Monday, February 16, 2009

Elle Magazine's A-Z Guide to Skin (August '08)

I was delighted to see this and thought I'd share :

A - Antioxidants - The pac-men of skin care, antioxidants-such as vitamins C & E, beta-carotene, and those within green tea and grape seed- gobble up the free radicals produced by factors like sun exposure (that is the excess of it, in my opinion), pollution, stress and cigarette smoke, neutralizing their skin-weakening powers. As part of a healthy diet, antioxidants reinforce tissue from the inside and as a key step in a daily skincare regimen.

B - Body Brush- An age-old cellulite buster, a dry, natural bristle body brush raises blood flow to the epidermis, revs up lymphatic drainage, and exfoliates dead cells.

C- Collagen - Along with elastin and hyaluronic acid, collagen provides the mesh framework that keeps skin plump, lifted and wrinkle-free. A strong fibrous protein, collagen is a multitasking antiager. You can help your body generate more of the good stuff by using topicals like retinol and vitamin c.
Sugar breaks down Collagen too so ease up off the sugars as much as possible! (My 2 Cents)

D- DHA- The active ingredient in self-tanners, DHA (dihydroxyacetone) reacts with the uppermost layer of dead skin cells, turning them brown. Results last about a week-less, if you exfoliate.
No more tanning beds ladies!!

E- Essential Oils - Plant derived oils, such as sandalwood and rose, can create the aroma behind your beloved eau de parfum and offer countless remedies: de-stress instantly in a lavender-infused bath; dab on tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic, to banish breakouts.

F- Fat - It may be loathsome when you're trying to squeeze into your skinny jeans, but facially speaking,fat is a major ally in turning back the clock. When injected, the springy cells plump the complexion, pushing out wrinkles and lighting sagging skin. (ok then!)

G- Grapes - (my fave fruit) - Grapes are the main source of the antiaging powerhouse reservatrol. When taken internally, this ingredient triggers health effects similar to a low-calorie diet and is believed to help prevent diseases including cancer and diabetes, as well as ward off weight gain and increase endurance. Found, within the skin of the fruit, reservatrol offers several complexion benefits when applied topically-amped-up collagen production, protection from UV damage, and defense against loss of elasticity.

H -Humectant - By drawing water from the air and skin's surface, humectants keep the underlying cells bouncy and moist. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most widely used; others include glycerin, urea and panthenol. (Honey is also an excellent humectant)

I - Ice - Sure, it soothes a twisted ankle but ice - or a chilled cloth or straight- from-the-fridge mask-is also the best way to calm overstressed skin and depuff undereye bags. Cool compresses constrict capillaries, forcing blood, redness and inflammation away from the skin's surface.

J - Juice- Grapefruits, Oranges, lemons and limes make more tan thirst-slaking, vitamin packed beverages. Fruit acids, part of the alpha-hydroxy family, have also proven to be brilliant exfoliants (citric and malic acids are two popular varieties). Unlike scrubs, which physically slough off dead tissue, fruit acids break apart the bonds holding together old cells in surface-dulling clumps. This action also encourages the formation of new cells, which not only makes the complexion radiant and fresh, but also evens tones and minimizes hyperpigmentation.

K - Vitamin K - Found in dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, vitamin K helps build strong bones. Applied topically, it repairs broken vessels, zapping dark circles and accelerating bruise healing.

L- Line Fillers- From Restylane to CosmoDerm to Zyderm, fillers (made respectively of hylauronic acid, lab-produced human collagen, and bovine collagen) are injected under skin to erase lines and restore fullness. Needle-phobes should opt for creams and cosmetics that mimic the look with optical light diffusers.

M - Minerals - Big news in makeup, mineral formulas consist of natural substances like zinc oxide, ultramarine, and titanium dioxide. Since the particles don't penetrate the skin, they offer coverage with a low risk of irritation.

N - Niacin- A derivative of vitamin B3, niacin helps the digestive system convert to energy and assists nerve function. But skin-care gurus love it because niacin breaks down into nicotinic acid, which stimulates the release of leption, a hormone that's been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation. Applied twice a day, a niacin-enriched product could fade brown spots and other discoloration over time, and since it's gentle, niacin is well suited for delicate faces.

