When most of us think about the things that make a person look old, wrinkles are usually first on the list. Surprisingly, recent research has shown it’s not those fine lines and creases that herald the march of time; it’s the amount of irregular pigmentation on a person’s facial skin. In one study, subjects were asked to look at pictures of faces that had varying degrees of wrinkles along with those that that had areas of irregular pigmentation. Interestingly, the photos of faces with pigmented spots were rated as looking older.
Sun induced skin damage over time can cause dark spots and freckling to appear, making skin tone less even. Treating this type of aging is harder than preventing it, so sun protection habits beginning in childhood can make a tremendous difference in how skin will look in later life. You can see this on your own body by comparing the skin on areas that are rarely sun exposed to those that are almost always exposed. You’ll see that the unexposed areas of skin will be less pigmented and wrinkled when compared to areas that have had a lot of sun exposure.
Tips for preventing hyperpigmentation:
-Always wear a broad spectrum SPF 35 or higher sunscreen daily.
-When in the sun, wear a broad brimmed hat or use an umbrella to block rays.
-Apply an antioxidant serum every day to help mop up skin damaging free radicals.
-Have a UV film put on your car windows and windshield.
The most effective treatments for hyperpigmentation are those that target melanin production, such as hydroquinone. The combination of a topical retinoid (Retinol or Retinal) or prescription Tretinoin cream combined with hydroquinone is one of the best ways to eliminate hyperpigmentation and repair damaged skin. Remember, even if a treatment decreases your hyperpigmented skin areas, you’ll get it right back if you don’t consistently incorporate strategies for avoiding sun exposure.
We suggest trying Obagi-C Rx C-Clarifying Serum for normal to dry skin or the formulation for normal to oily skin. It contains a combination of 10% L-Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C and 4% Hydroquinone. Other great products for correcting pigmentation problems include Obagi Nu-Derm Clear # 3, Blender #5 and Sunfader #6, all of which feature unique formulas to lighten darker skin areas such as freckles, age/sun spots and melasma.
Most people think that the rate of their aging process is something they have very little control over, but a surprising amount of age related skin changes may be accelerated because of lifestyle choices. We all know that using a sunscreen daily will help keep skin looking young. But did you know that your diet could also be a factor in skin wrinkling and loss of firmness?
Dermatologists agree that genetics is just a part of the aging equation and is responsible for only 20-30 percent of how you age. The good news is that the larger portion of the aging equation is a response to diet and lifestyle choices. The buzzword at the moment is inflammation and how sugar can be a catalyst in this process. A diet high in sugar affects skin by increasing inflammation in the body and degrading collagen and elastin through a process called glycation. The loss of these two skin components results in skin wrinkling and loss of firmness/elasticity.
You can reduce dietary sugar related skin damage by taking a close look at your diet and keeping a food record for several days. A food record helps you see exactly how much protein, fat, carbohydrate and simples sugars you eat each day, and can help target where you may need to make some changes. Remember that candy and other sugary treats aren’t the only foods to limit. Less obvious choices such as highly refined foods, fruits (dried and processed) and juices can overload you with sugar as well. You can reduce your simple sugar intake by reading ingredient labels and avoiding foods with the words sugar, fructose, honey, rice syrup, cane syrup, corn sweetener, dextrin, dextrose, glucose, sucrose, and barley malt syrup.
If you spend a lot of time flying, you’re at a greater risk of sun damage because the high altitude reached during flight allows more UV to reach the skin. Always wear a sunscreen, and if possible, close the window shade to block out the sun. Another skin assault during flights is the desert dry air that saps your skin of water. Counter this problem by staying well hydrated and frequently applying a humectant type of moisturizer during your flight.
Living a fast paced, stressful life takes its toll on more than your mental health. Long- term stress can lead to an increased level of cortisol, a hormone that is helpful during a fight or flight situation, but damaging to your body if there is a chronic increase. Cortisol can reduce your body’s ability to repair itself and over time lead to premature wrinkling.
If your feel stress is a problem, consider taking a yoga or meditation class and add some cardio type exercise to your day. When you’re feeling tense, your breathing will become shallower and your shoulders move up as you inhale, so practice belly breathing (where you expand your belly outward as your breath in) instead of raising your shoulders as you inhale. You can calm yourself quickly by slowing down your rate of breathing- try pursing your lips as you slowly breath in and then out, expanding your tummy out as your inhale and relaxing as your exhale.
Yo Yo Dieting
Losing weight can be a healthy step for many people, but a constant roller coaster of weight gain and loss takes its toll on your skin. When you’re young skin can snap back after a weight loss, but as we age, loss of weight can leave you with sagging skin. In addition, people tend to lose facial fat as they age, so the adage that “after 40 you have to choose between your face or your bottom” rings true.
