Dr. Prussick is an expert in immunodermatology and a member of the Immunotec Scientific Advisory Board. In addition, Dr. Prussick is Assistant Clinical Professor at George Washington University and the Medical Director at The Washington Dermatology Center.
The skin is the largest organ in your body. As with any other living tissue, it requires the proper nutrients to function optimally. Skin cells get needed energy and other "building blocks" from the food you eat. A diet consisting of protein, healthy fats and minerals will keep the skin looking its best. Immunocal will ensure that you are receiving all the essential amino acids you need.
Exercise improves blood flow and circulation to the skin tissues. This results in more oxygen flowing into the tissues and more efficient removal of toxic byproducts out of the skin. Excess alcohol drinking will cause dehydration of the skin. Cigarette smoking is very damaging to the skin, depleting antioxidants, reducing oxygen flow and increasing collagen breakdown resulting in skin wrinkling. Avoiding sugars and high fructose corn syrup is also important. Sugar causes glycosylation of both the collagen and elastic tissues, which results in wrinkling and easy bruising.
As with all the cells in your body, the skin is made mostly of water. If a person becomes dehydrated, the cells will not function optimally and the skin will become dry and damaged. This is why drinking eight full glasses of purified water daily is optimal.
Skin creams should be applied with a light touch. I prefer people apply with just their middle finger in light strokes to cover the face. Facial moisturizers should be applied up to the cheekbone area, avoiding the eyelids. A pea-sized amount is enough for each half of the face. Only specific eye creams should be applied to the lower eyelid and the delicate skin around the eye. No cream should be applied to the upper eyelid.
The purpose of cleansing is to remove oil, bacteria, sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells from the face. If this is not done daily, the skin can become irritated or acne-prone. The choice of cleanser depends on your skin type. Oily skin benefits from foaming cleansers that remove unwanted oils/lipids from the skin. Those with dry skin need a mild cleanser that adds lipids and moisturizers back to the skin. People may have to change cleansers in different seasons, as their skin may need different products.
The skin ages two ways: intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsic aging is caused by the generation of free radicals (oxidation) as each cell generates energy. Extrinsic aging is even more damaging and is caused by ultraviolet and infrared radiation, environmental toxins, cigarette smoke and pollution. This results in depletion of natural antioxidants like glutathione, damage to cell walls and your DNA. With age and ultraviolet exposure, there is an increase of abnormal enzymes that damage collagen and elastic tissue. Increased melanin production due to elevated tyrosinase enzyme causes brown spots.
As a person ages, their cells have a reduced ability to repair damage and build more collagen and elastic tissue. This results in blotchy pigmentation, wrinkles and saggy skin. The immune system becomes less efficient at removing potentially cancerous cells that have DNA damage. Again, the importance of glutathione in most of these processes cannot be underemphasized.
Winter causes many skin issues. Indoor heaters reduce the humidity of the air. This causes the skin to lose water into the dry air, resulting in dry and itchy skin. To counter this problem, one may have to cleanse once daily instead of twice daily, use cooler water and moisturize more frequently. Some people change products in the winter months, using a less foaming cleanser and/or a thicker more hydrating moisturizer than they use at other times.
Yes, definitely. Even younger people need to be proactive in skin care. I think of it as "preventative medicine". All skin types eventually age by developing winkles and blotchy pigmented skin. The skin around the eye is the thinnest, so it will be the first to show signs of aging. This is why a good skin care line designed to repair damage from exposure to ultraviolet rays and other toxins will not only keep the skin healthy but also prevent and minimize the future evidence of aging.
As the skin ages, it develops wrinkles due to loss and lack of new production of collagen and elastic tissue in the dermis. The purpose of the anti-aging serum is to counteract these changes. With the use of peptides, the fibroblasts in the dermis will renew the look of the skin. The addition of anti-inflammatory oils will also help smooth and firm the skin's appearance. These have been incorporated into the Elasense products.
Ultraviolet rays are divided into UVA and UVB, depending on their wavelength. The longer waves are UVA and these contribute to signs of aging such as brown spots, wrinkles and skin cancer. These waves pass through clouds and glass, which is why you need to wear sunblock even when driving or on cloudy/rainy days. UVB rays are the cause of sunburns and skin cancer. The SPF rating refers to how much UVB, but not UVA, coverage is provided. For example, a SPF of 15 means you can expose the skin 15 times longer before sunburn occurs. No UVA protection is indicated.
Ultraviolet radiation is the most important cause of both aging skin and skin cancer formation. The best way to prevent this damage is to wear ultraviolet sun protection every day. Broad spectrum sunscreens refer to products that block both UVA and UVB rays. Some products say that they block UVA/UVB but rarely do so completely. Low quality sunscreens often allow ultraviolet rays to pass through them, especially the UVA rays, so sun damage will still occur. This is why simply looking at the SPF rating on the product is not enough; it only indicates UVB protection levels. One needs to know whether the product completely blocks the UVA rays.
Oxygen free radicals (oxidative stress) are a major source of damage to the inside and outside of skin cells, which can lead to aging of the skin and even skin cancer. Environmental pollution, toxins, ultraviolet and infrared radiation also cause inflammation and damage. Antioxidants protect the inside and outside skin layers from all these environmental insults. Over time these antioxidants get depleted and have to be renewed. Antioxidants in skin creams can also act to preserve other antioxidants that can be unstable to air or light. Premium skin care products use multiple antioxidants that work in different ways both inside and outside skin cells to complement each other. As you may know, glutathione serves as the "master" antioxidant recharging all other antioxidants.
After face washing with hot water or strong soaps, the skin may feel dry and tight. This is a temporary feeling. However, the skin may also start to flake and peel. This is not an optimal reaction and one must use cooler water and a more gentle cleanser to avoid this. Some people need to reduce facial cleansing from twice to once daily. Applying a moisturizer immediately after cleansing can reduce the drying feeling.
Premium skin care products can slowly cause a tighter, more "lifted" look to the skin. This results in the cheeks and eyelids looking less saggy. This beneficial response should be achieved without products causing excessive flaking and scaling of the skin.