O - Oil - When it comes to creating the perfect skin cream, water and oil truly do mix. It's the ratio of these two ingredients that makes some textures feel thick and others slip on light and airy. But not all oils are created equal. Occlusive versions such as mineral oil lay on the skin's surface to create a protective barrier, while lighter formulas like jojoba seep into skin's cracks and crevices.

P - pH Balance- Harsh cleansers and sugary snacks are just a few of the factors that can upset skin's normal pH (4.0 to 5.5), causing flaking. To hit the reset button, forgo intense acid peels, chomp green veggies, and rehydrate with lotion.

Q - Quick Fix - Makeup artists know how to wake up lackluster skin in minutes without a drop of foundation. Apply a moisturizing mask (or just a rich cream) with a gentle, three-minute facial massage. The process relaxes muscles, accelerates microcirculation, and plumps lines to create a smoother surface and a temporary-but convincing-glow.

R - Retinoids - These chemical compounds are derived from vitamin A and assist in regulating cell growth. Available over the counter (Retin-A is the prescription version), retinoids are often used to reduce appearance of lines since they're so effective at getting skin cells to rebuild collagen and elastin. This rapid turnover can sometimes trigger sensitivity, however, so most docs suggest starting with retinoids every other night until skin adjusts to the new ingredient.

S - Sleep - Most studies recomment seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night for optimal health and beauty benefits. This is a time for full-body regeneration and skin repair, so derms often tell patients to apply treatments such as retinoids and pigmentation-reducers before going to bed, giving ingredients like glucosamine, which treats spots and lines, the ideal conditions under which to work their magic.

T - Tea - Whether brewed as soothing beverages or added to a daily skin cream, these antioxidant superstars (the most potent include green and white teas, along with Argentinian yerba maté) also contain large amounts of polyphenol, a known antiager. These types of tea have been scientifically proven to defend against the formation of certain cancers when sipped faily, and there's evidence that they fight free radicals, minimize UV effects and repair damaged cells when applied to the skin.

U - UV Blockers - The best lotions provide full-spectrum coverage by shielding against harmful (my addition) UVA and UVB rays. Look for labels listing avobenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Remember however that Vitamin D is necessary for healthy living so we should try to get it in moderate amounts each day....15 minutes is good enough. (my 2 cents)

V - Vitamins - Just as a rainbow-color diet supercharges your energy level, your skin requires a full range of vitamins to keep up its glow. When mixed into your favourite treatment, vitamins play a major role in important skin functions such as speeding up healing, minimizing hyperpigmentation and boosting collagen.

W - Water - Up to 6- percent of your body is made of water, so it's no surprise, H2O plays a major role within the skin. When cells are adequately hydrated, they're able to ward off signs of aging, such as wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and inflammation, thereby promoting a dewy glow and clear complexion. To amp up your skin's moisture level, slather on a hydrating cream while skin is damn and load up on essential-fatty-acid-rich foods containing omega-3 and linoleic acid to help maintain tissue's water content from the inside.

X - X-Factor - Your friend's miracle cream is your oil spill? Your sister loves retinoids, but you can't tolerate them? Call it the complexion X- factor: variations in tone, pore size, texture, and sensitivity that mean no product is one size fits all. The best face-saver for you is the one designed for your skin type.

Y - Yogurt- Low levels of lactic and alpha hydroxy acids make plain yogurt an ideal DIY exfoliant (leave on for 5 minutes then rinse) even for those with sensitive skin, while its probiotic content beats bad bacteria effectively on the skin's surface just as it does within the body.

Z - Zinc- Dandruff-fighters have relied on zinc-based shampoos for decades, but the mineral's many skin-care uses-as an anti-inflammatory that clears up eczema regulates oil production, and kills off pore-clogging bacteria-are a relatively recent discovery.

So there you have it....a guide to beautiful skin from A-Z!
My 2 cents: Coconut oil is an excellent skin care product too, it has calmed many an irritated spot on my face for me. :)

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