Women who carry extra weight often have less facial wrinkling because of higher fat levels, but the negative health impact of being overweight offset the fuller face. If you need to lose weight, do it slowly and through a healthy diet. Once you’ve achieved your goal, make lifestyle changes that help you keep the weight off.
Poor Sleep or Not Enough Sleep
Sleep is when our body repairs itself, so not getting enough quality sleep can severely impact skin health. Lack of sleep leaves you feeling exhausted, stressed and mentally foggy, and over time a cycle of poor sleep and exhaustion rapidly accelerates the aging process. If you aren’t able to improve your sleep hygiene by avoiding caffeine and alcohol, shutting down the TV, computers and ipads an hour before bedtime and other lifestyle changes, you should consult with your healthcare provider to determine the cause and treatment for your sleep problem.
Most people associate acne with the teen years, but the reality is that you can develop acne at almost any age. Many women experience acne flares with hormonal shifts, such as those that occur during their cycle, pregnancy and as they go through menopause. The most effective way to treat acne at any stage of life is by seeing a dermatologist to determine what’s causing your acne and treat it with the appropriate medication.
The mechanism behind the formation of acne is two-fold: increased oil production cause pores to clog with sebum and dead skin cells, and over time the P. Acnes bacteria that’s normally present on the surface of your skin, can cause an infection within the clogged pore. Treating acne requires some patience and the consistent use of products that target both sebum build up and surface bacteria.
There are difference types of pimples, from the dark, pin dot sized blackheads to the infection- filled whiteheads, papules and cysts. Whether or not you experience acne depends on your genetics and hormonal profile, and factors such as stress, climate, (hot, humid weather can create an upshift in oil production) but for most people acne can be significantly reduced with the right treatment.
The use of oil soluble salicylic acid as a cleanser unclogs sebum build up in pores and helps prevent the formation of blackheads (sebum oxidizes when it reaches the surface of the pore and causes blackheads) and reduces follicle skin cell shedding and inflammation. The other important ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, which reduces the P. Acnes bacteria that causes an infected pimple.
A key point when starting any acne treatment is to go slow and don’t overdo it with the cleansers and topical products. Most acne treatments cause the skin to become drier and more irritated, especially during the first weeks of use. It helps to start with an every other or even every three-day application of topical acne treatments, allowing time for skin to adapt to the products. Many people give up on using their acne treatments because they couldn’t tolerate the dry, irritated skin it produced. Starting with a more gradual application schedule can make all the difference in how your skin responds, and will help avoid looking worse before your skin starts to improve.
It can take several weeks for topical acne medications to show results, as they function more as a prevention rather than treatment of the pimples already present. The cycle of an acne pimple can be several weeks from clogged pore to deep, infected cyst, so patience and consistent use of your acne medication is the best way to prevent new breakouts.
If your acne doesn’t respond to over the counter medications, your dermatologist can recommend prescription treatments that work well for more severe cases. Tretinoic acid, the ingredient in Retin-A, works well for speeding up cell turnover and keeping pores unblocked. Azeliac acid is another topical prescription that reduces oil production, bacterial growth and inflammation. There are many other prescription medications, both topical and oral that may be used to treat acne, as well as new lasers and light therapies.
Anu-skin offers the specific Obagi Clenziderm product lines for acne treatment whether your skin is oily or dry. Since most acne-prone people tend to have oilier skin, the Clenziderm Pore Therapy, Daily Care Foaming Cleanser, and Therapeutic Lotion (containing 5% Benzoyl Peroxide) is recommended. For those of you with dry skin, the Clenziderm Daily Care Cream Cleanser, Therapeutic Moisturizer, and Therapeutic Lotion is the treatment of choice.
We all know about the skin rejuvenating effects retinoids have on skin, but for many people the side effects of using these products makes it difficult to maintain their use. Innovative research in the field of topical retinoids has created Ret 2.0, the next generation in topical retinoid treatment.
Ret 2.0 consists of stabilized, encapsulated ingredients that convert to retinoic acid in a potent, one step synthesis within the skin. The unique formulation of Ret 2.0 also allow the serum to be used with other topical products, reducing the risk of irritation that can occur when combining products. The non-irritating action of Ret 2.0 enables even those with sensitive skin to gain the benefits of daily retinoid use.
The benefits of Ret 2.0 include:
-Enhanced collagen synthesis
-Reduced wrinkles and skin laxity
-Doesn’t cause flaking, redness or peeling
-Repairs skin after UV exposure
-Stays active within the skin between applications allowing it to be accessed by cells as needed
Just two pumps of this golden serum applied to face and neck provide full coverage and is absorbed quickly so you can immediately apply Obagi Nu-Derm Blender or other products such as a moisturizer or sunscreen.
