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VITAMIN C – The Big Gun in Any Anti-Aging Arsenal

THE SKIN CARE ARENA

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by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*

The bad news is that free-radical damage from the environment is inescapable. This daily assault on our skin can cause premature aging. The good news is research has shown that topical vitamin C can help fortify the skin against this onslaught. How? By providing powerful antioxidant protection, Vitamin C shields the skin from free radical damage.

(Dermatological Surgery, 2008 & Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012)

Adding a well-formulated vitamin C product to your daily skincare regime, can afford you a variety of benefits that can help keep your skin looking younger, longer.

Vitamin C, whether blended with other beneficial ingredients or in a concentrated treatment, can treat multiple skincare concerns.

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Vitamin C can:

  • Reduce the appearance of brown spots.
  • Firm the skin by stimulating collagen production.
  • Reduce inflammation and irritation, both of which can trigger additional skin damage.
  • Improve the skin’s natural healing response, which helps fade post-breakout red marks.
  • Increase the effectiveness of your sunscreen and boost your skins defense against UV exposure.

(Dermatological Surgery 2008, & Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2012 & The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 2010)

The most commonly used form of vitamin C in skin care products is Ascorbic acid—also known as L-ascorbic acid. It has the most research of any form of vitamin C when it comes to benefits for skin. It is equally powerful when mixed with other antioxidants, or when used alone in higher concentrations. Ascorbic acid concentrations of 15%, 20% or greater can be used for treating extra-stubborn problems. (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2008 & Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 2012).

It’s important for you to know that there isn’t just one “best” form of vitamin C. There are, however a few derivitives that research has demonstrated are the most stable and effective. Other effective forms include sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. While there is less supporting research on these derivatives than ascorbic acid the research that does exist is positive.

The range of benefits for these forms of vitamin C includes repair and protection from free- radical damage, skin firming, and the improvement of skin tone. When added to a blend of other proven antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients these vitamin C derivatives enhance the formulation. Look for products that include these with ingredients such as green tea, grape seed extract, Resveratrol, peptides, and niacinamide.

All antioxidants, including vitamin C, are susceptible to destabilizing when exposed to air and light (Skin Research and Technology, 2008). To maximize the benefits of your vitamin and anti-oxidant treatments, as well as protecting your investment in those products, choose only those products packaged so that their ingredients maintain their stability. Look for opaque bottles or tubes, air-restrictive bottles, and pumps.

There’s no doubt; vitamin C is a powerful tool in your anti-aging arsenal. However, research is clear that using a range of beneficial ingredients is always best for keeping skin at its healthiest. Make vitamin C a part of a regimen that includes a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen SFP 30, an exfoliant, and a non-irritating products that contain a blend of antioxidants, skin-repairing agents, and cell-communicating ingredients.

* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops private label skin and hair care products for the trade. Madeleine can be reached through her website – www.tscsource.com



 

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Treating PUFFY EYES Needs More Than Hope in a Jar by Madeleine Arena

THE SKIN CARE ARENA

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by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*

Almost all of us have woken up with swollen, puffy eyes that diminish as the morning goes by. There are an unlucky few whose puffy eyes are worse in the morning, and then never go away. Puffy eyes are one of the major skin care complaints; and since it is so common, nearly every skin-care company sells products claiming to treat chronic or occasional puffy eyes.

The question is can an eye cream, gel, or serum, eliminate puffy eyes? Regretfully, the answer is no. But don’t be discouraged, because there are things you can do to help minimize puffy eyes once you know what causes them.

Puffy eyes can be caused by one, or a combination of the following reasons: fluid retention, allergic reactions, inflamed and irritated skin, or prominent fat pads surrounding the eye area.

These are the most common causes of puffy eyes and what you can do to minimize them:

  1. Sleep Position

Fluid collects in the tissue around your eyes when you sleep with you head flat. Sleeping with your head slightly elevated, making sure that your neck is properly supported, can help prevent fluid retention in the eye area. Gentle fingertip massage around the eye area when you get up can also help relieve this swelling.

  1. Diet

Alcohol consumption and a diet high in salt not only increases puffiness around the eyes, but also cause it to linger throughout the day. This is an easy fix. Moderate (or eliminate) your intake of alcohol, sodium, and processed foods. Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet (e.g., fruits, vegetables, salmon); and drink plenty of water.

  1. Contact Lenses

Contact lenses, even under the best of circumstances, can cause irritation and swelling. Ensure you are wearing the most comfortable type of contacts for your vision correction. Follow your eye-care provider’s exact instructions for cleansing, wear, and disposal. Keep your eyes lubricated with the appropriate eye drops.

