Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?
By Kim Putens
Remember the saying, “Beauty is only skin deep.” While that may be true, the biggest dilemma for women as they age is do you show your age or not? Taking care of our skin and how to do that is often a confusing web of vitamins, acids, peels, scrubs, toners, and cleansers.
Many of us are rightfully confused about how to care for our skin. Let’s start with the basics of good skincare. Cleanse, tone, and moisturize. It’s important to select products within this regimen that are appropriate for your skin type. If you have extremely oily skin, it would be completely inappropriate to choose a milky, creamy cleanser. And, vice versa, if you have very dry skin, don’t select a product with too many acids or alcohol that will strip and further dry the skin. The key is balance, and to keep your skin balanced, you need to choose the right products for your skin type.
Beyond the basics are a variety of products, targeted ingredients and a myriad of solutions for all skin issues. How does one know what is best for your skin ailment. Let’s break it down to the main ingredients that are necessary to affect change in the skin.
Vitamin A – often referred to as Retin A or Retinol – helps to change the way our skin cells work. This is an important ingredient because of its ability to tackle many skin issues. Vitamin A is often prescribed to treat severe acne and is touted as a wonder ingredient for aging skin. Its ability to change how our skin cells work makes it a small miracle.
Vitamin C (scientific name – L-ascorbic acid) – known for its ability to rebuild collagen in the skin. It works from the inside out to bring back the skins natural elasticity. Appropriate for all skin types.
Glycolic Acid – naturally derived from sugar or glucose, this ingredient sloughs off dead skin cells to reveal newer and plumber skin cells underneath. While also another small miracle ingredient, those with dry skin need to be careful because it can be drying. It’s also important for blemish prone skin not to overuse glycolic acid. Over drying the skin will cause it to generate more oil and lead to more blemishes. Appropriate for all skin types, but don’t overuse it.
Salicylic Acid – this little gem is the only ingredient that dips down into your pores to clean out all the bacteria that leads to blemishes and keeps pores looking large. While technically an acid, this ingredient does not overly dry the skin. It is essential for treating and controlling breakouts.
Vitamin E – works to moisturize and heal the skin and improve the skin’s texture. This is often paired with Vitamin C because the combination of the two packs a powerful punch. Most appropriate for dry skin.
If you are concerned about the aging of the skin and want to maintain that youthful glow and appearance, here are a few tips to consider. First, skin care is mostly about prevention – staying out of the sun, using eye cream, washing your face every night, and applying moisturizer (unless you are very oily). Second, as we get older, the basics of good skincare need a little injection. This is the time to add a few key ingredients to your regimen. Using Vitamin C will help prolong sagging of the skin and help with damage caused by the sun. It’s also important to introduce a Vitamin A product to improve the skin’s cellular turnover. Last, eye cream, eye cream, eye cream. If there was ever one product that is most important to maintaining your skin’s appearance, it is eye cream. The eyes are the first area to show signs of aging. Maintaining an unwrinkled appearance around the eye starts with the use of an eye cream. If you start early (in your 20s) a basic eye cream will do. If you start late (in your 40s), look for eye creams with Vitamin C or other collagen boosters.
Ladies, remember, there isn’t a fountain of youth in any one product. It’s important to remember that if we neglect our skin for 20 years, a single product cannot reverse the damage or neglect we’ve done to our skin. That’s when it’s time to consider professional help – botox, face lift, etc. In fact, it takes a bevy of products with targeted ingredients to tackle our aging skin.