Begin to reveal healthier skin |

Begin to reveal healthier skin

Summer takes its toll on the skin.

Whether you are boating on a placid mountain lake, sailing on the ocean with the wind and spray on your face, hiking in high elevations, or enjoying the simple pleasure of the sun, summer can wreck havoc on our delicate facial tissues.

Perfectly smooth, flawless skin is most desired for beauty, but is elusive for many. If you were born with it, you are blessed, but for many, the constant quest for a good complexion can be exhausting and frustrating.

Genetics plays a role and so do environmental choices. They both impact the texture, tone and feel of our skin. Our lifestyle (alcohol, medications, recreational drugs, sun exposure, sleep habits, worry) can stress our skin and cause changes in its condition over time.

Biological aging begins in our late 20s. The decline has to do with changes deep in the tissues that reflect on the outer tissues. What we see at the surface is a reflection of what is happening below.

In young, healthy skin, the top layer (stratum corneum) resembles organized compact scales similar to scales on a fish. These tightly layered cells provide a coherent barrier that protects the integrity of the skin and its hydration capabilities.

This layer consistently sheds thousands of microscopic cells that are simultaneously being replaced by newer (younger) cells as they mature and migrate to the top of the skin’s surface, a process called cellular renewal.

However, with age and accumulated sun exposure, this process of shedding the top layer slows down. As the younger cells from below continue to mature and ascend to the top surface (losing their lipid structure on the way), they adhere to those dead top surface layers. There, they remain and become hard and dried out.

This build up of stratum corneum cells causes the skin to feel drier, the texture to become coarser, and the skin to appear less soft and translucent.

The problem can contribute to other skin conditions and reduce the skin’s ability to eliminate waste and absorb products.

As we continue to age this process will accelerate.

But three keys can lead to healthy skin: exfoliation, hydration and protection. In this article, we’ll start with step one:

The exfoliation of dead cells is the first step in the process of correcting certain esthetic conditions and can be accomplished through these methods:

n Scrubs (physical scrubs, peeling creams, brushes): These applications move across the surface removing a minimal amount of dead surface tissue.

n Enzymes: These rid the skin of dead cells and promote the cellular renewal process. They sweep away dead cells and break down impurities unclogging and refining pores.

n Acids: These work by dissolving skin cells (burning the tissue). Acids come in various strengths measured by Ph base and acid percentage.

n Retinols: They are the purest forms of vitamin A that work deep into the skin’s surface to visibly boost skin clarity.

Studies have proven that retinols can reduce photo-damage, soften fine lines, even skin tone and dramatically improve the texture of the skin.

All or any one of these forms of exfoliation may be of great assistance to your skin, but a consultation with your licensed esthetician, dermatologist or plastic surgeon is recommended. What works for your friend may not be correct for you.

I hope to cover hydration next time. In the meantime: don’t wait – exfoliate!

Margie Carr is a licensed esthetician and owner of Reflections Skin Oasis in Grass Valley. More information is at and Carr can be reached at or (530) 274-9053.

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