The skin is the body’s largest organ and is responsible for protecting all other organs, fluid balance, temperature, protection from the environmental hazards, such as ultraviolet rays and harsh chemicals. But the skin needs protecting as well, and it is quite obvious when someone has been fastidious about skin care. It goes without saying that cigarette smoking and excess sun exposure ages the skin tremendously.
Assessing the skin one layer at a time
As a skin care professional, we make every effort to look at the skin critically and assess details about what is happening on several levels. The different layers are:
Epidermis – the outer layer that we see, and the outer most epidermal layer is the stratum corneum
Basal layer – the thin layer that separates the epidermis and the dermis. It is this layer that we find the melanocytes that give our tan color by producing the pigment melanin.
Dermis – the deepest and thickest layer. It is in this layer that we find fibrocytes that create collagen and elastin as well as the adipocytes that produce the subcutaneous fatty layer. In between the cells is the substance called glycosomineglycans (GAG) that fills in the space and acts like a scaffold holding it all together. The collagen is for volume and strength and the elastin gives our skin elasticity. The deterioration of any of the substances gives us the appearance of advanced aging.
What can go wrong with the skin?
The list includes thinning of both epidermis and dermis, which occurs from free radicals that occur from excess sun exposure. These free radicals damage all of the mentioned components in all layers of the skin. The fibroblast cease to produce enough collagen and elastin and the GAG deteriorates. The skin dries without sufficient production of moisture, pigmentation becomes abnormal because of melanocyte damage, and we lose blood supply to the skin.
With less blood supply, the nutrients cannot get to the various cells, and the waste products are not eliminated sufficiently. Ultimately, mutations can occur and from then we get an increase in the incidence of cancer.
What can we do about it?
Much of it is common sense, such as: don’t get too much sun, don’t smoke cigarettes, don’t use harsh chemicals on the skin. Eat a healthful diet with a variety of vegetables, and limit the simple carbohydrates that produce AGEs (advanced glycation end products). The latter causes a molecular byproduct that “gums up” the works. This byproduct attaches to elastin, enzymes, immunoglobulins and more causing sagging and ineffective metabolism–the bottom line of which is aging.
Do use a good skin care program and sunblock to protect yourself. This should offer the following attributes:
- Moisturization – without occlusive oiliness
- Nutrients – some of which should be from whole foods, such as marine algae
- Vitamin A analog — such as retinol or retinyl palmitate, which increases collagen and elastin production and increases blood supply to the skin
- Anti-glycation ingredients – one of which is carnosine
- Anti-inflammatories – green tea is an example
- DNA repair – such as seen with Cat’s Claw (uncaria tomantosa)
- Resveratrol to help turn on youth genes
- Peptides – two of which are the most commonly seen are Matrixyl Synthe 6 (the latest of the Matrixyls) and Argireline. The former signals the fibroblasts to increase collagen production while decreasing collagen breakdown, and the latter relaxes the muscles just below the skin to reduce wrinkles. The effects of both of these peptides take a month or so to see the benefits.
With the New Youth System of Cosmeceuticals, we have elected to combine the necessary products into a 7-product system or regimen rather than just offer various products that have different benefits for the skin. Generally the public doesn’t know which nutrients your skin needs. An example would be a person that wants to reduce pigmentation spots, so they would use the Fade Serum. This would help some, but the improvement would be many times better and faster with using the New Youth Basic Kit. In addition, their skin would look much younger, tighter and with fewer wrinkles than simply reducing age spots.