Skincare By The Numbers: What’s Your Skin Code?
While skin, hair and eye color are general classifications that cannot be disputed, do they tell the whole story? What about age? Lifestyle? Environment? Are we to believe that identical twins—one living in Vermont and one in Phoenix have the same skincare needs based solely on genetics?
Here in the southwest, sun, dry heat, and the lure of outdoor activities create the perfect storm for exacerbating skin conditions and premature aging. It is never too early or too late to give your skin the care that it needs and deserves. Let’s explore what causes skin damage and how to avoid loss of collagen, inadequate moisture and chronic inflammation.
Collagen. For youthful looking skin.
Think of collagen as a tightly woven net that provides our skin its underlying structure; it is vital for giving skin elasticity and strength. Our bodies produce collagen, but as we age production decreases. Because our skin cells are inherently sensitive and fragile, if we are not vigilant about protecting the collagen we have, we may experience permanent damage. Over time, consistent exposure to elements harmful to skin cells will destroy both collagen and elastin.
What you can do:
- Use serums containing Vitamin C, peptides, and antioxidants.
- Always use sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection and reapply often.
- Pay attention to diet: up the Omega 3 rich foods, beans, dark fruits and vegetables, green tea.
- Avoid sun exposure, smoking, and topical collagen – which cannot penetrate the skin.
- Use a stem cell serum to help reverse damage and help prevent further aging.
Moisture. Dry skin plus desert heat equals a lethal combination.
The southwest is renowned for its dry environment, and as we age skin has trouble retaining moisture. So when you combine inherited dry skin with the desert heat you have a lethal combination, which can result in fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity.
What you can do:
- Try products with hyaluronic acid to smooth and plump skin.
- Ask your doctor about injectable dermal fillers that will hydrate from the inside, out.
- Use a humidifier at night and moisturize right after showering.
- Treat yourself to oxygen-based facials or a hydrating mask.
- Wash with a hydrating cleanser to remove chemical and biologic irritants without reducing the skin’s moisture content.
Inflammation. The age accelerator.
Sunburns are actually an acute form of inflammation, which can destroy healthy tissue and compromise new tissue. Sun exposure also destroys elastin and collagen. When natural antioxidants are exhausted, free radicals are released and inflammation is triggered. This results in crepy skin and wrinkles.
What you can do:
- Add antioxidants to your diet; such as berries and nuts.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Limit sugar intake at all costs, which breaks down collagen.
- Avoid sun and wind exposure as much as possible.
So where do you start if you live in our southwestern zip code? Focus on making skin healthy rather than just alleviating symptoms. It takes more than one product or a single serving dose treatment at your doctor office to make a dramatic improvement to your skin and fight the signs of aging. The effects of aging are not one-sided, so neither should your anti-aging plan. It is never too early to start your anti-aging regimen and avoid harsh Arizona elements if you can.
Check out pages 74 and 75 of Arizona Sports and Lifestyle for the article.