But why is our skin so important? I have two answers, one as a doctor and another as an esthetic specialist.
You may be like I am, and you took your “young skin” for granted, because it had always looked good, healthy, and glowing. Sadly, the damage that causes wrinkles brown spots, age spots, and sagging jowls occurs years before the damage shows on your face! At age 40 I woke up, looked in the mirror and realized what I had been doing to my skin with baby oil and iodine plus 8 hours of sun a day, every summer, without sunscreen and moisturizer for the 30 years before and I realized I had to do something to reverse that process. I then began my study of skin, skin damage and how to heal it! I still and studying the new advances in skin care, nutrition for skin, and skin-care products.
But why is our skin so important? I have two answers, one as a doctor and another as an esthetic specialist. My “doctor answer” is that our skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it provides many benefits for us. The skin not only protects the more delicate organs of the body, but the skin excretes toxins for us from sweat glands, it cools us with perspiration, and protects our muscles and internal organs from trauma and the sun’s rays. Our skin also protects us from cold with hair that grows on our head and body.
The condition of the skin also acts as a reflection of our health. It is possible to look in the mirror and determine if you are healthy or not. The skin is also a window for others to judge our general health. This is a double-edged sword. It helps us self-diagnose medical problems or at least determine that something is wrong so we can make changes to our lifestyle or seek medical attention. Our skin also reflects fatigue (dark circles under our eyes, sallow color and lack of glow or shine), BUT it also allows others to discover our age, health status and whether we have cared for our skin or not! Our skin is a window to our internal health, so if you want to appear rested, healthy, and desirable, then you MUST take care of your skin!
I am not saying that nonphysicians consciously look at you and say to themselves, “that person’s skin looks sick”, but the condition of your skin determines unconscious judgements of the state of your health. It is for this unconscious knowledge that we have about the appearance of our skin, that drives women to seek out ways to make their skin beautiful and young. When we notice signs of aging, fatigue, and over-indulgence in our own skin we should take action if we want to reflect the impression of health and youth.
Very perceptive people can tell what our age is by looking at our skin….that is why women spend time trying to fool them by improving the natural condition of our skin! Our instinct to be and feel young motivates us to seek help. No one wants to look their age! Everyday Instagram and Facebook show ads that say…”Buy this and you will look #—- years younger” are barraging us. Those advertisers know our instinctive drive to turn back the clock and they use it to sell…but in general those “one answer ad campaigns” help the seller make money but won’t do a thing for your skin….Don’t be sucked into their sales job.
If you are over 40 you will require a multipronged approach to get your youthful skin back. This process requires a change in your routine, your lifestyle….the very hardest thing for humans to achieve!
As a doctor one of my observational skills that helps me diagnose patients before I even interview them Is my first impression of their face and skin—if the color of their skin is dusky, they probably don’t have good blood flow (atherosclerosis, alcohol consumption or illnesses like Diabetes) and if the texture of their skin is thick and “piled up” I know they have poor skin care habits and often are not healthy. I also look at the creases or wrinkles as well as brown spots that give away a patient’s age and sun damage history. There are many more signs of illness that I look for, but skin is like having Hercule Poirot (famous detective) sitting next to me whispering in my ear.”
For non-doctors the appearance of your skin gives strangers an impression of your age, and how healthier you are. Think of speed dating….you are introduced to Mr. Right and he immediately is not interested. He doesn’t even care to talk to you. His instincts say to him that you are not healthy and that you are older than you say you are, because of the condition of your skin. The same thing can happen at job interviews….you don’t want to look sick and old when you are going for a job. No one even consciously knows they are judging you…they just know instinctively get the message that you aren’t a candidate for whatever you are trying out for because of perceived old age and poor health….it is an unconscious reason for not choosing you!
So why not consider the simple steps it will take to transform your skin, and yourself, from looking old and sick to young and healthy? To get great skin, we must BE HEALTHY, in other words we must develop healthy habits as well as give our skin the attention and care it needs. Here is a list of what is required to heal you skin and begin to look younger and healthier.
- DIET: whole foods, with a lot of water and fresh vegetables and fruit. No fast or processed food.
- SUPPLEMENTATION: Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Biotin, Methyl Vitamin B12 and methyl Folate
- DAILY EXERCISE: Gives your skin a glow with healthy oils and perspiration.
- REPLACE HORMONES THAT ARE MISSING: Whole body Testosterone (pellets), Estradiol,
- Thyroid if it is deficient
- CLEAN AND PROTECT YOUR SKIN: Treatment of the skin itself by washing and exfoliating dead skin off the surface twice daily, using serums specifically for the aging problem that bothers you most, and Moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated.
Ok. so you think, you can do this, but here is the kicker—you also need to make harder lifestyle changes, and stop your bad habits:
- Stop Smoking
- Stop Drinking more than 4 oz of wine /night
- Stop fast food
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Now I hear the typical negative response coming through the computer…as if I am spoiling your party…I KNOW you don’t want to change your habits….or stop excessive drinking, smoking, and staying out late, so you are already finding excuses why this obvious, simple answer won’t work for you! If that is you, then stop worrying about your skin, because it won’t be any better than it is today….and it will get WORSE with age!
But if you will spend an extra 7-10 minutes a day on the health of your skin and you realize that it is time you clean up your act, then continue to listen to the things that you should do to have a beautiful body covered with glowing skin! A little work and change of habits will get lots of compliments and people may ask you how you got beautiful skin! The “happy” side-effect of taking care of your skin is that you are concurrently building a healthier body that will live longer without disease.
