Facial Moisturizing Basics

Why is a facial moisturizer important?  The outermost layer of skin (the Stratum Corneum) is a barrier that helps protect everything underneath from the outside world.  It is made up of 30% water and lipids.  If this layer gets dried out and loses this water it stops being effective and can become brittle or even crack.  In this state your skin loses its shield and the skin underneath is exposed to the elements.  The skin then loses more moisture and can even get infected as bacteria have an easy time making their way through the cracked outer barrier.  This shows how important it is to use a face moisturizer.

Choosing a Facial Moisturizer

Know your skin type.  If you have oily skin a lighter product with natural oils is preferred while drier skin needs a little more oil or other barrier ingredients.  Either way natural oils are key because these oils won’t leave that slick or sticky feeling and also won’t clog your pores.  Some natural oils include almond and avocado oil.  Petroleum derivatives feel like they are smoothing to the skin but actually can leave a residue and clog pores.  Other compounds such humectants help attract moisture. One of the main humectants available is hyaluronic acid which is naturally a part of your skin.

In the Short Term...

 In the short term a Face Moisturizer will start to make the skin look healthier.  Using the ingredients above, a good strategy is to include both the natural oils and the humectants.  In a sense with both of those types of ingredients face moisturizers are adding water to the skin and then keeping it there. 

In the Long Term...

Keeping your skin moist allows your skin to operate at the peak level of performance.  Skin cells are more effective at repairing themselves and the surrounding tissue.  This includes making or repairing collagen, elastin, and many more proteins that keep the skin looking fresh and young.  The immune system is also able to function properly to help defend your skin from infections.

Peptides in Cosmeceuticals

One of the most popular ingredients used today for anti-aging products are peptides.  These peptides are simply small proteins or pieces of proteins that can perform many different functions.  There are 4 main types of peptides used today.  The first is called signal peptides.  This group of peptides signals cells to act in a certain way.  Examples of this are to make cells divide faster or make more collagen.  The second type of peptides are enzyme inhibitors.  In an anti-aging application this can mean that these peptides stop the body from breaking down components of the skin.  The third category is neuro-transmitter-inhibitor peptides.  These stop the normal communications between cells in the body.  Botox does this and it relaxes the muscles under the skin.  However Botox is way too big to penetrate into the skin so it has to be injected. Peptides in this category are much smaller and many try to mimic the effects of botox.  The fourth type of peptide is the carrier peptides.  Carrier peptides help active ingredients get to the areas where they can do the most good.

One of the biggest challenges with any active ingredient is to get into the skin where it can work its magic.   This includes peptides.  There are several factors that can help the peptides get into the skin, but the main one is size.  The smaller a peptide is the easier it is to get into the skin. Another way to get peptides into the skin is to surround them with lipids.  These lipids surround the peptides and make it easier to get through the skins barriers and possibly get into cells.  

Vital 3 Derm Anti-aging cream has 3 peptides that are surrounded by these lipids called alphasomes.  Along with these peptides the alphasomes contains other active ingredients including botanicals to help our peptides work even better.  Two of our peptides encourage correcting damaged skin by increasing skin cell production and increasing collagen synthesis.  Our third peptide helps to calm itchy and irritated skin that can be caused by environmental and stress factors.  Both of these peptides can help decrease signs of aging.

To get a very detailed paper about peptides and how they can get into the skin click on this link and download the PDF:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2009.00490.x/full

Vitamins for Skin:  Benefits and Effects

Vitamins are vital nutrients for our bodies and can act as hormones, regulate cell growth, or even help our proteins function properly.  They are not made by our body in large quantities so we need to get our vitamins through our diet or through supplements.  Deficiencies of vitamins can lead to serious effects in the skin.  Vitamins can affect all areas of our bodies including the skin.  So when you look around for supplements don’t forget that you can use Vitamins for skin health too. 

Vitamins for Skin:  Vitamins C, E, and Selenium

Vitamins C, E, and Selenium can help protect your skin from sun damage and skin cancer.  They also have been known to reverse discolorations and wrinkles associated with aging.  They function by enhancing the natural repair mechanisms of the skin and as antioxidants they inhibiting further damage from happening in skin.  Vitamin C can also help increase collagen in the skin because it plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen.  Vitamin E can also help decrease skin inflammation.

Vitamins for Skin:  Vitamins D

Vitamin D is best known for bone health, but it has also been found to help treat psoriasis by reducing inflammation and irritation in patients.  Normally our skin can produce enough vitamin D by being exposed to the sun for 10-15 minutes a day.  When sun exposure isn’t possible vitamin D supplements may help get your levels back up to normal. 

