A Radiant 2013…

1000 and 1 Good resolutions. Have you just signed in for yoga lessons, stopped smoking, is your freezer full of healthy power food? Then read the advice of Jeremy Dean if you want those good resolutions to last longer than just the month of January. One of his golden tips is to keep your resolutions small and realistic. In the area of skin I’ve got one for you: In 2013 go for the radiant healthy skin instead of for the wrinkle free skin. That will not only save you a lot of money and frustration but you will also see a return on it. Research has mainly found that it is not so much the wrinkles that give your age away but more the skin tone. The evolutionary psychologists Bernard Fink, Karl Grammar and Randy Thornhill already demonstrated in 2006 that people with a radiant blemish free complexion were judged as being up to as much as 20 years younger!

It has long ceased to be news to me that it is often more noticeable if someone has treatment to improve the “glow” of the skin than when a wrinkle is being “eliminated”. You can tell a lot from skin. A trained person can often even see from the skin if someone has a problem internally. Just think about how your skin looks when you are ill. The skin is more dull and yellowish and no longer has a glow. This also happens when you get older. Your skin finds it much more difficult to get rid of dead skin cells and can consequently have a more grey appearance. In addition to this, the reduced efficiency of the veins can mean a decline in the blood flow to your skin. With a more dry skin, reduced blood flow and an excess of dead skin cells, the natural glow is hard to find. Fortunately, if you promptly start taking the right measures, you can conjure up that radiant skin again.

Apply your radiance
If you would like to have a smooth radiant complexion then there are cosmetic ingredients which are a real must. From around your thirties you could consider visiting your Doctor or Dermatologist to arrange a prescription for Vitamin A Acid. Vitamin A Acid is actually proven to be beneficial for skin ageing, and furthermore it stimulates healthy cell renewal and prevents the build up of dead skin cells. In a couple of weeks you will see that your skin gets a natural glow again. Vitamin A Acid isn’t the only possibility, your skin will become stronger, healthier, more even and radiant with the use of a product containing higher concentrations of Vitamin C and Niacinamide. A combination of these ingredients will ensure you success!

Exfoliate for an instant glow
A natural glow occurs if the skin is healthy, well oxygenated and the surface of the skin is smooth. A healthy radiant skin is comparable to a mirror. The surface is smooth allowing optimal light to be reflected back. With ageing this effect becomes lost through sun damage, bad diet, stress or unsuitable skincare products. Bad habits, such as smoking and high alcohol consumption, also contribute to dull skin. Blood vessels constrict making it more difficult for oxygenated blood to reach the skin. And that reduced blood supply ensures that well recognised grey smokers complexion. The trick is to get the skin so smooth that the light which falls upon it is beautifully reflected. Although it takes longer to see an improvement in skin condition and blood flow, a smooth and even surface is easy to achieve. You can do this by exfoliating the skin, or a peeling. I advise against using scrubs on your face, these can, through their abrasive effect, irritate the skin and you sometimes damage the healthy skin cells which causes the opposite effect to happen. Moisture loss occurs, and the skin becomes dry. Lines are displayed more readily on dry skin and it looks dull. That is definitely not what is meant. It is more advisable to use exfoliating substances such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs (also known as fruit acids) or Beta Hydroxy Acids (Salicylic Acid) which dissolve, as it were, the dead skin cells. A lot of people aren’t familiar with the exfoliant. Even so, it is still an important part of a good skincare programme. There are much independent and scientific proof for the effectiveness of exfoliating ingredients such as Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid. Although the cosmetics industry sometimes like to let us believe that these sort of ingredients are new, they have been in use for a long time. Sour milk, which contains Lactic Acid, was used by Cleopatra to bathe in. Ladies of the French courts even applied wine, containing tartaric acid, onto their faces. Nowadays luckily, shops sell these ingredients in the correct concentrations.

Eat yourself radiant
If you would like to have a healthy glow then carotenoids are a must. These substances are found, for instance, in carrots and also oranges and tomatoes.  Research has revealed that the skin of people who had eaten lots of carotenoid rich food were judged as being healthier and more attractive. Furthermore, carotenoids also protect against further UV damage; although a tanned colour can look good at first, UV damage quickly affects the healthy glow. Another substance with which you can eat yourself beautiful are free fatty acids, which are found, for instance, in oily fish such as salmon. They help to retain moisture in the skin and they make sure that the skin is able to protect itself from outside influences. While omega fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory. Other recommendations are Resveratrol in grapes (and in red wine). This substance influences the forming of Sirtuin and with that the ageing process. Sadly, you would need to drink very much red wine to have any benefit from this, so you are better off taking a food supplement containing this substance. Green tea is another good choice, this contains super amounts of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants protect your skin from UV damage and, with that, are an important means of preventing skin ageing.  Broccoli, strawberries and cranberries are also a good source of anti-oxidants.

Ray of happiness
You only achieve a truly attractive glow when you are comfortable with yourself. Stress and sleep deprivation have an enormous impact on your skin. Your skin becomes more susceptible to spots, irritations and other problems. Your skin can even become dry and dull and the reduced blood flow makes your skin pale and grey. All of this is caused by an increase in cortisol levels. On the other hand, happiness hormones (endorphins; these are also partly made in your skin) can make your skin radiant. So, every now and again, really take some time for yourself!

And if a little bit more is required….
Sometimes sensible eating, good application and a healthy dose of relaxation still isn’t enough. Then you can enlist the help of a clinic. In order to give your skin an instant glow the best measure is a peel. The same substances are used for this as in an exfoliant, but then in high concentrations. The result is then seen even more rapidly and, in addition, pigmentation spots can be improved and the skin strengthened. If you would like to really improve your skin then opt for a combination of laser and peel treatments. A good laser will rebuild the skin from the inside and erase annoying pigmentation spots and blood vessels.  Microdermabrasion is also an option, but you mustn’t overdo it. To many and too intense treatments can actually give your skin a tired look. Whatever you do make sure that you go to a reputable clinic where the treatments are performed by a Skin Therapist or a Doctor.

If you don’t have a radiant 2013 after that!

Regards Jetske.

(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Reserach Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read the blogs:
The Battle against Wrinkles: No Time to Waste,
Help with Choosing Your Exfoliant‘,
Different Types of Pigmentation’,
An Ageing Skin Due to Pigmentation?’,
about the ingredient ‘
Angel Dusting‘ (minimal concentrations),
and ‘
Dehydrated Skin (and Hydrating Substances)’,