Holistic Beauty Treatments
Few weeks have passed since I enrolled in writing my bit about anti-ageing skin care products. Although I did my research, I found the information overwhelming in quantity but also, medical terms. Bottom line is I did not understand the issue of ageing at all. My heart was not into it. I used to think there are more important things in life than worry about few wrinkles. Not only that, I went so far to even think wrinkles can make one more beautiful, they are signs of a wise person; I compared them with life paths to touch gently and feel transported through experiences that person has gathered along many years.
Leaving my romantic and simplistic view behind, the way we look is important for us and this includes the state of our skin. After I attended the anti-ageing congress here, in Bucharest I learnt it is plenty we can do to care for our skin. Starting with prevention of different skin problems that appear as we age, implementing good skin care habits and eventually correcting different imperfections that may bother us.
There is another aspect: through our face we communicate with the world. We can express different emotions whether positive or less positive they will affect our face, and consequently, the skin. (e.g when we are sad it shows in our body and face; the corners of the mouth are dropped and surely our skin looks lifeless. By contrary, when we are happy the expression is luminous and our skin is glowing). The subjects of reading the face also face armour, and the non-verbal communication between the client and therapist through what face reveals are super interesting however, I won’t get into it at this moment.
I will start by exposing some face and body ageing signs and then focus on ways to prevent and slow down ageing. Some basic skin anatomy is necessary in order to understand the changes the skin suffers as we age, how cosmetic products work into the skin and why some don’t.
Ageing is a process of cells damage due to internal and external factors; this process is a natural one and begins at birth. As ageing starts to take place between infancy and puberty and ends at death, maybe we can view ageing not as something to be feared of but as something we can manage gracefully?
There are different classifications of wrinkles such as Glogau’s:
From the times when we notice static wrinkles we would recommend skin care products to boost the collagen and elastin in the skin. We do not mean we put these people in a classification as ‘old people’, but simply that the structure of our skin changes with our age and our skin needs different ingredients.
Why some creams are ineffective
Imagine the structure of the skin as a sponge with three layers of porosity (the first layer is the epidermis, is the one on the surface, then dermis and the deeper layer hypodermis); we add on top of it water. The water will be able to penetrate let’s say the first layer of the sponge as the other two are made of very tight and fine porosity. This happens in our skin too.
Some face skin creams do not work because they cannot penetrate any deeper from the protective outer layer of the skin. So they may ‘work’ for some time as they protect to some degree the epidermis. However, if we need to solve any issues regarding our skin, such as fine lines our skin needs active ingredients that will have to be able to get to the dermis level. Why? Because at that level our skin produces new cells and in this way we tackle the root of the problem.
To enhance topical absorbency we need good products that have:
We can also enhance the efficiency of our skin care products by preparing our skin through:
So what are all these ingredients?
The dermis, the second layer of our skin is tough and elastic as it contains collagen fibres interlaced with elastic fibres, and chains of sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which hold water.
Collagen makes about 80% of the dermis and binds water, gives the skin strength, and its degradation leads to wrinkles.
Elastin enables the skin to bounce back; it is elastic to allow movement of underlying muscles and joints.
Collagen and elastin are produced by cells called fibroblasts. They have an important role in the healing process of the skin by repairing scars or replenishing collagen to rebuild the structure of the skin, and keep it in good shape. As we age the production of these cells slow down. Therefore, stimulation of the production of new cells especially after a certain age is highly important for prevention of premature ageing.
Some facts from scientists:
These are the reasons that around the age of 30 our skin needs collagen and elastin or other active ingredients to stimulate our own skin production of collagen and elastin. But these proteins are large compounds that just sit on top of the skin as they cannot enter, if the technology behind the product does not provide an efficient transporter to the level of dermis.
Research showed also that vegetable source is not that efficient as fish collagen and elastin polypeptides. The compatibility with human skin and absorption of collagen and elastin from marine source is by far the best resource.
There are two types of ageing:
The subject of sun exposure will be detailed later on, only for now to state that skin care experts will warn us that wrinkles produced by staying in the sun without UV protection produces photo-damaging to our skin that is harder to correct than any other lines. It is important physical and chemical sunscreens to protect from both, UV-A and UV-B rays.
