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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)

Meet uneven skin tone: Our skin cells contain melanocyte cells, a cell that produces melanin, a chemical that gives skin its color. Too much melanin leads to hyper pigmented skin – including freckles, darkening of the skin in patches, and age spots. Hyper pigmentation can occur from over sun exposure, trauma to the skin (i.e. laser treatments, peels, etc.) or as a side effect of certain drugs. While hyperpigmentation is not a serious medical condition, it is one of the most common skin conditions and arguably the most difficult to treat and correct. We had a chance to sit down with Dr. G to better understand the root cause of hyperpigmentation and what we can do to prevent and treat this skin condition.

What is hyper pigmentation?

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.

What causes hyper pigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation 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 and cause the dark spots/areas. Hormones, birth control pills can also cause this and sunlight can increase the severity.

The different types of hyperpigmentation:

  • Age spots or sun spots (sun damage)
  • Melasma : caused by pregnancy, hormones and some birth control pills. Usually appears on the upper cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and nose. In severe cases during pregnancy melasma can appear as a mask, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”.
  • Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentationis usually temporary and can be caused by inflammatory acne, a severe burn or injury to the skin. While anyone can suffer from this, it is more common in dark skin types
  • Scarring : The difference between acne scars and hyperpigmentationcan be very difficult to differentiate. Acne scars can appear dark and be Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which should go away (as it is temporary). However, if exposed to the sun then this may become long-term hyperpigmentation. General rule of thumb, if the acne mark or lesion is still visible after 6-12 months then it is considered a scar

Is there a difference between hyperpigmentation, sunspots and freckles?

All fall under the umbrella of Hyperpigmentation. Sun exposure has a lot to do with the darkness and severity. If you have freckles and have sun exposure the melanin will be activated and the freckle will be darker.

Who is prone to hyperpigmentation, such as different races or skin tones?

Darker skin types are more prone. All skin generally has the same amount of melanosomes, the difference in lighter skin and darker skin is the size. Darker skin has larger melanosomes (what contains/distributes the melanin) hence more susceptible to hyperpigmentation.

How to prevent hyperpigmentation?

Wear an SPF at all times when exposed to the sun. Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them. Wearing sun protective clothing, long sleeves and a hat is also preventative.

How to treat and reduce the signs of hyperpigmentation?

Exfoliation can help the appearance as it removes dead, dry, dark skin cells fort he surface of the skin. Using proper actives to protect against sun damage and treat sun damage and dark spots. In office micro-dermabrasion treatments and laser treatments are beneficial as well.

What are the most effective ingredients people with hyperpigmentation should look for in daily skincare products?

Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid/Lactic, Alpha Arbutin, and Kojic Acid.

Is there a difference between sun spots and hyper pigmentation?

Sun spots/sun damage is hyperpigmentation. 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. The different types of hyperpigmentation are sun spots (sun damage), melasma (hormonally triggered), scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Do the best treatments for pigmentation on your face differ to those for your body?

Facial skin is more delicate than the body and therefore. Treatment for the body and face could be the same in some instances. Although the facial skin is more delicate, there are wonderful topical treatments as well as in-office procedures (microdermabrasion, peels and lasers). Rules to follow on the face and body areWear an SPF at all times, exfoliation (can help the appearance as it removes dead, dry, dark skin cells fort he surface of the skin), use of proper actives (Vitamin C) to protect against sun damage/dark spots.

Is there a part of the body/face that’s more prone to pigmentation?

The face is extremely prone to hyperpigmentation and particularly melasma. Melasma is caused by hormones, birth control pills, pregnancy, peri-menopause and menopause. Exposure to sunlight makes melisma darker and more difficult to get rid of.  Facial skin is delicate and needs to be protected properly. The neck and chest areas are also prone to hyperpigmentation as they’re not always properly protected and also very delicate. Always wear SPF and tops that cover the chest area when in sunlight.

