Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hyaluronic Acid

As we age the skin loses its ability to retain moisture, leading to dryness, elasticity, and a saggy appearance with fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to counteract this by using products such as hydrators and moisturizers. Hydrators, also known as humectants, bring water into the skin from the blood supply whereas moisturizers prevent the water in the skin from evaporating. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the skin and is a powerful hydrator because it binds 1,000 times its weight in water. When used with moisturizers water is brought into the skin and stays there, allowing for healthy skin function. Hyaluronic acid is found in many skin care products and is responsible for making the skin look smooth and plump. Add a hyaluronic acid product to your skin care regimen to see the effects for yourself. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stress and the Skin

Stress can have a direct and major impact on the skin. Stress can induce or exacerbate any skin condition; common ones include acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It can also make healthy skin appear unhealthy. There are many forms of stress, and all types affect the skin. Physical and emotional stress are common. Other stressors include poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep. Hormonal changes such as the menstrual cycle can also affect the skin. Any type of internal illness or medical condition can affect the skin as well. The environment can cause stress on the skin; for example ultraviolet rays from the sun and pollution in the air damage the skin. Additionally, poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, or using illicit drugs can have a direct impact on the skin. Even prescription medications may also affect the skin.

With all of these types of stressors, it is important that we maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep the skin looking and feeling healthy. These include using sunscreen daily, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, getting an appropriate amount of sleep, and avoiding behaviors such as smoking and using UV tanning beds. Other helpful activities include meditation, relaxation through massage, engaging in hobbies, and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships at home and at work. While this may seem like a lot, doing these things will keep your skin healthy and at the same time have a direct effect on your health.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"I Didn't Peel"

One of the most common comments I hear from patients who have chemical peels is "I didn't peel." It is important to understand what a chemical peel is and does as well as its goals. Chemical peels remove the dead skin cells on the surface and stimulate cell turnover and collagen production. It can treat a variety of conditions and is appropriate for healthy and unhealthy skin alike. The goals of a peel are to address specific concerns, such as acne or fine lines. The goal is not to peel. Many people do not see visible peeling of the skin. This does not mean that they did not get results. In these situations the exfoliation is occurring, but at a microscopic level, so we do not see visible peeling. It is therefore important to take photographs before and after the procedure and compare them to see the results.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Importance of Washing Your Face

Washing your face is the first step in any skin care regimen and its importance can not be understated. It should be performed twice daily. Washing removes oil, dirt, debris, makeup, sunscreen, and anything else that may accumulate on the surface during the day or at night. Impurities on the skin surface will block the absorption of skin care products. They can also induce or exacerbate breakouts. In addition, face washing provides hydration to dry skin, particularly in climates with low humidity. For these reasons I always say clean skin is healthy skin.

Gentle cleansers work for most people while gels work especially well for those with oily skin. Find one that works well for you and does not irritate your skin. The product should be in contact with the skin for at least 30 seconds for an effective wash. Products such as the Clarisonic Pro brush are excellent because they provide a gentle yet thorough rubbing of the product with the skin surface for a full minute. Ensure that your face is completely dry by using a towel and even a blow dryer before applying subsequent products. Washing your face twice daily will lead to clean, healthy skin. Make it a routine, just like brushing your teeth.