Signs of face skin ageing
Signs of body skin ageing
1. Drink more water as the water:
2. Management of stress
Sources of stress could be sleep deprivation, exams, illness, pain. Some of these are part of our lives, but chronic stress is what we should try to sort as this can impair the health of our body, but also the state of our skin. Chronic stress affects negatively the epidermal barrier, which can delay wound healing.
Part of a treatment program we should consider relaxation therapy, yoga, and exercise.
We also should try to eliminate as much as possible sources of free radicals that are proven to age the body: UV rays, high temperatures, pollution, using microwaves etc. We can counteract the free radicals by eating a diet with lot of fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants. Other antioxidants that can be used topically as well: vitamins A, E and C, coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, glutathione and retinoids.
3. Good nutrition – Two process are important here:
Chronic inflammation will diminish the body’s ability to heal itself and limits the cell renewal. Chronic inflammation happens when any disease is left untreated for long time which makes us feel worn down and also, we age prematurely. Inflammation can be produced by consuming a diet high in sugar.
Glycation causes collagen and elastin to breakdown and causes loss of skin elasticity, resulting in wrinkling and sagging. It also increases the effects of sun damage.
Glycation is a process whereby the glucose (from sugars and carbohydrates) we digest bind to lipids and the proteins in the body, such as collagen, and form advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These are destructive inflammation producing molecules that contribute to disease; they increase free radical damage and wrinkles.
It is important to know that more testing need to be done on glycation and the skin; however, the skin care experts have their opinion shared:
When sugar is in our diet the rate of glycation increases and that adds to the advanced glycation end products (AGE), consequently to age faster. However, cutting on the following products helps diminished the AGEs and chronic inflammation:
4. Good sleep
5. Exercise to keep good muscles tone
6. Heavy metal chelation – to detoxify the body of heavy metals
7. External care:
Professional skin care – have a facial treatment once a month. Why? There is a process of new skin cell production in the dermis, skin cells move up from the dermis to the epidermis in a span of 28-30 days. This process is called cellular turnover. As these cells are moving up the surface of the skin, their nucleus becomes non-functional; they are ‘dead cells’ that eventually will shed away by themselves. However, within a polluted environment, using make-up and by not having a strict cleansing routine sometimes breakouts happen. The solution is to exfoliate the skin, hydrate and nourish it with all the good ingredients that it needs. A professional treatment once a month will help this cellular turnover to be more efficient.
MAIN GOALS OF A PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT:
Skin protection UV, UB
Stimulation of skin renovation
Boosting anti-free radicals
Activating microcirculation for proper nutrient delivery
Home skin care:
Medical skin care – general trends
8. Protection from the environmental aggressors
How to prevent future ageing
Exfoliation of dead skin cells is really important before doing an anti-ageing treatment. Otherwise none of the elements will ever enter or they will do but less effective.
The cells turnover (production of new cells) is happening fast (28-30 days), when we are young and gets slower as we get older. (After the age of 40 it may take as long as 40 days). Our outermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum of the epidermis is composed of dead cells that shed on a regular basis. This happens while cells from the lower layers, the dermis are continually produced and they travel to the surface and push the cells off, adding to the outer layer of the „dead skin cells”.
This cellular turnover would have been enough for our skin to look healthy, however due to sun damage, loss of estrogen, and how well we cleanse morning and evening can all affect this natural exfoliation process that takes place. Consequently, we may experience rough and thickened skin, more lines and pigmentation and also breakouts, blackheads or other blemishes. There are different forms of exfoliation to help to remove the built up of dead cells, uncovering a more luminous and healthy looking skin, that was just hiding beneath.
