Showing posts with label Anti-Aging 101. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anti-Aging 101. Show all posts

The Best Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

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Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Review

I first reviewed Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream in 2007 (yes, 10 years ago), right when it was being released. I was blown away by this super moisturizing face cream! It was full of peptides to improve collagen production. There was also a lot of hyaluronic acid to really help plump up the outer layers of your skin while it hydrated, something that it did without feeling heavy on your skin.

Since my initial review, I have been recommending this cream left and right. You're 20 and want to start anti-aging early? You want to prevent premature aging without irritating your skin? You want a cream to use with your retinoid? You want a drugstore cream? You want a department store cream? Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is the correct answer for each and every one of those situations.

How Does It Work?
Since I first reviewed it, Olay has made some minor adjustments here and there in the formulation. The list of active ingredients is even longer, and the cream is just... better. It's true!

I don't have the full ingredient list from the original Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. However, I do have the new list and I don't remember so many active ingredients.

• Amino-Peptide: This was my major attraction to the original. They increase collagen production in your skin, decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They are non-irritating and in my opinion should be included in everyone's anti-aging skincare routine.

• Niacinamide: This is a Vitamin B3 derivative and in skin care it boosts cell turnover, which improves your skin's tone and texture. It also helps with maintaining the moisture barrier, which is overall very important for your skin's health and function.

I need to be honest and say that the exact chemical structure of the derivative makes a big difference in skincare! The different derivatives will work, but some versions of niacin cause flushing and irritation of the skin. Typically you will find non-irritating niacins (usually niacinamide derivatives) in much more expensive skincare. Olay has included a non-irritating Niacinamide in Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream.

• Panthenol: A derivative of Viamin B5, you'll find this in a lot of soothing face products. It also easily penetrates into the skin, where it holds on to water and moisturizes the skin. Your skin will also use it to help create coenzyme A, which is very important to your skin's health, and it helps in wound healing.

• Vitamin E: A great anti-oxidant, it neutralizes the oxygen free radicals created by exposure to things like the sun and pollution. Over time, the free radicals can result in skin damage and premature aging. It also helps maintain your skin's moisture barrier.

• Olivem: A derivative of olive oil, it increases the penetration of anti-aging ingredients into the skin.

• Carob Seed Extract: Newly added to the formulation, this extract is also active in skin repair and regeneration.

• Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid: Two of my favorite moisturizers, they both hold a lot of moisture in to your skin but won't feel heavy or greasy. This is why the cream is able to plump up the outer layers of your skin so well! The result is a great smoothing and glowy skin effect!

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Review

What are the Results?
For me, my skin is well moisturized and feels smoother when I'm using Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. My skin is combination, with dry spots on my cheeks and an oilier T-zone. However, it doesn't overwhelm my combination skin. You can see my skin above, right after I've washed my face and then about 5 minutes after applying the cream. Notice that the lines, especially right under my eyes, are much less visible almost immediately.

If you want more results, the Good Housekeeping Institute performed their own independent testing, and they found that Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream outperformed 10 top prestige creams, including one that cost $440. Their testing was well done, it was a blinded consumer study with the participants not knowing what cream they were using. They collected more than 10,000 hydration measurements!

• Olay's hydration was the best of the creams at the 3 hour time point. It had moisturized 400% better than a cream nearly 18 times its price and beat all other products tested.
• Olay increased moisture by 50% on average over a 24-hour period.
• In blinded tests, 80% of the participants preferred the feeling of Olay over the other creams. They reported that it felt "rich" without being heavy.
• Based on testing, they found that Olay Regenerist improved skin's texture by 10% in just four weeks.

• 1 day: reduces the appearance of lines, boosts hydration and brightness
• 2 weeks: Skin is noticeably firmer and skin elasticity is improved
• 4 weeks: Wrinkle appearance is improved

Who is it Best For?
It works for pretty much everyone. Whether your skin is dry or oily, the moisture in Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream just works. It soothes and hydrates my dry areas and it doesn't overwhelm my oily T-zone. I've used this cream in the middle of the winter and in the summer, both with great results. Because the active ingredients are all non-irritating and soothing, this is a cream that you can easily use every day to fight premature aging and get glowy skin. I love that it's at a price point that works for every budget.

How Does It Fit Into a Skincare Routine?
I especially love to recommend Micro-Sculpting Cream when someone is completely overwhelmed by anti-aging skincare. There are so many products out there, and it is very easy to get overwhelmed by gimmicky ingredients which have minimal evidence supporting anti-aging benefits. This is the perfect product to build an anti-aging skincare routine around.

