So, we all want to look as good as we can and looking after our skin is one aspect of that. I know you want to do the best you can for your skin. We all do. But it's confusing. Every moment there is a new 'it' chemical that you must have for this symptom or that.
We hope to demystify some of that stuff for you in this blog and we will keep adding more useful information in future blogs, so you can make an informed choice when it comes to skin care.
We will help you choose skin care products that work naturally with your skin to give you fresh, glowing skin that will make you look and feel younger than your years. Who doesn't want to be mistaken for a few years younger?
- I want my products to re-hydrate my skin which, with age, has lost some of its natural moisturising function and is starting to look more like a prune than a plum ;-). To view our demonstration of what I mean, click here.
- I want products with as many natural ingredients as possible because I believe that nature is a system that is designed to meet all our needs
- I want to work with the skin's natural function because I know the body is pretty amazing
- I want to see the difference - so if the product says it reduces fine lines, I want to be able to see that in the mirror
So, obviously I have looked at the ingredients in my skincare to ensure they are:
- pH balanced - so they don't disturb the skin's 'acid mantle'
- have humectants that replenish the skin's Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF)
- have anti-oxidants and other reparative agents
UNDERSTANDING THE JARGON
I have tried to keep it relatively simple and explain first how the skin works and then look at skincare and the ingredients that you will hear of in commercials etc. If you are not into reading the small print, just read the text in bold. :-)
First, let's review a few facts about the skin.
- it is the largest organ in the body with an outer layer (epidermis) covering the dermis which is located above subcutaneous tissues made up of fat and connective tissue
- the function of the skin is threefold:
- regulation - of temperature and fluid balance
- protection - from radiation, microorganisms, chemicals, variations in temperature
- sensation - which makes us feel alive
- protection is largely achieved through the 'acid mantle' which refers to the finely acidic layer on the surface of the skin which maintains the skin's pH at between 4.5 and 6.2 (neutral pH is 7)
- the skin contains moisture and fluid is lost by transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Aging is associated with dehydration of the skin and this dehydration can be accelerated by other factors such as air conditioning, sun damage, cold weather, smoking etc
- the skin has natural substances that maintain hydration called the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) and this works by absorbing water - see the section below
- the skin can be repaired by products, such as anti-oxidants, applied topically (directly to the skin)
Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF)
The role of NMF is to maintain adequate skin hydration which is necessary for optimal functioning of the skin. NMF components are powerful humectants - they absorb water from the environment and draw it into the skin cells. This occurs at even relatively low humidities, eg. 50%, so the skin maintains adequate hydration even in low-humidity environments.
Reduced levels of NMF are found in some skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Other factors that are associated with reduced NMF include environmental factors (central heating air conditioning, sun damage, smoking etc) and aging.
The components of NMF include the following:
- free amino acids
- sodium pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (Na PCA)
- lactic acid - this is an alpha hydroxy acid or AHA
- chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, citrate
So clearly what we put on our skin has an important role to play not only in helping us look youthful but we need to make sure we don't adversely affect the primary functions of the skin.
So let's demystify some of the jargon you may hear.
Skin Care Products usually have a mixture of the following 3 types of agents:
- Emollients - these soften and condition the skin without actually adding moisture to it. They do this by filling in the gaps between skin cells to improve the appearance of dry patches and make the skin more flexible. The most popular emollient ingredients used in skin care are Aloe Vera and Shea Butter.
- Occlusive Moisturisers - these prevent the skin from losing moisture by forming a protective film (barrier) over the epidermis. They don’t increase the moisture levels of (ie. they don't re-hydrate) the skin but they help prevent water loss through transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Occlusive (or barrier) moisturisers can also act as emollients (so soften the skin). The most popular occlusive ingredients are petroleum derivatives such as mineral oil, as well as lanolin and other oils such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, jojoba oil, olive oil and evening primrose oil
- Humectant moisturisers - these substances absorb water to increase water content in the skin so re-hydrate the skin surface. These include glycerin, glycerol, sorbitol, urea, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as lactic acid, NaPCA (sodium pyrrolidone carboxylic acid) and hyaluronic acid. Some humectants are also emollients. As already mentioned, the body's NMF is made up of powerful humectants and these naturally reduce with age.
Occlusive and humectant ingredients can work together to enhance epidermal hydration and barrier function, so most modern skin care products have a mixture of the above.
Agents that Repair are also often added to skincare products. These include
- anti-oxidants like Vitamins C and E and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) - repair some skin damage and are protective against aging
- Vit A (retinol) - promotes skin renewal
- glycolic acid - a potent alpha hydoxy acid (AHA) that reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- ceramides - these are components of the fat layer that keeps the skin water-proof
- dimethylaminoethanol - this has been shown to have a firming effect on the skin
- Many skin cleansers , including soaps, have an alkaline pH (so a pH more than 7) and these will interfere with the skin's 'acid mantle' and the skin's protective function
- When alkaline agents are used on the skin, a toner is often advised to lower the pH to its normal acidic state
Making it Personal
- So, do you know what you are putting on your skin?
- Are you doing more harm than good with your skincare regime?
Do you want a skincare regime that acts at the source of aging to give your skin a youthful, radiant glow so you feel your confident best every day, then we have products for you. Contact us (or the person who referred you to the site) to learn more or to order.
Of course, we use the products we sell because we love the results we see.
Check out this 'before' and 'after' photo series from Zansie after using a beauty regime targeting the source of aging by resetting gene expression back to a youthful state, combined with use of a home spa treatment.
For more information on the products we use, follow our blog posts or contact the person who directed you to this website or contact us directly - there is a contact form on the right (below if you are on a mobile device).
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