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Antioxidants and Free Radicals

What are the benefits of using topical antioxidants ?

Antioxidants work by eliminating free radicals and interrupting skin inflammation. Antioxidants bind electrons to electron starved free radials. Therefore, stopping free radicals from causing damage to the cells. Long term use is the key to beneficial results. Green tea, licorice extract, and grapeseed extract are examples of redness- quenching antioxidants. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Grapeseed extract, green tea extract, and coenzyme Q-10 are all examples of popular antioxidants. Because of the many types of free radicals that can be formed in the cascade of reactions, more than one type of antioxidant is needed to to squelch these reactions. Different antioxidants work in different ways on different free radials. Therefore, a mix of antioxidants is the best bet in helping aging skin.

Antioxidants are reactive and must be carefully formulated so that they do not oxidize. Once an antioxidant oxidizes it is no longer effective.  One sign of an oxidizing product is that it begins to turn dark and eventually turns brown in the bottle. Antioxidants should be stored in a cool place and not be exposed to constant light. Serums are a popular of antioxidants as they can be layered under another product.

Improving Barrier Functions of Aging Skin

What is a barrier function?

The barrier function refers to the outermost layer of the skin. The lipid matrix in the outer most layer of the skin is crucial in preventing water loss in the skin from the inside out and it also prevent irritant penetration from the outside in. As skin gets older the epidermal cell cycle slows down significantly. This slowing reduces the production of intercellular lipids, likely impairing the barrier function. This may result in dehydration causing wrinkles, inflammation and  possible damage, as irritants are more easily able to penetrate the skin. Impaired barrier function can result in dry, flaky, dehydrated skin, as well as redness and inflammation.

Image result for skin barrier function

How can barrier function be repaired or improved?

Barrier functions can be repaired with the use of lipid infused moisturizers and serums. It is also important to protect the skin by not using striping cleansers and using proper protectants that can guard against barrier damage.  Restored barrier function can make a significant difference in the smoothness, suppleness, and hydration of the skin.

Using gentle cleansers prevents the over stripping of the skin. Also, it is important to not over cleanse or cleanse to frequently. Choose cleansers that lightly foam, which means a low level of detergent content. A cleanser designed for sensitive skin and tested for irritancy would be a good choice for most dry aging skin types. Toners should also be free of drying alcohols.

It is also beneficial to use products that are infused with lipids. It is possible to patch the barrier function by using products that contain complexes that mimic or substitute for natural barrier lipids. These products will contain a complex of sphingolipids, phospholipids, fatty acids, and cholesterol, which together comprise the natural barrier function lipid matrix. The complexes can be used in moisturizers, sunscreen, eye cream, masks, or intensive serums. Lipid infused products are a good choice for dry skin in general.

Lastly, use alpha hydroxy acids to help restore a normal cell renewal cycle. Alpha hydroxy acids work to remove dead, dry surface cells, stimulating their replacement and the production of barrier lipids. Studies have shown significant barrier repair resulting from the use of alpha hydroxy acids.

Dry Skin During Winter

Why does dry skin get worse in the winter months? 

Dry air and exposure to cold and wind can make dry skin much worse in the winter. The low humidity in the air creates an osmotic condition in which the water levels on the surface of the skin easily evaporate into the air. The dry and cold air can also irritate the skin and cause it to become chapped. This occurs mainly on the face and hands. Indoor heat further dries the air , creating a condition that robs the skin of moisture as well. Dry skin can be flaky and itchy , this is commonly known as winter itch. Due to these factors the skin is exposed to to dry air 24 hours a day in the winter.


Is there anything I can do avoid winter dryness?

The best treatments are the following:

  • Make sure you apply moisturizer everyday. It is bet to apply immediately after you shower, before the skin is completely dry.
  • Take short shower or baths, longer showers and baths can deplete surface oils.
  • Take cooler showers. Hot showers strip the skin from its natural protective oils and can inflame skin that is already dry.
  • Avoid traditional soaps and high foaming cleanser that can also strip the skin of protective lipids.
  • The skin must be cared for everyday.
  • Use humidifiers indoors to put the moisture back into the air. Room humidifiers create moisture-laden air that does not dry the skin.
  • Also, if you visit a skin therapist there are a number of dry skin treatments that can give the dry skin a moisture boost. However, daily home care is still imperative.


Why does the skin have pores?

Pores are small openings in the skin that release oils and sweat. The pores are also connected to the follicles. Pores may appear larger due to oily skin, increased sebum production, and acne.

Why do some people have bigger pores than others?

The size of the pore is determined by the amount of oil your skin produces. The more oil the skin produces the more the follicle and the pores stretch to accommodate the amount of oil being secreted. Follicles that are clogged with keratinized cells and fatty materials will have larger pores due to the stretching of the follicle walls from the amount of debris in the canal.

How to reduce pore size?

Microneedling is a safe and effective method to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. The micro injuries to the skin caused by microneedling trigger the skin’s own wound healing response. The skin then naturally produces new collagen and elastin. Collagen creates the appearance of smaller pores and tighter skin.

Other ways to help minimize pore size include using sunscreen, exfoliating, and being gentle with your skin. It is important to use sunscreen because the more damaged your skin is, the less firmness it has. When the skin starts to lose its firmness, pores look more noticeable. Exfoliating your skin may also make pore size look smaller. Most importantly, you need to be gentle with your skin. Scrubbing, picking , and squeezing can irritate the skin causing the pores to look larger and become more visible. With the right skincare you can minimize the appearance of your pore size.

Benefits of Chemical Peeling

What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin. During the process, a chemical solution is applied to the surface of the skin and is left on for typically 3 to 5 minutes. The solution is intended to exfoliate the skin and once peeled off, helps to remove dry, dull skin cells.


Benefits of Chemical Peeling

Chemical peels help rejuvenate the skin by removing the dead, unwanted skin on the surface. The result is smoother, more radiant, and less wrinkled skin. Chemical peels are good for treating fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, and dark spots, as well as tightening the area of the skin in the process. Chemical peels are also useful in treating certain types of acne, reducing the appearance of age spots, malasma, and freckles- and softening the surface of skin.



Important things to know

After a chemical peel the skins surface is much more sensitive to the sun. It is important to wear sunscreen for the next new weeks following the treatment. It is common to experience redness after a chemical peel for up to 7 days, that appears similar to that of a sunburn. Scaling is also common and will flake away with the redness. The procedure should be done every 4 to 6 weeks to see the best results.