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REFERENCE TOPICS

Introduction

Skin  |  Skincare  |  Skincare Addiction

The skin ranges in thickness from 0.5 mm at the eyelids to 1.5 – 2.0 mm on the rest of the face. There is beneath the skin a fat layer that may add up to 5 mm more, usually on the cheeks and around the mouth.

Sidebar: This baby fat layer however contains for the most part a thick spongy fluid that as we age, beginning in our early twenties more or less, becomes displaced by a web of inelastic tissue. Gradually over the decades visible grandma skin (very thin) forms.

To compare, 1.5 mm of skin thickness on the face is equivalent to a stack of fifteen sheets of 20 lb. paper. Your eyelids are about three sheets of paper thick.

Skin tissue in the eyelid is different, and generally speaking applying active metabolites in the form of skincare products to the eyelids will do little to improve them in quality of looks or quantity of healthy cells, and probably will promote only a blemish or sty or temporary and unpleasant swelling.

Anyway, if you will count out those sheets of paper and pinch them together you will see how really thin your skin is, and it usually gets thinner every year. Alas.

Sidebar: The plump feel and look of our skin so evident in babies occurs because of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM) that shrinks more or less as we age. The ECM could mean Extraordinarily Complicated Mess, too. It is essential to the health of our skin and little understood.

We can use these sheets of paper to locate the layers of the skin. The first five or six sheets of paper deep comprises the epidermis. Below that is the dermis. Where they meet is imaginatively called the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where the skin does all its work, where the stem cells are. More on that junction later.

In the epidermis, the cells are layered like bricks (as you get older, unfortunately, the bricks may look like a wall that fell apart). The bricks have a weak glue between them, like mortar.

Over the course of thirty days the bricks, or new cells, will come up from that junction and slough off at the surface. As they go up and out the cells change, age, get new names, act a little differently and so on before they are non-viable and are just squames (dry flakes).

The squames are the human dust you shed around the house, your clothes, your car or what you leave behind when you press your face against the bank window that is now having a run on deposits and has locked its doors.

Squames are what you see at the surface, unless you just exfoliated. We talk about that in EXFOLIATION.

To restate: your epidermal cells have a thirty-day life span that replenishes for the life of your skin. The cells form, rise up to the visible surface and then slough off. Thirty days. One turnover. Start over.

No fun fact # 1: The skin cell population decreases with age and the quality or vitality of the cells degrades first.

Saying it again: It takes about thirty days for a cell to cycle out (a complete turnover) of the epidermis. Then a new cycle begins.

No fun fact # 2: once you go past your magic number of turnovers, you get grandma skin and that’s it. Old. Even if you are young. It can happen to you if you exfoliate a lot.

Up close, the fresh made cells rising upward in the epidermis look like mattresses, not bricks. They highly resist water getting inside, but are more receptive to oils and lower molecular weight hydrocarbon solvents, like DMSO or gasoline. CERAMIDES glide around on the surfaces of these mattresses, er, cells.

Below the epidermis and the junction area sits the dermis and it is about eight (8) sheets of paper thick and is composed of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM). It resembles Jell-O chemically that’s full of little springs (elastin, collagen). The sugar provides the energy for new protein synthesis. And blood/lymphatic pipelines run through the neighborhood. When you bleed, you have hit the dermis (and maybe a lot deeper). You won’t bleed from the epidermis. See PROCEDURES / MICRO-NEEDLING for more on that topic.

Below the dermis is fat/fluid and then below that is fascia, a thin tough membrane. It acts to secure the skin to the muscle tissue below. It is easily seen on the bone side of pork spare ribs. Most spare rib enthusiasts pull it off before cooking. They lift a corner with a knife and pull it off using a paper towel to get a grip, it’s slippery like everything else associated with the skin.

This cake layer imagery gives you the idea, but in reality, the dermis and epidermis can get very jumbled up as we age. That can be fixed however.

Now when a skincare product goes into the skin, we say it goes “trans-cutaneous”. When the ingredient goes all the way through the skin and into the body, like DMSO or other solvents, we say it goes “trans-dermal”.

There is usually a bad outcome when products/ingredients go trans-dermal. DMSO once thought to be okay on occasional application to deliver a molecule into the body, is not so cool anymore. It quickly routes itself to the eye and does bad things. Transdermal delivery using insulin patches for diabetes has not worked out well either.

Skincare products ideally go to the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where stem cells, the workers who make the epidermal mattresses and the Jell-O like ECM pad for the dermis below locate and run the overall metabolic machinery.

