The saying, “No pain, no gain,” is daunting, but keeping fit and healthy takes hard work and consistency. The same is true for the health of your skin. While experiencing pain isn’t guaranteed on the journey to healthy skin, it needs a push in the same way your muscles do. Keeping skin fit can be fun by following these STEPs.
These STEPs are the foundation for improving your skin’s health and keeping it looking good for many years. If you want your skin to do its job, you must do yours to make it the healthiest it can be.
The skin needs to be stimulated to produce gene signals that lead to repair and rejuvenation. Laser and light treatments, such as erbium:YAG, CO2, IPL, and RF microneedling, stimulate the dermis and deep tissue with heat-induced injury. This stimulates the reparative processes and the induction of growth factors, cytokines, and proteins that repair the wound. This leaves you with younger-looking, rejuvenated skin. In addition, light treatments, such as Broadband light (BBL), may induce the expression of genes associated with reversing signs of skin cell aging and increasing cell lifespan.
The term “anti-aging skin care” refers to topicals designed to reach the cellular and molecular levels of the skin. They promote signaling that drives collagen production and remodeling, barrier repair, and healthy cell turnover. Retinoids, such as retinoic acid and retinol, improve cell turnover and promote new collagen growth. Cleansers containing alpha and beta-hydroxy acids help exfoliate dead skin cells for smooth, reinvigorated skin. Pigment-correcting serums and brightening creams help even skin tone and remove signs of sun damage and aging. And don’t forget to moisturize with high-quality hydrators and emollients.
What you eat impacts your skin by nourishing it from the inside out. Similarly, polypeptides, antioxidants, vitamins, and growth factors found in high-quality skin care can nourish the skin and improve the functioning of the cells from the outside in. Skin research has led to new technologies for anti-aging. Topical growth factors and polypeptides specifically engineered to enrich the skin with new collagen and elastin can really improve the appearance of photo-aging skin at the molecular level. Vitamin C serums and green tea polyphenols are potent antioxidants that fight free radical damage, which occurs with everyday environmental and ultraviolet exposure. All of this helps reverse signs of sun damage and kick starts the reparative processes in your skin.
The harmful effects of solar radiation and environmental pollutants on the appearance and quality of the skin are clear. Broad spectrum sunscreen and UPF clothing are critical for preventing the process of elastosis, which is the degradation of elastin and collagen that occurs with chronic sun exposure, and carcinogenesis, the development of skin cancer. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are the most protective because these substances reflect the harmful UVA and UVB rays that are responsible for skin cancer and photo-aging. Other chemicals such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate absorb ultraviolet rays so that they do not advance to the deeper parts of the skin. While sunscreens containing these chemicals are beneficial, physical sunscreens with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide provide superior protection with a greater degree of water resistance. In addition to applying sunscreen 20 minutes prior to sun exposure, always remember to wear a wide-brimmed hat when exposed to the sun for longer than 5-10 minutes. Seek shade during peak hours from 10 am to 3 pm, and reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes or more frequently if you are in the water or sweating.
Follow these STEPs every day to work your way to healthier, more resilient, and more beautiful skin.
Dr. Alan Levy is a dermatologist and owner of Levy Dermatology. He specializes in surgical and cosmetic dermatology. For a consultation call 901.295.0203 or visit Levydermatology.com.