Vitamins for Skin:  B Vitamins

B Vitamins are essential for all cells in the body including skin cells. They are associated with many function but a couple in particular help the skin.  Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) has been shown to promote healthy skin and can reduce the signs of aging such as redness and skin spots.  Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is also associated with healthy skin.  A deficiency in Biotin can lead to rashes, acne, itchiness, psoriasis…

If you suspect a deficiency in a vitamin talk to your dermatologist so that they can determine your situation. 

 

For more information see:  http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50505

 

How to get rid of dark cirles

We’ve all had those nights where we toss and turn and when we finally get out of bed there they are. Dark circles staring back at us in the mirror.  Why do we get them and what can we do about it?

Dark Circles Explained

These dark circles or blemishes are usually blood vessels under the skin that can be seen through the skin.  As blood passes through the veins close to the skin it gives the skin a bluish hue.  This happens under the eyes because our skin is really thin there.  It is about one fourth as thick as other areas of the body.  Sometimes our skin is even thinner under the eyes or we have deep-set bone structure that can make the areas under our eyes appear even darker.  These causes are genetic meaning that your parents gave it to you.  Allergies can also cause dark circles under our eyes.  Itching and rubbing under the eyes can cause more blood to pool there increasing the darkness.  Some food allergies can do the same.  Medications that dilate the blood vessels can also increase blood near the skins surface and increase dark circles.  Lack of sleep can contribute, but it isn’t the main factor.  Lack of sleep causes more blood to accumulate under the eyes, but it is unknown why this is caused.  As we age dark circles generally become more noticeable.  This is because our skin loses collagen, becomes thinner, and more translucent.

Getting Rid of Dark Circles

Sleeping with your head elevated or maybe an extra pillow can help stop blood from pooling under your eyes and a cold compress in the morning can constrict the blood vessels to lessen the darkness.  Antihistamines can help if allergies are the problem.  They can remove the itchiness and stop you from itching and making the dark circles worse.  Collagen building creams can combat the natural aging process that can cause dark circles.  When choosing a collagen building cream choose one that contains vitamin A and C along with peptides and natural ingredients that help protect collagen. Vital 3 Derm Anti-Aging Cream contains these ingredients and more making it effective against dark circles caused by aging.

Best Foods for Skin Health

The food that we eat has a large impact on our bodies and our skin in no different.  What we eat can affect how our skin looks and ages.  So what are the best foods for skin health?  This can be broken down into different categories.  Foods that contain skin friendly vitamins, such as Vitamin C, A, and E, foods that contain anti-oxidants, foods that are anti-inflammatory, and foods that are low on the glycemic scale.

Best foods for skin health – Vitamins

Some of the best foods for skin health are high in vitamins.  Vitamin A helps the skin’s cells to renew and can help regenerate collagen and elastin.  Foods that are high in Vitamin A are cooked pumpkin and carrots.  Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of collagen and can help brighten the skin.  Foods that have high levels of Vitamin C are Kiwis, papayas, and citrus fruits.  Vitamin E is thought to boost the immune system which can help keep away acne. Vitamin E also is an anti-oxidant, but we will get to anti-oxidants next.  Foods that include Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, spinach, asparagus, and leafy greens.

 

Best Foods for skin health – anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories

Anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories also play a key role in the skin.  Anti-oxidants help the skin from becoming damaged from sunburns and free radical production in normal cell processes.  Anti-inflammatories keep the skin from becoming damaged by the immune system.  Inflammation can also lead to acne among other things.  Anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories are among the best foods for skin.  There are several anti-oxidants but a few are polyphenols, cocoa flavanols, and lycopene.  Foods that include polyphenols are pomegranates, olive oil, and green tea.  You guessed it cocoa flavanols are from chocolate and the darker the better.  There is no need for the sugar and fats with milk chocolate and those are actually bad for your skin.  Lycopene is found in tomatoes.

Best Foods for skin health – low glycemic

Finally on our list of best foods for skin is the low glycemic foods.  These foods keep our blood sugar from spiking.  Spiked blood sugar can lead to elevated androgens which can increase acne and also lead to increased wrinkles.  Foods that are low on the glycemic index are chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and oatmeal.  Steal cut oatmeal is the best since it is less processed and contains more nutrients. 

Lastly don’t forget to drink water.  Drinking water keeps your skin hydrated and helps it to function properly.