Environmental factors have rapidly become a major threat to the health and appearance of your skin. Every day our skin is bombarded by blue light, dust, soot, pollen, pollution, UVA/UVB rays, and smoke in the air from various sources, despite our best efforts to avoid them. These particles—collectively referred to as particulate matter—are small enough to penetrate the skin, where they start to generate a storm of free radicals. The ensuing oxidative stress creates an unfavorable environment of inflammation, lipid peroxidation, uneven skin tone, dehydration, dryness, dark spots, accelerated aging, and wrinkles.

We had a chance to sit down with Dr. G to understand more about how all of these external factors and what we can do to protect against the harmful damage.

How does pollution lead to free radicals in the skin?

Pollution releases microscopic particles or free radicals that can go deep into the skin and cause damage to otherwise healthy cells. The outcome is loss of elasticity (wrinkles and sagging) and Hyperpigmentation (dark spots).

Can you explain blue light for me – e.g. we get this sort of light from the sun early in the AM, but it’s now threaded through our days thanks to computers/ phones etc?

HEV is primarily emitted from the Sun but also from computers + smart phones + fluorescent lights. All our screens emit High-energy visible (HEV) light and Infrared (IR) light. In some studies HEV and IR light have been shown to penetrate the skin more deeply than the traditionally marketed UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

Can blue light can be damaging for our skin? If so, what are the potential affects (e.g. ageing/ loss of elasticity…).

Blue Light coming from screen time has been proven to breakdown our skin cells which simply just leads to accelerated aging. The affects are similar to those caused by the sun. HEV (high-energy visible light (HEV light) is high-frequency, high-energy light in the violet/blue band from 400 to 450 nm in the visible spectrum. Despite a lack of concurring scientific evidence, HEV light has sometimes been claimed to be a cause of age-related macular degeneration) is emitted from the sun too, just like it is within Blue Lights. Some studies have shown the breakdown of collagen and other similar aging issues such as hyperpigmentation/color changes, inflammation and dehydration.

Does the amount of time that we spend close to blue light (e.g. someone that reads email on the bus/ spends 9 hours at a computer/ looks at a phone on the sofa whilst watching TV, versus someone who works as a teacher and spends less time in front of a screen) come into it? 

Absolutely. Try taking a screen break and always wear protective skincare.

Is there anything a person can do to mitigate the effects? E.g. phone covers for blue light?

Blue blocker glasses and phone and screen covers may help.

Is there anything a person can do, product-wise, to mitigate the effects? 

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.

Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke, pollution, smoke and radiation. … Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and carotenoids, may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Anti-oxidants can be found in topical skincare products, vitamins and healthy super foods. Below are my list of anti-oxidants everyone should be ingesting and applying and also ingesting to maximize on the skin’s best natural defense system.

The best way to protect against and repair environmentally or digitally damaged skin is to use an anti-pollution based skin care regimen. Exfoliation + cleanse to remove the dead and polluted skin cells. Then treat the skin by using anti-pollution, anti-aging or brightening serum, then seal the skin with a moisturizer and last but not least protect (SPF 30 or higher). The most potent and highest regarded pollution fighting ingredients are Red Tea/Roobois, Ferulic Acid, Vitamin C, Retinol, Resveratrol, White Horehound and the powerful Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, found in our new anti-pollution Mist RX – that can be applied throughout the day to keep your skin properly protected.

 

How about lifestyle-wise? E.g. screen time breaks, no double screening at home… 

Investing in blue blocker eyeglasses may help the strain and effects to the delicate skin around the eye area.  Try to limit screen time and always remember to wear protective and restorative skincare and sunscreen.

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. Remember all the pollution from car exhaust, factories and the weak ozone layer sits on the skin!

Eating healthy can also reduce pollution effects on the skin and the body. 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, processed fatty meats and alcohol.

A healthy skincare regimen will work to fight against outside pollutants.