Gone are the days of enduring retinoid use flaking, redness and irritation to gain skin benefits. With consistent daily use of Ret 2.0 you’ll get all the skin firming, wrinkle reducing effects of a retinoid without any of the side effects.
Most of us have experienced lower eye lid dark circles at some point in our life, and although those dark circles can be byproduct of late nights, lack of sleep or over imbibing, for some people they are a daily problem. If you’re one of those people who seem to have dark circles no mafftter how much sleep you get, then the problem may be due to a chronic fluid or pigmentation issue.
Our lower eyelid is comprised of a very thin skin layer, and when that area becomes puffy from high sodium foods or allergies, the increased blood flow and fluid retention can cause a bluish tint to be reflected. In addition, as we age, the protective fat pads that surround the eyes, may begin to protrude as the membrane that holds them in place weakens (a condition that may require surgery to correct). You may notice the puffiness is worse in the morning as a result of fluid pooling in lower lid area as you sleep.
When fluid retention is the cause of under eye circles, treatments such as a cold compress to reduce swelling, and products that contain caffeine (which constricts blood vessels) can help reduce the puffiness. Some people find that elevating their head with an extra pillow or a wedge under the top portion of their mattress can help as well. Ingredients like retinoic acid and vitamin C topical serums can work over time, to build up the skin and increase elasticity.
Dark circles involving lower lid skin can also be due to heredity, age and ethnicity. To determine whether it’s swelling or pigmentation that’s causing your dark circle problem, try this simple test:
Using a mirror in natural light, lower your chin slightly until you see the shadows-if the color you see underneath has a bluish tinge, you probably have pooled fluid underneath.
If you notice more of a brown tint, gently pull your under eye skin to the side to see if you notice a difference in skin tone. If you see that the under eye skin is darker or blotchy, your dark circles are from excessive pigmentation.
By incorporating these healthy habits into your life (adequate sleep and little added salt to your food) can both help prevent and combat under eye bags and circles.
-Treat your allergies, and if you suffer from itchy eyes, ask your doctor for prescription allergy eye drops. They can make a big difference in the appearance of your eyes in general as well as dark circles.
-Train yourself to sleep on your back and add an extra pillow to help elevate your head. This position helps prevent fluid from pooling under your eyes as you sleep.
-Always remove your make up before bedtime.
-Reduce your sodium intake if fluid retention is a problem.
-Cut back on alcohol, and when you do have a drink make sure you follow it with a glass of water.
-Don’t smoke. Smoking can weaken collagen and contributes to premature wrinkling.
-Always apply a sunscreen to your eye area. Look for mineral only sunscreens to avoid eye irritation.
-Use a retinol or prescription retinoic acid cream on the eye area as well as the face.
-Concealer is your friend. Find a color that melts into your skin tone, and steer away from going too light-that’ll just highlight the problem.
-Use a skin-lightening product that contains hydroquinone or kojic acid to help reduce pigmentation.
Obagi Elastiderm eye serum contains caffeine and other ingredients that help firm and improve the skin beneath the eyes. If pigmentation is an issue try the Obagi Professional Eye Brightener to smooth fine lines and reduce dark circles. The Revision brand product Teamine improves both puffiness and pigmentation problems and the Exuviance Age Reverse Eye Contour and Depuffing Eye Serum can significantly treat puffiness.
Character lines are just nice way of describing wrinkles, and most of us would prefer less visible evidence of our wisdom and character. Wrinkles are a term that describes creases, fold and furrows that occur as skin becomes less elastic and thin. People of all ages will have a crease or two appear when making facial expressions, but over time that crease becomes “stamped” into the skin even if you’re not smiling or squinting
So what causes skin to lose its ability to snap back and stay smooth? As we age, our skin changes in several ways. The top layer becomes thinner and more permeable, with a reduced skin barrier, allowing more moisture to be lost to the environment. Deep, within the dermis, collagen and elastin fibers decrease with age, making skin less elastic and firm. Facial fat plays an important role in the appearance of our skin, and age related facial fat loss reduces the scaffolding that keeps skin looking taut and plump.
Repetitive facial expressions, such as smiling, frowning or squinting can create lines that remain even when the expressions are not being made. Genetics is a factor in how soon your face starts to wrinkle, but environmental factors also play a role in their development.