In my ideal world, an "easy" anti-aging skincare routine includes:
• Sunscreen: Use it every day, look for broad spectrum coverage with at least SPF 30. Dermatologists all agree, this is the number one way to fight premature aging.
• Retinoid: There are many different retinoids, they are derivatives of Vitamin A. They'll increase cell turnover, improve your skin tone and have a lot of evidence supporting reversal of fine lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, even the over the counter versions can be very irritating to skin; and they aren't safe to use while pregnant.
• Peptides: Increase collagen production without irritating your skin.
• Anti-oxidants: Fight free radicals by neutralizing them before they cause damage to your skin.
• Hyaluronic Acid: Yes, a moisturizer. This is my favorite moisturizing ingredient to look for in skin care, it doesn't feel heavy and makes my skin well hydrated. Yes, it makes me look younger and it works almost immediately.

You'll notice that Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream checks 3 of those 5 boxes with just one product. It is the perfect product to build an anti-aging skincare routine around. Just add a broad spectrum sunscreen and a retinoid product, and you're set! Since retinoids can be irritating, especially when starting to use them, it is best to use them every other night and work your way up to every night if possible, layering it over a moisturizer to decrease irritation.

My usual recommendation to friends and family is to buy the Micro-Sculpting Cream, add a light sunscreen product each morning, and a retinol. Start the retinol every other night over Micro-Sculpting Cream, increase to every night when you are able.

For more information, go here to learn about Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.


5 Anti-Aging Gadgets that Actually Work

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5 Anti-Aging Gadgets that Actually Work

I have a new post up over on eBay! Go check it out!
5 Anti-Aging Gadgets that Actually Work

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Note that I am paid for writing the post over on eBay, I'm not really paid for posting about it on the blog, but I want to be extra transparent. I wrote this, it might be helpful, go check it out!

The Hard Working Anti-Aging Products You Need To Try

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The Hard Working Anti-Aging Products You Need To Try

I have a new post up over on eBay! Go check it out!
The Hard Working Anti-Aging Products You Need To Try

Sponsored Post
Note that I am paid for writing the post over on eBay, I'm not really paid for posting about it on the blog, but I want to be extra transparent. I wrote this, it might be helpful, go check it out!

All About Retinoids: Why You Want Them, How They Work and How I Use Them

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All About Retinoids:  Why You Want Them, How They Work and How I Use Them

Over the years I've written a series of posts on this site about skincare that I refer to over and over, and one of my most referenced posts, all about retinoids and how they work, has somehow become sadly out of date. I can't believe it's been 8 years since I wrote that post! Somehow the blog is almost 10 years old, and time has flown by.

I had already decided that it was definitely time for an update when I was asked by RoC Skincare if I would partner with them to write a post to help educate about retinoids. Here's where I disclose that yes, I'm a RoC Ambassador (they send me products and I have access to education about skincare, I don't get paid for this), and they're sponsoring this post. But I also want to disclose that the reason I agreed to become a RoC Ambassador is that it's the retinoid cream I use myself. Even before I became an Ambassador, I had been buying their products for years, they were recommended to me by a dermatologist friend as a great over the counter retinoid, and it works great for my sensitive skin. So, I've been one of their Ambassadors for years, and yes, I do still spend my own money on their products.

So, the big question is "why is everyone always so excited about retinoids?"

There's a good reason. They're really considered the Gold Standard for a topical, anti-aging skincare product. In study after study, retinoids are the ingredients that have helped reverse fine lines, wrinkles, even out skin tone and they even help acne. They have the most evidence, and their results are better than other active ingredients.

"Retinols and retinoids are BY FAR the best ingredients in dermatology, and especially when it comes to anti-aging. They stimulate increased cell turnover and remove the excess debris that clog pores. I like to refer to this as the 'detoxing' phase of skin rejuvenation. Benefits include evening out skin tone, decreasing acne, shrinking pores, decreasing redness, improving hyperpigmentation, increasing cell turnover, and most importantly, stimulating collagen which improve the appearance of wrinkles. Bottom line - everyone should use them!"
-Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York City.

Read on to learn more about how retinoids work, things to watch out for, and how I incorporate this magical active ingredient into my skincare routine.

Great Retinoids to Help Fight Aging

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Great over the counter retinoids to help erase fine lines and wrinkles
Last week I shared 11 Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Retinoid, and today I'm sharing some of the best over the counter retinoids! They come in different price points, chemical structures and percentages. As a general rule, a Retinol will be stronger than a Pro-Retinol, which needs to undergo more chemical reactions in your skin to be effective than Retinol does. That also means that it will be potentially more irritating. (You can combat that a bit, go check out those retinoid tips again.)

11 Tips to Get More Out Of Your Retinoid

Great anti-aging tips for using a retinoid

When it comes to anti-aging skin care, retinoids are the gold standard. They're the active ingredient most proven to actually reverse wrinkles, fine lines, skin tone irregularities. They also help acne. You can read more about how retinoids work in skin care, an old post on this site, but the basics are still the same.

