In Parts 1 and 2 we went through the need to find your normal, baseline skin metabolism before attempting any enhancements. This is done by subtraction and the use of very mild, but effective cleansers. So many have fallen into the trap of simply adding more and more to the skin in a vain attempt to look better.
The epidemic of chronic skin inflammation is the result. “Rosacea” as the problem of skin instability and flare ups is so often called is almost always a function of topical product addiction. A new front has opened up however in skin instability: oral medications.
The staggering increase in oral medications for psychological stability (anti-depressants) has in consequence seen a radical jump in skin instability: random rashes, itching, flare ups and break outs.
This in turn has led to habitual makeup application to conceal the visible problems, often blotchy and at best, drab looking. This leads to even weaker skin.
The response by medical esthetics dermatology has been to increase the application of steroidal anti-inflammatories and other non-starters that only weaken the skin further.
We have gone over the necessity to limit the amount and frequency of topical leave-on products to avoid premature aging of the skin and chronic inflammation. The awareness of this by actual testing to find out if your skin is addicted to topical products is often mind blowing.
Simply discontinue your “routine” in all ways and use only a mild cleanser like REVIVE from 302 Skincare (www.302skincare.com). In only a few days, if your skin is addicted, the skin will look worse, maybe feel quite dry (though REVIVE can reduce the worst of this).
Fundamentally there is a basic lack of understanding of the dynamics of skin biology and moreover, a barrage of bad ideas on the web that have gotten us to this point of confusion.
In addition, the skincare industry is here to sell products, lots of them and hardly a label out there doesn’t advise applying the product at least twice per day. This is not good unless you wish to prematurely age your skin and look poorly while doing so.
Finding reliable information is a job only YOU can sort out by personal experience. The Skin Dork can provide information and general guidance, but it is YOU who must take on the challenge and coach yourself. You cannot expect reliable results if you have too many variables in play. First rule.
The necessity to reduce to mild cleansing and very little in the way of leave-ons are the first steps to reduce variables and discussed in detail in Part 1 and Part 2.
So, the Dork will assume you have stabilized your skin with a very minimalist approach and that what you see is what you are. It may not be what you want to look like, but it is the “state of the art” today.
The introduction of powerful metabolites to build out and train the skin by prompting a desirable response that sustains skin health is the next step.
It is vitally important to set aside every notion you have about what will do wonders for your skin.
Sidebar: Recall from previous discussions that we are about fifty percent reduced in overall skin content by age thirty. Skin content meaning the number of cells and the quality of the remainder of cells. Fifty percent of this skin matrix has been turned into a kind of gristle, a shrinking mass of poorly organized cells, think of a tangled up net. Why?
The skin protects the internal body from unwanted environmental chemicals and excessive UV exposure (sunscreens do not help). It adapts throughout your life to what you have done to it. That includes too much ‘skincare’ chemistry. Gradually, the skin sacrifices itself by forming an impenetrable grandma skin. Parchment. Not even water gets through. Why aren’t we born that way? Looking like grandma skin? It wouldn’t last is the simple answer.
To stimulate the skin to produce more cells would seem to be the logical next step. About anything will do that by the way. From zinnia oil to alpha hydroxy acids. There is one huge problem. The new cells don’t take root. They disappear as fast as they are made. So keep applying right? Wrong.
Because if you do, your skin will simply weaken and fragmentary proteins and inflammatory cells will be the result. Not a good look either. Pretty soon, the skin, evolved from the brain, is addicted. Very weak and when you stop the topical routine, your skin goes in the tank. So, stop.
But, but. I know this is contrary to all you have heard, even from physicians who should know better.
Now what? You have to go about this systematically. The dermis (deepest layer of skin) actually responds to what is goes on up above at the epidermis. For example, if you exfoliate using acids on the very surface, then this will drive cellular waste into the dermis. Your ‘age spots’ are often cellular waste and now you have pushed the ugly deeper.
The best metabolite to start with is Vitamin A. It comes in many forms. Do not use the acid form (retinoic acid) if you want the best results. The retinol form is the best combination (an oil) of well tolerated and high activity. Vitamin A builds blood vessels in the dermis, repairs damaged areas by improving skin architecture, especially sun-damaged areas, generates new proteins and cells. Amazing.
The single biggest problem with Vitamin A topically is that it is applied too often. When that happens, the skin atrophies, shrivels up, thins out, grows weak and dependent, flakes and inflames, itches, becomes very sun sensitive and prematurely ages.
Wow. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. If you have had a bad experience with Vitamin A it is because it was applied too often. Once or twice per week is the limit for best outcome. The Skin Dork recommends a 1.0 Retinol strength or a 0.5 for more sensitive skin. Once or twice per week.
This is your primary skincare metabolite. Next up, the 302 molecule. This untangles the gristle that is the hallmark of aged skin. Cells come up and link together in elastic rope-like strands and as we aged those ropes develop knots and lose elasticity. 302 alone can untangle those knots resulting in softer skin with greater turgor AND build out huge amounts of proteins without creating an addiction problem.
Still, you want to surprise the skin with your chosen metabolites and twice per week will be a surprise every time with this amazing molecule. Retinol and 302 complement one another, synergistic. But do not use them in the same week or you are creating too much surprise, which can turn into alarm.
Now, go back to Vitamin A. You applied this to your skin and if you are free of addictive influences from other products you should observe a very visible jump in skin vitality and better, more even tone. In one or two applications.
If not, then you are one of the few who simply has few receptors for Vitamin A. For most of us, the visible jump in improvement will say to us “Do that again, you devil !”
But don’t. In fact, this is exactly what you want to see coach – a surprise. And when you do, back off. Meaning, application frequency of not more than 2x per week. If you don’t get a visible response in one or two applications, then it is time to look elsewhere. The active metabolite does not work for you.
Let’s talk about choosing and evaluating metabolites in Part 4.