Here’s what you can do to slow development of facial wrinkles:
-We all know that smoking is one of the leading causes of premature wrinkling with multiple factors coming into play. The frequent pursing or puckering of the lips as a cigarette is smoked creates lines around the mouth and the chemicals in the smoke affect skin health as well as reduce blood flow.
-Lighter skinned people tend to wrinkle more quickly and deeply than those with darker skin. Fair skinned redheads fare the worst, but because their skin burns so easily, many redheads usually start avoiding the sun early in life, helping to prevent sun induced damage.
-Your job can affect how quickly you age-just take a look at the skin of golfers, farmers and construction workers to see how habitual sun exposure speeds the development of wrinkles.
-Wear sunglasses when outside and when driving your car. Years of squinting can create lines around your eyes. Bigger is better, so opt for fashion forward large frames to protect your entire eye area.
-There are cutting edge skincare products that can help skin repair and rebuild as well as protect from environmental damage. Daily use of antioxidant serums, acids, retinoids and sunscreens can make a significant difference in skin aging.
-Keep in mind that losing weight tends to show more in the face as we age, so maintaining a healthy weight throughout life will help you avoid facial fat atrophy.
-Reduce dietary sugar and boost your intake of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you’re providing your skin with the nutrients needed for health.
-Avoid sleeping on the same side each night and splurge on a 100% silk pillowcase to help avoid sleep creases. If you notice sleep lines every morning swap out your pillow for one that’s more firm, and slip in a neck roll to keep your face from creasing.
-Botox really works, and starting early before you stamp in wrinkles is the best way to keep skin smooth and line free. Each treatment lasts up to four months and although pricey, it can make a world of difference if you’re one of those people who have a permanent furrow between your eyes.
We’ve all been the recipients of dubious beauty advice, and although some tips may be based in fact, many others just don’t pan out to be true. Here are five beauty myths that you can happily retire.
1. The majority of the sun damage done to your skin occurs before age 18.
This statement is one that has been drilled into us, but a recent study showed that for most people, only 20% of UV exposure occurs by age 18, doubling by age 40, and hitting 60% by age 59. So even if you didn’t wear sunscreen in your teens, you still can have a significant impact on the amount of sun damage done to your skin by starting to use sun protection at any age.
2. Drinking lots of water will keep your skin hydrated.
The level of moisture in your skin depends on the level of oil production, and environmental stressors, such as dry air, wind and sun exposure that strip moisture from the skin. If you become severely dehydrated, your skin will reflect that, but as long as you’re eating and drinking normally, your skin gets all the water it needs. The best way to keep your skin hydrated is by using a humectant type lotion and topping that with a barrier cream (see blogs 4 and 5).
3. If you pluck a gray hair, several more will grow in its place.
If only this were true, then those of us with thin hair could remedy the problem by doing some strategic plucking! Each hair grows from its own follicle, and when you pluck it there isn’t some magic that occurs causing that hair follicle to multiply. The same thing applies to the saying that shaving causes your hair to grow in thicker. It just appears thicker after shaving because the outgrowth has a more blunt tip.
4. You can get rid of cellulite.
Sadly, there’s really nothing you can do to permanently change the dreaded orange peel appearance of cellulite. Great minds have focused on this problem (actually it’s been a major point of research in the field of dermatology) without discovering a treatment that significantly reduces cellulite. You can thank your parents if you’ve developed it, as genetics plays a role in whether your matrix of fibrous bands that trap fat as well as thinner skin, allows those lumps to be visible.
Although there’s no treatment that permanently fixes this problem, there are plenty of lotions and lasers that claim they can reduce the appearance of orange peel skin. Most firming creams and lotions contain temporary skin tightening ingredients like caffeine, and moisturizers can plump up surface skin. Contrary to what you may think, being thin or fat doesn’t make much of a difference, although eating a healthy diet and exercising can certainly play a role in skin appearance. One thing that can help camouflage that orange peel skin is a self tanner, so slather it on when the weather makes shorts and sleeveless tops a must.
5. Wearing makeup every day is bad for your skin.
Today’s makeups actually are good for you skin, with many including ingredients that increase cell turnover and provide moisture, sun protection and topical nutrients that benefit skin health. Wearing makeup only becomes a problem when it isn’t removed properly at the end of the day. As long as you choose a makeup that’s compatible for your skin issues, (oil-free for acne prone skin, and for sensitive skin a hypoallergenic product) daily use is fine.
We’ve all wondered at some point whether it makes sense to use a product line skin care system (cleanser, toner, moisturizer and treatment) or just pick and choose individual products we think we need. It’s a good idea to build your skincare around a system since most companies specifically develop their lines so that each step builds on and enhances their product ingredients. This enables users to get the best “bang for their buck”. You may feel that just using a cleanser is enough, but a toner after cleansing helps restore skin pH, and skin is protected and rejuvenated by a third step, the use of a compatible moisturizer.
