Skin, Aging & Science (Part II)

Talking skin, aging and science in my last blog, I highlighted the importance of preventive measures and lifestyle changes, which can significantly slow down aging. Today we will dig deeper and focus on: Why skin ages and how science can help remedy it?

So, Why Does Our Skin Age? To answer this question, we need to understand what happens to our body as we age. Over time, our DNA gets damaged and our built-in repair and regeneration processes slow down, until cells wither and can no longer function properly.

Talking purely skin aging and genetic programming, our skin stops making new collagen and elastin past the age of 20. Adding insult to this injury we are constantly subjected to lifestyle dependent degradation of collagen/elastin. When the regular degradation of skin matrix is not balanced by regular replenishment, wrinkles begin to appear and skin begins to sag.

Skin Aging Under The Microscope
Sun, smoke, pollution and various toxins promote formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide anion, peroxides, and singlet oxygen (oxidants.) These ROS damage DNA, cell membranes and most importantly collagen/elastin fibers. They also increase matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes, which cause further carnage and break down vital skin components.

Few studies have shown that there are low-grade inflammatory processes taking place in our bodies in response to ROS that are responsible for making us age faster.

How Do We Fight Cellular Aging?
Personally, I agree with the above schools of thought and feel antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents are both beneficial to stop the wear and tear processes in our body. Oral antioxidants like: CoffeeBerry, Resveratrol, Pynogenol, Acai, green tea, Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Palmitate version), and Nicomide do help in slowing down the wear and tear in our body.

Some research into the low-grade inflammation theory has indicated that Doxycycline in low dosage (40 mg a day) can work well in reducing skin aging. In animal studies it has shown to substantially decrease the amount of MMP's (bad guys) that cause skin matrix degradation (if it works in humans is still debatable though).

Tried & Tested Topical Collagen Boosters:
One sure way to produce collagen is to exfoliate skin. Exfoliation, removes the surface layer of dead cells, and stimulates the new skin cells turnover and new collagen production. Retin-A, Glycolic Acid based products, superficial peels and manual facial scrubs are all good ways to exfoliate the skin.

Retin A is the most researched, tried and tested collagen booster. Looking at similar products, Dermatology literature shows us that Tazarac works a little better than Retin-A. Differin 0.3 has yet to be studied in a comparative trial.

Retinol is not bad either. ROC makes a good and fairly stable one.

Alpha-hydroxy acids are similarly tried and true, glycolic acid being the best. (Neo-strata is a great brand.)

Peptides, especially the carrier peptides, which bring zinc and copper into the dermis, increase collagen production (Neova, Osmotics and Neutrogena's Visibly Firm).

While there is a lot of hype to other topicals, skepticism is healthy here, I feel that dermato-pharmacology has improved greatly and many of the ingredients, especially peptides and hyaluronic acid benefit our skin.

Radiofrequency and Laser Treatments are also beneficial antiaging tools. They work by denaturing the skin collagen by delivering heat into the skin and thus producing collagen fragments called the signaling peptides. These signaling peptide signals the fibroblast to make more collagen.

The Bottom Line
Based on currently available science there are two main approaches to preserve youth. One is to stimulate collagen/elastin synthesis, and the other is to inhibit their degradation. Topical agents, lasers and radiofrequency treatments stimulating matrix synthesis (particularly collagen boosters) are adequately researched and supported by clinical evidence. In most cases, it is reasonable to try them first. But, sometimes (particularly in older people) they have little or no effect. In those cases, one should consider taking steps to minimize matrix degradation by inhibiting or reducing the levels of MMP enzymes. Unfortunately, the methods to do that are still in emerging processes and still some distance away from the prime time.


Skin, Aging & Science (Part I)

First Rule Of Antiaging - Prevent Damage Before It Happens
Whether you're 35 and just beginning to see the first signs of aging, or 55 with skin that isn't exactly keeping your birthday a secret, seeking ways to reduce wrinkles is probably on everyone’s agenda. But, before we even talk about boosting new collagen production, we must first learn how to preserve what we already have. Here’re few simple things you can do on your own to preserve collagen in your skin.
skincare and antiaging, tips and tricks to achieve youthful skin
Avoid Sun Exposure: Especially between 10:00 - 3:00. Wear sunglasses to preserve the delicate collagen around the eyes. UV rays are the biggest danger to collagen and elastin depletion: wear a good sunscreen. Put a sunscreen next to your toothbrush. The youthfulness of your skin is just as important as the whiteness of your teeth. I like Avene 
effect of sun on collagen and elastin

