More and more we are becoming aware of the impact of environmental pollutants and the affect they can have on the vital functions of the skin. This can lead to many issues, the most noticeable being wrinkles, dehydration and hyperpigmentation that create the dark spots typically associated with advancing age, and dehydration that can set the stage for acne and other skin breakouts.
It is often assumed that skin pollutants are only a problem in large cities with high smog levels, but all of us are exposed to pollutants that are damaging to the skin on a regular basis. Perhaps the most common environmental stressor on the skin is the sun. UV, UVA and IR rays can all damage skin cells. Even when the sun is not shining you can be surrounded by invisible rays. Invisible atomspheric pollutants are present at all hours of the day. Because you can't see them you don't even know when you are being exposed to them. Exhaust fumes are a good example of this type of pollutant. Then there's dust, smoke, debris, pollen and other microscopic material that all travel through the air around us. Even at home you might be exposed to pollutants. Spray pesticides linger in the air for a long time as do most household cleaning sprays.
As we get older our skin cell turnover starts to slow dramatically and our collagen and elastin naturally starts to break down, add some skin stress and our complexion very quickly takes on a dull and tired look. These conditions also give way, seemingly out of nowhere, to skin irratations and other sensitive reactions.
So how do we stop the damage from happening and start to reverse what's already been done to our skin?
A protective barrier for your skin helps to tackle domestic, atmospheric and UV source stressors and helps to prevent them from wreaking too much havoc on your skin. The lipid layer of your skin is designed to keep moisture in and keep irritants out so when it comes to your skin, how hydrated or dehydrated your skin is and looks depends on holding on to that moisture as much as possible.
Strengthening your skin’s ability to retain moisture is key. Certain ingredients in your skin care products are powerhouse moisture retention aids.
Look for these ingredients in your product choices:
Hyaluronic Acid and Green Tea Extracts in your cleanser will help to prevent dehydration (Renewing Cleanser).
PhytoCellTec™ Symphytum (comfrey stem cells) and Phytic Acid add deep cell hydration that plumps the cells helping to make them look and act lifted and younger. (Instant Radiance Serum)
Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and Spin Trap proteins help to prevent the water loss that is a side effect of natural aging. (Renewing Moisturizer)
For oily skin Sodium Hyaluronate helps to bind water to the skin’s cells. This ingredient in a moisturizing formulation is like giving oily skin a big drink of water, not oil. (Clarifying Moisturizer)
For people with excessively oily skin conditions that need the benefits of acne fighting ingredients as well as hydration a combination of Pythic Acid, grapefruit peel oil and Ascorbic Acid combined in a serum will hydrate without feeling like you're adding oil on oil. (Clarifying Matte Fluid)
Rose hip seed oil is a powerful anti-aging tool. It quickly absorbs into the skin replenishing moisture and creates a protective barrier on the skin to help prevent dehydration. (The Enhancing Neck & Décolleté Cream)
Lactic acid is a naturally occurring humectant for the skin helping to keep skin hydrated. As you can imagine body lotion containing this ingredient create a soft, smooth texture you'll love. (The Enhancing Lactic Hand and Body Lotion)
Shea butter increases cellular hydration & moisture retention. (The Enhancing Protective Cream)
A skin care regimen containing these key ingredients will very effectively boost the moisture levels in your skin. For days when a simple and quick fix is needed try layering on a serum under a moisturizer for double the protection to create beautifully nourished skin.
Moisturizing Strategies for Fall and Winter
As we transition from Fall into Winter our skin can be difficult to deal with. Products that just yesterday were working great for your complexion just don't seem as effective today. Anyone with sensitive skin prone to irritation can find that their skin can erupt overnight. This is also true for oily/acne prone skin types. For some, the colder months can be helpful in that your skin will be less oily, but on the other hand a buildup of dead skin cells can create congestion leading to breakouts and a very dull complexion.
Exfoliation is necessary for both oily and dry skin types in winter. It removes the dead skin and allows serums and hydration to penetrate. Conditioning your skin once a month with a professional facial treatment using cosmeceutical organic acids such as glycolic, lactic and salicylic will work to break down oils (lipids) in the skin allowing for accelerated cell shedding. Adding a topically applied skin exfoliator to your home care regimen, such as the Institut' DERMed Enhancing Micro Crystal Polish that contains corundum crystals and jojoba beads will polish away dead skin cells and when used once a week will provide a mild exfoliation without risk of over exfoliating. After any exfoliation follow with a serum and moisturizer recommended for your skin type to restore the epidermal barrier for maximum hydration and protection.
Tips for avoiding dry and dull Winter skin
1. Wash with a creamy cleanser like the Institut’ DERMed Enhancing Creamy Cleanser with Milk Proteins to remove makeup, dirt and oil without stripping skin of precious oils that bond water to the cells. Always use tepid water and a soft wash cloth to remove cleansers.
2. Balance your skin’s pH after cleansing with a corrective toner to hydrate and prepare your skin for better penetration of your serum and moisturizer.
3. Cosmeceutical ingredients treat and hydrate skin. The Institut’ DERMed Anti-Oxidant Peptide Serum with Spin Trap Proteins bond nutrient rich water to the skin and provide the first layer of hydration and protection for dry skin types. For oily skin types the Institut' DERMed Totarol Serum formulated with Totarol Extract and Tea Tree Oil is a much gentler alternative to benzoyl peroxide in the winter months and will help you to maintain a clear, clean complexion.
4. The Institut’ DERMed Renewing Moisturizer will provide maximum skin protection for those with dry skin, protecting against environmental aggressions and softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. For excessively oily skin types the Clarifying Moisturizer with plant derived Squalene Oil and Tea Tree Oil will restore the skin's ideal moisture balance while maintaining a clear complexion.
5. Keep some intensive moisturizing cream on hand such as the Enhancing Protective Cream for the face, and the Enhanching Lactic Hand and Body Lotion for the body to handle those problematic areas whenever necessary, especially if you live in a very harsh winter climate.