Skin health does not have a widely recognised definition or model - it takes different meanings under different circumstances - but what most dermatologists agree on is that healthy skin is naturally smooth, even in color, firm, and well hydrated, and that it can defend and protect itself naturally. We are born with optimum healthy skin but throughout life we get exposed to environmental and physical changes that degrade its health and appearance. That's why it's essential to start looking after our skin early on, even before we start seeing any signs of aging. With the right balance of cleansing, hydration and powerful active ingredients, we can restore our skin to its native state of health.
Healthy skin is often described as flawless and glowing but, in a medical context, these terms lack precision and reflect subjective and non-quantifiable characteristics.*
Healthy skin appears smooth, even in color tone, firm, tight, hydrated, tolerant and/or contour rich, and it can defend and protect itself naturally.
What do we mean by optimum skin health?
The word optimum refers to the greatest degree attained or attainable under implied or specified conditions.* The greatest degree of skin health attained in our lives is generally at birth because skin has not been exposed to environmental, physical, or genetic factors that contribute to its deterioration in health and appearance. However, this doesn’t mean that optimum skin health is not attainable as we grow older.
Skin is a responsive organ. Skin cells are constantly growing, living, dying and sloughing off to make way for new skin cells to emerge. With the right skin care approach and lifestyle choices, your skin can adapt and evolve as a response to environmental and physical changes, and gradually return to its native state of health.
The repair potential of facial skin is maximal in younger individuals and gradually decreases with age, so the earlier you start looking after your skin the better.
For example, intrinsic aging and/or photoaging (sun damage) cause anatomical, physiological, and clinical changes that range from a sensation of dryness and dull, weathered skin to wrinkling, jowling, laxity, skin thinning, and easy bruising. Although these changes may not be detectable in youth, they are occurring and will become visible with age.*
How do we achieve optimum skin health?
There are three fundamental pillars to optimum skin health: restore smoothness and color tone, provide uniform hydration and regulate skin cellular functions. Here are some tips to help you restore your skin to its native state of health and reverse any visible signs of aging.
The texture of healthy skin should be mostly smooth to the touch. Acne, white/blackheads, or millia are all signs of skin congestion. These can be avoided with the correct cleansing regime.
Cleansing helps remove the build up of dead cells, excess sebum, cosmetics and dirt that accumulates on the surface layer of your skin, and unclog your pores. It also gives your skin the ability to breathe and rejuvenate, and increases the efficacy of other products like your serum and anti-aging formulas.
Uneven color tones like blotchy spots, light-colored, dark, or red spots, and any dark circles under your eyes are signs of poor health. These are generally caused by hyper-pigmentation, allergic reactions, anxiety or lack of sleep. Feeding your skin with safe, clean skin care is essential if you are concerned about maintaining your health. Look for products that preserve the integrity of raw active ingredients.
Despite popular belief, drinking lots of water doesn’t really benefit your skin that much, since water goes mostly to your inner organs first before reaching your skin. Dr Gray, leading dermatologist and founder of Skin Institute and Ao Skincare, recommends products that optimize your skin's function instead of slathering moisture on the surface of the skin, to help your skin produce more of its own natural moisture, both on and below the surface.
Understand the difference between cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. Cosmeceuticals are products which provide pharmaceutical-like benefits from an otherwise cosmetic product. They use active ingredients that have been tested and proven to be particularly effective in evening out skin tone and pigmentation and reducing wrinkles.
While over-the-counter products may list ingredients such as retinol or vitamins, they generally do not contain the concentrations required to provide anti-aging benefits. Cosmeceuticals are subject to more rigorous scientific research and development processes, and therefore offer higher concentrations of active ingredients.
Cosmeceuticals are safe and compared to skincare products from supermarkets, department stores and even some from beauty spas, they are more effective and critically – they deliver results at a cellular level.*
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While the anatomy of the skin is the same from person to person, there are some gender differences in the physiology of our skin. But is there really a need for skin care products based on gender, and specifically something as universal as moisturizer? To answer this question, we take a look at the differences between male and female skin.
Technologies such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) are commonly used for wrinkle reduction, and of course there’s a place for lasers in tattoo removal. This suggests a philosophy of aggressive intervention rather than the approach we generally prefer, which is to promote homeostasis, i.e. the skin’s natural ability to maintain itself.
But it’s not quite that simple.