  1. Allergies

Exposure to allergens, either in the air or by rubbing your eyes, can cause redness and lasting puffiness. Avoid touching your eyes, because rubbing not only pulls at the skin, and encourages sagging, but also increases inflammation, making puffiness worse. Talk to your physician about taking an antihistamine or using anti-allergy eye drops to control your allergy symptoms. Applying a cool (but not ice-cold) compress to your eyes also can help.

  1. Dry Skin

Dryness around your eyes can contribute to swelling, and make them look wrinkled and tired. A well-formulated moisturizer can make a remarkable difference. Remember to protect eye-area skin daily with a product rated SPF 30 or greater.

  1. Makeup Residue

Makeup, when left on overnight, can cause irritation, which is a sure way to cause puffy eyes. Thoroughly remove your makeup every night. Start with a gentle, fragrance-free eye make-up remover, (one that’s also colorant-free is best for the eyes). Finish with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser for your face, neck and décolleté.

  1. Crying

Make no mistake, when the tears start to flow, puffiness follows. Why? The physical act of crying causes inflammation around the eyes. That irritation, plus a person’s natural tendency to rub and wipe their eyes while crying, leads to puffiness. There’s no remedy for this, and remember the longer you cry, the worse the puffiness.

  1. Exposure to Irritants

Irritants of any kind, especially those in your eye make-up, cause irritation and inflammation, which almost guarantee puffy eyes. Ingredients like menthol, camphor, alcohol, essential oils, fragrant plant extracts, or any kind of fragrance shouldn’t come anywhere near your eyes.

  1. Fat Pads

For some people, puffy eyes are genetic. Typically, this results from overly large fat pads around the eyes; or because over time the fat pads have bulged through the facial muscles and begin to sag. In this case, the only way to solve the problem is with cosmetic surgery.

  1. Sun Damage

If you suffer from puffy eyes, your eyes are even more susceptible to the negative impact of unprotected sun exposure. The resulting sun damage causes the skin around your eyes to lose its elasticity, which in turn allows more fluid to accumulate in the area. In addition, sagging skin just tends to look puffier. Wearing a sunscreen every day is crucial. Be aware that, many eye creams don’t contain sunscreen.

* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops private label skin and hair care products for the trade. Madeleine can be reached through her website – www.tscsource.com


Madeleine is the author of the Skin Care chapter in the book

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ANTI-AGING SKIN CARE MEANS MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE by Madeleine Arena

THE SKIN CARE ARENA

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by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*

It’s a fact of life that wrinkles, crepiness, and discolored skin appear sooner on areas that haven’t been routinely protected from the sun with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This is especially true for the neglected neck, chest and décolleté since most of us take special care of the face. As a result, over the years the contrast between the skin on the face, and the skin on neck, chest and décolleté becomes striking; and is the most obvious sign of aging skin that can give away your age in the same way your hands can. That’s why I believe skin care needs to start at our chests.

There are various reasons why the neck and décolleté shows the signs of aging sooner than the face.

First, is sun damage. The chest and neck skin often burns before the face.

In addition, the skin on the neck is naturally thinner than the skin on the face, therefore, the damage from UV rays is more extensive and severe.

Last but not least, the muscles in the neck area are relatively weak. Weak muscles combined with chronic sun exposure cause multiple horizontal lines, sagging and drooping of the neck skin as a person ages.

Given this, it’s no wonder cosmetics counters are packed with an array of creams and treatments targeting these areas. Buying a separate neck, chest, or décolleté cream is a waste of your money. These “specialized” products are rarely well-formulated, and they almost always are overpriced. In addition, they are unnecessary because the anti-aging product you use for your face will work beautifully, if it’s well-formulated.

Scientific research has proven that the same effective ingredients will keep the skin anywhere on your body acting and looking young. Gentle cleansing, anti-aging products loaded with antioxidants (such as Vitamin C & E, as well as co-enzyme Q10) skin-repairing ingredients (such as Ceramides, & Hyaluronic Acid), and cell-communicating ingredients (such as Peptides, Retinol, & Linolenic Acid) along with the diligent use of a well-formulated sunscreen will work for your face, as well as your neck, chest, and décolleté. Simply continue their application downward.

Whether you’re treating your face or your neck, chest and décolleté a consistent routine is essential if you want to see results.

Remember the best single step you can take to keep any area of your skin, especially these delicate areas, looking gorgeous for years to come is to always protect them with a generous application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

If you do have sun damage in these areas it is treatable. Consult your dermatologist. There are different treatment options available, such as skin lightening products that contain hydroquinone. Creams will only go so far if the sun damage is bad. If creams cannot help you laser treatments may.

