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Why does our skin lose elasticity as we age and what does this lead to visibly? 

Overall, the amount of new collagen that your skin produces declines with age, while the rate of its destruction increases. Environmental aggressors are one of the main causes of aging skin damage and cancer. Daily aggressors like the sun, the air, pollution, exhaust, smoking, second hand smoke, radiation, the ozone, unclean skincare products (ingredients ie: phalates, mineral oil), ingested food and water all contribute to the demise of our healthy skin cells. Environmental aggressors deliver free radicals to the skin, which in turn cause the breakdown of collagen, onset of wrinkles, cell mutation, aging, dark spots, dehydration, inflammation, immune function damage and in some instances cancer.

By 25 years of age human production of collagen starts to naturally decrease, this increase even more for women post menopause. Collagen is one of three structural proteins that our bodies produce. Elastin and Glycosaminoglycans are the other two, which we will get to. Collagen is responsible for providing tissue and organs strength. As we age collagen is produced less and tissue begins to disconnect thus creating wrinkles, dryness and sagging skin. Elastin also plays a big role in aging, although not as plentiful in the skin as collagen, it is still important. Elastin is responsible for stretching abilities and ‘snapping back’, think of the word ‘elastic’. Once elastin starts to diminish, skin will look saggy, sunken and limp. Glycosaminoglycans are responsible for keeping collagen and elastin supported in the cellular space. Starting early is beneficial but the good news is it is never too late to start an anti-aging regimen!

What are the most effective topical ingredients to seek in elasticity-promoting skincare ingredients?

  • Vitamin B3 is one of the most effective ingredients in reducing collagen breakdown while simultaneously increasing fibroblast production. Vitamin B appears in just two main forms: nicotinic acid (also known as niacin) and nicotinamide (also called niacinamide).
  • The ability of vitamin C to revitalize aging skin is largely due to its beneficial effects on collagen. Collagen is a tough, fibrous protein that is relatively inelastic and very strong. It supplies the basic framework that gives your skin its form, firmness, and strength, while elastin provides flexibility. Fortunately, topical vitamin C has been scientifically proven to help stimulate collagen synthesis. It also helps block the production of enzymes the break down collagen, making it one of nature’s most effective anti-aging nutrients.
  • Plant-based stem cells contain high levels of active proteins, which work topically to regulate the stem-cell division in our skin cells. They essentially act as a massive protective barrier for the skin to allow our cells to regenerate at a healthy speed without being compromised by external factors including pollution and UVA/UVB rays. They aid in the reduction of the appearance of wrinkle depth, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, an even complexion, plumper appearing skin and the longevity of healthy human skin cells. Some of my favorites to formulate with (found in our proprietary PURFLORA complex) are Raspberry Leaf Extract, Comfrey Stem Cells, White Tea Leaf Extract, Garden Crest Sprouts and Birds of Paradise extract.
  • Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. Retinol can improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles and increases collagen production. Retinol delivers an overall tighter, firmer, plumper appearance to the skin.

What are some of the best types of food to eat for healthy skin, and what are the benefits of each?

Eating fried foods, processed foods and sugar can wreak havoc on your skin causing puffiness, redness, blemishes, blotchiness, and in all cases Glycation. The Glycation process is sugar (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin and speeding up the aging process – think premature wrinkles and loss of elasticity. Eating ‘superfoods’ will benefit the internal health as well as the external glow. 

Salmon: rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is none of the most beneficial due to its ability to greatly reduce inflammation and dryness and increase circulation – a key attribute to healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Fermented foods: Think kimchee, sauerkraut or pickled vegetables. These foods contain probiotics which help keep the gut healthy.  A healthy gut helps the digestive system and immune system. Probiotics have been shown to help with skin issues such as eczema, rosacea, acne and aging skin.

Foods rich in antioxidants:  Leafy green blueberries, blackberries, avocado, broccoli, nuts. These all contain high levels of antioxidants which are crucial for overall help and fighting off free radical damage.

Are there any other holistic treatments or lifestyle practices that can also promote elasticity outside of our skincare regimen? 

The Sun is the number one environmental damage for skin.  Both UVA/UVB rays are harmful. Protect yourself by wearing a hat and sunglasses. Shielding your skin, head and eyes can help with sun damage and pollution-based aging. Always wash you face to remove the residue and makeup from the day.

Eat a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods such as leafy greens and berries and foods high in essential fatty acids (salmon and almonds). Stay away form foods that can encourage and cause Glycation. The Glycation process, which is basically, sugars (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin and therefore speeding up the aging process. Foods that feed Glycation and cause inflammation in the body and the skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, fatty meats and alcohol.

Exfoliation is a must! As you grow older, the rate of skin cell turnover slows down dramatically. Dead cells on your skin’s surface hang around much longer, a fact that tends to accentuate those fine lines and make your complexion look dull and lifeless. By removing these dead skin cells, exfoliation helps make up for the gradual slowing down of your natural skin renewal process, improving the tone and texture of your skin.

