Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skincare: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

As Featured On EzineArticles

I have been an advocate of taking care of your skin for over 20 years. I have espoused the benefits of cleansing and moisturizing twice a day, the importance of eye cream, and the use of SPF daily. My vigilance has paid off and I am always pleased when people comment that I look younger than my chronological age. It is said that the condition of your skin is 20% hereditary and 80% environmental. The good news is that you can affect the 80% that isn't genetic.

Because we are a society that is obsessed with looking young, the sooner you learn how easy it is to take care of your skin, the better off you’ll be in the future, when neglect and sun damage start to show their visible signs on your complexion.

So, I will share some basic knowledge regarding what to do to take care of your skin and when to do it. These helpful hints will go a long way in improving your skin’s appearance and in restoring a healthy glow no matter what your age. It isn’t rocket science and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

There are five basic steps that are essential in any skincare routine and if you practice them consistently, you will reap the rewards they provide for years to come, so here goes:

STEP 1: Cleanse
Cleansing your skin (especially before bed in the evening) is important because it not only removes makeup and oil, but also the dirt and grime that accumulates on your face as you go about your day: pollution, smog, car exhaust, dust, pollen, mold, etc., etc. are all causes of skin eruptions and irritations.

Find a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type and use a small amount, about the size of a dime should suffice. While some skincare experts say not to use water, preferring to massage and tissue off, using water is my choice because water provides natural hydration and just feels good on the face. Use lukewarm water to rinse (never cold or hot, as they tend to cause broken capillaries).

There are many brands out there and some are better than others, so find one that you like and stick with it. Products that are created by dermatologists tend to have medicinal ingredients, called OTCs and provide better, more noticeable results. Rodan + Fields offers four cleansers, appropriate for your skin type and some contain exfoliats, which do double-duty.

STEP 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliating is one of the most important steps in the process, but it is the step that most people skip. However, if you start to exfoliate your skin regularly, you will notice an immediate improvement in the way your skin looks and feels. I recommend exfoliating two or three times a week, but some people do it as much as every other day and as little as once per week; your skin will tell you how much is enough.

There are several ways to exfoliate and all of them will do the trick. Microdermabrasion, chemical peel, retinoids and mechanical are some of the ways that you can use to exfoliate your skin.

Exfoliation helps to slough off dry, dead skin cells and exposes the younger, smoother skin below. Also, as we age, cell turnover slows down, and the more sluggish your cells turnover rate is, the duller your complexion becomes. So, exfoliation encourages cell turnover and as you rid your skin of the tough, outer layer of old, dead cells that make your skin dull and lackluster, you begin to see younger, smoother, less lined skin.

Regular exfoliation will take 5 years off your face and there’s no need to spend an hour and $150 for a chemical peel at a doctor’s office. You can get the same results for much less time and money if you do it on a weekly basis, as a maintenance program, versus an overhaul with your doctor once a month. Rodan + Fields offers several options and all are gentle and effective.

Retinoids are another way to exfoliate and they do double-duty. Not only do they help to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, they also increase collagen production. Collagen is the structural fiber of the skin and as we age, its production slows, thus increasing lines and wrinkles. Products with retinoids are skin-savers and will enhance any skincare regimen and will help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

STEP 3: Tone
Some people do not see the need for this step and it is a personal preference, but a toner will remove any traces of cleanser that is left over after cleansing and simply prepares the skin for the next step: the moisturizer. It is especially beneficial after the exfoliation step to help remove remnants of product. Toners are usually formulated for different skin types, so choose the one that is appropriate for your needs.

There is also a school of thought that says that you will need less moisturizer if you tone first because the toner serves as a hydrator for the skin before the moisturizer is applied. I personally love to tone after cleansing and so I recommend its use. I like using toner twice a day, but it is the one step that is “optional”.

Our REVERSE regimen has a toner that contains 2% Hydroquinone, which helps to lighten age spots and over time will make your skin more luminuous and less cloudy.

STEP 4: Moisturize
Moisturizing is perhaps one, if not the most important steps to any skincare regimen. Moisturizers come in many formulas, from lightweight, oil-free versions for oily skin, to rich and creamy versions for dry skin. Some contain SPFs (sun protection factors) and others don’t. The choices are endless and any skincare expert can lead help you find the one that is right for you.

Sun damage is the number one cause of aging on the skin and blocking the sun’s harmful rays on a daily basis will keep your skin looking its very best and will delay the signs of aging, be it in the form of lines and wrinkles or in the form of age spots. Most skincare experts believe that sunscreen should be used daily and an SPF 15 is usually enough, but some people who are especially sensitive to the sun or for those that live in the sunny areas of the country, a higher SPF may be preferred. Good skincare companies provide a choice of SPFs, depending on your need and preference. Rodan + Fields Dermatologists go even further in that their REVERSE regimen not only blocks future sun damage, but actually reverses it by lightening brown spots that can cloud and dull your complexion. Using these product over time can help erase years of damage from your skin.

I recommend moisturizing twice a day: a moisturizer with an SPF in the morning and one without in the evening. Most skincare companies have night creams, which are formulated with nourishing ingredients that work best when you are at rest. Because the skin’s temperature increases slightly during sleep, it is most receptive to moisturization and penetration of beneficial ingredients. Look for night creams with peptides that help stimulate collagen to improve the skin’s elasticity and reduce wrinkles.

But moisturizing is not just for the cheeks and T-Zones. Most skincare experts agree that the throat and d├ęcolletage are extensions of your facial skin and should be treated as well. After massaging the face with the appropriate amount of moisturizer, continue down the throat and d├ęcolletage with gentle strokes. This practice will treat these areas with the same TLC and important ingredients that are in your moisturizers and will keep it looking fresh and youthful as well.

STEP 5: Apply Eye Cream
Treating the eye area is a very important part of any skincare regimen because the skin around the eyes contains no fatty tissue and is susceptible to dryness and premature aging. The eye area is thin and should be treated especially gently: Avoid pulling or tugging on the fragile skin around the eyes. In general, eye creams are formulated with ingredients that help to fortify the skin around the eyes and to keep it sturdy. They tend to “thicken” the eye skin somewhat and so fine lines and wrinkles are diminished. Avoid placing eye cream directly on the lid or below the lower lashes, on that pad below the eye. This skin is especially thin and will absorb product quickly, causing unwanted puffiness. It is recommended to use eye cream using the tips of your ring fingers with light pressure around the occipital bones, on the rim of the eye socket. Placing product in this area will allow enough cream to creep to the delicate eye area, treating it adequately without creating puffiness.

These five simple steps are all you need to help ensure that your skin look its most youthful best for as long as you live in it! Contact me for a complimentary skincare consultation or if you have questions on our products.

Quote of the Day

"Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day." Jim Rohn