Tag Archive | Madeleine Arena

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.

Visit her beautiful new website.

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Navigating the Sea of Skin Care Products

The Skin Care Arena

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

Madeleine - 111809

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.

Visit her website.

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