The problem is, retinoids make it hard to love them. They are confusing (they come in soooo many variations! Over the counter, prescription, many different chemical names, different strengths, etc.), they are irritating to your skin, and they come with so many different do's and don'ts... If you really want to get results, they're still the best ingredient to add to your anti-aging routine. To help simplify things a bit, I've come up with a list of my favorite retinoid tips!

4 Anti-Aging Ingredients Gentle Enough That Everyone Can Use Them

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4 Anti-Aging Ingredients That Everyone Can Use

I get asked about anti-aging skin care a lot. What products should you use? What ingredients to look for in a product? Is this product working, my skin isn't irritated? While I'm not a dermatologist, I have done a lot of reading and I have my own ideas about what you should be using to fight the signs of aging.

One of my biggest complaints about anti-aging skin care is that many people seem to treat it like Jane Fonda and her workout. No pain, no gain. Right? No, not really.

New Mommy Beauty: Skin Care While Pregnant

Pregnant and Pregnancy skincare
Pregnant and Pregnancy skincare
A few days ago I shared with you what skin care ingredients to avoid while pregnant or breastfeeding. The unavoidable truth is that the list of things to not use because of actual evidence of badness (or any lack of evidence that something is safe) is rather long, and makes picking out skin care somewhat tough while pregnant. So, really what most people want is a list of safe skin care products for pregnancy and nursing.

Add in wanting to continue fighting aging (because let's face it, most of us are over 30 while pregnant rather than in our early 20s)... and.... our options have dramatically shrunk.

First, a quick little review of what I think should be included in everyone's skin care routine and any modifications for pregnancy.

1. Gentle Cleansing: Pick a cleanser that removes all of your makeup (especially in the eye area, it's amazing how much eye liner and mascara can be left behind and look horrible), rinses off easily and leaves your skin non-irritated with no redness or after wash tightness.

2. Exfoliation: Usually done either physically (with a scrub or wash cloth or even a BuffPuf) or chemically. In my usual life I prefer chemical since it is more predictable and my skin can tolerate it well. However since the hydroxy acids are a no-go during pregnancy I've opted for physical exfoliation. This means a few times a week I'll use a scrub (I prefer to do this in the shower for easy rinsing, my current favorite is Your Best Face's Prep) and in between I simply make sure I scrub my face a little bit more with my washcloth.

3. Moisturization: The mythical glowy complexion of pregnancy can be achieved (I think I had it for a few weeks somewhere around week 24), and one of the keys is moisture! Keeping your skin nice and plump helps with minimizing any signs of aging as well, even if the effects are temporary. My favorite ingredient in a moisturizer is Hyaluronic Acid (aka- Sodium Hyaluronate) since as a humectant it attracts and keeps moisture in the skin rather than sealing it in (and looking greasy) like an emollient. I love emollients on my body though. Just not on my t-zone.

4. Sun Protection: This is always important. At a bare minimum I think everyone needs a SPF 15 with broad spectrum UVA and UVB coverage, SPF 30 is even better if you can get it. I do not think that you should be looking to your makeup for SPF (chances are you're not going to use the huge amount of foundation or powder to obtain that rating, if your product has SPF in it just consider this a little added bonus). I think you need to have your sunscreen in your daily moisturizer or a separate sunscreen product. Note that during pregnancy with your hormones run amok you are at risk of developing the dreaded "mask of pregnancy", Melasma. I'll be featuring a full post about this (along with the recs of a few dermatologists on how to deal with it) in a few weeks, but your main defense against it is sunscreen. So slather up!

So, I'm sure if you read my blog regularly you recognize my anti-aging checklist. It lists the ingredient categories that I like to include in every anti-aging routine (not necessarily in 1 product). My ideal is to have the routine above, to have peptides and anti-oxidants +/- hydroxy acids in a moisturizer, sunscreen in my day time moisturizer, and then to add in retinoids as a concentrated product that I can then use as my skin tolerates (my skin is usually a bit sensitive to retinoids, I usually end up at every other night). Obviously this can't happen with all of the ingredients to avoid.

So, by the time we take into account what to avoid, the anti-aging checklist turns into the image on the bottom. We're still allowed peptides and anti-oxidants, but retinoids are all a big no-no and the hydroxy acids are typically avoided, especially if you're erring on the conservative side like me. Yes, it sucks to not be able to use a retinoid, but it's only for 9 months so not a big deal. It's the hydroxy acid avoidance that is actually much more annoying. Do you know how hard it is to avoid hydroxy acids?? They like to pop up everywhere. Throw in avoiding all of the other ingredients (especially those skin whiteners) and suddenly there aren't a lot of options.

So, what have I found that works with this? Some of these were old stand-bys that I like to keep on hand to use in between product testings, and some of them were actually things that I tested. The first products in each category are the ones I actually used while pregnant, then I listed a few that I've used in the past and after checking ingredient lists I found they would have worked too.

