August 29, 2014

Approaching Anti-Aging Without The Quackery!


Many of you know that my specialty is Adult Acne but, most notably, I focus much of my practice on providing anti-aging products suitable for acne-prone skin. Although my expertise is chiefly in acne formation and treatment, I do know something about the aging process as well. 

A while back, on the rare occasion that I was idly watching The Dr. Oz Show, an audience member asked Dr. Oz about sagging skin and what can be done about it.


Holding up the skin are bands of proteins called Elastin that also give it bounce. Dr. Oz stated that the Elastin underneath the skin's surface breaks down and that with the usage of your face muscles, this elastin breakdown causes deep wrinkles that are essentially creases in the skin.  While this is partly (and simplistically) true of expression lines, he didn't make this distinction when he regaled the audience with his solution.

Dr. Oz suggested tweaking the diet to include certain foods with Vitamin E (no harm, but no real effect on lines and wrinkles) and the skin-repairing compound Lycopene, which is found in tomatoes (meh, but so far no real harm done). 

And then.  In addition to the dietary changes, Dr. Oz suggested, get this, facial exercises!


Source: Flickr

Like, blowing out, sucking in, and making all sorts of facial expressions.  And noises.

Apparently, as if by magic, the facial exercises would combat the effects of deteriorating Elastin proteins by building up the muscles of the face, to do what, plump them all out? 

Sorry, Dr. Oz, but combatting aging or sagging skin doesn’t quite work that way...

Elastin and Collagen are the two main proteins within the deeper layers of the skin that essentially hold it up. These proteins break down a little bit over time due to natural aging, but they don't break down by much (i.e. you'd look a little older but there would be very little difference between your face and your butt, to give a point of reference). 

What destroys both of these proteins is damage caused by stress and poor lifestyle choices, but mostly they are deteriorated by sun damage.  I'm sure you've heard this statistic before, 85-90% of all skin aging is sun damage, or what we call "photo aging".

Facial muscle use has nothing to do with sagging skin, and exercise will not help. Expression lines, which are hereditary and worsened by, you guessed it, sun damage, do have a connection to muscle use but that doesn't mean muscle exercises will reverse this.  Dietary changes or additions will help somewhat, but if your anti-aging defenses are only coming from food intake, it won’t be enough to combat, prevent, or repair skin damage to any real measurable degree.  Even the famous Pericone anti-aging diet advocates sunscreen use.

Having said that, it is true that your skin needs the proper nutrition to counteract the effects natural deterioration or environmental damage, based on the inflammation theory of aging - a diet full of anti-inflammatory foods can help combat the aging effects of inflammation from inside. In terms of skin care, this nutrition for your skin can come in the form of high-potency antioxidants that are applied topically in the form of a serum twice daily. 

I cannot stress enough that antioxidant serums must be formulated properly and with plenty of care from the manufacturer to stabilize the vitamins so that they won't break down once the serum comes out of the bottle and hits the air.

Such a serum also needs to be accompanied by daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen.  This is actually where ingested nutrition plays a role -- effectively formulated sunscreen allows the skin to be shielded from exposure, and to rest so it can begin to repair itself. Eating antioxidant-rich superfoods allows the body to help facilitate this self-repair.

In addition, the new Peptide technology enhances antioxidant support like nothing else. Products formulated with peptides repair damage and strengthen the skin's surface -- allowing the skin to literally rebuild itself!  What's more, these amazing products can also help repair pigmentation issues and rebuild skin damaged by acne breakouts.

Finally, regular exfoliation allows the skin to exchange damaged skin cells for fresh, new cells and then the skin can build back its lost Elastin and Collagen proteins that hold the skin up and keep its shape.

Oh, and did I mention sunscreen??  ;)

Your morning SPF moisturizer MUST be at least SPF15. It should be hydrating, non-clogging, comfortable, and, most importantly: something you can easily re-apply throughout the day.

For the best products to combat premature aging caused by sun damage and stress that won't break out adult acne-prone skin, I have options for many skin types in my webstore.

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