The skin has landfills also, where it takes all the cellular debris, especially pigment cells and skincare product waste that didn’t go out the top. The cellular debris is called lipofuscin and it collects in these landfills down in the dermis. What you see on your skin from two feet away are most often landfill areas, or spots and we call them pigment spots, or age spots.

What to do? We might cover the spots with makeup. That often leads to more problems. Vanity is a hardship for most of us. No question it is better to be born with perfect skin, never going wrong, and gloat at the misbegotten.

People do all sorts of things to “get those hideous spots out, now!” (especially with exfoliation peels), but that only pushes the landfills deeper. Geniuses figured out a way to zap these landfills with lasers and voila! the spots are gone. For maybe as long as a year, but usually only a few months, and then the skin just goes back to it and starts filling up the landfills again, and in the very same place! The landfill. Grrrr.

More bad news: go back and forth to laser treatments and you will see your skin become leathery from micro-scarring. A LASER after all just torches you in micro-measurable, scientific ways, all over.

Now what??!

Cell waste and skincare product waste is a problem as we become fossils (beginning around age 30, our skin is half way in the grave). Except for the perfect among us.

We’ll talk about this anxiety in other sections.

Now, back to the epidermis and the thirty-day cycle. Yes. So that continues through life until you have reached the end of days for your skin. No more turnovers, you are out of luck, no more money in the bank and no credit. You might have a lot of years left to live but your skin is out of the game. You are probably a grandma when this happens, if you are lucky, and haven’t terminated your skin metabolism before that. That can happen.

The Skin Dork has seen more than a few in their early 30’s whose skin is largely senescent from over application of skincare products. As in old. Interestingly, these same people are often quite susceptible to cancers.

“Grandma always has such a clean house.” Your children might say. Now you know why. No squames. Tell them that and watch their eyes bulge. “Grandma has no squames,” you will say in sorrowful tones. They will feel sorry for her and appreciate the dustbin that is your house.

You can accelerate the aging process with peels. Want to look old earlier? Do a lot of peels. Sunlight isn’t helpful either, but sunscreens aren’t a solution to keep you looking young, or prevent skin cancer or much of anything.

What? See SUNSCREENS for the Skin Dork’s take – which is the same as the American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreens do next to nothing good and a lot that isn’t.

Now as we age the dermis down deep has lost its spring and bounce, the happy collagen and elastin springs in the dermis have all turned into little dark knots and blobs (more spots!) and the dermal pad is now flatter, pulled out of shape and rigid and getting very thin.

Fat disappears below the dermis, even if you are obese, as you age. This means sag and turkey wattles.

What you see is grandma skin: papery thin, blotchy, impervious. It is dry, a parchment whose metabolism has packed up and left. Grandma skin goes to sleep for the most part, it is ‘senescent’ to use the biology term. It does that to avoid cancer (no cell reproduction) and to block anything ever getting past the surface, including water, oil and you name it. Nothing. So much for moisturizers or snazzy lipids.

It’s over, babe.

Another thing about grandma skin. You will see odd looking dark areas (purple or violet if you prefer) where last chance attempts to produce new skin cells have failed, or from bruises because the area has no more bounce and can’t roll with the punches.

Grandma skin can happen way before you are a fossil, as the Skin Dork has said before.

Skincare products, especially exfoliating products and BENZOYL PEROXIDE, can prematurely and permanently age your skin. Over application of VITAMIN A (there are many different versions) can do the same.

Remember, you only have so many turnovers in the epidermis, then it is game over. How many is that? You don’t know and as yet it can’t be predicted. It could be but then the skincare industry (Big Skin?) has little interest in telling you that you’re cooked, so the money to test that idea just might not (ever be) forthcoming. Not A Surprise.

The skin takes its clues from the epidermis, not from down deep. What you do at the surface changes things below. On the other hand, bad things in your bloodstream will bring problems to the skin and these will show. The skin presents your health to the world.

Meanwhile, why does all this dreadful thinning to dust happen? Why does our skin age? Cell signaling errors caused by many factors is the simple answer. The Skin Prof describes the many ways throughout this blog.

Abuse by skincare products is a great way to age your skin quickly. Sunlight is a distant second.

The negative visual effects of sun damage can be reversed for the most part. The negative skin effects of poor health practices can also be reversed to a large extent. But, the negative effects of skincare product abuse, not so much.


