The cosmetics industry flourishes both in the US and abroad, and one of the industry’s booming sectors is anti-aging skin care. Some estimates place the U.S. market for cosmeceutical products – creams and serums with medicine-based ingredients – at close to 20 billion a year. There are a dizzying array of products to choose from, each promising smooth, clear, line-free complexions.
I’m a big believer in two things: keeping things simple, and less is more. In keeping with that, I asked my friend, Connie Kakkar, owner of Innovative Aesthetics, for the skin care routine she recommends to her clients:
Here are the essentials of good skin care, according to Connie:
1. A gentle cleanser – one that does not strip a person’s skin of natural oils, drying the skin out. Some of the most popular cleansers that are high in PH (in the area of 9 or 10) are too harsh and can leave skin dry, tight, even irritated. ( Normal skin pH is somewhere in the range of 4.2. to 5.6.) Gentle is better for cleansing for normal skin.
2. Vitamin C Serum. This can be a costly product ($100 and up) because it is very difficult to stabilize. When a Vitamin C Serum is properly formulated, at least 15% L-ascorbic acid and pH lower than 3.5 to allow percutaneous absorption, it can supplement the antioxidant reservoirs of skin and provide meaningful photoprotection. It protects skin against photo-induced erythema, cellular damage as measured by sunburn cells, and thymine dimer formation (these are abnormal DNA bases caused by ultra violet irradiation.). If you live anywhere in close proximity to the sun, as we do in Colorado, Vitamin C Serum is extremely important as a part of a daily skin care regime. It is applied in the morning, right after cleansing and toning.
3. Sunscreen. Connie and her staff recommend a sunscreen that has at least 9% Zinc Oxide, which is a broad spectrum sunscreen, and covers both UVA and UVB rays. Some sunscreen ingredients actually break down in direct sunlight (avobenzone, Parsol 1789) and are ineffective for outdoors. Sunscreen should be applied last, before your makeup. It should be applied every day, rain, snow, or shine, inside or out (unless you live in a cave). The light that comes through windows can be very harmful to skin. We recommend an SPF of at least 30. If your makeup has SPF in it, that is not enough. It’s important to apply sunscreen as well.
4. Retin A or a retinol. Retin A is the prescription form of Vitamin A and retinol is the over-the-counter form. Retinol is a Vitamin A but closer to an alpha hydroxyl acid. Retin A is the only topical proven by way of clinical studies to actually repair cellular damage. It’s good for acne, fine lines and wrinkles and texture. A pea size every night will do the trick. If a person does not use a toner that returns the skin to pH, wait ten minutes before applying Retin A to the skin. A moisturizer may be applied on top of it.
And that’s it! Simple, easy, basic and guaranteed to get and keep your skin healthy and glowing for years to come.
Coach’s action step: As summer turns to fall, how are you inspired to “step it up a notch” in your own life? Maybe it’s time to try out some rich fall colors – in your wardrobe or your environment. When was the last time you treated yourself to a facial or a massage – or a night out on the town? Maybe season tickets for a local theater company, or concert series. What will enrich your experience of life this autumn?