Skin care is a multi-billion dollar industry estimated to be worth $43 billion per year in just the United States alone. Whether you get your products at the drugstore, department store, online, or at your physician’s office, you can be sure that every potion and lotion is promising “youth in a bottle.” If your trusted skin care line is no longer effective, it’s not your imagination. Here are 7 reasons why your skin care line might not live up to all the hype.
What’s in the pretty bottle?
Keep in mind that the amount of money spent on marketing a product often eclipses the cost of the ingredients. There is a distinct difference between highly promoted products that rely upon packaging and national campaigns vs. those born of clinical testing and analysis of proven results. All products should be tested to the highest standards, ensuring their effectiveness and safety prior to public release. Ingredients are not all created equal, and pharmaceutical grade skin care offers ingredients in strengths not available on the mass market.
Type casting: Poor product to skin match is more than skin type.
Do you have dry, oily or combination skin? The answer might not get you to the best product. It makes sense that matching the correct product with the patient is the key to good results and skin type certainly plays a role in product choice, but it is not the primary determinant we’ve all been led to believe. Over the course of my career, I have found that lifestyle, age, priorities, nutrition, genetics, and environment all trump skin type. So I have developed a customized skin care regimen that focuses on your specific skins characteristics and your lifestyle. After the initiation of your skin program, we then follow up and make any necessary changes to ensure your continued improvement.
Riding the hormonal wave?
Although it doesn’t seem fair, hormones through life significantly affect the quality and elasticity of skin. Your skin may be oilier due to an increase or instability in hormones during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. On the other hand, as skin ages, it produces fewer natural moisturizing oils due to a decrease in hormone production. For example, take three women, all 30 years old. One is discovering fine lines while taking birth control pills, another is pregnant, and the third is a stressed young mother. Each of the three women will need a different skin care regimen, despite their ages being the same, because all have a hormonal component that must be considered when prescribing products.
The environment in which you live, work, and play can influence your skin. A change in climate may affect the dryness of your skin. Dry, Southwestern climates, such as Arizona, are obvious causes of dryer skin changes because the heat actually bakes moisture out of your skin. During hot summer months—in more humid climates—your skin may be more prone to retain excess oils, especially if your skin is naturally oily. When skin doesn’t retain moisture, you need a heavier moisturizer and a creamier cleanser. Conversely, in humidity, choose lighter products like a gel or foam cleanser and a lotion instead of a cream.
Letting it all sink in…
Regardless of the effectiveness of a product, it will be of little help if the ingredients are unable to penetrate into the skin, as absorption problems can block even the best skin care lines. The pH balance of a product is one of the most important factors; it must be in a specific range to not only allow—but promote—absorption. When an invisible, unintended barrier is challenging the product, you’ll get a less-than-optimal result because the deeper collagen layers are never reached.
Routine exfoliation allows topicals to better penetrate the skin, maximizing their effectiveness. First, cleanse the skin to wash away impurities. After cleansing, exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells and draw out impurities in congested pores. Good exfoliation reveals the softer, smoother, more evenly-toned skin underneath. Exfoliation can either be mechanical (skin brushing with a device) or chemical (in the form of facial peels).
Know your brand and stick with it!
Good skin care requires commitment to both a regimen and a product line. There’s an advantage of staying true to your brand, as the best products work synergistically. You will get more out of standardizing on a brand you trust than “playing the field.” That free bag of cosmetic samples is very seductive, but soon you’ve tried so many brands that it’s difficult to see any true impact on your skin. It’s also important that you commit to daily use for at least 4-6 weeks—this will reflect the most results—making consistency and commitment the name of the game. Consulting with a physician or a certified skin care expert is the best starting point, promising that your time and money spent will be worthwhile. Also, you must understand that unless there is commitment to a specific plan to get you skin to its more youthful state, the results from the use of specialty products, such as wrinkle reduction serums, will be less than you anticipated.
Your lifestyle is written all over your face.
If you want great skin, leading a healthy lifestyle is just as important as the actual products you’re using. You can use the best products in the world, but if your habits are unhealthy, your skin care probably won’t work. Getting too little sleep, smoking cigarettes, and drinking too much alcohol will compromise any attempt at healthy skin, while poor nutrition in the form of excess carbs, fats and sugars also robs you of a flawless complexion. Likewise, skipping sunscreen, sunbathing, or tanning indoors interferes with your product’s potential benefits as well.
In Closing. Proper product selection and living a healthy lifestyle with effective solar protection are paramount in maintaining good skin health and ensuring that your skin care program will produce the results that you are looking for. Good Luck and Stay Beautiful!
Joseph Rucker M.D.