Skinfessions

In Dr. Lindsey Pennington, Health and Beauty by Lola Magazine

The real deal on what to look for in skin care
Antioxidants

What is it and how does it work?
Antioxidants are found in plants such as blueberries, green tea, and in compounds such as vitamins such as C and E. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation primarily from the sun can create unstable atoms, which have free electrons in their outer-most levels. These free radical molecules then cause photodamage to skin through the process of oxidative stress. Antioxidants bind to and neutralize these unstable electrons and stop the damage before it happens.

What does it treat?
Reduces wrinkles and aging. Reduces inflammation that’s present in cases such as rosacea. Potentially, antioxidants can even help prevent skin cancer.

How and when to use it?
Apply daily to clean, dry skin. It should be the FIRST layer applied every morning!

Which products are best?
MEDICAL GRADE: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic $168. There are many clinical trials that have been done with this product promoting its stability (antioxidants can be difficult to package and keep active) and skin penetration ability. It is one of my favorite products that I carry and recommend it for just about every patient.
OVER THE COUNTER (OTC): Olay Regenerist Regenerating Moisturizing Face Serum $22.

Growth Factors (GF)

What is it and how does it work?
Growth Factors are naturally occurring proteins that signal pathways within cells capable of altering cellular growth, proliferation and differentiation. They play an integral part in maintaining healthy skin structure and function. As your skin ages, levels of natural GFs and the number and activity of fibroblasts (a cell that secretes GF) decrease. Supplementing Growth Factors enhances the activity of fibroblast in addition to other natural repair processes to reverse the damage resulting from intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging.

What does it treat?
Clinical studies have shown that topical application of products containing high concentrations of a physiologically balanced mixture of Growth Factors appears to reverse the signs of skin aging. That includes skin texture, skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles.

How and when to use it?
May use 1-2 times daily, morning or evening. Apply as first layer to clean dry skin and may layer other products on top. Take Note: I usually recommend to use in the evening (since I do antioxidants in the morning) as I recommended doing products from thinnest to thickest, and since these products are serums much like antioxidants, you want each of them directly on the skin for best effect.

Which products are best?
MEDICAL GRADE: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum $320. This is by far the best Growth Factor product on the market available with tons of clinical research behind it. In the “cosmeceuticals world,” it’s termed “The Fountain of Youth.”
OTC: Neocutis BioCream Bio-Restorative Skin Cream $109.

Retinols

What is it and how does it work?
Retinols are compound derivatives of vitamin A and are the most researched anti-aging ingredient on the market. By binding to retinoid receptors in the skin, retinols trigger collagen production, which provides the framework for skin and signals the body to create new skin cells.

What does it treat?
Addresses wrinkles and dark spots. Tightens skin and improves texture. Treats acne and clogged pores.

How and when to use it?
Cleanse with an oil or cream-based face wash to decrease in stripping away natural oils. Pat your skin dry and apply. Retinols absorb faster into wet skin and this can increase the risk of irritating your skin. Use at night. I recommend starting with use once a week for 2 weeks, then as skin adjusts, increase use to every other day, with the goal of nightly application without drying out your skin. Retinol use with time helps your other ingredients absorb better, so they work synergistically with other products especially with Growth Factors, which trigger collagen production in a different way than retinols. You can apply the retinol in place of the Growth Factors at first (when working up to nightly,) or apply them as a second layer.

Which products are best?
MEDICAL GRADE: SkinMedica 0.5 Retinol Complex $78 or SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 $64.
OTC: Vichy LiftActive Retinol HA Concentrate $36 or L’oreal Revitalift Bright Reveal Overnight Moisturizer $17.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

What is it and how does it work?
HA occurs naturally in your body and is the key molecule involved in maintaining skin hydration. It is able to absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water! A main characteristic of youthful skin is its ability to retain water, which decreases significantly as we age. HA is unable to penetrate the skin’s surface, but topical application restores endogenous production of HA and decreases the enzyme that breaks down HA as well. It serves as a big drink of water for your face, softening fine lines, making skin look firmer, and smoothing out dry patches. It also plumps and adds volume to your skin instantly making it more radiant and smooth!

What does it treat?
Fine lines, wrinkles, tactile roughness and dry skin.

How to use it?
Apply to damp skin to help hold in moisture and increase plumping to smooth out skin. I love a fresh spray of Evian Brumisatuer facial spray first as well.

When to use it?
It can be used prior to make-up application or even after, especially as a touch up in the evening over make-up before going out to help smooth and soften any fine lines. I also recommend application of this product after patients receive any injections of fillers. Fillers are made of this same Hyaluronic Acid. Using this product could potentially help decrease the breakdown of these injections and increase their longevity.

Which products are best?
MEDICAL GRADE: SkinMedica HA5 $178 or SkinMedica HA5 Smooth and Plump lip $68. This is one of my favorite products! It instantly smooths lines around my mouth, plumps my lips, and creates a natural rouge lip color.
OTC: Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate $48; Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Treatment $9.

Anything else to keep in mind?

Not all products are created equal. Just because the label says a product has certain abilities, there is no guarantee. Most OTC products have lower concentrations of active ingredients due to not being sold in a controlled (doctor’s office) setting and to help keep the price down. They tend to have more “extra ingredient.” It makes them smell good and look good, but can lead to increased risk of reaction or intolerance of the product. For those reasons, I highly recommend sticking with medical grade products. They don’t always have the fancy perfume smells. It’s actually an inside joke in my office that one of my favorite products comes in a dark brown bottle (which protects the antioxidants from degrading) and smells like bacon. It contains no extra fluff, just high concentrations of the active ingredient to prevent aging. All of the medical class products have undergone clinical trials to prove effectiveness and are well tolerated by patients.

Having a good skin care routine can do wonders for anyone’s appearance. For protection and maintaining skin integrity, I recommend a moisturizer such as HA and sunscreen. For repair and regeneration, go with Growth Factors, retinols, and antioxidants. Finally, to prevent ongoing and future damage, antioxidants and sunscreens are key