Most product lines carry systems for several skin types and even for specific problems such as acne or sensitive skin. The ingredients for each line is developed to correspond with and work together to achieve specific results. The basic skincare system consists of a cleanser, toner, moisturizer and some sort of treatment such as a serum, although many include additional treatments that work within the system.
Not only do skin care systems make cleaning, toning and protecting your skin easy, but they also take the guesswork out of determining which ingredients are best for your skin. In addition, most women find that they’re more likely to go through the important steps of proper skin cleansing and care if they don’t have to think too much about it and just follow the steps.
Obagi offers skincare systems for all skin types, with targeted treatments for specific issues such as acne, dry or oily skin and pigmentation. You can find an Obagi Skincare System that is perfect for your skin at this link: www.anu-skin.net
Do you notice that your face flushes when eating certain foods, and facial redness is a common problem that you try to hide with make up and concealer? If these are familiar issues with your skin, you may have a condition called “rosacea.” It’s a fairly common skin issue, and manifests as facial flushing predominately on the cheeks, but can also include the nose and forehead. If untreated the condition can cause skin to develop dilated blood vessels, form small bumps over the affected areas and make your skin chronically irritated and sensitive.
The cause of rosacea isn’t clear, but there’s some evidence that UV and environmental damage (extreme cold or heat and wind) and chemical skin irritants may trigger this condition. Although some foods may cause a flare in symptoms, they aren’t associated with the development of rosacea. For most people, rosacea tends to run in cycles of flares (with increased redness and irritation) and periods of reduced symptoms.
Although there’s no cure for rosacea, a visit to a dermatologist will help determine whether you have this condition, and your doctor can provide treatment options that help manage the redness and reduce flares. There are topical and oral medications that are very effective for treating rosacea, and catching this condition early can help reduce the development of more severe symptoms.
You can reduce your rosacea flares by determining what seems to increase your symptoms and modifying your skincare routine to keep your skin soothed and protected. How you wash your facial skin can make a big difference in redness and irritation. Use your fingertips to gently massage a mild cleanser into your skin and avoid abrasive scrubs or washcloths. Rinse for at least 20 seconds with warm water, avoiding switching from hot to cold temperatures. Some people find even water can cause irritation, so if you have this problem use a soothing creamy cleanser that can be wiped off instead of rinsed. Gently blot your skin dry without rubbing, and allow your skin to dry completely before applying any products.
Here are some tips to help care for your rosacea prone skin:
-Check your skincare products for ingredients known to cause rosacea flares such as alcohol, witch hazel, fragrances, menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus oil.
-Avoid using scrubs that contain exfoliating particles or acids.
-Always do a small test patch on your neck before using a new product on your face.
-Keep the number of products you use to a minimum-that way there’s less of a chance of some ingredient causing irritation.
-Protect your skin from sun exposure, wind and extreme temperature shifts.
-Avoid foods that cause your face to flush such as alcohol and spicy meals.
Anu-Skin offers the Obagi Rosaclear line of products that work well for sensitive and redness prone rosacea skin. The Rosaclear Gentle Cleanser cleans your skin without causing irritation or drying, and the Rosaclear Hydrating Complexion Corrector and Rosaclear Skin Balancing Sun Protection SPF 30 have ingredients that sooth, protect and reduce redness.
The skin product industry is constantly introducing new skin care ingredients, but there are some that have stayed popular because that have stood the test of time. One that is at the top of the list is a clay mask, and it’s with good reason. They’re easy to use, feel great and make your skin glow, all with one quick application.
Although clay masks have been used for decades, there have been improvements to the basic clay ingredient with the addition of skin rejuvenating Alpha Hydroxy Acids and other exfoliating acids. The addition of these ingredients boosts the effectiveness of a clay mask and can help target specific skin issues such as acne, redness and rough skin.
There are a few tips for getting the most out of your clay mask application, so incorporate these points the next time you use one. An insider tip is to not allow the mask to fully dry, especially if you have dry or flaking skin. Clay masks work by providing moisture and minerals when first applied wet, then as it begins to dry, blood flow to the skin is stimulated as it contracts. The key is to avoid letting your mask get to the fully dry (and cracked) phase, and washing it off just as it starts to feel less tacky and the color lightens up.
Another tip is to avoid overuse of a clay mask. Most women find that using a mask three times a week is sufficient, although women with acne and oily skin may be able to increase the use to 4-5 times a week to help treat their skin issues.
