Remember that firm, bouncy skin you had as a teen? Of course! Our skin looked that way because our dead skin cells self-exfoliated and our cell matrix was full and thick. Over the next days, we are going to take a serious look at our skin, its structure and needs.
First, some definitions:
Skin: the largest organ of our body, it keeps everything together and is the part of our structure we show to the world.
Skin Matrix: the jelly-like fluid between the skin cells that is made up of hyaluronic acid, sugars, salts and chondroitin sulfates bound by essential fatty acids.
- The sebaceous gland under your skin secrets sebum, an oily, waxy substance.
- Sudoriferous gland is what produces sweat.
Homeostasis: living systems with a tendency to be relatively stable, to maintain the equilibrium between dependent and inter-dependent processes.
Transdermal: capable of delivering the ingredient into the circulation for systemic effect, i.e it passes through the skin's outer layer as opposed to "topical" which sits on the skin.
So, what does it take to keep skin healthy. It takes the right ingredients both inside and out to keep it glowing.
It takes a plump matrix, a healthy acid mantle and a homeostasis microbiome
Plump up the matrix
- from the inside with lots and lots of water and eating essential fatty acids.
- from the outside:
- Exfoliate the dead skin and cleanse the skin using a gentle alpha hydroxy acid. Once this is done, your skin is very vulnerable. Your skin has lots water and its protective acid mantle.
- Apply a cream with a transdermal delivery system to put nutrients and essential fatty acids back into the skin to help restore homeostasis; these include retinol, vitamin C, plus hyaluronic acid to plump up the matrix.
Maintain a healthy Acid Mantle and Microbiome
- Avoid harsh soaps with ingredients like alcohol, triclosan or even classic soap. These are all very alkaline and your acid mantle prefers a slightly acidic environment, a pH of 5.
- Use only gentle, mild exfoliants. Those lovely little bacteria that keep your skin healthy really hate a harsh scrub.
- Keep skin care products simple. You and your skin do not need the perfumes, colorants and texturants.
- Avoid preservatives when possible. They have one function. They kill bacteria. That may be great in making product with a long shelf life, but it will also kill that good bacteria on the skin.
- TIP: products with no water - 100% oil or a solid - do not have or need a preservative.
- Eat healthy. Your gut microbiome talks to your skin and can create problems like inflammation and acne.