THE SKIN CARE ARENA
by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*
Winter is almost here, and with it the cold, dry weather that plays havoc on our complexions. If you suffer from dry skin, and so many of us do, you’ve probably been on a quest to find the one moisturizer that truly works. Sifting through the myriad of advertising claims on your way to choosing the best product for your needs can be mind boggling. Once again, I urge you to read the labels, and look for certain key ingredients that are proven to work.
Ingredients To Look For:
Antioxidants – are a group of natural and synthetic ingredients that reduce free-radical and environmental damage. They’re important because Antioxidants can prevent some of the degenerative effects in skin caused by sun exposure, and can also reduce inflammation within the skin. Remember that dry skin is caused when the outer layers of the skin lose their ability to maintain normal moisture levels. Mostly, this is due to sun damage, or by using products that damage the skin’s protective barrier.
The most effective moisturizers are formulated with a cocktail of antioxidants that work together to help your skin. It’s essential that you choose antioxidants that are contained in packaging that will ensure they stay effective. That means no see through jars. Antioxidants break down in the presence of light and air. My Recommended Anti-oxidant ingredients: Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Vitamin C, Green Tea, Resveratrol, Idebenone – a more stable form of Coenzyme Q10, Coenzyme Q10, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone),
Skin-identical/skin-repairing ingredients – are the substances that keep skin intact. These are ingredients that already exist in your skin, and are therefore recognized by your immune system as part of your body. They are the substances between skin cells (technically referred to as the intercellular matrix) that keep the cells connected, and help maintain the skin’s fundamental external structure.
An intact, stable, healthy, and strong structure is what allows skin to look smooth, soft, moist, supple, and young. Unfortunately, the external structure of our skin, is easily damaged by the sun, irritation, over cleansing, over scrubbing, climate changes, and skin disorders.
When the skin’s the intercellular matrix breaks down, it results in water loss, flakiness, and a tight, dry-feeling skin. In order to combat environmental stresses, and have a healthy, youthful appearance, all skin types must maintain, or restore the skin’s intercellular matrix.
Some well-known skin-identical ingredients, are: hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, cholesterol, ceramides, sodium PCA, amino acids, and fatty acids. There are too many more to list here.
Emollients are lubricating ingredients that prevent water loss. They also have a softening, protective, and smoothing effect on the skin. Preventing water loss is critical in maintaining skin’s moisture. Emollients vary in texture, and may be fluid or thick. Some emollients include, petrolatum, fatty acids such as linoleic acid, glycerin, and fatty alcohols.
Anti-inflammatory ingredients are any ingredients that reduce signs of inflammation, such as swelling, tenderness, pain, itching, or redness. Many antioxidants fall into this category. A couple of the best known anti-inflammatory ingredients are Bisabolol, and Chamomile.
You now have the information you need to choose the best moisturizer for your dry skin.
* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops private label skin and hair care products for the trade.
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