There are several different types of clay used in facial masks, and each offer specific effects depending on their mineral level and additional ingredients. In general, all clays masks do a great job of stimulating skin, removing surface debris and will leave your face looking clean and radiant.
They span from BB to DD, and they’re the latest in skin care products that ride the wave of multi-treatment in one tube. These genies in a bottle can be a great way to improve the look and feel of your skin with one product, but it’s important you choose the right one to fit your skin needs.
The first of the trio, Beauty Balms, or BB creams, were created to provide foundation like coverage with the added skin care benefit of an SPF or anti-oxidant. Most provide more coverage than a tinted foundation, but be careful about thinking your BB cream is offering sun protection if the SPF is less than 30. BBs provide the highest level of coverage of the three alphabet creams, but it’s still lighter than a foundation.
CC, or Color Correction creams pack a bit more punch than the BBs, and can do more to hide imperfections such as redness and hyperpigmentation. CC creams are a good choice for women who have rosacea and need to tone down the redness with the color correcting pigments, or those who have sallow skin that can benefit from a CC cream with light reflecting particles. They also contain a sunscreen and ingredients that can improve skin conditions such as acne, dark spots or redness.
The newest of the bunch, DD or Dynamic Do Alls (also are known as Daily Defense) creams pack anti-aging wrinkle busting ingredients, SPF and some color correcting all in one product. A cult favorite (and with good reason as it delivers on all three) is Revision Intellishade SPF 45 in original and matte formulations. This one color really fits all sheer tint melts into skin, providing serious sun protection and a blend of skin revitalizing peptides and antioxidants in one silky cream.
The best way to find your alphabet cream is to test out several to see which product gives you the results you want. If you’re acne prone, an oil free CC cream with acne fighting salicylic acid may be a good choice, especially if it offers color correction for redness. Women who have few skin issues and just want a bit of coverage that also provides sunscreen would find BB creams are a great fit. Those who would like to reduce fine lines, cover and correct skin imperfections as well as get some sun protection, a DD product is their dream cream.
One of the products we put on our skin each morning is a moisturizer. But most of us aren’t aware that there are actually three major classes of moisturizers: occlusive, humectant, and emollient. The effect of each moisturizer type offers unique benefits, so it’s a good idea to make sure the product you’re using is the right choice for what you’d like to achieve.
It’s important to understand the basics of skin structure to see how each type of moisturizer works. The top layer of skin is the called the epidermis, made up of four thin layers: the deepest is the stratum basale, followed by the stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum and stratum corneum. The second layer of skin lies beneath the stratum basale and is called the dermis. This layer is much thicker and contains many components, including collagen and elastin.
Epidermal skin cells are formed in the stratum basale and continually migrate upward to end up as “dead cells” in the stratum corneum, before being sloughed off. As these cells migrate upward, lipids are produced, which act as the skin’s natural moisturizer, providing an excellent barrier for moisture loss.
Environmental factors such as dry air, cold temperatures, chemicals and soaps applied to the skin can disrupt this natural moisturizing process, leading to flaky, dehydrated skin. Using the right moisturizer type can make a big difference in repairing dry, damaged skin and restoring the natural moisture level.
Let’s discuss the three major types of moisturizers, how they work and the ingredients to look for in each.
Occlusives act as a barrier for the skin, coating the surface and slowing trans-epidermal water loss to help maintain the skin’s natural moisture. Products that contain petrolatum and oils (such as mineral, jojoba, olive) provide a thick layer on the skin, and are especially helpful for retaining moisture during the dry, cold winter months.
Humectants are true moisturizers, as they are able to bond with water molecules, drawing moisture from the environment as well as from the deeper layers of the skin to plump the top layer of skin. Look for products that contain hyaluronic acid, pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA), glycerin, sorbitol, urea and hydroxyl and lactic acid. Many humectant products also contain occlusive ingredients to provide a two-fold effect of drawing in and holding moisture.
Emollients work by filling the spaces between surface skin cells and can help repair skin and increase softness, smoothness and elasticity. Look for ingredients such as dimethicone, cyclomethicone, cetyl and stearyl alcohols, stearic, linolenic, oleic and lauric acids and vegetable oils such as jojoba, grape and sesame seed. Emollients can also function as an occlusive if applied in a heavy layer.
The key to finding the right fit for your skin is to think about what improvement you’d like to achieve with your moisturizer. If you have dry, rough skin, you would benefit from layering a humectant first, followed by an emollient that includes occlusive properties. You’ll be providing much needed moisture to your skin and the protection of an emollient/occlusive to hold in that moisture. If your skin is frequently exposed to environmental stressors such as wind, cold or dry heat, a product that provides a thick layer of protection will help prevent the development of dehydrated, cracked skin.
