skin cells that result in irregular appearance, and blocked follicles caused by a UV-induced increase in cell division. Results are achieved with a good exfoliation that is matched to the condition of the skin. And we’re not only talking about mechanical exfoliation with granules. In particular, products containing hydroxy acids, such as Lactic Acid, create even results and provide much-needed moisture. And speaking of moisture: the skin is rarely as thirsty as it is after a long summer! Hydrating gel masks, moisturizing sprays and active concentrates are absolutely essential at this time.

    Hyperpigmentation is a different matter altogether, one in which you will always need the services of a professional skin therapist. Treatment of this condition, when the result of UV exposure, is more challenging because the skin experiences damage to the collagen and elastic fibers in the dermis. Fortunately, we now have the means to influence our skin with ingredients such as peptides, which are a group of active substances that are particularly effective. Some peptides can stimulate collagen production, and others are able to reduce excess pigmentation to a more normal level. Combined with other ingredients that target aging, such as antioxidants, we have some strong helpers in the fight against skin aging.

    While technology provides us with the means to keep our skin healthy, safe and youthful, the absolute first step for healthy skin with no visible effects of photoaging is as always to wear suitable sun protection. And with such a large selection, we know for sure that we have the right sun protection for every skin type!

  • Ease Winter Woes: Exfoliate

    To get the most out of your moisturizer, exfoliate. Once dead skin cells are cleared away, the moisturizer is better able to penetrate dry skin. Your body naturally gets rid of dead skin cells in a process called desquamation. These cells have an internal clock that tells them when they can travel up to the skin’s surface to be sloughed off. However, a build-up of dead cells on the surface can result in dull, ashy or lackluster skin. Choosing the proper exfoliating agent is key to achieving polished results without irritation. There are many ways to exfoliate your skin, from brushes and scrubs to enzymes and acids.

    Some exfoliants can be particularly irritating in winter, so test them on a small patch of skin first or opt for gentler techniques. Of course, very dry or irritated skin should be allowed to heal before any form of exfoliation is performed to minimize sensitization. If scrubs are too harsh for dry, winter skin, opt for chemical methods that gently dissolve the bonds holding skin cells together. Hydroxy acids are a popular option and include Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid. Lactic Acid has additional beneficial properties, such as increased moisturization and greater barrier protection. Salicylic Acid is a great addition for acneic skin with the added bonus of being anti-inflammatory. Enzymes from Papaya, Pineapple and Rice Bran are also great methods to promote skin renewal. The Phytic Acid found in Rice Bran can also help control pigmentation to yield a brighter skin tone. A good exfoliation can ease winter woes when done properly and combined with a good moisturizing regimen. Let your skin sparkle and shine this winter!