Types of exfoliation:
1. Mechanical exfoliation – using products containing abrasive particles of fruit seeds, bamboo etc. They work by gently ‘massaging’ with circular movements over the skin
using microdermabrasion, a popular treatment these days that works by shedding the dead cells through a machine with rotative ends that uses a flux of crystals or diamonds on top of our skin
2. Enzymatic peeling – in this case the exfoliation happens with the help of the enzymes from the papaya fruit, pineapple, grapefruit and milk (the casein enzyme). These enzymes will ‘digest’ through the first layers of the skin, helping to easily remove the dead cells layer and also they are used in professional care to prepare the skin for extractions.
The enzymatic peeling can be available in the retail form in which case the product is left on the skin (usually needs to me mixed with water), for 5-7min after which time it can be taken off. This is one of the easiest ways to keep skin clear, as it is a gentle exfoliation yet very effective
3. Chemical peels are done with the help of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). These acids occur in natural products.
AHAs and BHA allow good penetration of active ingredients (like retinol) by removing unhealthy layers of built-up skin cells caused by sun damage.
AHAs are extracted from fruits and the most used ones are:
– Malic acid (extracted from apples)
– Citric acid (found in citrus fruits)
– Lactic acid (milk and black currant)
– Tartric acid (grapes)
– Glycolic acid (sugar cane) – this is the most used one as it has the smallest molecular weight which makes it the best to penetrate the cells
The role of AHA is to deeply exfoliate the skin and hydrate it. They are used in professional treatments such as intensive hydrating treatments, cellular renewal, anti-ageing treatments, treatment of photo-ageing/pigmentation, deep wrinkles, acne and also to brighten the skin.
BHA is salicylic acid extracted from the willow bark, wintergreen and sweet birch leaves. Used as a peeler. BHA is recommended for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads and white bumps and also rosacea. BHA can get through the oil that’s clogging the pores. BHA has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial action and may have a lightening action too.
How peels work:
Lipid barrier is compromised
Corneocytes and ‘desmosomes’ breakdown
Remaining corneocytes start to shed
3-4 days after superficial peels
7-9 days for medium peels
10-12 days after deep peels
The sun gives off two types of UV rays: UV-A rays and UV-B rays.
The UV light emitted from the tanning beds is composed primarily of UVA radiation because that is what causes us to tan.
The sun’s UVB rays cause sunburn, but it’s the UVA rays, from the sun and from tanning bulbs, that are much more damaging:
From the skin care expert, Paula Begoun: „Let us say it again: Any color change to your skin is a sign it has been damaged. It’s a fact: The more you tan, whether indoors or out, the worse your skin will look as you age”.
Steps to protect ourselves from the sun:
Synthetic sunscreen actives (avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone), should be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure and mineral sunscreen actives (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), offers us immediate sun protection.
3. Eat a healthy diet – Try not to lose or gain weight suddenly. A skin-friendly diet can help our skin build healthy new collagen, improve its elasticity, and make our skin look radiant. From what clients are telling us of their experience by reducing or taking out totally dairy products and red meat from their diets, excellent results are not delayed to appear for the improvement of skin texture and health, in general.
The Best Anti-Aging Foods!
4. Exercise to tone muscles and skin. Avoid rapid weight loss or gain as it compromises the state of elastin in the skin
5. Use anti-ageing active ingredients in professional skincare formulations proven to hydrate, restore, resurface and renew skin
6. Reduce alcohol and caffeine drinks consumption. Their effects on the body
Water instead will serve:
7. Stop smoking (Vitamin C depletion) vasoconstrictor =>
8. Receive body massages and body treatments to increase circulation & condition the skin.
In the next post, I shall refer to active ingredients in skin care creams. Until then my thoughts go to an ex-cancer patient who shared the lessons of her experience in dealing with the illness: to approach every day with joy in the heart and she learnt she is important too. One more thing: from her serene look, I could tell she made a daily practice out of her lessons. And as C. Jurist, MD started his presentation of anti-ageing congress, ‘the secret to longevity is to be happy’, I leave you to connect the dots, and I shall finish here this post about anti-ageing.
Iuliana Simion, therapist Eden Spa Sibiu
Christian Jurist, MD and Global Corporate Trainer, Pevonia International, LLC
Tino Lerma, Medical Esthetic Educator, Pevonia International, LLC.
Paula Begoun, Skin care expert