Reader Question: How to Use a Vitamin C Serum!

question mark

 

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I had a question about how to use a vitamin C serum and that is such a great question.  I mean, how many times have you purchased a product that sounds like a great addition to your skincare arsenal and then realize you have no idea how to use it?  Happens to the best of us. 🙂

In a nutshell, the use of vitamin C results in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes the formation of collagen, protects the skin from UV damage and can also reduce pigmentation due to its brightening properties.  (For more information on vitamin C, click here.)  The best and most efficient way to use it is during the day underneath your moisturizer and sunscreen.  This will give you that extra antioxidant protection your skin needs from the sun’s harmful rays, which plays a prominent role in the breakdown of collagen.

I hope this helps!

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie 

 

 

 

Needles For Aging Skin?

microneedle

One of my readers asked me about micro needling so here’s the breakdown on this popular anti-aging process.

About Skin Needling

Skin needling, also referred to as microneedling or collagen induction therapy, is the use of multiple needles at one time on a set gauge or length that is either rolled or stamped onto the skin.  Originally recognized as a method to repair scars in 1995 by Norman Orentreich, MD, and David S. Orentreich, MD, it was Des Fernandes, MD, who introduced skin needling as a skin rejuvenation method.

Different needle lengths will yield different results.  For example, shorter needles will increase product penetration and stimulate collagen production while longer needles may be used to treat deeper wrinkles and scarring.

How it Works

Skin needling is based on the premise of a controlled wound response than in turn stimulates collagen production.   Basically, anytime your skin is injured, it begins a process of wound healing that is followed by the production of new collagen and elastin.  In skin needling, the needles create tiny ‘injuries’ that prompt this wound healing process.

Skin needling treatments will also be followed by applications of, but not limited to vitamin C, retinoids, peptides and/or hydroxy based exfoliants.  Whereas microdermabrasion or chemical peels drive ingredients further into the skin by removing a layer(s) of skin, skin needling does the same without removing the top layer of skin.

Who’s A Good Candidate?

Most skin types and conditions can benefit from this treatment but may not be suited for skin that is sensitive or inflamed.  Skin needling is used for fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring, hyperpigmentation and stretch marks.  Treatments can be tailored according to skin types and conditions by changing the device, needle depth and frequency of treatments.

 Things to Consider

A series of treatments are needed to achieve optimum results.

Treatments can range from $200-$500 per treatment.

The longer the needle is, this risk for infection increases; therefore follow your physicians instructions.

Procedures like these are usually performed in a medical office or medical spa- make sure the person performing the treatment is qualified and that he/she wears gloves at all times.

Although a topical numbing cream will be used prior to treatment, expect some discomfort.

Bottom Line: Skin needling is just one of many anti-aging options available that can generate great results. However, always do your research and consult with a professional to determine what works best for you.

I hope this article is helpful and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

*Note: Although I love DIY treatments, this treatment is best left to professionals.  Doing this yourself can cause damage and lead to severe infections.   

 

 

 

 

The Beauty in Sleep!

sleeping beauty

What’s one thing college students, new parents, teenagers and more than half of the American population have in common?

Sleep deprivation.

As important as it is to get enough sleep, a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2002 concluded that “74% of American adults experience a sleeping problem a few nights a week or more and 39% get less than seven hours of sleep each weeknight.”  Recently, The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement suggesting an 8:30 a.m. or later school start time for middle and high school students and with good reason.

Research has shown that young people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer depression, be involved in car accidents and have lower test scores.   Lack of sleep is also a risk factor for weight gain and can disrupt the body’s regulation of blood sugar.  An increase in stress-hormone levels contribute to an elevated rise in blood pressure and promote inflammatory changes associated with chronic disease, including heart disease and diabetes.

Much More Than Just A Phrase

We’ve all heard about needing our ‘beauty sleep’ but it turns out this phrase isn’t just superficial-it can accelerate the aging process!  On a visual level, not receiving the crucial shut-eye results in a dull complexion because when you are tired, blood doesn’t flow efficiently; fine lines also appear more prominent.  On a deeper level, your skin, as well as your whole body, transitions into repair mode when you sleep.  New skin cells grow and replace older cells.  An increase in inflammatory cells in the body lead to a breakdown in collagen and hyaluronic acid, both of which assist in giving skin it’s glow, bounce and translucency.

A Look at ‘Beauty Sleep’ by the Hour

Perhaps Charles Perrault’s tale The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods was inadvertently on to something, except let’s replace the 100 years with the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. (Yet another example of how I love to tie beauty and literature together!)

