Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Dandruff Solution

Dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, is a common inflammatory skin condition resulting in flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp.

Causes and Risk Factors
Dandruff is thought to be mainly caused by over production of oils in the skin, sever moisture loss, dead skin layer build up and inflammation from yeast called malassezia. In comparison, dry scalp is mainly caused by sever moisture loss, and inflammation.

Oily skin invites microbial growth in skin pores leading to an immune response. Inflammation develops when the immune system response cascades out of control. Chronic inflammation is very detrimental to health as a whole and shows first and foremost on the skin. 

Stress, fatigue, weather extremes and lotions containing alcohol, hot water, and over-washing can increase the risk of developing dandruff or dry scalp. 

The treatment of dandruff and dry scalp is very simple - Reduce inflammation, fight microbial infection, reduce oil production, return the skin's natural moisture balance, and remove the dead skin layer. 

Personal Story
I was suffering from dandruff and began experimenting with TreSkinRX products. I thought to myself, "If these products are so good for the skin, why wouldn't they work on dandruff?" As it turns out, I was right. My dandruff cleared up rather quickly. I treated dandruff as any other skin condition - I started using the Purifying Cleanser as a shampoo / conditioner (which is fantastic by the way); I exfoliated the area with EX3; I moisturized with the body moisturizer. Once my dandruff subsided I switched to using the EX3 and the moisturizer as needed, but continue to use the Purifying Cleanser as a shampoo / conditioner. 

Follow these easy steps to clear up dandruff or dry scalp once and for all:

1. Cleanse the scalp with the Purifying Cleanser (Used as a shampoo / conditioner)
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Fights microbes
  • Rejuvenates the skin
  • Improves hair health
  • Improves hair follicle moisture retention
  • Removes dirt and debris from the scalp
2. Exfoliate with EX3
  • Removes dead skin layer (Flaky skin is a big problem with dandruff)
  • Fights microbes
  • Reduces oil production
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Activates production of new skin cells
  • Increases collagen and elastin production
3. Moisturize (Wait 10 minutes after exfoliating to apply)
  • Helps maintain and return natural moisture to the skin
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces oil production
  • Improves hair follicle moisture retention
  • Soothes dry, itchy skin and redness
By using TreSkinRX products in this way, a complete assault on dandruff or dry scalp can be made by fighting the main causes of the skin condition. 

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Collagen and Elastin Infused Product Impracticality

Many advertisements these days proclaim a products use of collagen and/or elastin on increasing the texture of your skin. These structural proteins are often claimed to have magical qualities when applied to the skin. However, the truth of the matter is, when added to a product, collagen and elastin has absolutely no benefit to the skin. The only benefit products get by adding collagen and elastin to a product is improve its consistency, making it silky smooth.

Here is Why
Collagen and elastin are proteins found in all animal's skin, including our own. These proteins makeup the dermal layer of the skin, the healthy layer. However, collagen and elastin, when infused in a product, cannot be absorbed into the skin because their molecular size is too large. Adding further, if you take these proteins out of a human or animal source, the proteins are dead. Therefore, even if they could be absorbed into the skin, they would be inactive and provide no benefit. The only collagen and elastin our bodies can use is that created by our own cells and tissues.

If it were Beneficial
For a moment, lets consider adding collagen and elastin to a product was beneficial and our skin could absorb it. It would be important to take note of the quality of the proteins used. Most of the collagen and elastin found on ingredient lists are "soluble collagen" or "hydrolyzed elastin". This means the manufacturer has actually cut the proteins into tiny pieces. Therefore, even if it were beneficial, you are not getting true collagen and elastin; you are only getting pieces of these proteins.

Adding collagen and elastin to a product provides no benefit to your skin; it only improves the consistency of the product, making it silky smooth to the touch. Beware of products marketed with the ploy of increasing the texture of your skin with an infused collagen and elastin complex.

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The Importance of Moisturizing

Moisturizing is often overlooked in skin care routines. Our skin loses water through evaporation and dehydration throughout the day. In fact, your skin loses almost a pint of water each day and even more during the dry, winter months. When your skin’s water content is decreased, discomfort may be experienced through the form of redness, flakiness, or itchiness. Drinking plenty of water can help avoid dehydration along with the use of a moisturizer. Look for a moisturizer rich in humectants to reduce evaporation from the skin. Humectants act as a barrier when used in a moisturizer and help prevent evaporation from the skin’s superficial layers.