Are there any supplements that you would suggest incorporating into a regime to help boost the body’s overall ability to support overall skin health? 

am a big proponent of vitamins and recommend them to my patients, friends and family. Vitamin D, my personal favorite, more closely resembles a hormone than a vitamin. The active form of vitamin D, called calcitriol, is the most powerful hormone produced by the human body. It has the ability to activate over 2000 genes, many of which are involved in critical aspects of skin cell metabolism, growth, repair, and protection.  Vitamin D in addition to being a key factor in skin cell growth and replacement, vitamin D also plays a major role in skin repair and protection (and can be found in our Vital Boost product). When microorganisms attack the skin, they secrete certain extracts that stimulate your skin to produce vitamin D. This vitamin D signals your skin’s innate immune system to start manufacturing a substance called cathelicidin, a very powerful germicide. Cathelicidin disrupts the integrity of bacterial cell membranes, resulting in the death of the microbes. Cathelicidin also helps promote the development of blood vessels and encourages new cell growth, both of which are essential for proper wound healing.

Probiotics: Ingesting daily probiotics is one of the healthiest supplements. Probiotics keep the gut bacteria and yeast in balance while targeting inflammation, strengthening immune functions, allergies and urinary tract health. Probiotics are beneficial for certain skin issues as they can help decrease redness and the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Probiotics also aid in increasing elasticity of the skin and smoothness.

Glucosamine: Delivers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in promoting joint health, crucial as we age.

Curcumin: A powerful compound found in the Turmeric plant, Curcumin may help to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Curcumin delivers super high levels of  potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection.

LED lights, micro-current, regular exercise, and lymphatic drainage can all help to ward off and decrease the appearance of aging and sagging skin.

 

 

 

Uncovering the powers of Vitamin B, also known as the Vitamin responsible for optimal overall skin health. B vitamins in particular support skin health in a multitude of ways, making their inclusion in your daily regimen. We sat down with Dr. G to understand the important role it plays with our skin.

As an ingredient in skin care formulas, vitamin B3 appears in just two main forms: nicotinic acid (also known as niacin) and nicotinamide (also called niacinamide). Both of these function very much alike as vitamins and, in fact, nicotinic acid must first be converted into nicotinamide by your body before it can be used. Nicotinamide is an essential element in the creation of two important enzymes (NADHand NADPH) that play a central role in both cellular energy production and the formation of skin lipids. Unfortunately, your levels of NADH and NADPH decline drastically as you grow older. The good news is that topical application of niacinamide helps preserve these valuable enzymes that defend your skin against many of the common factors that accelerate aging.”

Another important factor in the aging process is the gradual loss of collagen and elastin fibers that are manufactured by specialized skin cells called fibroblasts. A dynamically effective strategy for preventing skin aging is to reduce collagen breakdown while simultaneously increasing fibroblast production. Studies with human fibroblasts showed that niacinamide stimulates new fibroblast growth by 20% and collagen secretion by 54%.

Finally, one of the most interesting aspects of niacinamide s age-defying potential is its ability to fade age spots. This condition (technically known as hyperpigmentation) is defined as any spot on your skin that’s dark enough to effectively stand out against the surrounding area. This phenomenon is usually the result of your skin’s efforts to protect itself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. It occurs when overexposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin to produce cells that contain a skin-darkening pigment called melanin. These specialized cells known as melanosomes are picked up by your keratinocytes that are constantly migrating upwards toward your skin surface. Nicotinamide doesn’t inhibit the production of melanin, but it does interfere with the transfer of melanosomes to your keratinocytes by up to 68%. This makes nicotinamide a very effective and much safer alternative than hydroquinone, a chemical skin lightener that studies have shown may cause cancer.

Given its excellent safety profile, outstanding stability, and well documented therapeutic effects (which also include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits), niacinamide is highly recommended as a powerful anti-aging ingredient and as an effective remedy for acne-prone skin as well. Nicotinamide is gentler than retinoids and glycolic acids, making it an excellent alternative for those who aren’t able to tolerate more aggressive treatments.

Vitamin B:

  • Increases production of ceramides and fatty acids, two key components of the skin’s outer protective barrier
  • Powerful form of Vitamin B, this powerhouse ingredient contributes to the support of the skin against pollutants and other irritants, may help in reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and encourages the production of natural emollients that can help the skin remain hydrated.

Found in: Wake Up Call, Hands to Heart and Brightening Elixir (vit B3)/ 3%

 

With your optimal daily regimen identified, it’s time to take your skincare to the next level. Any tried and true skincare regimen demands a shake-up now and then to help us keep your skin GLOWING. We enlisted Dr. G to help us with upping the ante on our regimen.

