By Jenna Treat
One of the highest compliments you can pay a woman is to tell her she has great skin. Just watch her face light up when you do! It is a highly coveted attribute and those who come by it naturally are blessed. You can bet safely that a large majority of those who don’t will go to just about any length to achieve it!
So how do I achieve perfect skin you ask?
Well…if I knew the definitive answer, I’d bottle it and retire for I spend the lion’s share of my professional time either enhancing already great skin or simulating it cosmetically for clients. I can tell you this; there is more to good skin than what’s on the veneer and I am thus a firm believer in promoting good skin from within. Ultimately, there seems little point in just covering something up if we aren’t being proactive with what is underneath. So before we get to the skin perfecting beauty tips, let’s explore some of the underlying determinants of just what makes perfect skin so perfect!
I had the chance to pick the brain of top TO Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK ON AVENUE, so stay with me and allow me to get technical with you for a moment (insert ER theme music here.)
Most people don’t realize that the skin is our largest organ. It is a sensory organ that protects and nourishes the body and regulates body temperature. It regenerates incessantly and has a remarkable ability to self-heal. And as Dr. Kellett shares, “the skin is a huge organ of immunity, it protects the body against external agents and is therefore essential to our immune system.” In short, our skin never stops working!
I think we often take our skin for granted until we reach mid lives and start to see the wears of our youth play out on it like a well-travelled road map or a buttery leather handbag (mmmmm…handbag). Bearing this in mind, proper care of the skin, as with any organ, will yield positive results in overall appearance, feel and function. And although individually we may experience our own skin issues, I believe it’s never too late to start treating your skin well and at the very least you can aim to preserve what you have now.
What can I do for my skin now? Here are a few obvious proactive measures that have worked for me:
We all know that ‘we are what we eat’, so appropriate nutrition is of paramount importance in the quest for perfect skin. We have all seen the results of a party weekend where all dietary hell breaks loose and the impact is there to haunt us in various punishing forms such as water retention, skin discolouration, dehydration lines or worse; the dreaded blemish. Painfully, the price is often paid long after the cake is gone and the Tequila fountain has run dry. Dr. Kellett concurs and adds that vitamins, A and C specifically, are an excellent skin-nourishing supplement to our regime. A multivitamin can top us up when we aren’t getting exactly what we need from our diets. Also, try Clear Clinical Vitamin A Booster available at www.kellettskincare.com.
Smoking: To state the obvious; smoking is a no-no. I am not going to preach but knowing that cigarette smoke is lethal to our skin and causes it to work overtime filtering out the dangerous cocktail of toxic chemicals emitted from every puff is important.
Sun: Excess sun exposure, thus photo damage from the sun’s harmful rays, is to be avoided at all costs and is a year long commitment. Yes, even in the winter! And you know that pigment inducing result we see when we develop that San Tropez tan?Well, allow me to introduce you. Everyone, this is Melanin- “Oh Melanin, you are so pretty, and we do love you, but you are actually a defense mechanism, you are temporary and can’t work alone- and it’s not your fault-only 5% of our skin is responsible for producing you”. 5%?!!? Now that would be like wearing a bikini in the desert!
The outermost layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, is a protective layer made mostly of dead or peeling skin cells that we must rid in order for our new cells to surface. Good riddance! There are numerous methods of exfoliation available all with varying price tags.
Facials: It’s not a bad idea to get regular facial treatments to deep cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize simultaneously.
Microdermabrasion/Diamond Peel: An increasingly popular technique involving micro-fine crystals that aggressively exfoliate the epidermal layer of the skin and leave an incredibly smooth, fresh surface. Recuperation time is minimal and treatments can range from $150 and up.
Laser Peel: The strongest in the peel category and recommended for targeting severe photodamage. It’s done under a local anesthesia and has an average recovery time of one week. Prices may vary as multiple sessions of laser treatments are commonly advised.
You don’t have to be rich to exfoliate though, so get overwhelmed by cost and selection at the beginning. I often use a mixture of finely ground sea salt and warm water to gently exfoliate. It’s free and it works beautifully! Also try the Polishing Gel Cleanser available at www.kellettskincare.com.
It is highly important that our skin be kept well-hydrated. We lose water through our skin and it must be diligently replenished. Remember, it works non-stop and should be regarded as a thirsty friend who needs at least 8 250m I glasses of water a day to be sustained according to Dr. K.
Drinking plenty of water is a no-brainer, and I also stress that moisturizing according to your skin type to retain that moisture is an important step.
It’s true what they say about beauty sleep. Our skin heals itself and cellular repair occurs while we sleep. Speaking of sleep, I found an interesting product that contains organic macro and micro minerals that are time released and was designed to be worn while we are asleep!