Vanity Insanity: The Truth about Skin Care

Our skin is an organ – our largest organ in fact. It protects us from the world around us and without it we cannot exist. Yet for some reason, we still tend to view caring for our skin as vanity and not as necessity. Like brushing your teeth and visiting the dentist, your skin needs regular maintenance and care to stay healthy. Youthful skin is healthy skin and healthy skin is a result of proper care on a daily basis. This is achieved by topically feeding your skin essential vitamins and nutrients every day.

The products you apply to your skin each day determine the health of your skin and the rate at which your skin will age. This, of course, is not the only factor - genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices play a role as well. A healthy diet, for example, will be reflected on your skin, though a healthy diet alone cannot provide your skin with all the essentials it needs. As we age, our small intestine becomes less effective at absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat. This means our skin’s need for topical skincare becomes even more essential.

Failing to use skincare products on a daily basis will lead to what I call “Skin Starvation and Malnourishment” - just as your body would be malnourished from a lack of food. Skin starvation physically manifests itself as dull, unhealthy looking skin and premature aging.

Falling into the Trap of Persuasive Marketing Campaigns

Everyday, we are bombarded with skincare commercials from large companies. They make vague and questionable claims about their newest skincare products, which can do things like “reverse the signs of aging”. This is the number one consumer mistake - purchasing a product based on the amount of advertising and marketing behind it. Large companies are able to invest heavily in marketing, but it does not mean the products are effective or safe. We have all, at some point, fallen for this type of advertising and, as a result, many people are understandably skeptical of skincare products.

We choose foods that are beneficial for our body and avoid harmful preservatives and foods that lack nutrients. It is very important to apply the same principles when choosing skincare products. Don’t purchase products based on claims, but rather on formulation. Flip over the skincare bottle to read the ingredients just as you would a food item in a grocery store. Since understanding a skincare label isn’t always easy to the untrained eye, it is important to find a skincare professional you trust to guide you in this process. An experienced skincare professional can help you understand exactly what you are putting on your skin. Let’s face it; the claims on the front of the bottle are generally not a reliable source.

Are you being misinformed?

When we go to doctors, we expect them to have our best interests in mind. As a result, we don’t often question the recommendations that they make. It’s surprising to learn that some of the number-one-recommended products by dermatologists today contain parabens, petroleum, sodium lauryl sulfate and PEGs. These products lack the proper nutrients and essentials your skin needs, resulting in skin starvation and malnourishment.

The go-to recommendations for acne are prescription topicals and internal medications. Prescription topicals do have their place in skincare, but they should not be used long term and are commonly overused. While using topical prescription medications, the skin has a greater need for topical nutrient and antioxidant support. These nutrients work to replenish and restore the skin while it is being treated with the harsher ingredients; this will preserve the integrity and health of your skin. It’s important to balance your treatment plans by consulting both a doctor and a skincare specialist. This will allow you to treat your skin issue while simultaneously ensuring your skin is staying nourished and can heal more effectively.

Lastly, the lack of effective skincare education for estheticians and skincare consultants is resulting in poor skincare recommendations. The skincare companies themselves provide the majority of the education, which tends to be biased and vague. It is important to understand skin physiology and skin requirements to effectively consult on skincare products. Only professionals with a strong understanding of the skin’s function can consistently make appropriate recommendations that will meet your skin needs.

Skincare Treatments vs. Skincare Products

Whether it’s breaking a bad habit, learning a new skill, or losing those extra few pounds, we all crave immediate results. It’s this desire for quick and easy results that often leads us astray, and skincare is no exception.

More and more people are investing a good deal of money in skin treatments while not paying close enough attention to their skincare products. The truth is, long term, positive changes in skin texture and appearance come from a daily skincare program that replenishes and provides the skin with topical essentials and nutrients. In the same way that adopting a healthy lifestyle program leads to positive body changes, adopting a consistent and healthy skincare regimen can help you reach your long-term skin goals.

Quick fixes are always temporary for the skin, just as they are for body. When choosing to undergo esthetic treatments such as laser treatments, peels, skin needling, injectables and more, it’s critical to also invest in a great daily skincare program to supplement the treatments, maintain the results and work on the skin as a whole. Injectables, for example, will quickly and effectively diminish certain lines and add volume to the skin, but the results are very temporary. When combined with a healthy daily skincare program, the skin is nourished and fed, promoting healthy, great-looking skin with longevity.