Monday, June 21, 2010

Time to Exfoliate

Recently, I have had many people complain about their skin "suddenly" breaking out and having issues with an increase of "acne-like" pimples and cysts. Unfortunately, there are so many factors that could contribute to this problem, that if I were to address them all, I would be writing a book at this point. However, with the onset of this remarkably hot and humid weather, it seems that a course in exfoliation might be just the key to controlling some of these pop-up breakouts.


The many benefits of exfoliation

The primary function of the epidermis is “to keep the insides in and the outside out”, and without proper exfoliation, dead skin cells(and whatever bacteria that comes in contact with) can get trapped on the skin’s surface. When they’re trapped, they build up, and keep all the nastiness IN. Mild daily exfoliation enables the skin to shed this unwanted layer more effectively and better absorb additional daily cosmeceutical ingredients.


The life of a skin cell

From beginning to end, the life cycle of every skin cell you have is about 28-30 days. During the last week of this cycle, cells become flaky and dull. Our skin works hard to shed these dead cells, but this process takes longer and longer as we age. That’s why using a product to exfoliate skin is key.

Life of a skin cell

Week 1:
A cell is “born” – bright, new and healthy. This layer is regenerative (it is closest to blood flow in the dermis) and provides color to the skin.

Week 2: Here, the skin cell still maintains a healthy color. Its shape becomes more irregular as it begins to accumulate toughening proteins — preparing to become part of your body’s most protective barrier.

Week 3: The mature cell has now broken down a bit with age. It is wider, flatter, and adheres strongly to other cells. This cell is tough and protective.

Week 4: It only takes a few weeks for this once healthy skin cell to become flaky, dehydrated and colorless. This final stage consists of about 10 to 30 sub-layers of dead cells. Two to three of these layers are shed daily. Exfoliation will help the process.


Chemical vs. physical exfoliation

Physical vs. 
Chemical Exfoliation

What part of the skin do you exfoliate when you exfoliate skin?

A. The top “protective” layer of skin, A.K.A the epidermis. It’s made up of both living and dead cells, and they’re always growing and dividing. When this happens, cells are pushed up to the top layers of your skin, where they eventually die and flake off. BUT – did you know that as you age, your ability to shed dead skin cells decreases? So they pile up and cause problems like clogged pores and an overall dull tone, and the more build-up, the harder it is to keep your skin hydrated, moisturized, and clear. Time to exfoliate skin with the right skin care product!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Is Sun Exposure Really Good or Bad?

By now, I hope everyone is having a terrific summer and enjoying the gorgeous sunny days and not to mention, the beach trips. 
So, we know that the sun causes cancer, but we also know that we need sun for vitamin D development, right? ( I know, you're thinking,"not another skin cancer blog",but I cannot even begin to tell you how serious this situation is.) However, as much information there is out there about whether or not the sun is actually good for you, I thought that this Video from Dr. Jeffrey Benabio at Kaiser Permanente would shed some light onto the debate.

So all you tanners out there take heed, and if you are playing in the sun, be safe while having fun!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Can Sunscreen cause Cancer?

This is crazy, I just read an article that said certain sunscreens can cause cancer. To think, we have all been programmed over and over that sunscreens are a MUST to prevent cancer, and now, THIS?
The story originated from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that “protect(s) the most vulnerable… from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants.”
EWG announced their list of best and worst sunscreens, and also published a statement that claims creams which contain a vitamin A derivative (retinyl palmitate), increase the risk of skin cancer in laboratory mice. However, the creams studied were not sunscreens, but rather simple cream with retinyl palmitate. Because many sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate, the EWG is urging the FDA to study this further and is also urging people to avoid sunscreens with vitamin A derivatives in the meantime. Some sunscreens contain retinyl or retinols as a “wrinkle-fighting” ingredient in the sunscreen. But the Skin Cancer foundation says: "Consumers should rest assured that sunscreen products are safe and effective when used as directed."
So what to do now? Here are some clues:
  • Ultraviolet light from the sun is radiation and is unquestionably the most important cause of skin cancer.
  • Sunscreens in general do not cause skin cancer.
  • No study has yet looked at retinyl palmitate when used in a sunscreen.
  • It is reasonable to avoid sunscreens that contain retinyl or other vitamin A derivatives until more studies are done, if you’re concerned.
  • Choose a sunscreen with SPF15 or higher. Look for zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule (Mexoryl) or octocrylene.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.