This is a great question and it’s good to hear you are aware of the importance of sunscreen. There are several serums that you should be aware of and we will discuss them below. Aging is a normal part of life and is something we all must face. The good news is there are ways we can slow it down.
Chronic inflammation is an issue that can cause us to age faster. Our cells communicate with one another all the time. The process by which they do this is called a communication cascade. Chronic inflammation forces our cells to go into overdrive and causes the body to destroy collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid (all key components to health skin). A perfect example of this is the sun. When ultraviolet rays hit our skin, blood rushes into the scene delivering oxygen and nutrients to support and protect our skin cells. Melanocytes, which are cells that are responsible for pigment, start a 14-step process to create melanin and protect the skin. While this is a natural response, your body will release hormones to dispose of damaged tissue along with the healthy tissue in the area of inflammation.
So how do we deal with this? The role of an anti-inflammatory is to slow down the inflammation cascade. By limiting the amount of response, you are also slowing down the aging process. There are several anti-inflammatory serums or elements you should have in your regimen. Niacinamide (vitamin B3), zinc, and salicylic acid are all examples of anti-inflammatory substances. Look for zinc and niacinamide in sunscreens (some will also be in serums) and salicylic acid in cleansers.
If you haven’t yet heard about retinol allow me to make the introduction. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol has been used and studied for decades because it communicates with cells on a molecular level. Retinol and its derivatives can be used for everything from acne and pigmentation management to anti-aging and skin tightening. Renown Dermatologist Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, MD states, “retinol is known to modulate 1200 out of the 4400 genes known to be involved in aging.” This is great news, right? It is if you are careful using it. Many people will rush to find the strongest retinol and smother it all over their face only to find red, irritated, and yes, inflamed skin. When using retinol, it is important to start slow with a light dose and only use it at night. There are two reasons for this. First, retinol “tells” skin to turnover. As you shed old skin and begin to produce more collagen, the new skin will be very sensitive to sunlight. This means it is extra important to use sunscreen on a regular basis. The second reason is that most retinols are inactivated by UV light so there is no sense in using it during the day unless you are a fan of wasting your money.
Peptides are short-chained amino acids and, like retinol, have the ability to communicate with skin cells. There are four basic forms of peptides: signaling peptides, carrier peptides, neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides, and enzyme inhibitor peptides. We won’t get into extreme physiology here, but just rest assured that certain peptides can help regenerate collagen. A scientific study published in 2016 found that a “number of different signaling peptides stimulated growth of new collagen and in some instances helped to reduce inflammation.” Copper tri-peptides are great example of a signaling peptide, to help with anti-aging. IS Clinical has a great product called Youth Serum with copper tri-peptide in it…certainly worth a look.
When photons (from the sun) hit your skin, atoms that make up your skin cells and structures (i.e. collagen) become oxidized. If left untreated, these atoms will start a chain-reaction that will destroy your collagen and skin cells. I’m sure you are thinking, “I have billions of cells so who cares?” While it is true we have billions of cells, if you think about the number of cells you lose daily, they all must be replaced. And, as we begin to age, we don’t produce as many cells (or collagen) as we did when we were children. You can see why over the course of time this can present a problem. An easy way to stop this is to use an antioxidant serum such as vitamin C. Serums containing vitamin C will stop the oxidation of molecules and stabilize cells from being destroyed. There are several studies that have shown concentrations need to be at least 10%-20% in order to be effective. The issue with vitamin C is that it is notoriously unstable. Any air, light, or other contaminants will render it useless. So you must be careful where and what you buy. This is where the medical grade serums come into play. They are manufactured and bottled in conditions in a controlled laboratory environments.
Putting them together
Now that we have identified anti-inflammatories, retinol, peptides, and antioxidants, how do you use all of these products? This is no doubt a huge challenge. Skin type, skin concern, budget, and time are all some of the factors to consider here. The sequence of how and when to use each of these products alone can be daunting. Part of why we started our company was to solve these issues. There are literally thousands of skin care products out there and we know it can be overwhelming. We developed an algorithm to take these various concerns and create a system that works for you. Did you know that serums can stop working? It’s a real issue called tackyphilaxis. To avoid this phenomenon, our system changes your regimen every 90 days. When you get a minute take a look for yourself and see how we can help you combine all of these different products into an easy, manageable, and effective skin care routine. Our skin quiz takes about three to five minutes and can be done on your phone. As always, we are here to help if you have any questions.
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