Live your best life & take care
Vitamin C is a "must have" skin care ingredient our skin needs at any age.
One of the best researched skin care ingredients and proven to be very beneficial for skin is Vitamin C. Our skin uses Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant and the dermal fibroblasts need Vitamin C for the production of collagen. Two very good reasons to add this ingredients into your daily skincare routine whether you are twenty or eighty. Moreover, our skin depends on us for the needed supply, as our skin is not able to produce Vitamin C itself.
We can either include enough Vitamin C in our diet or apply Vitamin C topically there where we need it the most. Usually this is the skin which is exposed to (sunlight) as this increases damaging free radical activity in our skin. An active form of vitamin C can reduce the free radical activity, which we call anti-oxidative effect.
There are 4 things to consider when buying a skincare product containing Vitamin C:
Day or night?
Some recommend to use Vitamin C during the night, as the active form of Vitamin C will oxidize in daylight. Hence, your skin can benefit from the Vitamin C longer during the night. I would recommend Vitamin C to be used during daytime (thus added to your morning routine), as we need protection from damaging free radicals the most during daytime and the oxidization of Vitamin C is actually a sign that the ingredient is doing it’s job! It’s even better to add Vitamin C both to your day & night time skincare routine.
Is L-Ascorbid Acid enough?
Vitamin C is counteracting free radicals from UV light. However, UV is not the only damaging light form as there is also High Energy Visible Light or abbreviated HEVIS. This penetrates even deeper into the skin where also the dermal fibroblasts reside. The dermal fibroblasts are our collagen and hyaluronic acid producing cells and a key target in an effective anti-ageing skincare strategy. Lichochalcone A (Licorice-root extract) has proven to be the most potent anti-oxidant to protect the dermal fibroblasts and neutralize free radicals from HEVIS. Moreover, Lichocalcone A increases Glutathione, which is a skin’s own anti-oxidant. Licorice-root extract is an anti-ageing hero.
The combination of Vitamin C and Lichocalcone A will protect our skin and dermal fibroblasts from free radical damage by UV and HEVIS and will provide superior biological cell protection in comparison to Vitamin C only. For me this is a good reason to use a product containing both ingredients as a first step after my cleansing routine in the morning. If you have sensitive eyes, I recommend to use an eye care prior, which will form a barrier to help to prevent the low pH Vitamin C product to migrate into the eye area. Afterwards you can use the other products of your skincare routine. I would like to put emphasis on using a SPF of 30 or higher during the day. This will not only help to protect your skin, but also support he anti-oxidative benefits and make them last longer.
Hope this was helpful.
After about spending some time in bathtub or in the pool, we can notice that our skin on particularly finger tops and toes start to wrinkle up. This wrinkling effect is believed to have a function.
When wet, things tend to be more slippery and our sophisticated skin is designed to counteract this by wrinkling up in a pattern optimised to provide a drainage network that improves grip, much like the tires on a car according to a study. Link to original publication. However, other studies would contradict that there would be a functional benefit for so called aquatic wrinkles.
The osmosis theory
Water molecules moving trough a semipermeable membrane from a low concentration area to a high concentration area is a process called osmosis. The shrinking and expanding effects of osmosis takes place simultaneously outer layer of the skin, causing wrinkles.
The skin's outermost layer is also known as stratum corner could be responsible for this wrinkly reaction, The top layer of our skin consists of dead corneocytes. The longer these cells are attached to the skin, the bigger they are. The size of the corneocytes we actually use to objectively measure the skin's renewal and desquamation (shedding of cells) process. These dead (keratin containing) skin cells may absorb water and swell. The lower layer with living cells doesn't swell up. As top layer (which is increased in size) is still attached to the layer beneath, a wrinkly pattern is formed. The layer of dead skin cells is thicker at the palms of our hands and soles of our feet, the wrinkling effect is more evident. This response occurs more quickly in freshwater than seawater. Moreover, when we are exposed to water for a longer time, the water-repelling film on top of the outer layer of the skin may get impaired.
