Autumn Exfoliation and Chemical Peels

Throughout the summer, our skin “toughens up” with exposure to the sun, building up a layer of dead skin.  In addition, the residue for all our sunscreen acts a barrier preventing our products from penetrating the skin.  So now that the sun is not beating down on us, it’s a good time to think about exfoliating our skin and/or trying a chemical peel.

Proper exfoliation gently uncovers the fresh new cells below.  This opens the way for moisturizers to penetrate more deeply.  For healthy glowing skin, regular exfoliation really is a must.  There are so many options for exfoliating scrubs, but opt for ones of higher quality, with jojoba oil, and vitamins, and hyaluronic acid.  Beauty Riche has a list of options for you to choose from.

If you have dry skin, here is how exfoliation can really help.  Focus on the rough, dry patches of skin.  Concentrate on those areas, exfoliating on the places where your complexion is especially dull, flaky or uneven.  Gently exfoliate in upward, circular motions.  Don’t be heavy handed!  A little goes a long way.

If you have frail capillaries, apply a face oil or serum prior to using your scrub to act as an extra layer of protection for your skin. And if you notice sensitivity or redness, exfoliate less often.

Exfoliating brushes, such as Clarisonic, are also a great option. Be sure to keep a close eye on how your skin reacts though, and cut back on use should you see irritation or redness.

Follow up with a hydrating moisturizer after exfoliating.  I recommend face oils and serums after exfoliation. As always, choose products that work from the inside out, penetrating all the way to the lipid barrier.  Effective face oils and serums can replenish the lipid barrier to create softer, smoother, more hydrated skin.

If you are acne prone, stay away from rough physical scrubs, which can contribute to breakouts. Chemical versions — such as a face wash made with hydroxy acids like glycolic or salicylic acid remove grime and penetrate oil to break down pore-clogging dead skin cells.  Charcoal or clay masks also absorb excess oil.

If you have sensitive skin, gritty scrubs are definately a no-no, but most people can benefit from a mild, short-contact exfoliating product. Consider a cleanser or toner rich in fruit or plant enzymes.

Don’t use a body scrub!  Body scrubs often have harsher, larger granules, made to even out the thicker, tougher skin below the neck.

Now… a chemical peel can also be a nice (and stronger) option to get rid of that layer of dead skin cells.  There are different types of chemical peels, based on the type and strength of the chemical used and how long it is applied.

Superficial or light peels are the gentlest type of peels. They remove the top layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, and can give your skin and instantly brighter look as well as a smoother, more even texture. They can be used to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, mild acne scarring, age spots, dry or flaking skin. They are typically made from alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid. Fruit enzymes and acids from natural sources such as pumpkins, cranberries and pineapples are also seen in these peels. A course of between six and 10 treatments is usually recommended to achieve the best results. Superficial peels do not hurt, you only feel a slight tingling or stinging sensation, and have virtually no recovery time. You can be a little bit pink afterwards and may get some mild flaking of the skin but this can be disguised with make-up. With a superficial peel no one would know you had had the treatment done.

Medium depth peels give more dramatic results than superficial peels. TCA (trichloroacetic acid) is typically used as this penetrates deeper into the skin.  It treats more obvious sun damage, pigmentation and wrinkles. The downside of medium peels is that you will have a longer recovery and more side effects. You may feel more discomfort during the treatment than you would with a superficial peel including burning and stinging. Your face can become swollen, pink and itchy following treatment and you will get more ‘peeling’. You can also get patches of brown pigmentation during the healing process and in rare cases you can get scarring from medium depth peels. Generally, recovery takes around a week but your skin can be pink for up to six weeks afterwards.

Deep peels are the strongest type of chemical peel available and can achieve amazing results for sun damage, scarring and deep lines and wrinkles but this should only be done in the hands of a qualified physician with plenty of experience.  Carbolic Acid is commonly the agent used.  For some people it can take up to two weeks before they want to go out in public. The most common problem associated with deep peels are patches of hypopigmentation, which can be permanent. There is also a risk of scarring. Because of the risks associated with deep peels, it is incredibly important you find an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon to carry out the treatment.

Look for these ingredients if you want a nice home chemical peel…

Glycolic acid is the most common peeling agent. It comes in different strengths (30% – 90%) and different levels of acidity which will determine how deep it penetrates and how much peeling you get. It can be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, improvement of skin texture, skin brightening.

Salicylic acid is unique amongst the hydroxy acids in that it can penetrate deeper into the oil glands causing exfoliation even in the oily areas of the face and scalp, making it ideal for treating acne and oily skin.

Lactic acid is less irritating than other AHAs and has a natural moisturizing effect on the skin. It is ideal for skin brightening. It can be used to treat pigmentation, dry or dehydrated skin, sensitive skin, rosacea.

Fruit enzymes can also be used as peeling agents. Commonly used fruit enzymes come from fruits such as papaya, pineapple, pumpkin and cranberry. They are anti-bacterial, promote cell renewal and can digest oil from spots (sebum) and dead skin. They can be used to treat acne, rosacea, dehydrated skin, hyper reactive and sensitive skin.

