Forever Young – Your Guide to Skin Care

 

From a fresh haircut, to the perfect lipstick shade, to blemish free skin, everybody wants to look their best. Men and women alike are always making efforts to make their looks as aesthetically pleasing as possible, and they will often go to great (and sometimes expensive) lengths to do so.  So before we break the bank on needless products that may or may not work, let’s delve into some of the best practices and products that will help us put our best faces forward.

First and foremost it’s important to concentrate on the basics of skin care.  For instance, limiting extensive UV ray exposure from the sun can help the skin to age better, decreasing wrinkles and dark spots.  Smoking cessation or abstinence allows the skin to maintain its vibrancy and elasticity.  Additionally a healthy well balanced diet helps to maintain overall health and beauty of the skin.

As a pharmacist who specializes in nutritional supplementation, I often get requests inquiring which vitamins and supplements can be used to treat ongoing skin conditions, as well as which can serve to beautify appearances. Generally, the main things I recommend are probiotics, omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, and Vitamin D3.  Probiotics are beneficial in that they help to increase the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria in the gut.  How does balancing the body’s bacterial flora help the skin? Often, when bad bacteria outnumbers the good, it manifests in skin inflammation such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.  Therefore taking the good bacteria in the probiotics can help to limit these conditions.  Likewise the omega fatty acids play a significant role in reducing skin inflammation.  Additionally they function to increase and support the functional integrity of the skin, and can even sometimes reduce UV-ray caused damage to the skin, and signs of skin aging.  Vitamin D3, like probiotics and omegas, plays a role in reducing inflammatory conditions of the skin such as psoriasis and acne, and also has been shown to have some benefit in hair growth.

An additional supplement often taken to improve aesthetic appearance is biotin. Biotin is a form of vitamin B, and deficiencies in the body can sometimes result in brittle or thinning hair and nails.  Biotin helps to strengthen keratin infrastructure, a basic protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails, and supplementing with it, in some cases, helps to reverse these unwanted effects in these structures of the body.

Of course while what we put into our bodies plays a major role in our appearance, what we put onto our bodies also is significant.  Both men and women alike use cosmetic products such as soaps, shampoos, makeup, moisturizers, shaving creams, hair gels, and many more.  However, these products are often riddled with harsh petrochemicals, parabens, dyes, and synthetic fragrances that, while aesthetically pleasing in the short term, can wreak havoc on the skin and hair long term, not to mention their effects on overall health.  So does that mean all skin care products are bad? Not at all. However, as a consumer, you have to really read your labels and look for product lines that avoid these harsh chemicals.  Companies like Caudalíe, Dr. Haushcka, John Masters, and Jack Black center on providing natural cosmetics in all varieties, from shaving creams to shampoos, oftentimes from organically sourced ingredients.  These types of clean sourced cosmetics give you the benefit of short term beauty without the sacrifice of long term detrimental effects on your skin.

Additionally we often use over the counter creams and moisturizers to treat ongoing conditions that deter from our aesthetic appearances.  Two of the most common issue I see in my practice are scars, both new and old, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis which are both aesthetically displeasing and also uncomfortable from a physical standpoint.  For scars, we often recommend silicone based gels, like Scar-Care, which can help to reduce the appearance and severity of scars from a variety of causes, be it old surgical scars, acne scars, or scars resulting from injuries and burns to the skin.  For the treatment of eczema and psoriasis, we often use high quality moisturizers to help to combat this.  When moisturizers are not enough, we go to stronger products like Psoria-Care which is a specialized moisturizer that uses natural products such as boswellic acid to replenish the lipid layer of the skin, thus moisturizing and reducing inflammation.

Finally, sometimes some skin conditions are resistant to even the best over the counter treatments.  For those cases, we have some great prescription options at our disposal to help improve the looks of the skin.  For instance, specially compounded skin lightening creams are often used to help lighten dark spots on the skin often caused by aging.  These creams generally contain a combination of two to three ingredients such as steroids and bleaching agents which blend the dark spots into the surrounding skin, giving a more flawless appearance.  Additionally acne can oftentimes be resistant to traditional over the counter treatments.  Many patients will try common prescription products such as antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide, and for those looking for a more natural approach, specially compounded niacinamide provides a nice option in that it is simply a form of vitamin B which may help to reduce the formation of acne.

These types of natural cosmetic products and supplements, as well as compounded medications, can sometimes be difficult for the average consumer to find as they are not typically sold in regular stores.  Stores that specialize in these types of items, such as Pine Pharmacy in Williamsville, are generally great resources.

There are quite literally thousands of options and products to improve your overall appearance.  Make sure you choose high quality products that beautify gently and safely, and have scientific evidence behind them that supports their beneficial effects.  Doing so will allow you to get the most bang for your buck and keep you looking your best.