Skincare Addiction

(btw – this topic is duplicated as its own section)

The biggest problem with your topical products is that you are using them according to directions.

Topical product addiction is rampant, epidemic even, and damaging.

Are you addicted? Discontinue your products to test. If you skin becomes quickly unstable and/or noticeably dry (in a day or so) you are addicted.

Now what?

The skin is the most complicated organ you can play with. It evolved from the brain, if that gives you an idea. The brain as we all know is easily addicted, ditto the skin.

First comes tolerance, and then dependency and then inescapable weakness.

That’s the classic addiction process. Weaning away from topical addiction can take a week, or it can take months. The skin is quick to react and slow to normalize. Skin metabolism is slow, topical products tend to speed that up as the body, the skin, defends itself. The process can also accelerate aging of the skin.

If your skin is not senescent (grandma skin), you can run a second test. Apply a topical product and then immediately wipe it off. The skin will have, in those first milliseconds, already identified it as friend or foe, memorized its chemistry and reacted. The immediate reaction always is to protect the vital organs. It may be a mild ho-hum reaction or an OMG what have you done! reaction.

Active skin will be in a high state of alarm with any molecule that is charged or below approximately 750 daltons in size.

Molecule size matters in skincare, the smaller the molecule, the easier it can get down to the epidermal/dermal junction. I will make note of molecule size throughout this syllabus.

A charged particle is any molecule that has a positive or negative charge. Acids are strongly charged or weakly charged, depending on what kind of acid, but whether it is a fatty acid (weak) from olive oil or glycolic acid (strong) from a laboratory source or a fruit extract, the skin is not happy. A charged particle is a potential threat to the internal organs because it has the potential to break through the skin (go transdermal) and then go systemic and cause havoc. The skin doesn’t know you put this substance on to look gorgeous.

A charged molecule below 750 daltons in size can cause problems, sooner or later. Usually sooner. Note that I say a ‘charged’ particle which is very different from an uncharged one. Fats and oils are uncharged for the most part, glycolic acid on the other hand is highly charged.

Most biologically active molecules in skincare are about 300 daltons molecular weight. Many oral drugs are about the same size. Interesting. If the skincare ingredient is a charged particle, and low molecular weight, however, that means trouble.

Beware charged particles.

The skin will redden, itch, swell up and so on as the battle unfolds against a charged particle. Gradually tolerance sets in and with it, dependency. The skin gives up and its reactivity slows. Over time the skin looks worn out. It is very uneven in tone and texture. The dependency has weakened the skin. Then one day redness and irritation bloom and like weeds, won’t go away.

Rosacea and dermatitis are at epidemic levels among skincare product users. Charged particles, especially acids, are the primary cause.

Anyway, with dependency your skin is at a histamine threshold (as in, ready to go bananas). Add anything more to the skin, even warm water or walking outside into pollen or smelling a rose can set off your skin into a difficult visible rosacea or worse: dermatitis. The practical distinction between the two is only a matter of degree and often, time.

Dermatitis can be lethal. With nothing to counter the nonstop itching on all areas of the body, not just where a product was applied, the only relief is suicide. It happens.

People who use a lot of products on their skin are usually sub-clinically inflamed (meaning you can’t really see it) but they are a lit fuse.

Your skin is like a houseplant, the more you feed and water it, the worse it looks.

Now anyone who tells you to apply any esthetic product twice per day (other than a light, neutral cleanser) knows nothing about skin. That includes about every skincare marketer apparently and a lot of poorly informed practitioners including physicians who should know better.

It makes no sense to cleanse, add a serum, moisturize and include a sunscreen. None. Ever. That is a recipe for product addiction and serious skin weakening and premature aging. To do this twice per day is asking to be addicted. Add in an exfoliating ingredient and you are on the road to dependent, weak, prematurely aged skin. But usually much worse.

Try this: take your usual application of products in the usual amounts and place these in a ramekin. Now stir and apply to a stack of six sheets of paper. Allow to dry. How does that paper look?

Your skin won’t absorb much of any of this into eager cells, either. Instead, it has done a ton of metabolic work and wasted energy to haul away and isolate this goo in reservoirs until it can be sloughed off. It has spent a lot of metabolic money to get rid of the wonderful stuff you have paid dearly for: oils, proteins, vitamins, sugars, glycols, acids, alkalis, and phyto-chemicals (those organic botanical extracts), etc., etc. With the best of luck, the goo has sat on the tippy top surface of the skin and will go airborne with the squames.