Hours 1-3: The deepest sleep of the night, your body produces the most human growth hormone- critical to skin and hair repair.

Hours 4-5: Deep sleep shortens and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep begins. There’s also an increase in melatonin, a hormone with potent antioxidant properties to combat oxidative stress.

Hours 6-8: This is when you get the most REM sleep. Your skin’s temperature reaches its lowest point, enabling muscles to relax and allowing skin its deepest recovery.

Solutions to Promote Better Sleep

Sometimes sleep doesn’t come easily so if you have trouble sleeping, try these suggestions.

  • Schedule your bedtime and your wake-up time according to the number of hours of sleep you need.
  • About an hour or more before bedtime, stop phone calls and watching television and read or listen to music instead.
  • Try aromatherapy (my favorite!).  Lavender, neroli and sandalwood essential oils can relax and promote a restful sleep.  Fill half of a mini spray bottle with water, mix in your relaxing essential oil of choice and lightly spritz onto your sheets and/or pillow.
  • Learning to manage your stress or keep it under control will in turn yield to a more restful sleep. Breathing techniques, exercise, a spa visit and regular massages can keep stress in check.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. What helps you catch more Zzzzz’s? 

 

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition. 

 

 

What’s Aging You?

aging

69 year-old truck driver whose left side of the face was exposed to the sun for 28 years.

 

By at least our 30’s, if not sooner, many of us start reaching for products that can help delay the aging effect.  While aging is a natural part of life, if you’re seeing signs of premature wrinkles, take a look at this fact.  85% of skin aging is caused by how you live (i.e. sun exposure, pollution, unhealthy lifestyle). 

Aging can be classified into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic.  Intrinsic aging reflects genetic background and the passage of time; in other words, elements that are beyond our control.  Extrinsic aging (considered to be preventable) is brought about by environmental or external factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, and UV exposure.

Do you know which factor is responsible for expediting the aging process?

If you guessed the sun, you are correct (and have been reading my posts)!

By now you know the danger of excessive and unprotected UV exposure (skin cancer), but it also leads to photo-aging– a term used to describe the characteristic changes of  sun induced skin.

photo-age

Extrinsic, left; Intrinsic , right.

The image above depicts photo-aged skin (left) and chronological aged skin (right).  See the dramatic difference?

Let’s take a look at how structurally these two pictures differ.

Protected From UV Damage and Extrinsic Elements

When age is caused by intrinsic forces, the skin has a thinned, smooth, clear, almost transparent apperance.  There is also fine wrinkling, inelastic, saggy skin, increased dryness, slight flakiness, loss of underlying fat resulting in hollow cheeks and eye socket and a slowing of collagen and elastin production

Exposed To UV Damage and Other Extrinsic Elements 

Aging caused by this will culminate in a thickened epidermis resulting in rough, leathery skin, telangiectasia (dilated blood vessels), yellow, sallow coloration and age spots.  There is an increased risk of skin cancer and a degradation of collagen and elastin.

As you can see, how you will age is contingent on several factors, most of which are preventable.  Sunscreen is and will continue to be one of the most powerful products in your skin care arsenal.  The best news, it’s also the most cost effective!

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredient Importan-C!

Vitamin C

Crazy weather and flu season usually sends us sprinting to our nearest pharmacy to stock up on vitamin C in hopes of strengthening our immune system.  Aside from boosting our immune system and hearing about collagen production, what else do you really know about vitamin C?  What health ailment did sailors endure because they lacked vitamin C and what role does it play in skincare?

Read on to find out!

Who: Vitamin C

What skin conditions it can help: Aging, hyperpigmentation.  Sensitive skin may tolerate it at lower percentages or as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

Where it’s found: Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers and kiwis.

For topical uses look for: Vitamin C, Vitamin C ester, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

Why it’s important:  Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C, which is why it has to be obtained by external sources (i.e. fruits and vegetables or through supplements). Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis which is needed for wound healing, and is also crucial for iron absorption. . It’s required for tissue growth and is a proven antioxidant, fighting free radicals that cause damage to healthy cells and DNA.

How it affects the body and skin: Oral vitamin C is needed to prevent scurvy, a disease which at one time plagued many sailors who only consumed cured and salted meats, and dried grains for extended periods of time. Scurvy has many skin manifestations including fragile skin, gum disease, easy bruising and bloody nail beds. Scurvy is reversed however, by adding vitamin C into the diet either through supplements or fresh citrus fruit.

Topical use of vitamin C results in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes the formation of collagen- important for improved skin texture-  and protects the skin from photodamage, also known as UV damage. It can also reduce pigmentation due to its brightening properties.

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.