Every day women are scrubbing, rubbing, lasering, and peeling their face in the hope that inflicting just the right amount of damage will spur healing and that skin will end up looking better than before. Exfoliation is paramount and we finally understand that to have youthful, glowing skin, you first need strong, repaired skin. However, you need to find a careful balance so that you are strengthening your skin between brief—not chronic episodes of controlled damage. There is such a thing of over exfoliation and depending on your skin type you can sometimes end up with brown (hper pigmentation) or white (hypo pigmentation) spots. Redness also can be a side effect.
BUILD UP THE BARRIER With Antioxidants
Safeguard the skin barrier with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals created during sun and other exposure; when free radicals get into the skin, they attack collagen and elastin.
Look for products that contain a mix of antioxidants (Vitamins A and E) and water-soluble ones (such as vitamin C). Vitamin A is found in both over-the-counter retinol and prescription products like Retin-A. Vitamin A makes its way down into the second layer of the skin—the dermis—where it can activate fibroblasts to create collagen, which builds up the skin.
BOOST GROWTH AND REPAIR With Peptides
Use ingredients like peptides and growth factors, which stimulate collagen production. Each of us already has these enzymes in our body but around age 30, levels start to decline. Studies have shown that using topical products with DNA repair enzymes can actually reverse some of the effects of sun damage to prevent precancers, as well as help thicken skin, by limiting the development of collagenase, an enzyme that degrades collagen.
FEED THE FOUNDATION
To rehydrate the skin and replenish those spaces between the cells, you need a combination of lipids. Products with moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, shea butter, and fatty-acid-rich botanical oils and hyaluronic acid.
KEEP IT IN BALANCE
Maintain your skin PH. Your skin is naturally acidic, with a pH of 4 to 5.5. This is the acid mantle, a thin film on the outer layer of the skin, one that works as a built-in antioxidant, protecting underlying skin from oxidative damage, regulating moisture levels, helping guard against damage from environmental factors like sun and wind, and inhibiting the bacterial growth that leads to blemishes and inflammation. If you use products that are too alkaline—soaps and cleansers that are harsh and stripping—you tear down your skin’s own defense and make it harder for the other products you’re using to do their job. Products that are too harsh can leave your skin feeling stripped and almost squeaky-clean.