Fortunately, most skincare product ingredients dry up at the surface and don’t go deeper. Yay.

What skincare products can do is send electro-chemical signals down to the dermal/epidermal junction and that will cause a positive or negative reaction. So even if the actual chemical doesn’t get past the guard shack, it can do good or evil. In other words, you could apply your magic serum and wipe it off and you will most likely get all of its biologic benefits without the negatives when it absorbs deeply. This insight into skin biology was developed at the University of California at San Francisco, for those interested.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin cannot metabolize all that stuff that doesn’t dry up and float away at the surface. It takes it to those landfills discussed earlier and reservoirs it. The skin has big fat tick-like creatures who move around on intracellular tight ropes to do their job. Not kidding, these exosome workers exist in your skin. The skin spends all of its metabolic energy hiring these fat ticks to haul around your skincare product garbage to internal landfills. Once the landfill overflows, more bad things happen. ROSACEA is most common. The skin flares up and then what? Add something more to stop the flare up? Of course, always the solution. Not.

Or maybe an oral antibiotic.

The ‘studies’ though, what about the ‘studies’ that show a huge proliferation of new cells, collagen, and all that? Yes?

As in immune response, you bet. A whole bunch of new fragmented deformed and wholly undesirable cells are generated like mad to protect the vital organs. These sandbag cells quickly degrade and become part of the cellular waste landfill. This is not biology, it’s the Alamo, it’s Stalingrad. The rate of turnover in the epidermis increased exponentially. You have made an early appointment to meet grandma skin. Not awesome.

Does this make sense to you? Sound familiar?

It is not just one product, though one product can most definitely cause dependency, it is also the totality of what is going on that causes addiction, or weakening and chronic inflammation and acne and the mess that is the visual evidence of addicted skin.

And to repeat myself: when you then apply liquid makeup to hide your true self, the dependency is complete. You are an addict and in denial; you know, that old jokey river in Egypt.

So now what? You go have a ‘professional’ peel, sometimes down to within three layers of a skin graft. Bright shiny me! Then after recovery, you take a weaker version of that peel home, usually in the form of an exfoliating cleanser, use it every day and soon after, bad things happen. Skin problems just won’t go away.

But, wait, you say again. (We are going to hear this over and over, alas.) All the “studies” show I will have a huge proliferation of new cells! Plump me! The Skin Dork repeats: except the studies don’t show the quality of those cells is lousy as they mature, the protein is fragmented and while you bulk up you also weaken the skin. You succeeded only to increase the rate of turnover and prematurely age yourself. Grandma is coming to your mirror ahead of schedule.

The issue as you age is not the quantity of cells, it is the quality and how they interact. See the TRAINING MODEL to find a way forward.

By the time you are thirty years of age you have seen at least 50% of your functional skin go away, kaput, forever. Won’t come back. The skin slowly sacrifices itself over its lifespan and deconstructs itself to avoid cancer and penetration by toxicants. That’s the nature of things and when one day you noticed this, you went out to the addiction center and loaded up on ‘anti-aging’ skincare products that do – well, precisely the opposite if you follow product directions.

Cells live in an ocean (the ECM/EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX) and send signals back and forth and link up together to form chains that keep the skin world bouncing along, but then along comes a peel or an injury and the cells now link together like mad to protect the vital organs – the primary job of the skin. A mass of cells, gobs of them, pile on top of one another and a kind of micro-gristle forms to protect the body from invasion. Plump indeed.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin doesn’t know you want to look gorgeous. It just deals with your crazy topical stuff; like whatever.

This over cross-linked melange is a direct result of exfoliation chemicals, scrubs, peels, and bad lasers. It is a sheer, thinning, easily sun ravaged sheet of nascent molecular scar tissue.

But you’re not done yet. More abuse is on the way. Your experimental theory of skincare is self-evident in the mirror and your practitioner now advises: “the strippings and beatings will continue until your skin improves.”

Does this sound familiar?

Next up, your local hardware store, er, skincare clinic, highly recommends an armful of products to increase skin thickness (got to get that collagen growing!) and in truth, absolute truth, slapping yourself five times per day will do the same if quantity is all you are after – and slapping doesn’t bring with it chemical dependency. The products just weaken the skin, the new ‘collagen’ disappears as fast as it arrives. Cell signaling is in chaos. Be slap happy if you are into self-abuse; it’s far better than chemical addiction by topical products.

