Does your skin look and feel a bit dull and tired, even though you cleanse and even moisturize once or twice a day? It might be time to add some extra steps to your skincare routine.
First, a let's take a closer look at our skin, and those elements we can and can't control:
Intrinsic aging is up first and warrants mention as something perhaps beyond our control when it comes to skincare, though we can certainly take those features we are born with and the challenges we are tasked with and work with them. For instance, ethnic and anatomical variations are a given; however, hormonal and physiologic changes also take place in the skin as time goes by. Intrinsic aging is genetic in its inception (Farage, Miller, Eisner & Maibach, 2008). In essence, we all experience skin aging differently according to our genetic make-up.
Extrinsic Aging is more lifestyle focused and something we can take more of an active role in, however. Smoking, humidity and its effect on skin temperature, as well as the level of ultraviolet or photo exposure all affect our skin (Farage, Miller, Eisner & Maibach, 2008).
So what are the options currently available to combat the issues associated with skin changes as we age?
- Refreshing the skin via chemical peels and dermabrasion are one option that women are turning to, and have turned to, though it may feel a bit extreme in nature as it is generally done under a physician's care.
- Removing dead skin layers using exfoliants is a nice option to turn to and exfoliants come in a variety of forms, whether it be a microdermabrasion cream or a more natural choice like a light scrub with oats and honey.
- Using a gentle cleanser and an exfoliating mitt or even a light sponge with a scrubby property can also be effective.
- Of course, moisturizers are always a popular option as well. Whether they are cosmetic, cosmeceutical or pharmaceutical, moisturizers when applied to the skin work to soften that top layer. How? In oil and water emulsions, some of the water in the moisturizer is absorbed by the stratum corneum, but most evaporates; in turn, oil remaining on the surface acts as a lubricant (Roenigk, 2000). * More on these in another post coming soon.
Finally, education - care of our skin comes with knowing what we are putting on it, and that means trusting that the products we buy are being made in the proper manner in safe facilities by people we can trust. Stay educated on what you are using, but also ask questions to ensure your product supplier is as well.***
Stay tuned for Part 4!
Farage, M. A., Miller, K. W., Elsner, P. and Maibach, H. I. (2008), Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: a review. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 30: 87–95. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2007.00415.x
Roenigk, H. H. (2000), Treatment of the aging face. Dermatologic Therapy, 13: 141–153. doi: 10.1046/j.1529-8019.2000.00022.x
*** Knowing how to read your labels, making sure products don't have claims on them without the testing to back them up. Terms like wrinkle reduction, anti-aging, scar treatment, acne-treatment,etc., on a product label means it is no longer a cosmetic, but a cosmeceutical or a drug, so question your beauty care providers and stay educated to be sure that they are as well. Have they had their product tested to ensure this claim is proven? If not, it shouldn't be on the label. Ask about general microbiology testing for products and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). Ask if they have a cosmetic chemist or scientist they are able to consult with for formulation and regulatory compliance, someone who is checking their labels for them. Know what you are buying because there is a whole lot of behind-the-scenes compliance work and education that should be in place with any beauty care provider, or maybe that's just my opinion, and that's okay.