Many moisturizers continue to adhere to a common myth, water as the first ingredient in a moisturizer will absorb into the skin and restore the water that was lost during the day. The problem with this concept is that water cannot absorb into the skin. If it could, you would swell up like a balloon when swimming, taking a shower, or walking in the rain. Water, as the first ingredient, is mainly used as a cheap filler in many skin care products.

Basic Types of Moisturizers
There are two basic types of moisturizers; those for oily/acne-prone skin, and normal/dry skin. Moisturizers for oily and acne-prone skin types are light, non-greasy and cut oil production, returning the skin's natural water-to-oil balance. Oily skin is the skin's natural defense against excessive evaporation from the surface and a byproduct of low moisture levels. Excessive oil production also leads to clogged pores and causes acne. It is far more important to moisturize if you have oily/acne-prone skin. However, most people with these skin types do just the opposite. Normal skin type moisturizers are thicker, heavier and help maintain the skin’s natural water-to-oil balance. Both moisturizers perform the same basic function, by protecting the skin from excessive water loss.

Applying on skin
Using fingertips, gently apply a small amount of moisturizer over the desired area using upward and outward strokes until the entire product is absorbed. If you are using a TreSkinRX aloe based moisturizer, you can apply to even the most sensitive areas, such as directly under the eye without fear of burning or redness. Be sure not to get any moisturizer in the eye.

Some moisturizers are paired with a natural sunblock such as titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. These ingredients protect the skin from harmful environmental factors such as UVA and UVB radiation, which can damage cells. A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is used to rate the level of protection against UV radiation. Common SPF’s on the market range from SPF 15-90, with increasing protection and increasing cost. The difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30 is about 5% protection (92% protection to 97% protection). However, the amount of protection gained going from SPF 30 to SPF 40 is 0.5%. There is no reason to go higher than SPF 30, unless you want higher cost for negligible protection. Please refer to the graph below to get a better understand of SPF.

There is only one way to get more protection out of your sunscreen or sunblock, and it starts with the addition of a powerful anti-inflammatory agent like pharmaceutical grade aloe. Pharmaceutical grade aloe will reduce any inflammation before it starts and significantly decreases the chance of sunburn. That’s why TreSkinRX paired a pharmaceutical grade aloe based moisturizer with SPF 15. It is the only way to achieve the highest level of protection from environmental hazards while soothing, healing, and decreasing water loss. TreSkinRX moisturizers cover all the bases when it comes to everyday skin exposure.

TreSkinRX moisturizer's are comprised of the following ingredients;  remember these key ingredients when searching for a moisturizer:
  • Pharmaceutical grade aloe vera (An anti-inflammatory agent with the ability to heal and soothe; Absorbs into skin, carrying other ingredients with it; Antimicrobial; Antiseptic; Must be the first ingredient)
  • Sorbitol (Attracts and binds moisture to the skin’s surface)
  • Pantothenol (Changes to pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) in skin; Reduces pore size and fights acne; Beneficial for hair)
  • Silk Amino Acids (Protects the skin from dehydration and leaves it smooth)
  • Petrolatum (Soften and smoothes the skin; Prevents moisture loss)
  • Lanolin Oil (Helps form a water-repellent film on the skin)
  • Zinc Oxide (Natural sunblock; Promotes healing)
  • Titanium Dioxide (Natural sunblock)
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This post was edited by Ashley Miller

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Exfoliation Tips From an Expert

The second and most important step to proper skin care is exfoliation, which is also the one step done most incorrectly. The process of exfoliation removes and prevents the build up of dead skin cells and debris, also known as keratin. The buildup of the keratin can clog pores and prevent the skin from growing in a healthy way.

Some common skin conditions attributed to keratin build up are: acne, oily skin, sensitive skin, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and keratosis polaris.

Skin Layer Brakedown
The skin can be broken down into 3 basic layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue. For simplification, I will focus on the epidermis and the dermis, since these two basic skin layers are most important to exfoliation.

As we age our skin's natural response is for the epidermis to thicken. Since the skin can only be so thick a response to the epidermis thickening is for the dermis to thin. The epidermis is comprised on mostly dead skin cells and as they build up on the surface of the skin they can cause a many of skin issues.