The sympathetic nervous system / microcirculation theory
It's known that there is a relationship between the wrinkling-effect and blood vessels constricting (narrowing) below the skin. When hands and feet are soaked in water, the nerve fibres in the skin shrink and the body temperature regulators loses volume. Therewith the top layer of the skin is pulled downward and the wrinkling pattern is formed. It is proven that wrinkling-effect response is impaired, if the nerves and/or blood vessels are damaged. Therewith the wrinkling effect can even be used to determine proper functioning of the sympathetic nervous system and/or skin's microcirculation. There is evidence that the wrinkling effect is impaired in patients suffering from diabetes: link to article.
Regardless the cause, aquatic wrinkles disappear fast and the skin returns to normal once the water has evaporated.
Psoriasis occurs in many different forms and levels of severity. The first signs may appear between the age of 15 and 35 and 75% of patients are diagnosed before the age of 46 according to the World Health Organisation. As there is no cure for the disease, the highest prevalence is seen in a more mature age group age 50-69. Many of the treatments which are part of the standard treatment guidelines for psoriasis cause as a side effect premature ageing skin. For example PUVA, next to being an effective treatment, does cause (severe) photo-damage. Many patients will undergo such treatments on and off or continuously throughout their life.
Although the primary goal of dermatology is to improve the functional attributes of the skin (health) and lessen the tremendous burden psoriasis may cause, ultimately one aims to improve the skin's physical attributes (appearance).
Ageing skin is a biological degenerative process which influences the activity of collagen and hyaluronic acid producing cells (mainly fibroblasts) and leads to a decrease of skin components like collagen, hyaluron and functional elastin. Effective anti-aging skincare can support the protection of those cells and skin components (anti-oxidants and SPF) and thus slow down the fastened degenerative process. Some active ingredients (for example biologically active Glycine Saponin and Arctiin) have proven to effectively stimulate fibroblasts in the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid and thus replenish dermal components. Loss of those components and photo-damage eventually lead to visible signs of ageing.
Although ageing skin is natural, premature ageing skin isn't necessary. Most patients will probably already use a moisturising facial skincare product. It makes sense to recommend anti-ageing skincare instead to be used in conjunction with treatments which as a side effect cause premature ageing skin, particularly for exposed areas like the face. As psoriasis oftentimes doesn't occur in the face (except in the hairline), anti-ageing skincare will pose a low to no risk to aggravate facial skin and there are anti-ageing skincare products available which have proven to be suitable for psoriasis patients.
One of the frequently asked questions is, if it's necessary or if there is a benefit using a special eye care or cleansing products. Yes, there is!
As I mention in many of my previous posts, the right pH-level is very important for healthy skin. Skin usually prefers a pH of around 5. However there are some area's where the skin's natural pH balance is a little bit different. One of those area's is the area around the eyes. The preferred pH-level there is around 7, thus less acidic and more alkalic in comparison to your regular cleansing or care product for face or body.
This is one of the most important reasons why I would recommend to use a special eye make-up remover and eye care product, as they are adjusted to the pH level most suitable for use in the eye area. Furthermore, special eye products are tested and proven to be safe when used around the eyes, while it isn't always recommended or proven for a regular face product.
Some care products have a tendency to "travel" or migrate into the eye area. Even when not directly applied around the eyes, they might end up there. A special eye care product can form a "barrier" and thus help to prevent that unwanted products move to the eye area and cause irritation. I would particularly recommend the use of an eye cream when using other products containing gold standard anti-ageing active ingredients like Vitamin A, C (or derivatives of both), Hydroxy Acids (Alpha, Beta or Poly), when you have experienced some sensitivity of the eyes or eye area in the past or have a more problematic skin type.
Eye care products preferably should not contain Vitamin C (L-Asorbic Acid or related) as it requires a low pH value of <4 to be active and do it's job properly. Eye care products with Vitamin C therewith are either too acidic to be used in the eye area or alternatively too alkalic for the Vitamin C to be effective. Safe to use in the eye area are products containing Hyaluronic Acid. Although "Acid" is in the name, Hyaluronic Acid isn't acidic. One of it's key functions is attract and bind water, which usually has a pH of ~7.
Safe use of cosmetics and care products is particularly important for the sensitive eye area. If you've ever or never had a problem, here is how you can avoid them..