Olay Foaming Face Wash: Honestly, this one contains citric acid, an AHA, but I missed it on the ingredient list. It's basically the last ingredient (leading me to believe it is there to balance the pH) and therefore in super low amounts. Plus, you wash this off immediately. I used this in my third trimester, I'm trying not to feel guilty.
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser
Also Works:
Cetaphil Cleanser
Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash
Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser

Nightly/Treatment Moisturizer
StriVectin SD
Elizabeth Intervene Stress Recovery Night Cream (This product has been reformulated, my box didn't have a retinoid listed but it does contain this ingredient now. Check your box, but this is no longer safe!)
Your Best Face Control
Also Works:
Neutrogena Light Night Cream

Eye Cream
Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller
Elizabeth Arden Intervene Eye Cream
Your Best Face Refresh Eye Cream
Also Works:
Neutrogena Ageless Restoratives Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream: I haven't used this one before but I really wanted another eye cream to recommend and this one fits the bill

Day Moisturizer with SPF
Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion SPF 50
Aveeno Ageless Vitality, SPF 30
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15
Also Works:
Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture SPF 15

What to do with Blemishes?
So... What are your favorite topical ingredients to treat blemishes? Because it sure seems like all of mine (Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic acid) were both on that list of no-no ingredients. Just try finding an acne treatment that doesn't contain either of those or a hydroxy acid. Pretty much impossible. A reader asked me about Witch Hazel the other day, and that is safe in pregnancy, so that is an option if it doesn't try you out like crazy (like it does me, so I avoid it like the plague).

So.... those hormone induced bumps... you pretty much need to wait them out. To help things along I did do some warm compresses, I did have a facial and let my esthetician do some extractions, and I tried to keep my pores as cleaned out as I could. So, exfoliation, I used my Clarisonic every day and did some masking. Especially during the month that blemishes were a problem for me, I was using a clay containing mask to help suck up all the nastiness about 2-3 times a week (I love the Borghese Fango Mask or the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask, which might be the best $3 you'll ever spend).

Check out all of my pregnancy skin care posts!
8 Pregnancy Friendly Skincare Lines over on Babble
Skin care ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy
Skin care routine adjustments for pregnancy
My criteria for pregnancy safe skincare
Giant List of Pregnancy Safe Skin Care Products

Pregnant and Pregnancy skincare

Some of the items mentioned in this post were sent to me for consideration, some I bought. Some were sent to me and I bought again them later.

L'Oreal's Youth Code: A Pre-Sale to be Excited About?

L'Oreal, Loreal, Youth Code, Science, Pre-Sale, how it works
If you've done any web surfing recently, you've likely noticed the L'Oreal Youth Code Pre-Sale ads everywhere. I mean, everywhere. They are on almost every site I visit. (Actually, not every site. Sometimes I run into the Youth Code Facebook Contest ad instead.)

What exactly is this stuff and should you consider buying it through the pre-sale? Personally, I wanted to know more about the science behind it and why it does (or does not) work.

(Incidentally, I think it does, read on for more info about why.)

Anti-Aging 101: Anti-Oxidants

antioxidants in skin care
antioxidants in skin care and aging

As part of my Anti-Aging 101 Series, I have decided to revamp old posts that describe different ingredient categories. I'll go over how and if these ingredients work. Not a lot has changed regarding some of these ingredients (such as anti-oxidants), but I'm planning to take advantage of the 2 cosmetic dermatology books I have in revamping these posts, so there likely will be some new info.

The involvement of free radicals in the aging process was first proposed all the way back in 1956, and it is one of the few things in anti-aging that is widely accepted. Free radicals have not only been implicated in the overall aging process, but also in photoaging, skin cancer and inflammation (which in turn contributes to aging, photoaging and some postulate skin cancer).

So, what is a free radical? How can you mitigate all this damage, and what exactly is an anti-oxidant?

Well, what exactly is an antioxidant? It's something that fights free radicals. I think that it was explained best by Alton Brown from the Food Network.

creation of a free radical
Basically, the free radicals are created when they give up or lose an electron. That lose leaves a hole, and the newly created free radical doesn't know how to cope with this. It goes crazy trying to fix that hole, which means in your skin the free radical bounces around in skin cells, causing damage to things like your cell membrane or even your DNA, attempting to fix that hole.

What do the free radicals do to your skin? The reactive oxygen will go around seeking another electron, and it doesn't particularly care where it comes from. It can attack cellular proteins, cell membranes, parts of the cytoskeleton, the extra-cellular matrix, even the DNA of the cell itself. We don't know all of the exact mechanisms involved in free radical damage.

