Trying to find the correct skin care products to maintain your skin can be a daunting task. We are all constantly being bombarded by the latest and greatest skin care products featured in magazines, infomercials, and drug stores. They are all promoting their product of choice, but how do you know what is right for you? When you turn to Dr. Susan Elliott, a board certified dermatologist, trained in all facets of skin care – you can be sure that she will recommend the right products for your skin care needs.
Skin care consultations are performed by by Dr. Elliott to help patients select the correct skin care products based on their skin type, their desired level of improvement, their tolerance to ingredients (minimizing allergic reactions), and their lifestyle.
When you think about it, it’s more cost effective to consult with a physician or his or her highly trained nurse or aesthetician, who are specially trained, than to spend your money on all the latest skin care fads or what is promoted at cosmetic counters.
What should I consider when choosing a skin care program?
Always consult with our physician or staff before making any changes to an existing skin care regimen. Look for products that work at the cellular level to re-establish the functioning of normal skin:
- Tretinoin is the gold standard and Retinaldehyde is a newer vitamin A derivative. Products containing these molecules are effective in treating fine wrinkles, dark spots, or rough skin on the face caused by damaging rays of the sun. They work by increasing the collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis and normalizing epidermal structure and function.
- Hydroxy acids are naturally occurring acids in certain plants and fruits. They work by stimulating dead cells on the surface of the skin so they can slough off more easily. A new layer of skin with a smoother texture and more uniform color can be revealed. These acids also encourage the production of connective tissue, lessening fine lines and wrinkles.
- Anti-oxidants are important, especially vitamins C, E and green tea. They fight free radical damage and collagen break down caused by the aging process, sun damage, stress and pollution.
- Growth factors are the newest ingredients to help your skin appear younger. They stimulate new collagen growth.
Healthy skin and the aging process
The signs of aging skin are the result of an assault on our skin from two main areas, extrinsic factors and intrinsic factors. Healthy, normal functioning skin has:
- an even skin tone with no uneven pigmentation areas.
- is smooth and firm with normal pore size.
- all cellular components functioning normally and efficiently.
Extrinsic factors include effects from the environment, sun damage, and lifestyle. There are several steps you can take to address these factors:
- Don’t smoke. It impairs the healing process, can damage connective tissue, and it interferes with oxygen flow to blood vessels.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
- Get plenty of sleep and reduce your stress level.
- Maintain good dietary habits.
- Most importantly, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15. The sun causes wrinkles and can damage DNA. Sunscreens should be used on a daily basis by all age groups.
Intrinsic factors include the normal aging process and your genetic make-up. To attack these factors we recommend you use products that have an effect on the cellular level. This is important. Products like cover-up cosmetics and quick cure products don’t work at this level, and don’t offer long term results.
Cosmetics, cosmeceuticals, and drugs
You have probably heard the terms cosmetics, cosmeceuticals, and drugs when shopping for skin care products. They are defined as the following:
Cosmetics: include skin moisturizers and any skin beautifying products.
Cosmeceuticals: the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act does not recognize this term. Created by the cosmetic industry, the term applies to products that intend to bridge the gap between cosmetics and drugs.
Drugs: include OTC (over-the-counter) drugs and prescription drugs. Sunscreens are an OTC drug as are anti-dandruff shampoos. Tretinoin is one prescription product that works at the cellular level to reverse the signs of aging.
When we think of aging skin, whether from natural aging, photodamage, or the environment, we think of wrinkles, creases, large pores, fine lines, sagging skin, folds, uneven skin tone and texture, dryness, and hyper and hypopigmented areas. Our physician performs skin care consultations so you can treat these skin conditions and create younger-looking skin.