If any eye cosmetic or care product causes irritation, stop using it immediately. If irritation persists, see a health care provider.
Avoid using eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection or the skin around the eye is inflamed. Wait until the area is healed. Discard any eye cosmetics you were using when you got the infection. Be aware that there are bacteria on your hands that, if placed in the eye, could cause infections.
Wash your hands before applying eye cosmetics. Make sure that any instrument you place in the eye area is clean. Don't share your cosmetics. Another person's microflora may be hazardous for you.
Don't allow cosmetics to become covered with dust or contaminated with dirt or soil. Keep containers and nozzles clean. Don't use old containers or eye cosmetics and don't re-use containers. Never trust a product that smells funky, looks dirty, or past the open-jar time.
Discard dried-up mascara. Don't add saliva or water to moisten it. The bacteria from your mouth may grow in the mascara and cause infection. Adding water may introduce bacteria and will dilute the preservative that is intended to protect against microbial growth. Manufacturers usually recommend discarding mascara two to four months after purchase.
Don't store cosmetics at temperatures above 85 degrees F or 30 degrees Celsius. Cosmetics held for long periods in hot cars, for example, are more susceptible to deterioration and bacteria. Some products are best stored in the refrigerator. Read the leaflet or follow the instructions how to best store the product.
When applying or removing eye cosmetics, be careful not to scratch the eyeball or other sensitive area. Never apply or remove eye cosmetics in a moving vehicle. Don't use any cosmetics near your eyes unless they are intended specifically for that use. For instance, don't use a lip liner as an eye liner. You may be exposing your eyes to contamination from your mouth, or to color additives that are not approved for use in the area of the eye. Avoid color additives that are not approved for use in the area of the eye, such as "permanent" eyelash tints and kohl.
If you use make-up brushes or sponges, clean them every week with a special product or soap. Give them additionally from time to time an extra spritz with a disinfectant.
Don't mix it up
Sometimes you might feel to mix several products or add something to the product. Problems can arise if you challenge a product’s preservative capability, which is optimal and tested only with the original formula and packaging.
Check ingredient list
As with any cosmetic product sold to consumers, eye cosmetics are required to have an ingredient declaration on the label. Check if there is anything listed you don't tolerate or like. If the product doesn't have the ingredients listed, the product may be considered misbranded and illegal. Do the same for adhesives used for lash extensions or false lashes.
Be aware of testers
Keep in mind when you come across “testers” at retail stores that they might be contaminated. If you do sample cosmetics at a store, be sure to use single-use applicators, such as clean cotton swabs. Check how the store maintains their testers. If possible, ask for a sample, especially for care products. Using a few applications gives you a better idea about the compatibility (how well your skin tolerates the product), if you like the texture and enjoy the product.
Dermaplaning is an exfoliation method done by dermatologists, plastic surgeons or aestheticians using a 10 gauge scalpel to gently scrape off the top layer of dulling dead skin cells in order to reveal a smoother fresh skin surface.
Furthermore you achieve a smoother make-up application as it also removes facial hair and peach fuzz or vellus hair. Cosmetic dermatologists sometimes use dermaplaning to help to prepare the skin for procedures like laser treatments and chemical peels as it creates a more optimal "canvas" to work with. As the top layer of the skin is removed, it would allow better penetration of skincare products.
Dermaplaning is supposed to be suitable for almost all skin types except those with active acneic skin. However, I would be careful if you have fragile skin, are prone to get broken capillaries, red dots or redness. If done well, the procedure is painless and is comparable to shaving. Prior to the procedure, the skin will need to be cleaned and dried. Sometimes AHA and BHA (Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids) or a combination of both are used as preparation. The skin is pulled taut with one hand, and in the other hand a sterile 10 gauge blade (scalpel) is placed on the skin in a 45 degree angle. With short strokes, the dead skin cells and peach fuzz is "shaved" off.