So, now that you know what a free radical is, how are they created? Pretty much anything that challenges the skin.
•UV Rays (Sunlight)

free radical neutralization
Antioxidants help to control the free radical damage by getting rid of the free radicals. They can donate an extra electron to the free radical, filling that hole and fixing the behavior. The free radical no longer goes around causing damage.

The skin does have it's own antioxidant system to help to counteract these free radicals, however over time the free radicals can continue to damage cells and their DNA. In addition, your body's antioxidants decrease with age, leaving the free radicals unchecked, and leaving your cells, cell membranes and DNA more vulnerable to damage. This results in loss of firmness, radiance, elasticity and can contribute over time to aging of the skin. Notice that I said over time. Because in theory you're experiencing this type of damage all the time, though more so after exposures to sun and such. But, the damage is cumulative and although you won't be able to see results right away, chances are you will see them in the long term. I think of this as similar to wearing sunscreen. You might not see a big difference now, but if you compare yourself to your friends that didn't do it in 10 years, you'll likely see a difference.

The skin does have it's own anti-oxidant system to help to counteract these free radicals. Our bodies are smart and produce anti-oxidants as part of its own normal processes as well as in response to those same stresses that create the free radicals! So, expose yourself to UV rays, there will be free radicals produced, but your body will respond with anti-oxidant production. Sounds great, right? Sure, except that it takes your body quite a bit longer to produce the extra anti-oxidants than it took the sun to create the free radicals. So, you will have a lag, which allows time for that damage to take place. As well, your body's ability to produce those anti-oxidants will decrease with age. That means more time for that damage to occur.

How does all of this translate over to your skin? You'll see loss of firmness, radiance, elasticity and can contribute over time to aging of the skin. Notice that I said over time. Because in theory you're experiencing this type of damage all the time, though more so after exposures to sun and such. But, the damage is cumulative and although you won't be able to see results right away, chances are you will see them in the long term. I think of this as similar to wearing sunscreen. You might not see a big difference now, but if you compare yourself to your friends that didn't do it in 10 years, you'll likely see a difference.

A huge number of antioxidants are on the market right now, here's a quick overview of a few of them. Note that some of these are applied topically, but some can also be taken orally. Is one better than the other? We're not sure. But, since most of these are simply vitamins, I think you probably couldn't go wrong with improving your diet and using a product with an anti-oxidant in it. Currently Vitamin C is the only anti-oxidant that really "treats" aging once it has occurred. This is likely due to the collagen production boosting affects of Vitamin C rather than the anti-oxidant effects. So, anti-oxidants are aging preventors, with the exception of Vitamin C. Just keep that in mind.

Now, this is the boring part of the post where I list a bunch of ingredients and quote a little bit of stuff from some reviews I've found on-line and then researched a bit on my own to make sure stuff was accurate. I'm by no means an expert on anti-oxidants (especially since there are so many of them), but here's some info on the ones you're most likely to run in to.

Long used to help protect the skin in creams and lotion, allantoin was thought to be a skin protectant. It has been called a "cell proliferant, epithelization stimulant, and a chemical debrider." Basically, it helps to exfoliate and stimulate new skin growth.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
ALA is unique, as it is soluble in both water and lipids, so it easily penetrates into the skin. It seems to help protects Vitamins E and C, helping to boost their activity within the cell by "reenergizing" them. It is also converted in the skin into another chemical that has it's own antioxidant properties.

Copper Peptides
Copper has long been known to be important in the creation of collagen and elastin (again, important parts of the dermis), both of which are decreased with aging. Copper does have a bit more research than many other topical antioxidants, and some well design (aka- double-blind placebo controlled) research studies have shown improvement in fine wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and decreased photodamage. Copper increases the body's superoxide dismutase levels (see below). They even found a 17.8% improvement in skin thickness! Overall that does sound great, and copper is very appealing to add to products since it is non-irritating and pretty cheap to add to creams.

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)
When used topically, DMAE has been found to increase firmness of the skin, likely because it helps to reduce some linking between proteins in the skin that happens with aging, as well as separate antioxidant properties.

Composed of glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine, this little protein is found in all animal tissues, is one of your body's main antioxidants and is very decreased in the skin after skin exposure. Unfortunately it is water soluble, which means it does not absorb well when taken orally or applied topically. Not available in cosmetic products.

Grape and Grape Seed Extract
Proanthocyanidin, a very powerful antioxidant is found in grapes and grape seed extracts. While this antioxidant doesn't have strong evidence that it works topically (really, most of these things I'm listing don't have much evidence anyways), it was found to have strong effects on free radical damage of fat cells especially, as well as improved wound healing and prevention of tumors (both in mice).