The above changes are a start but protecting and feeding your skin is important too! In the list below I will share what products and I use, but I have skin concerns that you might not have (I’m 69 and had a lot of sun damage as a teenager). These are examples, however if you are serious about having beautiful young and glowing skin, then using the medical grade skin products (those bought at your spa or dermatologist) are the most effective.
- Internal Nutrition for Your Skin (Diet)—Whole food diet (lean meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables every day!) + Supplements to give you what you are missing in your diet, in higher doses
- Stop Bad Habits (see above) and exercise every day
- Cleansing skin that is exposed to sun, lack of humidity, and air pollution requires daily cleansing and humectants. Cleaning off your makeup from your face, neck and decollate (Face Wash= e.g. Glycolic Renewal- Skinceuticals) twice a day
- Topical Nutrition (Serums) Skinceuticals e.g. CE Ferrulic, hyaluronic acid (Skinceuticals HA Intensifier) and other serums that feed your skin from the outside.
- Protect Your Skin from Dehydration (Moisturizers), and drink plenty of water especially in the winter when the heat is on to replenish the moisture to your skin from the inside. My moisturizer is usually Triple Lipid Moisturizer from Skinceuticals®, but AGE Interupter Moisturizer is my favorite during the winter or when I am vacationing in cold or dry climates, because it holds skin moisture in the best. Intermittently I use Defenage Serum and Moisturizer Professional products when I want to take a break and expose my skin to alternative treatment (this makes both types of products more effective).
- Protect your skin from damaging radiation from the sun (Sunscreen). You should wear sunscreen every day! In Missouri it is winter longer than summer (or so it seems), but until I found the ColorScience tinted sunscreen, I forgot my sunscreen all the time. This sunscreen is easier to remember because it is part of my makeup the I apply daily. It is a combination moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation, I rarely wore sunscreen in the fall and winter before I found this product…not now!
- Daily exercise to bring blood flow to your skin, brings healthy oil and blood to the surface of the skin and releases toxins through sweating.
Taking care of your skin at home is fairly simple and for the most part can be integrated into your daily routine. Here are the basic skin care steps:
Step #1 Cleansing your skin in the AM and before bed when you with a non-drying face wash.
(Skinceuticals Gentle Face Wash or LHA face wash). Follow this with a serum specific to the needs of your skin to repair sun damage, to fade age spots, or to improve the texture of your skin. For example, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic— It lasts all day and assists in maintaining hydration and improving the condition of your skin.
Step#2 Moisturize and Protect your skin from drying out during the day and while you are sleeping and not drinking water. The 8 hours you sleep is the longest time you go without oral hydration, so your skin needs protection to hold the moisture in. Moisturizers are generally a shield to prevent drying out. The best of these moisturizers both feed your skin and protect it from drying, like Skinceutical’s Triple Lipid Moisturizer before bed. Your morning routine is just like your bedtime steps, except after you moisturize, you should use a sunscreen that is equal to or greater than SPF 30, ideally with a tint instead of foundation.
Hint: If you brush your teeth twice a day, then add 5 minutes to your morning and evening self-care you can clean and apply your skin care routine to your dental care. Of course, there are many other types of topical products that preserve the beauty of your skin, but they are directed at specific problems such as acne, rosacea, deep wrinkles and discoloration, but it requires an expert in skin care to help you choose the most effective product for you.
My patients ask me what skin care routine I follow, and I give them the following list of products and vitamins I use because I know that skin requires nutrition from my diet as well as topical products.
- Oral water intake: 80 oz of clear water a day for hydration
- Diet filled with daily raw vegetables/fruit, and a salad daily
- High protein and healthy fat in my diet (meat, fish, eggs, cheese, a variety of nuts, olive oil and yogurt)
- Products I use:
- Face Wash Skinceuticals: Replenishing Cleanser twice a day
- Serums: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic to improve skin tone and texture, HA Intensifier to increase Hyaluronic Acid for skin hydration, and Advanced Discoloration Corrector for brown (age) spots.
- Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Moisturizer, AGE Interrupter Moisturizer, or Defenage Serum and Moisturizer
- Tinted Sunscreen by Color Science
If you have taken excellent care of your skin with medical grade skin care products throughout your life, then all you have to do as you age is continue the care you already established and add some serums. Serums treat the skin with needed vitamins, minerals and peptides that are applied externally. medical grade products cost more because they actually penetrate the epidermis penetrate the epidermis and provide building blocks to repair and supply your dermis with needed “supplies” for healthy “daily reconstruction”. So healthy diet with varied healthy and unprocessed foods, plenty of water, healthy fat and protein to “feed” your skin is a required step toward beautiful skin as you age.
In the end most of us have not been aware of the needs of our skin until our skin starts to show aging and damage. Because that is a common occurrence, BioBalance Skin offers a variety of treatments that you can receive at our Medical Spa that are all aimed at reversing the aging process by tightening sagging skin, removing age spots and wrinkles, elevating facial skin, fillers to inject to fill lost fat in our face as well as treating sagging upper arms and skin around our knees just to name a few. Next week we will be talking about the more aggressive methods of improving aging and damaged skin available currently available in our Medical Skin Care Spa and other spas like it.
This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author. www.BioBalanceHealth.com • (314) 993-0963. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and please check “ Like “. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at BioBalanceHealth.