The skin is irritated, weak, drab, lifeless and in the hands of an industry and not you.

Addiction is a very profitable practice for everyone but the addicted.

What the Skin Dork just described has a name. It is called the REPAIR MODEL in skincare. It isn’t taught under that name in esthetician schools, but it is the dominant practice in the skincare industry and has been since the mid-1980’s when the concept was published in dermatology journals. This was before much was known about skin cell biology, it must be said in defense of the notion at that time, but which not everyone accepted even then. It is an indefensible practice now.

The REPAIR MODEL seeks to induce micro injury and thereby generate a repair process that yields more skin protein. In practice it yields a skin stiffening formica look that accelerates skin aging. It is wrong at its very core assumption: cell quality not protein quantity provides a youthful looking skin. Injury, especially chronic induced injury, leads to inflammation and worse.

The REPAIR MODEL is the dominant practice in applied skincare today. It is without a biologic rationale. In skin esthetics cell signaling is harmed by micro injury (and more so from macro injury as caused by exfoliation). Chronic micro injury always brings visible damage to the surface. The Repair Model is, in practice today, an economic model, nothing more.

There are ways to look and feel your best. You won’t get there being an addict or shredding yourself into raw meat.

The TRAINING MODEL in skincare is how you should go about looking young. Like cardio and other exercise, you optimize your metabolism, optimize your muscle tone, and how you look and feel. With skin, you do the same.

Great skin is not expensive, addicting or difficult to get and keep. Not all grandmas have grandma skin or ever will because they paid attention to what their skin told them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

REFERENCE TOPICS

Introduction

Skin  |  Skincare  |  Skincare Addiction

The skin ranges in thickness from 0.5 mm at the eyelids to 1.5 – 2.0 mm on the rest of the face. There is beneath the skin a fat layer that may add up to 5 mm more, usually on the cheeks and around the mouth.

Sidebar: This baby fat layer however contains for the most part a thick spongy fluid that as we age, beginning in our early twenties more or less, becomes displaced by a web of inelastic tissue. Gradually over the decades visible grandma skin (very thin) forms.

To compare, 1.5 mm of skin thickness on the face is equivalent to a stack of fifteen sheets of 20 lb. paper. Your eyelids are about three sheets of paper thick.

Skin tissue in the eyelid is different, and generally speaking applying active metabolites in the form of skincare products to the eyelids will do little to improve them in quality of looks or quantity of healthy cells, and probably will promote only a blemish or sty or temporary and unpleasant swelling.

Anyway, if you will count out those sheets of paper and pinch them together you will see how really thin your skin is, and it usually gets thinner every year. Alas.

Sidebar: The plump feel and look of our skin so evident in babies occurs because of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM) that shrinks more or less as we age. The ECM could mean Extraordinarily Complicated Mess, too. It is essential to the health of our skin and little understood.

We can use these sheets of paper to locate the layers of the skin. The first five or six sheets of paper deep comprises the epidermis. Below that is the dermis. Where they meet is imaginatively called the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where the skin does all its work, where the stem cells are. More on that junction later.

In the epidermis, the cells are layered like bricks (as you get older, unfortunately, the bricks may look like a wall that fell apart). The bricks have a weak glue between them, like mortar.

Over the course of thirty days the bricks, or new cells, will come up from that junction and slough off at the surface. As they go up and out the cells change, age, get new names, act a little differently and so on before they are non-viable and are just squames (dry flakes).

The squames are the human dust you shed around the house, your clothes, your car or what you leave behind when you press your face against the bank window that is now having a run on deposits and has locked its doors.

Squames are what you see at the surface, unless you just exfoliated. We talk about that in EXFOLIATION.

To restate: your epidermal cells have a thirty-day life span that replenishes for the life of your skin. The cells form, rise up to the visible surface and then slough off. Thirty days. One turnover. Start over.

No fun fact # 1: The skin cell population decreases with age and the quality or vitality of the cells degrades first.

Saying it again: It takes about thirty days for a cell to cycle out (a complete turnover) of the epidermis. Then a new cycle begins.

No fun fact # 2: once you go past your magic number of turnovers, you get grandma skin and that’s it. Old. Even if you are young. It can happen to you if you exfoliate a lot.

Up close, the fresh made cells rising upward in the epidermis look like mattresses, not bricks. They highly resist water getting inside, but are more receptive to oils and lower molecular weight hydrocarbon solvents, like DMSO or gasoline. CERAMIDES glide around on the surfaces of these mattresses, er, cells.