Green and White Tea
Green Tea has some great things in it called polyphenols and they are one of the most widely studied anti-oxidants on earth. Polyphenols are a very large and diverse family. There are literally thousands of them, and they are all found in two. The 4 major ones found in tea have long complicated names, but they are shortened to ECG, GCG, EGCG and EGC. Confused yet? The EGCG is the main polyphenol that is responsible for anti-oxidant activity in both green and white tea and it is the most potent. It is important to know which polyphenols are included in a formulation, and to what concentration. The most effective products will contain 50 to 90% polyphenols and will be brown.

EGCG does offer photoprotection. This has been seen in mice with both oral and topical application, as well as in human skin. It is dose dependent (meaning, more ECGC will result in more effects), resulting in a decrease in redness, sunburned cells and less DNA damage after UV exposure.

Note that most of these studies were done specifically with ECGC as the ingredient. There are thousands of polyphenols in green tea, and most products on the market that contain green or white tea are not of a high enough concentration to demonstrate that they work. Look for ECGC ((-)EpiGalloCatechin-3-O-Gallate) and concentrations over 50%.

This is the synthetic analog of Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q 10). It weighs less than CoQ10, and therefore has been shown to penetrate the skin more effectively. It has higher anti-oxidant activity than CoQ10, Vitamin E, Kinetic, and Vitamin C in a lot of studies. Currently it is available in Elizabeth Arden's Prevage Line only.

A natural pigment that is responsible for the red pigment we see in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon and apricots. Due to the chemical composition of Lycopene (something about double bonds) it is a stronger anti-oxidant than beta-carotene or Vitamin E. Increased intake of lycopene has been shown to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. Currently there is little information available regarding its use in anti-aging skin care products.

Yup, that stuff you take to help prevent jet lag is an antioxidant! It's released by the brain, and it's able to both act as an antioxidant, increase the activity of other antioxidants and to help decrease redness from sunburn. Oh, and help you reset your internal clock, but I'm not going to go into that!

An alcohol derivative of Vitamin B5, Panthenol is actually a humectant (see, it's here in my moisturizer post), and is very easily found in moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, etc. Once it's in the skin, it get converted to an acid that is an important cofactor for Coenzyme A, allowing your skin to function normallly. It's pretty stable, but doesn't do well in acidic or basic environments or high heat.

Soy Isoflavones
Only available orally, Genistein and Daidzein help to enhance the antioxidants your body already makes. Mice were fed a solution with these 2 isoflavins, and for weeks afterwards their skin had decreased roughness and improved collagen levels after sun exposure. Does this mean that if you eat soy it will make your skin smoother? Not quickly, but it may help in the long run.

Spin traps
Spin traps are kinda cool, they react with the free radicals to create unreactive free radicals, so they can't cause any damage! I love the Your Best Face products, which feature Spin Traps.

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)
An enzyme that destroy a very active reactive oxygen species (super oxide), this is a very big enzyme and it has a really hard time penetrating into your skin. This makes it very difficult to use as a topical agent. If it could get there, it would be very useful and would dramatically decrease redness from sunburn as well as the damage from the UV exposure.

Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q 10)
This one likely sounds very familiar, as it can be found in a huge number of products on the market right now. It's also found in foods like fish and shellfish. CoQ10 is fat soluble and works within the cell's mitochondria (a little energy creating organ found within each cell) to help create energy and it helps to reduce damage of certain proteins even better than vitamin E. CoQ10 levels have been found to decrease with age, one reason that many feel it could be particularly useful for aging skin. It has been found to easily penetrate the skin when applied topically and then to significantly decrease an enzyme that chews up collagen after UVA exposure. Supplementation with CoQ10 has been found to reduce crow's feet, and supplementation will increase levels in the epidermis.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A was the first antioxidant to be used for anti-aging, and it's synthetic derivatives (the retinoids) are even more useful given their stability. Retinoids are the only agents that have been found to be effective against wrinkles in studies and are the gold standard.

Vitamin C
Also known as L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is that thing that gives you scurvy if you're deficient. It's water soluble and works in the early stages of production for collagen (it even helps to stimulate collagen production) and a few amino acids. Vitamin C has been found to be low in the skin after sun exposure and applying it topically after sun exposure will specifically combat the ROS brought on by UV exposure. Very few studies on Vitamin C in the setting of photodamage or in humans (rather than in petri dishes) have actually been completed.

Vitamin C is a great candidate for use. Unfortunately, no studies have found increased levels in the skin after oral supplementation, hence so many topical forms on the market. It can be formulated as water soluble or lipid soluble. Unfortunately, most of them can not penetrate the statum corneum (the very outer layer of the epidermis), which makes them expensive products that don't work. You will want a product that is lipid soluble, and that the company claims is "nonionic" or more lipophilic, both of which will help penetrate the skin. If they have some evidence of penetration that would be even better.

Vitamin C is easily degraded by both heat and light, as well as exposure to air. That means most products are inactivated within hours of opening them, therefore all of your money has just been wasted. Only buy Vitamin C preparations that are in air-tight packaging (such as a pump) that protect the product from any UV exposure.