The dermis is where healthy cells are made. As new skin cells mature they are pushed towards the surface until they die and add to the epidermis. I like to think of the dermis as the 'factory' of the skin. A healthy dermis is a productive dermis and one able to defend itself from invaders, such as bacteria.

Not only will proper exfoliation ensure a healthy dermis, but it will turn back the clock on aging.

Proper, daily exfoliation can rejuvenate the skin leaving it soft, supple, and radiant. For effective exfoliation, skin stimulation, and rejuvenation to occur, a chemical or mechanical technique is necessary.

Physical Exfoliation
Physical exfoliation involves a mechanical tool, such as a razor, to scrape off the keratin layer. A popular myth in skin care is that exfoliation can occur with products that contain gentle exfoliants such as micro beads, micro spheres, “scrubs”. These products have been shown to be detrimental to achieving healthy skin. If used frequently over a period of time, micro tears and inflammation will develop and persist, which may cause the skin to have an appearance of accelerated aging.

Chemical Exfoliation
Chemical exfoliation is synonymous with chemical peels. Chemical peels dissolve the keratin layer in contrast to scraping it off, as with physical exfoliation. There are a wide range of chemical peels on the market in relation to strength. A chemical peel's strength is rated on a pH scale, which is basically a measure of acidity. A good chemical peel will have a pH of 2-3. Physician's use a pH of 2 for their peels, while Esthetician's use a pH of 3. Most of the chemical exfoliants on the market are from 4-5 and is not strong enough to be beneficial. Please refer to the figure below to get an idea of chemical exfoliant pH ranges.

Proper exfoliation has many benefits. Some are listed below:
--Rejuvenates the skin
--Achieve more radiant and beautiful skin
--Decreases oil production
--Decreases acne breakouts
--Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
--Decreases pore size
--Decreases sticky cells
--Increases collagen and elastin production
--Increases healthy cell production
--Brings balance back to the skin
--Increases natural protection from the environment
--Reduces skin sensetivity

Drawbacks to Exfoliation
In contrast to all the benefits of exfoliation, the process does have some drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks of exfoliation is painful inflammation and redness similar to sunburn. However, this only lasts a few days and will subside as the keratin layer flakes off leaving the skin underneath soft, supple, rejuvenated, and radiant. Exfoliation done with a Physician or with an Esthetician can only be done 1-2 times per month because of the significant heal time. Another minor drawback of exfoliation is dryness. As the keratin layer is removed, water evaporation from the surface of the skin will increase, so it is imperative to moisturize.

The Solution
Since the only major drawback of exfoliation is painful inflammation and redness, the addition of a powerful anti-inflammatory agent is crucial in reducing the negative effects of exfoliation. The only product currently on the market able to achieve all the benefits of exfoliation, without the inflammation, or redness, is called EX3 by TréSkinRX. EX3 combines the power of glycolic acid with the therapeutic effects of pharmaceutical grade aloe. With the addition of skin rejuvenating vitamins and minerals, this product will leave your skin soft, supple, rejuvenated, and radiant without any inflammation.

EX3 is comprised of the following key ingredients; remember these when searching for an exfoliant:

• Pharmaceutical grade aloe vera (An anti-inflammatory agent with the ability to heal and soothe; Absorbs into skin, carrying other ingredients with it; Antimicrobial; Antiseptic; Must be the first ingredient)

• L-ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) (Antioxidant; Collagen stimulant; Must be encapsulated to avoid breaking down in the exfoliant)

• Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E) (Antioxidant; Essential for the production of collagen and elastin)

• Glycolic Acid (Exfoliant; Removes keratin layer)

• Green Tea Leaf Extract (A stimulant; Powerful antioxidant; Antibacterial; Anti-inflammatory)

• Pantothenol (Changes to pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) in skin; Reduces pore size and fights acne; Beneficial for hair)

• Allantoin (Heals wounds and skin ulcers; Stimulates the growth of healthy tissue)

• Retinol (Vitamin A) (Regulates keratin)

• Vitamin D3 (Regulates keratin; Helps improve skin texture and firmness)

After you have exfoliated, move on to step three - Moisturizing.

