Shine On…Just Maybe Not Too Much

oil

Oh, oil.

You can be a dry skin type’s best friend by creating an ethereal glow and an oily skin type’s worst enemy causing us to look like one hot mess.  While oil is a natural substance found in our skin that helps keep skin supple, too much of it can cause problems such as acne and blackheads.

Aside from genetics, there are other factors that can contribute to less than a desirable amount of oil production.

Causes

Genetics, of course

Yup, you can thank your ancestry for this one as skin types are determined by your genes.  There is a chance however, that your skin type may change with age.

Hormones/Stress

There is a reason why the majority of breakouts occur when you are a teenager.  Your sebaceous glands (glands that are charge of producing oil) are typically dormant before puberty, and spring into life after puberty. Hormones at this time are also raging out of control.  The adrenal glands produce testosterone in women, thereby increasing sebum production.

Continual chronic stress also increases hormone levels and also increased sebum levels.

Environment

Heat and humidity increase oil levels.  Individuals who work in kitchens or laundry mats or who live in hot and humid places can often find an increase in oil.

Harsh products/Not using a moisturizer  

Excessive drying of skin or not moisturizing the skin may cause the sebaceous glands to overcompensate by producing an excessive amount of sebum to replace the moisture lost.

Solutions 

Although you can’t really reason with genetics, figure out what your triggers are and read these options available to help keep sebum at bay.

Relax and slow down if stress seems to be the issue.  Take a small amount of time out of your day/night (even if it’s only one minute!) for yourself and do something you enjoy. Exercising, reading, meditating, and aromatherapy can work wonders.

Hydrate!  Humectants, which include glycerin, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA, attract water (not oil) to the skin and cinnamon bark, borage seed oil, wheat germ oil, niacinamide, zinc glucanate, caffeine, enantia bark, yeast extract, horse chestnut and biotin can regulate oil production with regular use.

Stay balanced! Using a pH balanced cleanser, something that is NOT soap, can help keep you from over drying the skin. Cleansing your skin about twice a say should suffice, or you run the risk of over drying the skin as well. Those who have acne may want to be careful about over using ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, which although can be great for acne, can also be very drying.

Nutrition  Zinc can help regulate oil glands.  Zinc rich foods include oysters, crab, liver, mushrooms and spinach.

Other Blotting tissues, using oil-free makeup, and certain primers can also keep shine to a minimum.

If you have oily skin, what product do you swear by? 

 

 

What the Milia?

milia

If you’ve ever examined your skin and noticed tiny, white hard bumps that resemble sesame seeds, most likely you have a skin anomaly known as milia.  No need to panic though. Milia aren’t harmful, they’re just more of a complexion nuisance, and boy, are they stubborn!

Milia are usually found around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead and occur when oil, debris and dead skin cells become trapped beneath the surface of the skin.  Although they resemble whiteheads, milia won’t go away easily because they don’t have an escape route, meaning they’re not in the pores but rather ‘stuck’ under the outer layer of your skin. Therefore, trying to extract them yourself is NOT recommended since you can damage surrounding tissue and cause scarring.

So what options are available?

First, let’s examine the common culprits. Milia can be genetic and can also be caused by using too-rich ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin, and isopropyl myristate.  If milia are prevalent around the eye area, make sure your eye cream and/or makeup remover is free from these ingredients.

Now, on to the treatment.  Thoroughly cleansing your face at night (read: more than just splashing your face with water) can help keep them from forming.  Mild exfoliation (enzymes are great for this!) and using a serum or cream with either hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic, or salicylic) or retinol can also help.  If this solution doesn’t work (and frustratingly, it often doesn’t) or you want faster results, visit a dermatologist or esthetician where they can remove milia with a lancet.

Do you have milia? What treatment worked best for you?

 

 

 

What Your Skin Does For You!

skin works

For the most part, I write about skin and how to take care of it.  Investing time in a skincare routine, along with adopting healthy lifestyle choices, leads to skin health, enhanced appearance, protection from skin cancer, and prevention from premature aging.

However, have you ever stopped and wondered what your skin does for you?

Confession: Before esthetic school, skin to me was just…well…skin.  I knew it encased our organs, protecting them from falling out and responded to sensation but my knowledge about the subject was limited.  So what did I learn?

Skin, also known as the integumentary system, is the largest organ in the body and has six primary functions: sensation, protection, heat regulation, excretion, absorption and secretion.

Sensation: Our skin contains sensory nerve endings that respond to touch, pain, colds, heat and pressure.  These nerve endings detect stimuli, sending messages to the brain to react as a protective defense mechanism or to react in a positive manner.

Protection: Skin is a thin but strong protective barrier to outside elements and microorganisms.  Sebum (oil), lipids (fat), sweat and water make up what is known as the acid mantle.  The acid mantle has a pH of about 5.5 and this acidic level protects us from pathogens, irritation, and from the skin drying out.

The most fascinating aspect of skin is its ability to repair itself when injured, protecting the body from infection and damage from injury.

Heat Regulation: The body’s internal thermostat is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sweat glands release heat from the body through perspiration to keep us from overheating.  Through evaporation on the skin’s surface, the body is able to cool itself.  To protect ourselves from the cold, our blood vessels constrict and decrease the blood flow. The body’s fat layers help to keep the body warm.

Excretion: Sweat glands excrete perspiration and help detoxify the body by ridding it of excess water, salt and unwanted chemicals.

Secretion: Sebum (oil) protects the surface of the skin and lubricates both skin and hair. It’s responsible for keeping skin soft, protecting from outside elements, slowing down the skin’s evaporation of water, and maintaining water levels in the cells.  

Absorption: Absorption of water, oxygen, and ingredients are essential for skin health.  Select topical products help keep skin moisturized, nourished and protected.

So there you have it.  A tiny, simplified glimpse of what your skin does, regardless if you take care of it or not.

Showing it some consideration and TLC  a few minutes a day does not seem that like that much work after all, does it?

Happy Thursday!