Vitamin E
Alpha-tocopherol is found in membranes and tissues galore, and in fact the term "Vitamin E" actually refers to 8 different molecules that have the same activities (the one labelled "alpha-tocopherol" is the most active form). It is lipophilic, meaning it likes being around fats and cell membranes. It has been found to be the primary lipid-soluble anti-oxidant in the skin, and subsequently has become a very popular choice to help treat skin issues of all sorts. Higher vitamin E levels have been linked to lower risk of infection and cancer in elderly patients that have high blood levels of Vitamin E. Topical and oral Vitamin E has been shown to decrease sunburn damage (swelling, redness and inflammation) and even wrinkling when applied prior to UVB exposure.

So, should you take Vitamin E and apply it to your skin before going out in the sun? Hard to say. Studies have found that by taking a Vitamin E supplement every day you did not have any meaningful photoprotection. Currently many dermatologists feel that it likely needs to be used with other anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C to have an effect. As well, you can have reactions to certain types of Vitamin E (Tocopherol acetate seems to be the worst).

There are important things to remember about antioxidant use to fight aging.
1. It has not been proved clinically, even though it seems logical that antioxidants would help fight signs of aging.
2. Any effects you will see are likely to occur over a long period of time.
3. If you're going to use antioxidants on the skin, the formulation must be stable (meaning the antioxidant doesn't break down and become useless), must be a high enough concentration and must not only get to the target area but must stay there long enough to work.

antioxidants in skin care and aging

I've received samples in the past of some of the products mentioned in this post.

Anti-Aging 101: Ok, Really, What to do First?

Anti-<br />Aging, Aging, 101
Last week, I told you what dermatologists recommend you include in your anti-aging regimen. Sure, that's all fine and dandy. I even named a few products I've tried and liked to fit into those steps. But, should you really just go out and buy an entire new skin care routine?

No. It's actually much more simple than that.

Anti-Aging 101: Where to Start?

Aging, Aging, 101
How to create your own anti-aging skincare routine
anti-aging, antiaging, routine, regimen
So, now that you know a little bit more about anti-aging, where does one start? There's a huge number of products out there. Do you need 10 treatment products? Should you include stick to the basics? The answers to those questions really should be determined by you. But, here's what a few little birdies (aka- the 2 cosmetic dermatology textbooks I own) say you should be doing to start off your anti-aging skin care routine. If you're interested in doing more than this or you want to be much more in depth it is likely worth your time and money to head off to a dermatologist.

Anti-Aging 101: Photoaging, AKA: Why You Shouldn't Tan!

Aging, Aging, 101, Smoking, Sun, Photoaging
photoaging and skin

Remember this exciting picture from last week, where I showed you what ages us? Yes, I know, you were impressed with my mad Photoshop skills. Well, this week we'll discuss one of these items: The sun. (For those of you wondering about the DNA Helix, just go look at your mom and grandma to get an idea of how you'll age. If you have a strong jaw and prominent cheekbones then you'll age even better.)

I think it should be obvious that smoking ages you. I might post about this at some point, but for now we're going to concentrate on one of my favorite topics.

Anyways... Read on to know why you shouldn't forget your sunscreen. As if avoiding things like Cancer aren't enough and you need a reason related to vanity.

Bioelectricity and You: Can a Cream "Recharge" Your Skin?

aveeno, neutrogena, roc, anti-aging, explanation, brillance, e-pulse, electricity, currents, skin
I know by now you've likely seen the commercials, the ads in your magazine or even read famous dermatologists discussing this new breakthrough in skin care in a magazine (I think I've seen it in 3 at last count).

"Bioelectricity", just hearing that term makes me think... well, not that it's amazing. Honestly, that term makes me think of those copper bracelets they sell in the in-flight catalog or on late night television. You know the one, they show some guy wearing it while he's golfing and then they claim that the bracelet cured his diabetes? I thought of that immediately when I heard about these products. Then I did a pubmed search. Nothing. There was some nonsense about everyone knowing the electricity in your skin decreases as you age. I didn't learn that in med school. Obviously this was all nonsense.

Or, was it?

What exactly is electricity? It's a current. A current is movement of charged particles. Which means you just need some charged things moving around. Oh yeah, I did learn that in medical school. And I use it everyday in my ICU. We just don't call it electricity, we call it shifting.

A lot of things in our bodies are charged, and in order for our cells to function properly they need to be kept at certain levels in different compartments. Things like Sodium, Potassium and Calcium. They're all charged ions, kept at different levels in cells, out of cells, in different ares of the body. And they move around. That's current, and therefore electricity. If they can't move cells not only can't function properly, they actually die.

So, there is electricity in our bodies. Now what's this that Johnson & Johnson is doing? And, more importantly, does it actually work?


