You know, I'm just a dumb blonde! Chemistry degree? Nah uh. Just a girl interested in skin care. If you are anything like me, you can be slightly confused and even overwhelmed with all the new buzz words floating around in the world of anti-aging and skin care.
This blog is going to try and give easy to understand descriptions and definitions to some common, and maybe not so common, words you might have heard regarding either skin, skin care or anti-aging ingredients. If you have something you would like to learn more about that I don't discuss here, I invite you to let me know and I will address it in a future blog.
The first word(s) I am going to tell you about are Collagen and Elastin. Collagen is a structural protein found mainly in tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue in the skin, blood vessels and lungs. Elastin is found primarily in the artery walls, lungs, intestines, and skin. These proteins are vital in keeping our youthful appearance.
Collagen gives connective tissue and organs rigidity so that they can function, and elastin lets them stretch out and then return to their original state. Collagen keeps the elastin healthy and won't allow it to stretch to the point of breaking. In the skin, collagen and elastin are the primary components of the dermis--the layer right beneath the epidermis. They provide the support structure of the skin.
The problem is that the human body stops producing elastin when you hit puberty. This is when the aging process begins. You are kidding, right? Already? Yep! Without elastin replenishment, collagen begins to lose its elasticity and begins to weaken.
Ok. Got it! We slow down collagen and elastin production as we age. Is there something that we can do then, to stimulate production? Well, it seems obvious that since they are proteins, we would do well to make sure that our dietary intake is sufficient in protein. That was easy. Anything else? Oh yes. The second step is to insure that you have adequate vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is a necessary co-factor for collagen production. If intake is inadequate, the elastic fibers will be weaker. In addition, topical C in serums, creams and lotions are vital. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is effective at boosting skin's collagen, thereby reducing wrinkles, fine lines and evening out skin tone.
Don't smoke! Take a look at the tone and texture of a smokers face. Smoke depletes the skin of Vitamin C. Need I say more?
Here are a few other tips to increase Collagen and Elastin:
1) Exfoliation of the surface of the skin. The process of exfoliation involves eliminating the dead skin cells from the surface layer of your skin. It also stimulates the production of new elastin and collagen and gives your skin a more youthful appearance. Professional facials are truly an important part of increasing production of these proteins by deeper cleansing and exfoliation than you can do at home, plus increasing oxygen and blood flow are stimulation for an increase in production.
2) Never, Ever, Ever skip sunscreen! While this won't increase production it will certainly protect what you already have and prevent further damage.
3) Consider photofacials or LED light therapy. Both laser and light therapy work by creating "controlled injury" in the dermis of your skin. As the body heals the injured area, new skin cells are produced, as well as new supplies of elastin and collagen.
4) Microcurrent/Non-Surgical Facelift. The University of Washington has performed clinical trials to measure the benefits of the Microcurrent facelift procedure. Research has proven that a Microcurrent facelift can increase the skin's natural production of collagen by 14 percent, increase elastin by 48 percent and increase blood circulation by 38 percent. These Microcurrent facelift results were achieved in the first twenty days following this cosmetic procedure. Research has also found that the Microcurrent facelift technique increases the body's natural production of amino acids and ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate), both of which play a major role in cell heath and function to accelerate cell repair.
So what exactly are Antioxidants? Antioxidants are substances found in certain foods that protect cells against free radicals that cause the aging processes and some other diseases. OK, then - - - what are "Free Radicals?"
From THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY:
FREE RADICAL NOUN: An atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. In animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.
Getting muddier and muddier. Well, listen up. Once formed, these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or cell membranes. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system made up of antioxidants. Again, diet plays an important part with our body’s antioxidant army. Topical ingredients with antioxidants are extremely effective in helping to fight off the signs of aging, as well.
We are all hearing about amino acids, peptides, and polypeptides in skin care products. What's all the buzz about? First, understand that peptides, polypeptides, tri-, tetra-, penta-, and other peptides are amino acids in themselves. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They band together in chains and are the "stuff" of which we are made.
Amino Acids chain together to form peptides. There are 28 amino acids, nine of which are considered essential for everyday health. You'll hear them ending in "-ine" The amino acids most important for healthy skin are proline, glycine, leucine and lysine. Stay tuned for many more introductions of new "-ines" to come, as the research with amino acids in anti aging is on fire! And aren't we glad? More positive skin care for anti aging is on the way!
Now here's a good one for you that you may or may not have heard of: GLYCOSAMINOGLYCANS. The main function of GLYCOSAMINOGLYCANS (GAG's) is the maintenance of and the support of the Collagen and Elastin. It promotes the ability of the collagen and elastin fibers to retain moisture. This medium is entirely dependent on fluid intake. Have you ever heard of Hyaluronic Acid? It is a GAG and kinda thought of as a "molecular sponge," giving extensive hydration and allows increased skin penetration of products.
The popular dermal filler, Juvederm, is made up of Hyaluronic acid. Since it is something our body produces naturally, I am a proponent. Dr. Kelly Hynes is a quarterly guest in my treatment room to provide cosmetic Botox. She would love to speak to you about the use of fillers in the war on aging!
You can reach her at 20!20 Vision, 1924 Blossom Street, Columbia, SC 29205 (803) 748-9994.
I know this was heavy reading, but I sure do hope you learned something, too.
Well . . . that's all for now from my treatment room! And this is all in a day's work!
m.d. Skin llc
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