Dermaplaning instantly improves the skin's texture. The skin surface will feel very smooth. There is no downtime, however you may be left with some redness or sensitivity. It is claimed that vellus hair does not regrow darker or stronger, it just might feel different as the ends are cut off straight. However, speaking to dermatologists with experience in dermaplaning, they gave a clear warning that they did see a more coarse hair regrowth in costumers with darker skin tones (Fitzpatrick scale 3 or higher).
There are some devices developed for dermaplaning at home. One of those devices is called Dermaflash and the device is shown in the article picture. It's currently only available in the US. I did try the Dermaflash. The design looks aesthetically pleasing, but found it to be quite large, thus suitable for bigger areas like the cheeks, however more difficult to use when more precision is requered around the brows, lips and nose. Some use a smaller and very affordable eyebrow razor. Although you may get satisfactory results after using a home device, the safest and best results you will obtain when dermaplaning is done by a professional. The treatment results will keep approximately 3 - 4 weeks. Ask your health care provider if dermaplaning would be a suitable exfoliation method for you. Personally, I prefer the use of gentle acids over any mechanical form of exfoliation, however both methods don't remove facial vellus hair. That could be a valid reason to opt for dermaplaning. Don't forget to use adequate sunscreen afterwards.
click here to read more about chemical vs mechanical exfoliation
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. The device applies gentle pulses of light to the hair root, putting the follicle into a resting phase. It uses a source of adjusted broad-spectrum visible light to target specific structures, like melanin pigment in hairs. The light energy is absorbed and transferred as heat, causing damage to the hair follicle. As a consequence, the amount of hair growth gradually decreases. Repeating the treatment would leave your skin hair free and smooth. This sounds good enough for me to try out IPL at home.
A few months ago I was given the opportunity to purchase the Philips Lumea Prestige, which is a home-device for IPL (not the same as laser) hair removal, with a discount. Although sceptic about the promised benefit, I started to use the device, as instructed ever 2 weeks and have finished the basic sessions of 4 times. My unwanted hair growth isn't much and the colour isn't dark, however I dislike even the slightest feeling or visual of having a "beard" on my legs or armpits. It would be so much easier, if I wouldn't feel the need to razor it away every few days.
About Philips Lumea Prestige
Philips claims that the treatment is safe and gentle, even on sensitive areas. Philips Lumea is clinically tested and developed with dermatologists. Their studies show up to 92% hair reduction in as little as 3 treatments. The first 4 treatments must be carried out every 2 weeks, after which you should already be able to see the desired results. To maintain your results, simply touch up every 4 weeks. After just 8 touch-up treatments you can be hair-free for 6 months.
Philips Lumea Prestige works for a variety of hair and skin types from naturally dark blonde, brown and black hair and on skin tones from very white to dark brown. As with other IPL-based treatments, Philips Lumea cannot be used to treat white/grey, light blonde or red hair and is not suitable for very dark skin. This is due to the high contrast required between the pigment in the hair colour and the pigment in the skin tone. Therefore it's also not recommended for those who love to maintain a tanned skin, and use it pre- or post tanning sessions. The device can be used in many areas and even has special attachments for sensitive, body and face.
The model I purchased can be used with and without cord. The first time, I had to reload the device when I was half-way on my second leg. Therefore every other treatment I was using the device with the cord and could avoid an empty battery and waiting for it to recharge. What I like is that there are no other "hidden" or additional cost involved. You buy the device, and it just works and will give long-term return-on-investment. I've started to notice a significant reduction of hair regrowth already after 2 sessions and can honestly say that my legs feel smoother with a noticeable decreased number of hairs and hardly need to use a razor in between sessions. After 4 sessions I don't need to shave or use the Lumea for weeks and actually almost forgot about my unwanted hair. Therewith I am very satisfied with the results.
The use of the device is very easy when you follow the instructions. It's recommended to shave prior to use. Place the device on dry skin and wait for the "ready" button at the backside to light up, press the button and a red flash will appear then move it over to another spot. Repeat till you've covered the area you want to treat. You can use several strengths (energy settings) from 1 to 5. 1 being low and 5 being high. I've been using 4 & 5, and did not find it painful. The feeling is hardly noticeable to slightly uncomfortable, however way more comfortable when compared to epilation devices, which I consider painful. One leg takes me around 10 minutes, so it's not very time consuming. The red flashes can be a bit annoying for the eyes, therefore I look away during the flash.
