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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Making Sense of Skin Care Ingredients

Choosing anti-aging skin care products can be confusing — very confusing. No wonder — there are thousands of products on the market, each claiming to reverse sun damage, “lift” sagging skin, or eliminate lines and wrinkles. If these claims were true, it wouldn’t matter what product you bought and companies would have no reason to continue to introduce new “breakthrough” products. However, there are many ingredients that really do help skin to look more youthful and healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the key things to look for in a skin care product.

It’s most important to remember that sunscreen and moisturizer are the two most effective anti-aging products you can buy.

All the specialty products in the world will not make a difference if you don’t protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun. Moisturizer will help to minimize fine lines and is crucial for any anti-aging skin care routine. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30. It’s fine to use a moisturizer that includes sunscreen.


Antioxidants are substances (vitamins, minerals, and enzymes) that can help to protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. The presence of free radicals is increased by many activities of daily life including environmental pollution, exposure to chemicals, and exposure to sunlight. Antioxidants are often described as “mopping up” free radicals, interacting with and stabilizing them and therefore preventing some of the damage free radicals otherwise might cause.


Antioxidants such as lycopene, selenium, green tea, grapeseed, pomegranate, resveratrol, and vitamins A, C, and E are found naturally in many foods. Consuming antioxidants in the form of food may help prevent certain diseases such as cancer as well as help keep your skin healthy from the inside out. These same antioxidants can also have a positive effect on the skin when topically applied. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbyl palmitate, or ascorbic acid, and vitamin E is also known as tocopherol, or D-alpha-tocopherol. Including many antioxidants into your skin care routine may be more effective than one or two.


Retinol, which is actually a form of Vitamin A, is one ingredient that has been scientifically proven to be effective in improving almost every skin concern including wrinkles, uneven skin tone, rough texture, dullness, and firmness. There are many types of retinols in many different types of products. Some products have a higher concentration of retinol, which will give better results. Prescription retinols are the most effective. Retinols are best used at night because they increase sensitivity to the sun. Not everyone can tolerate retinol as it can cause some people’s skin to become dry, flaky, and irritated.


Hyaluronic acid is one of the newest superstars of skin care. It is a substance that is naturally produced by the body and works as a humectant to attract and retain moisture into the skin. It is especially good for dry skin and is found in many moisturizing products.


Peptides are being seen everywhere in the skin care industry. They are short chains of amino acids which act like messengers to the skin, promoting better communication between the epidermis and the dermis.


Hydroxy acids are exfoliants. They help remove the old, dead skin cells from the top layer of skin which helps skin to appear more radiant and also helps other products to be better absorbed. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) have moisturizing properties as well. The most common AHA’s are glycolic acid, which is derived from sugarcane and lactic acid, which is derived from milk. Beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s) are generally used for oily, acne-prone skin. The most common BHA is salicylic acid.


When considering anti-aging products, there are a couple important things to remember. First, have realistic expectations. Even the best topical face creams, serums, and lotions can only give limited results. There is not just one product that addresses all the signs of aging, and what works for your friend may not work for you. Second, choose products that are for your particular skin type. Third, it’s often hard to know how much of a certain ingredient the product contains. If there is not a high enough concentration of the active ingredient, then it will have little to no effect. This is often why there is such a variance in cost between drug store products and those that are available from a medical professional.


Last, your dermatologist can help you determine the skin care routine that is best for you. They can tell you about your skin type, evaluate the condition of your skin, and suggest products or ingredients that will be most beneficial for you. If you’d like more significant anti-aging results, a dermatologist can also suggest various professional treatments, including laser procedures, prescription creams, Botox injections, or other skin-resurfacing techniques.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you may contact the Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute at 309-451-DERM (3376) or dermatologistbloomington.com. Dr. Leone and Dr. Schupbach, both residents of Bloomington, are board-certified dermatologists, specializing in both medical and cosmetic dermatology, including the treatment of skin cancer, moles, acne, rashes, warts, and all skin disorders. Their practice is located at 3024 E. Empire St., in the Advocate BroMenn outpatient center.


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