DO NOT Smoke: Archives of Dermatology Dec 2007 showed identical twins, who lived near each other and both worked as delivery truck drivers. One smoked heavily the other was a non-smoker: amazing difference. Another set of sibling studies done at the Twin Research Unit at St. Thomas Hospital in London found the brother or sister who smoked tended to have skin that was more wrinkled and up to 40% thinner than the non-smoker.
effect od smoking on skin identical twins

Food Choices & Glycation: You have been told in the past that the secret to radiant skin is avoiding fry-ups, chocolate and alcohol? According to a new book, you are in for a big shock. “Future Proof Your Skin” by dermatologist Dr. Stefanie Williams claims certain fatty foods and chocolate can be beneficial to your looks - while sugars, carbs, lentils and brown rice are no-no's. Glycation is a type of chemical reaction that happens when sugar molecules attack your body proteins, lipid or fats - In simple words it means sugar destroys your skin.
effect of suga on skin aging

Avoid Squinting: The American Academy Of Dermatology (AAD) warns, any repetitive facial movement -- like squinting -- overworks facial muscles, forming a groove beneath the skin's surface. This groove eventually becomes a wrinkle. Also important: Wear sunglasses. It will protect skin around the eyes from sun damage -- and further keep you from squinting.

wrinkles and squinting
Get Plenty Of Sleep: Yale dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, says that when you don't get enough sleep, the body produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. Get enough rest, Perricone says, and you'll produce more HGH (human growth hormone), which helps skin remain thick, more "elastic," and less likely to wrinkle.
sleep and antiaging youthful skin. Dr. Shazia Ali

Good Sleeping Posture May Help: The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) cautions that sleeping in certain positions night after night leads to "sleep lines -- wrinkles that become etched into the surface of the skin and don't disappear once you're up. Sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on cheeks and chin, while sleeping face-down gives you a furrowed brow. To reduce wrinkle formation, the AAD recommends, sleeping on your back.
Posture of sleep and wrinkles. Dr. Shazia Ali

Don't over-wash your face: According to dermatologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center, tap water strips skin of its natural barrier oils and moisture that protect against wrinkles. Wash them off too often, and you wash away protection. Moreover, unless your soap contains moisturizers, you should use a cleanser instead.
hydration and wrinkles

Hydrate Or Not To Hydrate: In a recent study in our literature, water consumption did nothing for collagen production or preserving, either way.


Get To Know Jergens A Little Better

Last month I had the chance to meet up and gage in edifying conversation with the Jergens skincare experts, as we all came together to celebrate the launch of Jergens all-new skincare creams in the Middle East. We discussed the brand intelligence and philosophies and the local virtuoso’s were kind enough to put me in touch with the Jergens Research & Development team via email to dig deeper and get to know the brand more intimately, and here my lovelies is what I found out….

Dr. Shazia Ali

What is Jergens skincare philosophy?

At Jergens we believe – “beautiful” begins with skin. Since 1901, Jergens® moisturizers have been dedicated to help women of all ages have soft, smooth and sensuously beautiful skin. Every moisturizer and body cleanser in our collection is designed to enhance a variety of skin types and tones, and now they transform skin better than ever.

Dr. Shazia Ali

How do Jergens moisturizers differ from other moisturizers in the market?

Jergens moisturizers contain the following technologies that make them fairly unique in providing Visible Skin Enhancement to beauty driven consumers:
Ø  Humectants: Glycerin
o   Provides instant surface hydrations;
o   Pull moisture into the skin.

Ø  Emulsifiers
o   Enhanced emulsion stability and skin feel.

Ø  Occlusive emollients: (Petrolatum, Mineral Oil)
o   Lock in moisture; prevent moisture loss.

Ø  Emollients (Silicones, butters, etc)
o   Skin feel modification,
o   Restoration of a luster & healthy appearance.

Ø  Oil in Water emulsions
o   Fast-breaking action to immediately rehydrate and deposit emollients directly to the skin.


What is Jergens stance on organic and toxin free skincare?

“At Kao USA, Inc., we are committed to only using ingredients with well-established safety profiles and we closely evaluate all products before they go on the market. Jergens products are used by millions of people globally and do not use any ingredients that would be considered toxins.

Our consumers can continue using and enjoying our products with confidence, knowing our products are safe and comply with the appropriate regulatory requirements.”

How does Middle Eastern women differ in their skincare habits compared from women elsewhere?

