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Demystifying Skin Care

Cosmeceuticals are the new kids on the Dermatological block and boy have they made an impact! Hybrids of cosmetics and drugs (pharmacologicals), cosmeceuticals are intended to enhance the health and beauty of skin – and they do.. The very concept of the cosmeceutical was developed by Dr. Albert Klingman who stated that “The Cosmeceuticals are topical agents that are distributed across a broad spectrum of materials lying somewhere between pure cosmetics (lipstick and rouge) and pure drugs (penicillin, corticosteroids). They partake of both categories.”

Civilizations have searched for the fountain of youth for centuries, even millennia, trying to prolong youth or reverse the effects of aging. Just as we do. Thousands of years ago the urine of the youth was carefully collected, allowed to dry to a fine powder which was then administered to the elderly as an anti-aging potion, a tonic – in reality, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, BHRT.

Modern Western civilization has taken the concept a long step farther, declaring war on aging – either as aging is manifested in the skin or by joint disease or a host of other “unacceptable” outcomes. We speak in terms of 100 year life spans and do so with conviction and not unreasonable expectation. The public believes more than ever that science will preserve youthful looks. I am not here to dispute that concept, rather to support it – in fact, I wish to support and assist you, the public, in making informed decisions regarding the specific cosmeceuticals and combinations of same that afford you the best chance of accomplishing these lofty goals.

Patients requesting skin Restoration, The more common cosmeceutically-treatable conditions are photo-damage, texture change, wrinkles, fine lines, skin lesions, acne, dry skin, discoloration and the like. There are products and formulations specifically designed to deal with each of these conditions and more.

Patients requesting skin correction – Renewal, Replenishment, Rejuvenation – are motivated by a no of issues: photo-damage, abnormal pigmentation or vascular lesions, textural abnormalities, wrinkles (rhytids) and fine lines, and laxity. All of the afore mentioned are due to chronological aging.

The cosmeceutical arena is a double edged sword: Recent advances provide new and expanded options for treatments while at the same time raising a dilemma – what should I do – what will work best for me – how do I decide. Given the chance, we can help with those issues, taking into consideration what’s best for what you wish to treat – along with personal factors such as race, age, expectations, the potential to combine different technologies in a single treatment program, and cost.

Skin restoration offers and promises are everywhere – on the internet, in Department Stores, in Pharmacies – but will they work? And how can you find out? You need to read labels, consult trusted, verifiable sources, and study. There probably is no Face-Lift-In-A-Bottle – at least not yet. But improvement is definitely possible. Just be realistic, trust your inner self, ask questions, and be prepared to look great!

Ingredients found in Cosmeceuticals which are reported to induce improvements in damaged or aging skin include:

  • VITAMIN A: Retin-A or Retinol. Convincing evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of topical retinoid to positively impact photo-damaged skin by neutralizing unstable oxygen molecules (free radicals) that break down skin cells.
  • ANTI-OXIDANTS: Can alter skin structure and function positively.
  • HYDROXY ACIDS: Can alter skin structure and function positively. Alpha, Beta and Poly Has are synthetic versions of acids derived from sugar-containing fruits; they are exfoliants, ridding the upper layer of skin of old dead cells and stimulating the growth of smooth evenly pigmented new skin.
  • ENZYMES: Repair DNA damage. CoQ10 is such an enzyme. It is a nutrient that helps regulate energy production in cells – studies show reduction in fine lines about the eyes and protection against sun damage when applied before exposure.
  • COPPER PEPTIDES: Cu (copper) is a trace element found in every cell – when combined with small protein fragments called peptides, it enhances wound healing, stimulates collagen production, and may enhance action of antioxidants.
  • KINETIN: A plant growth factor, kinetin found in Kinerase may improve wrinkles and uneven pigmentation with minimal irritation – may help wrinkles by helping cells retain moisture and stimulating collagen – also may be a potent antioxidant.
  • TEA EXTRACTS: Green, Black and Oolong – contain compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Again, a bewildering array, and how does an ordinary mortal deal with the numbers and complexity. Look to a Pro. Don’t be put off by the sheer magnitude of the situation. DonÕt let the products cause confusion and uncertainty – learn how the cosmeceutical arena fits your lifestyle, your needs.

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