Skin is skin, and what works for your face absolutely will work for your neck, chest, and décolleté. There’s no need to buy extra products for signs of aging below the face. As long as you don’t have any specific concerns (like acne, eczema, or rosacea), your facial anti-aging product will keep your neck, chest and décolleté looking healthy and young.

* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops private label skin and hair care products for the trade. Madeleine can be reached through her website – www.tscsource.com


Madeleine is the author of the Skin Care chapter in the book

Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour

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Does Dry Skin Cause Wrinkles? by Madeleine Arena

THE SKIN CARE ARENA

by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*

Madeleine - 111809Does Dry Skin Cause Wrinkles?

No. Dry skin does not cause wrinkles. Research has shown that wrinkles and dry skin are not related in terms of cause and effect.

Sun damage is the primary cause of wrinkles. In addition, muscle movement, estrogen loss, and fat depletion also cause wrinkles. Nowhere (outside of ads and product claims) is dry skin ever mentioned as a cause of wrinkles. You may ask, “what about those annoying little “fine, dry lines” most moisturizers claim to eliminate? Realistically, that’s just another way to describe how your skin can look when it’s dry. However, “fine, dry lines” are not the same as wrinkles. Wrinkles don’t go away simply by applying a moisturizer.

If you’re over 35 it’s easy to prove that sun damage is by far the leading cause of wrinkled skin. Simply compare the parts of your body that rarely, if ever, see the sun with the parts of your body exposed to the sun on a daily basis. Look at your backside, inner arms, and abdomen. You may be surprised to see that these areas have minimal to no signs of “aging.” In fact, they are firmer, have more elasticity, and the color of “younger” skin than the sun-exposed areas. Proving just how strongly sun exposure and wrinkles are related.

So why are so many people convinced that dry skin and wrinkles are related? There are two reasons. First is the misinformation distributed by the cosmetics industry; and second is the fact that dry skin looks more wrinkled than skin that isn’t dry. So, it’s not surprising, that wrinkled skin looks better after a moisturizer has been applied.
When skin is dry or dehydrated, any amount of wrinkling or flaws look more exaggerated. Applying a moisturizer will diminish the appearance of wrinkles and can help skin look and act younger, but that is not the same thing as helping skin to repair itself.

Standard, ordinary moisturizers do not have any significant effect on wrinkles. However, using a product that contains state of-the art ingredients will have such an effect. Not all products are created equal. The state-of-the-art ingredients you should look for are Antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients. Here’s how each one of these critical ingredient categories works:

Antioxidants decrease free-radical damage. They also reduce inflammation, which causes collagen to break down and negatively impacts the skin cell’s DNA structure. When contained in an effective sunscreen, antioxidants also help your skin defend itself against the #1 cause of aging, the sun.
Cell-communicating ingredients not only work to “tell” damaged cells to start acting more like normal, younger, healthier cells; but also help skin cells form in a healthy, “younger” way.
Skin-repairing ingredients are substances that skin has lost due to sun exposure and external irritants. These repairing ingredients help to fight environmental damage that leads to moisture loss and dull skin causing it to look older than it really is.

Last but definitely not least, it is critically importance to use an effective sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher 365 days a year. While the topic of sunscreen may not be as interesting as the latest anti-wrinkle miracle, sunscreen is the single most important product to help you prevent premature aging, and resist wrinkles.

To learn what ingredients to look for, read Madeleine’s article,

Navigating the Sea of Skin Care Productshttps://fabulousbeautyblog.wordpress.com

* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops private label

skin and hair care products for the trade.

www.tscsource.com

Her chapter on skin care has been a popular feature in

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Anti-Aging and Your Hands by Madeleine Arena

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

From the Skin Care Arena

Your hands, like your face, greet the world. You shake hands to introduce yourself, or greet someone. You use your hands to express your affection to those you love; to soothe a sad child, or comfort someone suffering from an illness. If you’re like me, you may even “talk” with your hands.

Hands are the workhorses of the body. They are exposed to sunlight, extreme temperatures, and a lot of wear and tear, says Nelson Lee Novick, a clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City.

By the time you reach age thirty, skin-cell production decreases by ten percent, making your skin less able to repair itself. Unlike the thicker skinned, palms of the hand, the thin skin on the tops of the hands, can show signs of age first. In addition, when hands lose plumpness, due to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, veins and knuckles can start to look more prominent.

You can do things every day to help your hands look and feel good. The best regime for the hands is fairly simple. Just follow my five step plan.

