Having Skin in the Game--
Why are we all so disappointed?
The skin care industry is a multi-billion dollar business estimated to be worth $43 billion per year in the United States alone. Whether you get your products at the drugstore, department store, online or at your physician’s office you can be sure that every potion and lotion is promising youth in a bottle. Most don’t make good on that promise. If your trusted skin care line is no longer effective, it’s not your imagination. Here are the 7 good reasons why it might not live up to the hype.
What’s in the pretty bottle?
Keep in mind that the amount of money spent on marketing a product often eclipses the cost of the ingredients. There is a distinct difference between highly promoted products that rely upon packaging and national campaigns vs. those born of clinical testing and analysis of proven results. All products should be tested to the highest standards to ensure their effectiveness and safety prior to release to the public. Ingredients are not all created equal. Pharmaceutical grade skin care offers ingredients in strengths not available on the mass market.
Type casting: Poor product to skin match is more than skin type
Do you have dry, oily or combination skin? The answer might not get you to the best product. It makes sense that matching the correct product with the patient is the key to good results. Skin type certainly plays a role in product choice but it is not the primary determinant we’ve all been led to believe. Over the course of my career, I have found that lifestyle, age, priorities, nutrition, genetics, environment all trump skin type. Your specific “profile” will play the starring role in developing a skin care regimen that really works. Do you see yourself in any of these profiles?
- Athletic Teen with Acne
- Outdoor Active Teen on Acne Medication
- Active Senior Receiving Medispa Treatments
- Stressed Young Mother
- Middle-Aged Athlete Experiencing Early Signs of Aging
- Sun-Worshipping Senior with Dry Complexion
- Middle-Aged Rosacea Sufferer
- Expectant Mother with Hormonal Acne
- Menopausal Woman with Occasional Breakouts
- Early 30s Woman Developing Fine Lines
Detailed information on the various profiles and their recommended treatment plan, can be found on enza.com
Riding the hormonal wave?
It doesn’t seem fair but hormones through life significantly affect the quality and elasticity of skin. Your skin may be oilier due to an increase or instability in hormones during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. As skin ages, it produces fewer natural moisturizing oils in part due to a decrease in hormone production. Think about three women, all 30 years old. One is discovering fine lines and taking birth control pills, another is pregnant and the third is a stressed young mother. Each woman will need different skincare despite their ages being the same. All have a hormonal component that must be considered when prescribing products.
The environment in which you live, work and play can influence your skin. Where you live, where you vacation and seasonal changes each have their impact. Your current routine may work perfectly in the summer but turn ineffective or even harsh in the winter. Cold weather brings lower levels of air moisture, which can produce drier skin. A change in climate may affect the dryness of your skin. Dry Southwestern climates are obvious causes of dryer skin changes because the heat can actually bake moisture out of your skin. During hot summer months, in more humid climates your skin may be more prone to retain excess oils, especially if your skin is naturally oilier. When skin doesn’t retain moisture, you need a heavier moisturizer and a creamier cleanser. Conversely, in humidity choose lighter products — like a gel or foam cleanser and a lotion instead of a cream.
Letting it all sink in…
Regardless of the effectiveness of a product, it will be of little help if the ingredients are unable to penetrate into the skin. Absorption problems can block even the best skincare lines. The pH balance of the product is one of the most important factors—it must be in a specific range to not only allow, but promote absorption. When an invisible, unintended barrier is challenging the product, you’ll get a less than optimal result because the deeper collagen layers are never reached. This is the most important reason that our ENZA skin care line is in a league of it’s own.
Routine exfoliation allows topicals to better penetrate the skin and maximize their effectiveness. Cleanse first to wash away impurities and then exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and draw out impurities in congested pores. Good exfoliation reveals the softer, smoother, more evenly toned skin underneath. Exfoliation can be mechanical e.g. skin brushing with a device or chemical in the form of facial peels. Depending upon your needs Enza offers seven product suites.
Two examples include preventative care and reverse aging care. In the former we suggest using the lightweight Sustaining Cleanser to lift away dry cells and smooth wrinkles, followed by the Cool Sustaining Toner to restore a natural glow. The final Sustaining System product, Fine Facial Polish, should be used two to three times per week to exfoliate and absorb acne-causing oil. Complete your daily routine with the Sustaining Glow Crème to polish away discoloration. In the latter case, the Enza Essentials Saturation System including the SaturationCleanser, Saturation Toner and Herbal Crème is a great daily regimen. Two to three times per week use the gentle Saturation Aloe Scrub to help reverse the signs of aging.
Know your brand and stick with it!
Good skincare requires commitment to both a regimen and a product line. There’s an advantage of staying true to your brand. The best products work synergistically so you get more out of standardizing on a brand you trust than “playing the field.” That free bag of cosmetic samples is very seductive but soon you’ve tried so many brands it’s difficult to say if any really had any impact on your skin. You must also commit to daily use for at least 4-6 weeks to see results. Consistency and commitment are the name of the game. Consulting with a physician or a certified skincare expert is the best starting point so you know the time and money spent will be worthwhile.
Your lifestyle is written all over your face.Leading a healthy lifestyle is as integral a part of having great skin as using good products. You can use the best products in the world, but if your habits are unhealthy, your skincare probably won’t work. Getting too little sleep, smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol will compromise any attempt at healthy skin. Poor nutrition in the form of excess carbs, fats and sugars also robs the skin. Likewise, skipping sunscreen, sunbathing or tanning indoors, interferes with your product’s potential benefits. In closing when contemplating a new skin care direction chose wisely and consider all of these important listed points.
Joseph W.Rucker M.D.
For more information, check out my websites at www.enza.com and www.ruckermd.com