From what we learned from ME consumer they:
·         Enjoy outside activities; shopping, walking, and swimming

·         Always feel dryness even in hot season because of 24/7 air conditioning, so body care products are used throughout the year

·         Apply skin lotions typically at least twice per day and on additional occasions specially after washing for prayer (Wudu)


Green Revival For Lifeless Hair

Hair dyes, highlights and hot irons rule modern day well coiffured manes and over time most of us have realized that taking care of regnant hair is a complicated business. If you happen to be an ardent fan of hair grooming with all the newfangled paraphernalia attached with coloring, straightening and blow-drying, and your hair constantly feels dry, dull, frizzy, and unmanageable, then look no further to blame - aim your gaze directly at your bad hair grooming practices.

Want Healthy Hair? – You Need To Nip These Top Causes Of Hair Damage In The Bud:

·      Bleaching: Bleaching hair penetrates the cuticle with chemicals and removes your natural pigment. It changes the structure of your hair, making it more susceptible to damage. Once you bleach, you've altered the strength of your hair, making it weaker. To add insult to the injury, if you practice blow-drying and styling on top of bleaching, you can really damage your 'do, causing hair breakage, a dull look, and split ends.

·      Perms: Perming refers to either a chemical straightening or a chemical curling. It works by breaking the inner bonds of the hair and re-forming them back together in a different way. Like bleaching, it weakens the hair, leaving it dull and damaged over time so that instead of luxurious curly locks or shiny straight tresses your hair looks dry and brittle.

·      Highlights & Coloring: Highlights and semi-permanent dyes aren't as damaging as bleach, good news I know, but they aren't without consequences. They can also change the inner structure of the hair, causing a lackluster look and dryness, especially if you frequently color to hide roots or gray hair.

·      Flat Iron & Blow-drying: Heat causes temporary changes to the hydrogen bonds that hold hair together, and that can make hair look kinky and dull. Over time, the temporary changes can lead to more permanent damage especially if you tend to blow dry or iron on a daily basis.

·      Ponytails & Braids: Ponytails and braids can cause hair to break, particularly if your style is pulled tightly and if you wear it that way every day, permanent hair damage can occur. Braiding or putting your hair in a ponytail when it's wet can also cause damage because wet hair is more fragile.

·      Over-brushing: Think 100 strokes a day will make your hair shiny and full? Think again. Over-brushing your hair can cause split ends and breakage. With careless over brushing you can inflict too much consistent friction, which your hair might find difficult to handle. Cheap brushes don't help either, causing snags and tangles that are hard to get out and result in broken hair and split ends.

·      Over-shampooing: The goal of shampooing is to cleanse the scalp and remove oil buildup on your hair. But over-washing can wash away your hair's natural moisture that helps your hair look healthy, making your hair dry. Although a significant amount of research has gone into making shampoos beneficial for your hair, you can still get too much of a good thing.

My Flawless Hair Product Search

Slave to the grooming rhythm and hopeful for a hair revelation, each pilgrimage to the local/international pharmacies, I keep looking for miracle products that would transform my hair into luscious locks making bad hair days and frizz a thing of the past. When I was almost convinced that short of chopping my Rupunzel mane to a tomboy short there was no other option left, I came across Phyto hair products and guess what? I am still sporting long braids and flowy tresses.

Come Hither And Meet My Hair Hero - Phyto

Everyone knows that taking care of your hair means starting with the right shampoo. PHYTO has an amazing range of shampoos and conditioners that cater to so many different types of hair and are color-safe, paraben, and silicone free.

Trick to picking correct shampooing routine is, knowing what your mane needs precisely. I for e.g. have oily scalp and my long tresses are dried and damaged thanks to my color cravings and fascination with hair styling gadgets. To minimize the damage caused by my bad hair habits I use two kinds of shampoos simultaneously one to zap oil and cleanse my scalp properly and one to cleanse, condition and nourish my long dry, damaged and colored locks.

Phytocedrat Purifying Treatment Shampoo - For oily scalp
Intense hydration brilliance shampoo – For dry hair  - PHYTOJOBA

I have tried gazillion serums and hair nourishing products, one product that has won me over with first application is: SECRET DE NUIT. This miracle cream goes to work as you sleep to regenerate the hair fiber deep down. Upon waking you’d find hair is delicately scented, regenerated and protected. It is shiny, supple and manageable. I tested SECRET DE NUIT personally and trust me when I say upon waking, my hair looked and felt repaired, soft and regenerated.

Hydrating regenerating night treatment - SECRET DE NUIT plus it is a perfect companion to Phytojoba shampoo.

If the damage runs deeper - what to do?

Avoid harsh hair products and practices for one and if you’re suffering from hair fall and dandruff see a dermatologist and get checked for any health deficiencies or discrepancies. Any ailment or damage to the hair root eventually shows up as bad textured hair. If serum Iron or vitamin D are lacking take supplements. If any thyroid related problem lies in the background get it fixed by taking proper medications and keep the problem under wrap with periodic medical checkups.