If you have oilier skin, you can probably skip the occlusives as those products tend to be heavy. Look for a lightweight humectant to help keep your skin plump. During the winter months you may need to add an emollient to the mix, but be careful if you’re acne prone as some ingredients can clog pores.
Almost everyone can benefit from using a humectant each day, and adding an emollient or occlusive product as needed. If your skin is dehydrated and you only apply an occlusive product, you’ll just be coating over dry skin and not treating the underlying problem. Occlusive are a great way to prevent skin from drying out as long as the epidermis isn’t already dehydrated. But if the skin cells aren’t plumped with water, you won’t effectively treat that dry skin look with this type of product.
The key is to consistently maintain a plump epidermis by applying a humectant product, and if you have irritated or scaly skin, using an emollient on top of the humectant to treat those issues. Follow up with an occlusive if your skin is going to be exposed to wind, heat or cold, or if you tend to have very dry skin.
Providing the appropriate moisturizer will not only improve the look and feel of your skin, but research has shown that the consistent use of some ingredients, such as the fatty acids in emollients, can improve skin on a cellular level and protect from environmental damage.
Summer sun and hot weather bring on outdoor activities that result in more skin exposed to the sun. Although we all like to get a bit more color after a dreary winter, learning some tips on how to avoid skin damage from sun exposure is always in season.
Most people don’t think a lot about the sunscreen they slap on when hitting the beach, and even less about whether the product they’re using is effective. But if you’re going to go through the process of using a sunscreen, it’s important to understand what’s involved in providing adequate sun protection.
Every bottle of sunscreen by law must provide a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) label with a corresponding number listed. The SPF number is provided to help you determine the amount of time you can stay in the sun without burning after applying the product. The higher the number, the longer the protection time, although anything higher than SPF 30 isn’t really necessary, because to provide sustained protection, any sunscreen should be reapplied every couple of hours or after swimming/sweating.
Just because you use a SPF 30 or higher sunscreen doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fully protected, because SPF only refers to UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, and doesn’t tell you whether your sunscreen also protects your skin from UVA rays-the ones that contribute to photo aging and skin cancer. To find a sunscreen that offers protection from both types of UV rays look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label. New FDA labeling rules require any sunscreen that’s termed “broad spectrum” to have passed a test confirming that it blocks both UVB and UVA rays.
Products that are labeled “sun blocks” contain zinc or titanium oxide, and instead of filtering light (as a sunscreen with a combination of light filtering chemicals does) they reflect and scatter light away from the skin. These types of products are especially effective for blocking UVB rays as well as UVA, and are better tolerated for those with sensitive skin.
Here’s a checklist to help you when choosing the best type of sun protection for you skin:
-Choose a product that offers at least an SPF 15 or higher and includes the words “broad spectrum” for both UVB and UVA protection.
-Apply sunscreen underneath make up, and at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
-Check the expiration date and throw out any bottles that are past that date or are over a year old.
-Wear sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors, and also when in your car or sitting near a window, as UVA rays can penetrate glass.
-No matter what the SPF rating, reapply your sunscreen every two hours and more often if swimming or sweating.
-Be generous and use enough to fully cover your face (don’t forget your ears) and apply a thick, even coating over your body.
-No sunscreen can fully protect your skin from the sun, so wearing a broad brimmed hat will help prevent photo aging of your facial skin, and always wear sunglasses that provide UV eye protection.
Some people avoid sunscreens or blocks on their face because many products contain ingredients that can clog pores and increase acne. If your skin is acne prone, look for products that won’t clog pores such as Obagi Professional-C Suncare Broad Spectrum SPF 30, and for more sensitive skin, Gentle Rejuvenation Ultra-Light Repair SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream.
If you tend towards drier skin or have mature skin issues, Obagi Gentle Rejuvenation Fortified Sunscreen with Vitamin C SPF 30 will help protect and rejuvenate your skin at the same time. If you find that your sunscreen leaves a white residue under make up, look for a product that that offers an ultra sheer coverage like Obagi-C Rx-SunGuard SPF 30.
Our last blog discussed the benefits of exfoliating your skin and how doing this treatment several times a week helps boost absorption of topical skincare products. In this blog we’re going to discuss vitamin C, one of the most important ingredients you can apply each day to improve your skin tone, texture, luminosity and health. The benefits of consistently using a topical vitamin C product include:
-Enhanced UV protection when combined with a sunscreen.
-Reduction in fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
-Increased skin tone.
-Improved moisture retention.