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This post was edited by Ashley Miller

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cleansing Tips From An Expert

Cleansing is the most basic form of any skin care regimen, and the first step that should be performed during your skin care routine. Throughout the day, pores become filled with dirt and debris.  If the pores are not cleansed or unclogged regularly, acne will develop and spread. A good cleanser will remove dirt and debris from the skin while reducing pore size. Diminished pore size reduces the likelihood of developing acne and blackheads.

Applying the Cleanser
When using a liquid cleanser simply wet your face with warm water. If the water is too hot you will damage or inflame the skin. If the water is too cold you will cause your pores to shrink and reduce the effectiveness of the cleanser. Warm water will open up your pores without inflaming the skin. After wetting your face, dab a dime size amount on your hand and rub both hands together evenly distributing the cleanser.

Cleansers do not need to lather, as lathering does nothing but add the appearance of cleaning.

When applying the cleanser to your face, be sure to use gentle upward and outward motions making sure to massage the product into your skin. If you are using a cleanser based with pharmaceutical grade aloe, do not worry too much about inflaming the skin, as the aloe will reduce any inflammation.

Once the cleanser is thoroughly massaged into your skin, wash off with warm water, and pat dry with a washcloth. Rubbing your skin dry may activate the sebaceous glands to excrete oils, which can lead to oily skin.

If the cleanser you are using is more of a paste or semi-solid, message into dry skin, and let sit for about 2 minutes before washing off with warm water.

When looking for a cleanser remember these key ingredients:
  • Pharmaceutical grade aloe vera (An anti-inflammatory agent with the ability to heal and soothe; Absorbs into skin, carrying other ingredients with it; Antimicrobial; Antiseptic; Must be the first ingredient)
  • Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E) (Antioxidant; Essential for the production of collagen and elastin)
  • Pantothenol (Changes to pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) in skin; Reduces pore size and fights acne; Beneficial for hair)
  • Sulfur (Reduces oil gland activity)
  • Retinol (Vitamin A) (keratinization regulator)
  • Salicylic Acid (Antimicrobial; Antiseptic)
Two of my favorite cleansers on the market are from TreSkinRX. Not only do these cleansers contain the key ingredients listed above, but they contain them in the right amounts. Essentially, they are perfectly formulated. Nothing on the market compares.

TreSkinRX Clear Skin Cleanser
for acne prone skin.
TreSkinRX Purifying Cleanser for
normal, sensitive, and oily skin.

Once your face is clean, move on to step two - Exfoliation.

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This post was edited by Ashley Miller

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Benefits of Aloe Vera

If your skin care routine does not involve Aloe Vera, you're doing it wrong. Aloe Vera is a plant renown for its therapeutic effects. In fact, the number of health claims made about aloe are truly amazing. Even more impressive, are the number of such claims backed by solid scientific evidence.

Aloe's Exceptional Abilities Relevant to Skin Care

Aloe penetrates tissue
Unlike water, aloe can be absorbed by the skin. This allows aloe to act as a carrier to deliver the beneficial components of aloe, as well as other ingredients included in the skin care product. As such, aloe is most beneficial as a base ingredient, rather than water.

Aloe has antimicrobial properties
Saponin is one of the antimicrobial compounds found in aloe. This compound acts as an antisepsis and barbaloin, which is effective against Mycobaterium, a family of bacteria known to cause multiple diseases. Since bacteria is a main cause of acne, the antimicrobial properties of aloe provide beneficial treatment of the condition.

Aloe is an anti-inflammatory
Aloe contains salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid known for its anti-inflammatory capabilities. In addition, aloe contains components that inhibit acute inflammation, similar to cortisone, but without the side effects. Nearly all skin conditions stem from inflammation, making aloe an ideal solution.

Aloe is proven to heal wounds
Scientific research has shown that several components in aloe are responsible for the substance's excellent ability to regenerate cells. One such component is gibberellin, a substance that increases protein synthesis and lectin - a protein that increases collagen activity and improves the collagen matrix, decreasing heal time.

Aloe is readily available in many types of skin care products - from cleansers to moisturizers and sunscreens. However, few if any deliver the exceptional benefits described above. Most products use a medium grade of aloe (cosmetic grade) at low concentrations reducing its benefits.

When searching for aloe products, it is important to remember a few helpful tips. The aloe must be high grade and quality, such as organic pharmaceutical grade. It must also be the base ingredient or at high concentration, i.e. the first component on the list of ingredients.

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This post was edited by Ashley Miller