Friday, May 15th, 2020
“Skin care” is a term that we use in two ways. We use it to describe the products that we apply to cleanse and treat the skin, and also to describe the act of caring for the skin. Because the term is interchangeable, there is a risk of blurring the lines between the two. People who wash their face and apply moisturizer or a serum or two often believe that this is sufficient effort to get the results they want. It’s not. Here, we discuss the common mistakes that people make with skin care and what needs to be done instead.
The most common mistake that people make in caring for their skin is not knowing exactly what their skin even needs. This is no fault of their own. Manufacturers of mass-produced cleansers, moisturizers, and specialty products are savvy about promoting the benefits of their items without acknowledging the lack of clinical efficacy or even making them seem efficacious when they are not. The only way to get clinical results from products is to use medical-grade products that have been picked out for your unique cosmetic and dermatologic needs by a medical professional.
In addition to choosing products based on the marketing seen on television and in magazines or what your mother or grandmother told you, what many people mistakenly do is use those products routinely for months or years on end. The problem with this approach is that most of what is sold either does not do what the skin needs or actually does more harm than good.If professional treatments are utilized, they are usually chosen without any thought of how they fit one’s total skin care needs.
We divide ski care into Basic, Basic Plus, and Rejuvenative. Basic is what everyone needs, no matter their age, essentially from birth. It consists of a cleanser, a pH balancer (cleansing disturbs the normal pH, which causes the skin not to function well for a while), and a good practical sun block (we prefer clear zinc oxide). The pH balancer can be a simple acidic toner or an acidic serum, like Vitamin-C or something similar, depending on your other needs. Once a teenager, an alpha hydroxy product to remove thickened outer dead cells is added to Basic Skin Care. Professional treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion are inexpensive, convenient, and comfortable and can help remove built-up dirt, oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells.
The body stops continually making new collagen to thicken the dermis, the support layer of the skin, and elastin that provides the skin its elasticity around 30 years of age. Therefore, Basic Plus adds retinol or Retin-A to continue the skin making collagen and Obagi’s ELASTIderm to stimulate elastin somewhere around 30 years of age. Although there are thousands of products available, this is all most people need, unless they have significant damage from the sun or other insults.
With problems, modifying skin care to address the specific problem is all most people will need. However, it takes an expert in skin care and rejuvenation to determine what will work best with the least effort and expense.
At the Center for Plastic Surgery in Highlands, NC, we help patients manage their skin in ways that get results. We use only medical-grade products products that have been proven to achieve results. We also have professional treatments like peels, microdermabrasion, IPL light treatments, and laser resurfacing to provide a full spectrum of care.