Written by Kelly Moeller, PA-C
As a Physician Assistant with 7 years of clinical experience in Dermatology and now thrilled to be practicing with the talented and widely respected Facial Plastic Surgeon, Lindsey Pennington MD, I am quite familiar with the different ways our skin can reflect the internal. Stress has not only been shown to influence multifactorial skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea, and some types of hair loss, but also affects how our skin looks and ages. The COVID-19 pandemic has, unfortunately, led to intense and chronic stress for many of us. During this time of uncertainty, it is vital to remember that we have the power to work on our “self-care” mentally and physically while responsibly social distancing.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It contains nerve fibers, blood vessels, sweat glands, hair follicles, and hormones. Our skin can tell a story about our overall health. If we are dehydrated, our skin is over 60% water: it will show more lines, appear sallow and dull, and less smooth and plump. If we are depressed or anxious, we might furrow our brow, leading to more pronounced glabellar lines, or “11s.” Botox which helps resolve these lines, has even been studied in the treatment of major depression for this reason.
Stress can lead to bad habits like poor food choices, not drinking enough water, too much alcohol, and smoking. Consult with your health care provider on an action plan for improving your overall health. Most medical offices (including us) are available remotely through virtual consultation. When it comes to optimizing your skincare regimen at home, we have some helpful recommendations!
- Wear sunscreen. Even indoors: light hits your skin through windows causing damages and ages it. Outdoor activities like exercise or yardwork can be great for overall health, and it is true that we do need sunlight for Vitamin D production, in addition to our dietary intake (which is important for our immune health). However, some UV light will still get through your sunscreen and be absorbed by your skin, so apply and reapply daily sunscreen to block excess UV that will lead to skin damage, potential skin cancers, and aging.
- Medical Grade: Revision Intellishade (comes in Original and Matte): this is a groundbreaking 5 in 1 (moisturizer, sunscreen, peptides, antioxidants, and universal tint) product that should be a regimen staple for all skin types, $75. For body, Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield SPF 50 (body) which blocks UVA/UVB, pollution, blue light, and infrared radiation; both are paraben- free, hypoallergenic, oil free, fragrance free, and suitable for all skin types, $45. Neither of these products have a “sunscreen” feel or smell.
- Drugstore: Supergoop Zincscreen Mineral Lotion, $42; Sunnyscreen Mineral Lotion, $26
- Antioxidants, such as those found in berries, green tea, and in vitamin C and E compounds, are important in our diet AND our skincare! UV radiation from the sun and pollution in our environment can cause unstable atoms which have free electrons in their outermost levels. These free radical molecules then cause damage to our skin through the process of oxidative stress. Antioxidants bind to and then neutralize unstable electrons before the damage can occur and lead to skin aging.
- Medical Grade: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, $166. This is a clinically studied, patented antioxidant powerhouse which includes a stable form of Vitamin C (stability in Vitamin C can be challenging for many manufacturers to get right). Another fantastic antioxidant option that blocks blue light from our electronic devices (anyone else having trouble coming to terms with their weekly screen time alerts?) is the Skinmedica Lumivive System, $265.
- Drugstore: CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum, $20. It is important to note that drugstore skincare usually has less active, quality ingredients, and the active ingredients they contain are typically not as studied for effectiveness as the medical grade option.
- Retinols are the MOST researched and proven, gold standard ingredient in anti-aging skincare. As compound derivatives of Vitamin A which bind to retinoid receptors in the skin, retinoids trigger collagen production, which provides the framework for our skin and signals the body to create new skin cells.
- Medical Grade: SkinMedica Retinol Complex (comes in 3 strengths $62-93).
- Drugstore: Differin 0.1% gel, $30.
- Growth factors (GFs) are naturally occurring proteins that signal pathways within our cells capable of altering cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation. As we age, our naturally occurring GFs in our skin decrease exponentially because the number and activity of fibroblasts (a cell that secretes GFs) decrease. By adding GFs in your skincare regimen, this enhances the activity of our fibroblasts in addition to other natural repair processes to reverse the damage resulting from internal and external skin aging. In the office, we can use your own natural growth factors derived from your platelet rich plasma (obtained through a simple blood draw) and use it in microneedling, which has been proven to boost collagen in our skin (ex: SkinPen).
- Medical Grade: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum $281 and TNS Illuminating Eye Cream, $92.
- Drugstore: not available.
- Peptides are the building blocks of protein (amino acids) which can make actions occur that influence skin aging. Peptides, depending on type, can prevent breakdown of collagen, signal our skin to make more collagen, help our skin’s ability to repair, and even smooth wrinkles by influencing neurotransmitters and muscle contraction. To optimize peptides in your skin, include healthy proteins in your diet, and certain peptides in your skincare.
- Medical Grade: Revision Skincare’s Revox 7, which contains 7 different peptides that assist with skin tightening and treat expression lines, $130.
- Drugstore: The Inkey List Collagen Booster Firming Peptide Serum $11.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) + drinking water for the win! Hyaluronic acid holds almost 1000x its weight in water, occurs naturally in our skin, and is a key player in keeping our skin hydrated. Our ability to retain water in our skin decreases as we age. Topical HA does not penetrate the skin’s surface, but it does restore endogenous production of HA and decreases the enzyme that breaks down HA. A quality HA serum can instantly plump and add volume to your skin, firms, and smooths fine lines and wrinkles!
- Medical Grade: SkinMedica HA5, $120.
- Drugstore: LaRoche Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $30. This is also a great example for another key difference in medical grade vs drugstore skincare: drugstore options will often include potentially irritating ingredients like alcohol and fragrance, which can be a problem for sensitive skin.
- Treatment masks are another fun way to care for your skin at home. While we still need to be wearing our protective masks in public and at work, these can take a toll on our skin, leading to acne and irritation. Tweaking your skincare plan (we are always happy to provide complimentary custom recommendations) can help, as well as Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Mask. This product contains smoothing botanical ingredients suitable for all skin types and can calm temporarily reactive skin, $59. For acne prone and oily skin types, Revision Black Mask contains high quality freshwater silt, salicylic acid, and soothing extracts, helping with pore congestion and exfoliation, $45. Be careful with non-medical grade masks, as these may contain irritants that could lead to rashes and inflammation.
Kelly Moeller PA-C is a Certified Physician Assistant with Dr. Lindsey Pennington, at Pennington Facial Plastics, on 6030 Line Ave in Shreveport LA. Dr. Pennington is the only solo private practice female facial plastic surgeon in the state of Louisiana. They, along with their medial esthetician Crystal Villarreal, are available for complimentary skin consultations, to assess what products and treatment plan is best for you individually. Kelly is also available for more in-depth procedures like lasers, microneedling, PRP (platelet rich plasma), and Botox. Dr. Pennington is highly specialized in facial procedures and surgery. She offers full array of services from non-invasive injections of Botox and dermal filler such as Juvéderm. To more in depth surgical procedures such as rhinoplasty (nose job), blepharoplasty (eyelid lifts), and rhytidectomy (facelifts). All cosmetic consults are complimentary.
If you have questions, or would like custom skincare recommendations, please call our office at 318-216-5366, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on our Facebook or Instagram @penningtonfacialplastics.