I am really impressed with the results that I got from this home-device and did not expect it to work that well. It is (probably) less effective than IPL treatments done by professionals. If you like to reduce razor use, or dislike epilation or waxing and desire to be more care-free about unwanted hair growth, it is worth to further investigate if this or a similar approved home device, laser hair removal or IPL by a professional could be suitable for you. If you suffer from any skin disease or pigmentation problem, talk to your dermatologist before using any home device!
Interesting study IPL face:
This post is not sponsored.
Lately I was trying out several skin care products with a very similar smell, which I actually started to appreciate during my evening skin care routine.
Usually, an overpowering fragrance in a product puts me off, however I consider this one soothing. The (in my opinion) pleasant odour comes from an ingredient called Tanacetum Annuum or Blue Tansy (Moroccan Blue Chamomile - not to be confused with Tanacetum Vulgare) and is found as the signature ingredient in some more luxury "Blue" products like May Lindrom's beauty balm concentrate called "The Blue Cocoon", Sunday Riley's tranquility cleansing balm called "Blue Moon" (Blue Tansy Leaf oil) and her sleeping night oil called "Luna". All products are relatively "oily" and you only need the littlest amount.
Blue Tansy is "calming", as it supposed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic, anti-histaminic and anti-fungal properties. Tanacetum Annuum is an essential oil with a very dark blue collar due to chamazulene. The aromatic description is sweet, warm fruity, with subtle floral, camphorous and herbaceous undertones. It's most often mixed in with other oils or ingredients to dilute it, as the recommendation is not to use concentrations above 5%. Although it has anti-inflammatory properties, some might have intolerance for it as it contains camphor, which can cause sensitivity. Therefore, I would not recommend to use multiple products containing Blue Tansy in conjunction.
Pure Blue Tansy oil is not easy to get hold of, thus an expensive ingredient. If I was asked chose one product, I would pick Sunday Riley Luna sleeping night oil which also contains Retinol. Luna is easy to use and incorporate in a night time regimen, is less expensive when compared to May Lindrom's "The Blue Cocoon", very popular amongst "beauty guru's" and receives many positive reviews. Alternatively, there are other evidence based skin care ingredients with proven anti-inflammatory properties, for example Arctiin (anti-inflammageing, stimulates hyaluronic acid and collagen production) and Licochalcone (also powerful anti-oxidant). They don't have the blue colour or "calming" odour, which some may find offensive.
Hope you enjoy healthy skin & take care.
We can support's skin natural exfoliation process in various ways, for example with mechanical or chemical exfoliation.
Desquamation (shedding of skin cells thus exfoliation) is an important part of the skin's natural regeneration or renewal process.
Already in our twenties, this process slightly, however increasingly starts to slow down (Kligman 1983). As a result, the cells on the surface of our skin (corneocytes) become bigger (Kligman 1989) and a little disorganised. This leads to a duller appearance (loss of radiance) and a more rough texture of our skin.
A very comprehensive comparison of both methods:
The word "acid" unfortunately sounds very harsh and skin-unfriendly. Many acids are actually skin's own, like for example lactic acid is a skin's own natural moisturising factor (NMF) and so is hyaluronic acid. The level of NMF's decrease as we age and our skin my lose the ability to maintain well hydrated. Many years ago the benefits of lactic acid were capitalised by using baths filled with donkey milk. Citric acid is commonly used in skin care products and toners to balance skin's pH. Gluconolactone is only gradually penetrates skin and is very gentle.
It's unfortunate that "acids" have such a negative connotation, as our skin (healthy and problematic) can benefit if we use them regularly. Moreover, I prefer this method over mechanical exfoliation for all skin types, however particularly if you have dry skin, acne- or redness prone skin, sensitive skin or mature skin.
The risk of exfoliation is over-exfoliation. Over-exfoliation is damage of our skin barrier and the symptoms are very comparable to dry or (hyper) sensitive skin symptoms, which are: redness, irritation, tightness, excessive dryness, dry patches, flaking skin, uncomfortable stinging, or even burning sensation. Whenever you experience one or more symptoms of over-exfoliation, it's recommended to reduce the number of times you exfoliate and support the skin barrier repair with a moisturiser.