The mechanism behind the ability of topical vitamin C to improve skin is through the antioxidant nature of this vitamin. Our skin is damaged when free radicals are formed as a result of sun exposure and other environmental stressors at a rate that exceeds our body’s ability to repair the damage. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and potent neutralizer of free radicals, helping to prevent damage within the skin and maintain normal collagen production and skin elasticity. Recent research has shown that a daily application of topical vitamin C along with sunscreen use helps to boost sun protection and reduce skin damage.
There are many skincare products available that include vitamin C in their ingredients, but the rate of absorption can vary greatly depending on the type of Vitamin C used, the percentage of the vitamin used, and the age of the product. Look for products that contain L-ascorbic acid listed in the first several ingredients, and make sure it’s packaged in an opaque bottle or tube that limits air exposure. When exposed to air and light this vitamin will quickly lose potency, so packaging is important.
If your skin tends to be dry and sensitive, start with a lower level of vitamin C serum, such as the Obagi Professional-C Serum 10%, or, if you have hyperpigmentation issues, the Obagi-C Rx C-Clarifying serum, normal to dry. If you have oiler or acne prone skin, the Obagi Professional-C Serum 15% or 20% is a good choice. Before heading outside each day, you can get your sun protection along with a dose of vitamin C by applying Obagi Professional-C Suncare Broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. For those of us with more sensitive skin, the Gentle Rejuvenation Fortified Sunscreen (SPF 30) with vitamin C is an excellent choice.
Obagi offers a large array of vitamin C based products and kits, so check them out and see which of them best meets your skincare needs.
In our Anu-skin inaugural blog, we’re going to explore how you can take off the dull, dry skin of winter and get your glow back. For many women, the cold days of winter have left them with dull, flaky skin, so the first step towards getting a glow back is exfoliation. When you exfoliate, you’re removing the top dead layer of skin and debris, allowing new skin to be exposed. The effect has two benefits: your skin will appear more radiant, and any products you apply will be absorbed more efficiently.
The best way to exfoliate your face is by using a fine-grained scrub with a cleanser containing some type of light acid. For oilier, acne prone skin, an oil soluble salicylic acid cleanser such as Obagi Clenziderm M.D. Daily Care Foaming Cleanser works well for penetrating deeper into pores. Those with drier or more sensitive skin may prefer using a milder cleanser, such as Obagi 360 Exfoliating Cleanser that’s formulated with papain, the stabilized form of papaya fruit acid.
The key to avoiding skin irritation when exfoliating is to use a light touch and gentle, circular motion as you cleanse. Contrary to what you may think, scrubbing harder doesn’t do a better job-you want to let the cleanser and your wash cloth or Clarisonic brush do the work. Most women find that exfoliating their facial skin two to three times a week is sufficient, although you may need to adjust your routine depending on your skin type and sensitivity.
The last exfoliating step is rinsing, so take the time to thoroughly rinse with at least 10 splashes of warm water to remove all traces of cleanser and debris. Pat your face dry (don’t rub) and then take the next step towards beautiful skin by applying the appropriate topical serums or creams for your skin type.
Quality, Consistency and Care:Anu-Skin’s Commitment to Our Customers
Over the past decade the convenience and competitive pricing offered through Internet skin care websites have resulted in a tremendous growth in these sites, but also resulted in a surge of unregulated and inauthentic products flooding the market. The consumer has become savvier about shopping the Internet for value when purchasing products, but where health and safety is of concern, cost should only be one of the points of consideration. It can be difficult to know whether the products you order on a website are safe and effective, so the first step in ensuring that you’re buying an authentic product is ensuring that you’re buying from an authorized distributer.
When you purchase from Anu-Skin you can be assured that as a longstanding “Authorized Obagi Reseller” our products are authentic, fresh and come with our guarantee of your satisfaction. Furthermore, we are an authorized seller of all our products which you can verify HERE.
Our staff is dedicated to providing the highest level of customer care and service. Our customers can contact us via email and phone to answer product questions, and our physician, Michael Weiner, M.D. is available to assist with customer skincare questions and offer advice about which of our products are best for specific skin types or conditions.
Our goal of excellent customer satisfaction is what drives our company and we stand behind our Obagi products as well as the other carefully chosen skincare brands we carry. You can be assured that when you purchase from Anu-skin you not only become a customer, but also are joining our family of members who benefit from our rewards program, special discount pricing and gifts with levels of purchases. We value your business and strive to keep you coming back to us as well as recommend us to your friends and family.
We are excited to be starting our Anu-Skin blog soon in order to provide state of the art skin care information to our members. We hope that the blog will help you with your skin care questions and we’d love to hear your suggestions for future blog topics.
Thank you for visiting our blog! Please stay tuned over the coming weeks for exciting new articles about our skincare products!