Tartaric acid comes from grapes and is a less irritating alternative to glycolic acid for a milder exfoliation of the skin. It can also help increase hydration. It can be used to treat acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, eczema.

Malic acid comes from apples and pears and like tartaric acid is a weaker AHA than glycolic acid. It can be used to treat acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, eczema. Citric acid comes from lemons and oranges and works in the same way as tartaric and malic acids. It can be used to treat acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, eczema.

Hopefully I have given you some good information as you are choosing which exfoliant or chemical peel might work best for you.  As a rule of thumb with these agents, start off gently and see how you do.  You can work your way into stronger options knowing how your skin will react.

Hope you have a great week!

Dr. Jill

Beauty Detox

Beauty Detox

Let’s get back to the basics on how to maintain beautiful skin.  Yes, good skin care products and treatments do make a difference in how great we look, but if we aren’t eating well and taking care of ourselves from the inside out, we won’t be able to sustain the youthful glow and nourished healthy look we all want in our skin.

For starters, its really important to drink plenty of good clean water. Half our body weight in ounces per day is what we should aim for.  Water flushes the liver and the kidneys, our primary detoxification organs.  The skin is our other detoxification organ. Sweating, whether through exercise, or a sauna, we can clean the skin by opening and unclogging our pores.  Aim for lots of filtered water and a good sweat most days if you can!

Clean eating is crucial over the years to help maintain healthy skin and body.  What should we try to stay away from? 1. Processed foods – processed foods are full of man-manipulated chemicals that are difficult for our bodies to breakdown and end up causing inflammation and weight gain (as these chemicals our body doesn’t know what to do with end up getting stored in our fat cells).  2. Sugar – try to decrease your sugar intake.  This is SO HARD because sugar is so addictive!  Sugar binds to proteins and fats in the body during digestion to create advanced glycation end products which are free radicals that reduce collagen and elastin in the skin, ultimately causing wrinkles.  Sugar also feed bad bacteria and yeast in our gut, which can cause inflammation and show up in the skin as acne or puffiness.  3.  Trans fats and many vegetable oils – these also promote inflammation.

We really should aim for a whole foods plant based diet.  I’m not saying to be a vegetarian, just eat more plants!  A variety of fruits and vegetables are going to give you an array of antioxidants to fight free radicals in our bodies.

Free radicals have seriously damaging effects on our skin, so we need foods full of antioxidants.  We expose ourselves to free radicals when the sun hits our skin, and when alcohol, sugar, smoke, or other toxins enter the body.  Vitamin C, E and A are the most common antioxidants; green tea is packed with them, and they are found in abundance in fruits and vegetables.  Cosmetic companies are combing the globe for new antioxidants in plants, like acai berries or rose hips, to put into their topical products.  Yes, antioxidants work when applied to the skin (in the right formulations found topically), but do not forget to EAT the fruits and vegetables as well.  Eating our fruits and vegetables, as well as applying them to our skin with good products containing them, is going to give you the most antioxidant power.

Our whole food plant based diet should also contain some healthy fats and adequate protein.  Fats help build cells, produce hormones, give us energy and allow us to absorb fat soluble vitamins.  Great choices are avocados, walnuts, salmon, unheated olive oil.

Lastly in this beauty detox blog, we are all pretty “overfed” in this country we live in.  It’s a blessing… and a curse.  We all could probably benefit from missing a meal now and then, and really start thinking about what foods are healing and truly good for us.  Our bodies have a remarkable capacity to heal if given digestive rest every so often … followed by healing food and clean pure water.

Have a great week!

Dr. Jill

Earth Day Beauty Tips

It was Earth Day yesterday, and after the rain washed everything clean, today is a gorgeous day in Dallas.  I appreciate beautiful days more now, because I moved closer to the city four years ago, and I have to say it’s obvious to me that with more cars, people and businesses all around me, I have definitely felt the effects of breathing slightly more polluted air, seeing and smelling more trash, and feeling the psychological stress of having less open space and open sky.

Pollution really takes a toll on skin, causing uneven skin tone, accelerated aging and even skin cancer.  Microscopic specks of smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere from sources like construction sites, cars and power plants. Pollution breaks down collagen and the lipid layer in the skin, which impairs skin barrier functions. Washing your face thoroughly helps.  At night, remove the film of potentially harmful pollutants, not to mention makeup and dirt. The goal is to get everything off without too much scrubbing, which can exacerbate skin conditions like acne.  In addition, pollution erodes the ozone layer, which helps shield us from the sun’s harmful rays.  Apply a broad spectrum SPF 30 daily to protect yourself.  The latest formulas contain antioxidants, boosting their pollution-fighting powers. Utilizing sunscreen, antioxidants and proper cleansing, and you won’t end up with skin that’s older than your age.

But looking at the BIGGER picture, what can we do to help this gorgeous planet of ours?  I am tempted to throw my hands up and look the other way at times.  But the truth is, we all make an impact.  A healthy lifestyle and an eco-conscious one go hand in hand.