Hope you enjoy healthy skin & take care.
Facial oils are a trending skin care product at the moment, loved and recommended by many "beauty guru's" and skin care experts. This is why I found it very interesting to read a comment written by a well respected dermatologist claiming that face oils would stifle skin renewal and exfoliation and would make skin dull over time. She must have a reason why she is saying this, and that's why I looked into this a little bit deeper.
To start with, I've done own research (not just me) with a facial oil, included many testers and found many benefits and no draw backs during the duration of the study. Moreover, I jumped out of my chair (literally) when I saw the visible results from the clinical photography, no joke! We've found that the oil (a combination of Argan oil and Lady's Thistle oil) improves moisture, elasticity and firmness, supports skin resilience, making the skin feel smooth and look more radiant. There was even a reduction of comedones detected. The results were published in a poster, accepted by the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology in 2016.
If you are an impatient person, and demand a fast answer, I can spill the tea right now: I've found no data to support that facial oils would stifle skin renewal and exfoliation, but the opposite.
Moisturisers absolutely influence the skin barrier function and TEWL (transepidermal water loss - which is used to measure the skin barrier function). A good barrier function (confirmed by low TEWL), positively contributes to the skin cell renewal process, which includes skin exfoliation process. Very dry skin has an increased TEWL, and so does very well hydrated skin. There is simply more water on the skin surface to evaporate. A high TEWL with very well hydrated skin can therefore give the impression of an impaired barrier function and thus give a "false positive". This phenomenon is nicely explained in a publication by Marie Loden "Effect of moisturizers on epidermal barrier function".
Looking at non fragrance plant oils also called fixed oils, there are many and they are all different, so it's impossible to generalise. Many plant oils, like almond, jojoba, soybean and avocado oils mostly remain on the skin surface. Even without penetrating deeper into the outer layer of the skin (called epidermis), the occlusive effect of plant oils will reduce water evaporation from the skin and help the growth of the cells of the top layer called keratinocytes. They actually support the skin barrier and therewith skin cell renewal. Part of the skin cell renewal is a process called desquamation, which is skin's natural exfoliation of dead skin cells. Helping this process will make skin appear more radiant and smooth, not duller.
The benefits of plant oils are supported in many publications, one of which is found in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences anti inflammatory skin barrier repair effects by Tzu-Kai Lin 2017.
One of the most popular and well researched fixed oils is organ oil. It contains oleic and linoleic fatty acids. Both are part of our skin's natural intercellular lipid-enriched matrix or skin barrier. Linoleic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid) is in fact the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid. Our skin barrier is protecting our skin from water loss and penetration of external agressors. Thus the skin barrier keeps the good stuff in and bad stuff out.
Linoleic acid plays a direct role in maintaining the integrity of this skin barrier. Some research shows that oleic acid may indeed disrupt the skin barrier and act as an permeability enhancer, helping other ingredients to penetrate deeper. When oleic acid is continuously applied, it could lead to barrier problems. Another ingredient in argan oil is tocopherol or vitamin E. Tocopherol is well known for it's antioxidative effect (neutralising damaging free radicals from pollution or sun which cause premature ageing) and lesser known for supporting the skin barrier. Daily topical application of argan oil (the finished product which contains multiple ingredients) has shown to improve skin elasticity (firmness), improve the skin hydration by restoring the barrier function and maintaining water-holding capacity. Furthermore it has a softening and relaxing effect on skin.
Lady's Thistle oil
The oil of the Milk Thistle plant (also known as Silybum Marianium) is a common ingredient in anti-aging skincare. It contains skin barrier supporting Linoleic acid and is known to nourish skin and improve radiance.
Facial oils are certainly not for everybody, but in general skin will benefit from a cold pressed fixed plant oil or a mixture. Don't smother skin with oils, just apply a few drops by itself on the skin prior or after your moisturiser, or mix a few drops with your moisturiser of foundation.
Hope you enjoy radiant skin & take care.
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