Anti-Aging 101: What Makes Us Age?

anti-aging, aging, 101, review, simplified, what makes us age
Wouldn't it be great if I could just tell you exactly what makes all of us age and give you a little pill you could take to fight it? Like a multi-vitamin that keeps you from getting wrinkles? Simply pop one a day?

Lucky for you, I made a very high tech and involved chart that shows you why humans age and turn into wrinkled little prunes.
causes of aging, anti-aging, aging, 101
I can tell that you are very impressed with my Photoshop skills! I drew that myself. (Ok, I drew the sun, the rest was just cut and paste!)

Really, there are some more definable things that make us look older. Here are the structural things that happen as we age, resulting in sagging and wrinkles.
1. Fat
2. Changes in the Skin
3. Bone Structure Changes

Notice that the changes in your skin are last aren't always the most prominent, though we all do tend to focus on our skin. Trust me, if the other two are out of whack, you're not going to be worrying about a couple of crow's feet!

When the fat isn't right, the problems are really easy to find. Basically, the current thinking is that in your face there are pockets of fat. Some of them are pretty much always there and will only start to go away with part of the aging process (this loss starts in your 30s for most people but is highly variable due to genetics). These pockets are deep and help provide structure, think deep in your cheeks or under your eyes. Some pockets are a bit more superficial and are more easily affected by weight fluctuations, but will also affect the overall appearance of your face/neck.

What are the results of changes in these fat pockets? If you've lost the fat, you might have sunken cheeks or increased hollows under your eyes (talk about dark circles!). Too much fat can be just as bad (and realize that when most of us gain weight, some of it does go to the bottom half of our face) resulting in a double chin, ill defined jaw line (or if there's enough on the neck, the dreaded turkey neck!) and can also make under eye bags bigger.

So, how to avoid these problems? Maintain a steady and healthy weight.

I do not mean being model thin (I've been backstage at Fashion Week, the girls are very scary in person. Please don't do that!)

I mean a healthy Body Mass Index. aka the BMI. Granted, the BMI is not for everyone (most notable are the large very musclar guys in the NFL, their muscle throws the whole thing off), but it works for all of us "normal" people. Back in the day when I was in primary care (oh, the days of vaccines and discussions about developmental milestones...) calculating BMI was something I did for every patient. It was plotted on a little growth chart, and if a kid was about 75% or higher it resulted in a discussion about portion control, increased veggies and decreased soda and Flaming Red Hot Cheeto intake. (The kids in So Cal are obsessed with that flavor of Cheetos and eating at least 1 large bag was universal amongst our patient population. Eat too many and they turn your poo red. Really.) Anyways, I hope your doctor calculates your BMI for you at your visits, and if not ask for it to be done.

To figure out what your BMI is on your own, there's a great BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Be honest and use the actual numbers of your weight and height, not the ones that you tell friends and family! Most likely you'll be surprised by where you fall in the curve. (I'm in the mid-range of healthy at 21.4, by the way.)

The way to make those fat pockets cause even more issues is to have massive weight fluctuations. Yes, if you are 800 pounds and can not leave bed, I agree you need to lose a lot of weight. But constantly yo yo dieting off the same 10-20 pounds is likely not going to help. I know Oprah has done it, but most of us aren't so lucky.

Obviously, a good plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist can move fat around or use an injectable to fight these effects. That's not my specialty, so I'll just say find a good one if you're thinking about one of those options.

Skin Changes
As we grow older, the skin definitely changes. It's repair functions slow down really in your 30s, you have less collagen and elastin production also in your 30s (read my post on The Dermis to know why this is bad, you lose both structure and elasticity in the skin). These issues are exaggerated when skin is dry, well moisturized skin kind of "plumps up" and helps hide this a bit, at least temporarily. After menopause it all just gets worse, unfortunately. Decreased hormone levels lead to even more lose of elasticity, skin is thinner and drier.

Obviously, these are the things that I'll be addressing the most in my posts. Overall the goal is to increase collagen and elastin production, keep up cell turnover (which also helps with increased collagen and elastin production), moisturize the skin and keep the overall tone and texture of skin even. Some of the ingredient categories that help achieve these goals are Retinoids, Anti-Oxidants, and Peptides, just to name a few.

Bone Structure Changes
With age, everyone's bones will lose some mass. And while there does seem to be a little bit of debate about how much this affects aging. I've seen a lot of quotes from different plastic surgeons, some put a lot of stock in this, some say that if there are bony changes with age, especially after menopause, then you should only expect bones to change at the most a millimeter.

So, should you do anything about bony changes? Probably not much more than you would do to combat bone loss in the rest of your body. That means keeping up your calcium intake (either via diet or supplements), some level of physical activity and talking to your doctor about other options if needed.

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