Here are some things for us to consider.

Can you drive a BIT less?  It’s a great way to reduce the amount of dangerous greenhouse gases (which are responsible for a large chunk of climate change) we release into the environment.  I carpool with my kids, and chunk my errands all at once if I can.  I also do more virtual shopping.  BeautyRiche is my one-stop-shop for my skin care products.

Start paying attention to the food items you toss in the garbage. That way, you can notice patterns (e.g., every week you throw away half a gallon of spoiled milk) and tweak your shopping habits accordingly.  Consider donating to a food kitchen if you have a party and are left with a lot of extra food.  And RECYCLE!!! Plastic, paper, cans, glass.  It’s really so easy once you start.  Most of the waste in my home is recycling now and not trash.

Use less food packaging.  It irritates me that food packaging takes up almost two thirds of total packaging waste in the United States. (All those cheese stick wrappers and yogurt containers!). That means a whole lot of waste ending up in landfills, which mean more methane is released into the air.  When shopping, look for products with minimal to no packaging, or at least packaging made from recycled items.

Carry your coffee cups. This is an area where we can make a huge difference in the amount of waste we produce. Bonus: Some stores (even Starbucks) provide discounts for bringing your own mug.

Consider buying in bulk the foods that last a long time (think pasta, cereal, and nuts). Just be sure to store them properly so they don’t go bad before you can use them.

Reuse your grocery bags!
Household cleaning products are among a number one cause of indoor pollutants that can hurt the environment as well as your lungs.  Choose non-toxic eco friendly cleaning products if you can.

Look for the Energy Star label, consider products that run on natural gas instead of electricity.  The same thing goes for the purchase of wood products (like furniture)—make sure it’s been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council—and less obvious paper goods, like tissues and toilet paper.

The most important idea to remember is that overtime, all these changes add up to a really positive impact on the environment. No effort is too trivial—so pick one of these new habits and take action today.

 

Happy Earth Day and have a great week!

 

Dr. Jill

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

I broke out with HORRIBLE acne my first and second year of Medical School.  It was so awful, so embarrassing, and I will never forget the pitiful look my Attending Dermatologist gave me as she wrote me a prescription for Accutane (twice).  Outside of the stress and late nights up studying, I lived on coffee and candy to get me through… and I paid the price.  I WISH I knew then what a huge impact diet and lifestyle plays on your skin.  Although great products and laser have helped get rid of most of my acne scars and helped skin look good again, I am more convinced than ever at my age of 46 HOW MUCH great nutrition keeps skin healthy and supple and vibrant.  Let me give you some insight…

First and foremost, nix the sugary, caffeinated stuff and DRINK MORE PURE WATER!  Over 60% of our bodies are comprised of water, and you will notice a difference in your skin within a day or two!  Water is crucial for our skin cells to stay plump and alive. Water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out. Further, when we are hydrated, we sweat more efficiently, which keeps our skin clear.  You should be drinking 8 glasses daily at minimum and more if you are active.

Secondly, eat more PLANTS! More fruits and veggies will make a big difference on the health of your skin.  If you notice many of our higher end skin products have vitamins and minerals and enzymes derived from fruits and vegetables…  If we are spending “many pennies” to put them ON our skin, why not put them in our bodies as well?

Vitamin C is found in abundance in citrus fruits, and in a variety of vegetables, such as broccoli and kale.  Vitamin C promotes collagen production and skin healing.  Vitamin A is essential for new skin cell development and cellular renewal.  Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squash, dried apricots, bell peppers, mango and canteloupe are excellent sources of vitamin A.

In general, many fruits and vegetables are full of ANTIOXIDANTS.  Some powerhouse choices are blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and plums.  Our skin is exposed to free radicals on a daily basis. Free radicals come from things such as sun exposure or pollution, and are responsible for skin damage and sun aging.  Antioxidants such as those found in berries can destroy these free radicals and protect cells from further damage and premature skin aging.  Why not start now so you can keep your skin looking great in the next 5, 10, 20, 30 plus years?!

Third, our skin’s cellular membranes are made of a “bi-lipid layer”, which means the covering of our cells is made of fat molecules.  When we eat more healthy fats, these get incorporated into new cells with healthier membranes and therefore healthier cells. Healthy skin cells hold moisture better, which results in plumper, younger-looking skin. Good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids include salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed. Essential fatty acids also protect against inflammation, which is good for our hearts and arteries, as well as our skin.

Fourth, green tea is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and for its ability to help protect cell membranes. Whether you drink it or apply it to the skin, a 2000 study in the Archives of Dermatology showed green tea might help reduce the risk of damage from UV rays from the sun, which may reduce the risk of skin cancer.  It’s also full of antioxidants and polyphenols (anti-inflammatories) that we know are good for the skin.

Lastly, try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.  Researchers believe are thousands of undiscovered of antioxidants, peptides, enzymes, and anti-aging ingredients that will nourish our skin and our bodies, keeping us looking and feeling great.

 

Have a great week!

 

Dr. Jill