How can I make my cleanser work harder for even better results at home?

Cleansing the face should happen at least once a day if not twice. Upon waking, washing the face will remove the residue from the applied night regimen. If you choose to cleanse in the AM, make sure to use a cleanser that won’t strip or dry the skin (i.e. Alcohol Free). Cleansing the skin at night is a must! No exceptions. The skin is exposed to a variety of environmental stressors and pollutants. Soot, car exhaust, sun, second hand smoke and many others can wreak havoc on the skin leaving a layer of dirt and free radicals. Makeup also needs to be removed no matter what. Sleeping in makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Clogged pores will lead to break outs and or rashes. By cleansing at night the skin is ready to receive and absorb any applied serums and creams.

***The skin has a very thin protective layer on the surface called theacid mantel. This layer is comprised of sebum from sebaceous glands, lactic acid and amino acids (from our body’s sweat). The ideal ‘balanced’ level is around 5.5, slightly acidic.

A great idea to make your cleanser work even harder is to mix it with your physical scrub. By mixing these products together you maximize on the effectiveness of both and also save a step in your regimen.  Using a facial tool or brush with your cleanser can also help deliver better results.

Is there one texture of cleanser that’s best to use for a deeper cleansing treatment?

Texture is highly dependent on skin type and personal preference. When choosing a cleanser it is important to pay attention to ingredients. While some people prefer a cleansing balm, pay attention to ingredients, as these balms can be heavy and are not for every skin type. If you’re not sure where to start, try a gentle cleanser appropriate for all skin types. Our most popular cleanser is a gentle gel based cleanser, ‘Pure Start’. If you are typically dry or sensitive you have to be careful what types of ingredients you choose, stay clear of astringents, acids, sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol. Over cleansing is never recommended as it strips the skin of natural oils which can cause an over production of oil/sebum and thus a breakout.

Should exfoliation always come after cleansing?

We believe exfoliation should always be the first step of a regimen. On non-exfoliation days (we recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week depending on skin type) you can simply cleanse or use a targeted acid based cleanser (AHA Clarifying Wash). We recommend exfoliating first so that the exfoliation vehicles (crystals or acids) are able to remove and lift the dull, dead lackluster skin then the cleanser can wash it all away.

What’s the best most effective way to exfoliate?

Everyone should exfoliate their skin two to three times a week, unless they suffer from rosacea or eczema. Depending on the season and climate, exfoliation can be increased or decreased. Both manual and chemical exfoliation is recommended and dependent on results desired. If you are using a scrub (manual), you can cleanse after, which will ensure all the crystals are removed. Our Doctors Scrub’ is an exfoliator that cleanses and aids in cell renewal by polishing away dead surface cells, leaving skin brighter, clearer and younger-looking. Formulated with line-filling Hyaluronic Acid, whichdelivers long-lasting hydration, Seaweedto nourish and Organic Red Tea Extract to provide antioxidant protection.

 

How can I use a mask to best effect? Should I layer them or is targeted masking a good idea? How often should I use a mask?

This is dependent on skin type and desired results. Look for multipurpose masks, which treat and soothe or hydrate. A purifying mask (Facial Detox Mask) works to draw out dirt and pore clogging debris to reveal skin that looks clear and appears flawless. These types of masks can be used all over the face a few times a week (for oily, acne prone skin), a few times a month for dry and sensitive skin or as a spot treatment whenever you feel a breakout coming.  In clarifying masks look for ingredients, which soothe and calm such as Zinc Oxide, exfoliate and unclogs pores, such as Sulfur and a natural astringent to draw out oils such as Camphor.

We created an all in one mask, The Skin Balancing Mask to take the guesswork out of masking. This mask is a triple-tasker, which mimics the most popular facial treatment in our dermatology practice. A botanical-rich treatment mask, Skin Balancing Mask features a multi-peptide and enzyme blend that refines pores and helps to improve skin elasticity and increase collagen production. Ginseng, Honey, Flower Extracts, Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E infuse moisture, vitality and nourishment back into the skin. This mask exfoliates, treats and hydrates all in one.

Is there a way of applying my serum and moisturiser to boost their efficiency? Any techniques or additional tools?

Serums should always be applied first and left to dry. If you are using two types of serums apply the targeted serum first and then the overall antioxidant or Vitamin C serum over it. Moisturizers are then applied over the serum. Applying serums, moisturizers and oils while the skin is a little damp can be beneficial for holding moisturizer on the skin. Massaging skincare products is also beneficial and will help with circulation and blood flow.

 

Any tips to boost product performance in any of the steps – for example, damp skin vs dry skin, massage technique, mixing more than one product together, leaving on for longer than usual etc.?

  • Mixing cleaners and exfoliators
  • Applying serums, moisturizers and oils to damp skin
  • Facial massage
  • Warm showers in the winter NOT hot (as they will dry and strip the skin)