Step one: Wash your hands the right way. The frequent washing that’s designed to keep your hands sanitary can also keep them dry, cracked and wrinkled.  The goal is to remove germs and grime, without stripping all the natural oils from your hands. So, wash with warm water instead of hot.

Step two: Avoid using harsh soaps. Dermatologists recommend nondrying products like Dove, or Neutrogena, as well as liquid nonsoap cleansers like Cetaphil. According to the Mayo Clinic, antibacterial soaps aren’t necessary and may even dry skin more. They also can kill good bacteria on the hands and encourage bad bacteria that resist antibiotics.

Step three: Rinse hands well, and gently pat or blot dry. Don’t rub.

Step Four: Apply moisturizer after washing your hands.  A good moisturizer can help prevent or treat dry skin on your hands.  It helps  retain moisture in the outer layer of skin, making your hands smoother and softer.  Two of my favorites are Eucerin Intensive Repair Extra Enriched Hand Cream, and Avon’s Moisture Therapy.  Apply it each time you wash your hands. Don’t forget to massage the cream into your fingernails & cuticles.

Step Five: Protect your hands from harsh cleaners by wearing gloves for your household chores. If you think about it there’s no use being careful about the soap you use to wash your hands if you’re also exposing your hands to harsh cleaners. You might also consider using an inexpensive pair of cotton gloves as a liner to prevent sweating and itching. These gloves are available at most drugstores. They can also be used at night to cover your hands after you’ve moisturized them.

Step Six: Last but definitely not least, make sure you use a sunscreen on your hands during the day. The backs of hands, especially, need protection.  There are quite a few products on the market. Try Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Hand Cream SPF 15, which you can pick up at Target for about $14.  Another excellent product is Resist Ultimate Anti-Aging Hand Cream SPF 30 for about $13 from Paula’s Choice Skincare. If possible, reapply every time you wash your hands.

* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops  private label skin and hair care products for the trade. 

Click here to visit her beautiful new website.



 

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Navigating the Sea of Skin Care Products – Part 2 – How To Choose A Moisturizer by Madeleine Arena

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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Navigating the Sea of Skin Care Products

The Skin Care Arena

by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.

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Magazines are filled with product ads making irresistible claims. Knowing which products will work for you can be a daunting task. Although it is possible to go it alone, you need to learn a great deal about specific skin care ingredients, what they can do for your skin, and how to use them properly. The advise of a skin care professional such as a cosmetic dermatologist or esthetician can be invaluable in setting you on the proper path as you chart your course.

There are many advantages to working with a professional. They will begin by educating you about your skin type and its special needs, while helping you set goals for its improvement. These specialists are skilled at working with you to establish an effective skin care routine with the right products for your skin type and/or skin problems.

According to the American Society for Dermtalogic Surgery (ASDS):

“Looking for a quick fix to erase wrinkles, tighten skin, reduce the signs of aging or treat acne could be as easy as a trip down to the local drug store. However, with so many over-the-counter products available, the beauty aisle can be overwhelming. Some skin care products are overpriced and make claims they can’t support. Other products that claim to take years off your face could be misleading and ineffective.’

When searching for an over-the-counter product, follow these tips:

Know your skin type

Establish a daily skin care routine: The key to success with most skin care products is continuity. Establishing a daily routine is important, especially with anti-aging creams. Don’t be discouraged, it may be six to eight weeks before seeing improvements with over-the-counter remedies.

Be cautious of “miracle” products: Skin care products that seem “too good to be true” probably are, so use your best judgment. Reputable product lines are the best bet and likely to be most effective and safe.

Research products before you buy them: When considering a purchase of products, research the product and its ingredients to find the products that work best for your specific skin type.  If there are ingredients that are unfamiliar, look them up to find out how they work. For example, products claiming to have Botox® like results, could be deceptive as Botox® is only effective when injected directly into the underlying muscle. The most expensive products are not always the right products for certain skin types.”

Be patient.  It may take six to eight weeks before you see improvement, especially with over-the-counter products. It’s important to remember that for the most part, department store brands are not strong enough to treat advanced anti-aging problems. Manufacturers of these products compromise by developing products with lower concentrations of ingredients that can be safely used by most people without negative side effects.

Always use a sunscreen on a daily basis.  It’s the most important step in not only preventing premature aging, but also in maintaining skin health.  If your skin is sensitive, and tends to react poorly to certain products, look for a sunblock whose first active ingredient is zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 

Madeleine Arena s a Cosmetic Chemist who develops private label skin and hair products through her company, The Skin Source.

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