Below the epidermis and the junction area sits the dermis and it is about eight (8) sheets of paper thick and is composed of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM). It resembles Jell-O chemically that’s full of little springs (elastin, collagen). The sugar provides the energy for new protein synthesis. And blood/lymphatic pipelines run through the neighborhood. When you bleed, you have hit the dermis (and maybe a lot deeper). You won’t bleed from the epidermis. See PROCEDURES / MICRO-NEEDLING for more on that topic.

Below the dermis is fat/fluid and then below that is fascia, a thin tough membrane. It acts to secure the skin to the muscle tissue below. It is easily seen on the bone side of pork spare ribs. Most spare rib enthusiasts pull it off before cooking. They lift a corner with a knife and pull it off using a paper towel to get a grip, it’s slippery like everything else associated with the skin.

This cake layer imagery gives you the idea, but in reality, the dermis and epidermis can get very jumbled up as we age. That can be fixed however.

Now when a skincare product goes into the skin, we say it goes “trans-cutaneous”. When the ingredient goes all the way through the skin and into the body, like DMSO or other solvents, we say it goes “trans-dermal”.

There is usually a bad outcome when products/ingredients go trans-dermal. DMSO once thought to be okay on occasional application to deliver a molecule into the body, is not so cool anymore. It quickly routes itself to the eye and does bad things. Transdermal delivery using insulin patches for diabetes has not worked out well either.

Skincare products ideally go to the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where stem cells, the workers who make the epidermal mattresses and the Jell-O like ECM pad for the dermis below locate and run the overall metabolic machinery.

The skin has landfills also, where it takes all the cellular debris, especially pigment cells and skincare product waste that didn’t go out the top. The cellular debris is called lipofuscin and it collects in these landfills down in the dermis. What you see on your skin from two feet away are most often landfill areas, or spots and we call them pigment spots, or age spots.

What to do? We might cover the spots with makeup. That often leads to more problems. Vanity is a hardship for most of us. No question it is better to be born with perfect skin, never going wrong, and gloat at the misbegotten.

People do all sorts of things to “get those hideous spots out, now!” (especially with exfoliation peels), but that only pushes the landfills deeper. Geniuses figured out a way to zap these landfills with lasers and voila! the spots are gone. For maybe as long as a year, but usually only a few months, and then the skin just goes back to it and starts filling up the landfills again, and in the very same place! The landfill. Grrrr.

More bad news: go back and forth to laser treatments and you will see your skin become leathery from micro-scarring. A LASER after all just torches you in micro-measurable, scientific ways, all over.

Now what??!

Cell waste and skincare product waste is a problem as we become fossils (beginning around age 30, our skin is half way in the grave). Except for the perfect among us.

We’ll talk about this anxiety in other sections.

Now, back to the epidermis and the thirty-day cycle. Yes. So that continues through life until you have reached the end of days for your skin. No more turnovers, you are out of luck, no more money in the bank and no credit. You might have a lot of years left to live but your skin is out of the game. You are probably a grandma when this happens, if you are lucky, and haven’t terminated your skin metabolism before that. That can happen.

The Skin Dork has seen more than a few in their early 30’s whose skin is largely senescent from over application of skincare products. As in old. Interestingly, these same people are often quite susceptible to cancers.

“Grandma always has such a clean house.” Your children might say. Now you know why. No squames. Tell them that and watch their eyes bulge. “Grandma has no squames,” you will say in sorrowful tones. They will feel sorry for her and appreciate the dustbin that is your house.

You can accelerate the aging process with peels. Want to look old earlier? Do a lot of peels. Sunlight isn’t helpful either, but sunscreens aren’t a solution to keep you looking young, or prevent skin cancer or much of anything.

What? See SUNSCREENS for the Skin Dork’s take – which is the same as the American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreens do next to nothing good and a lot that isn’t.

Now as we age the dermis down deep has lost its spring and bounce, the happy collagen and elastin springs in the dermis have all turned into little dark knots and blobs (more spots!) and the dermal pad is now flatter, pulled out of shape and rigid and getting very thin.

Fat disappears below the dermis, even if you are obese, as you age. This means sag and turkey wattles.

What you see is grandma skin: papery thin, blotchy, impervious. It is dry, a parchment whose metabolism has packed up and left. Grandma skin goes to sleep for the most part, it is ‘senescent’ to use the biology term. It does that to avoid cancer (no cell reproduction) and to block anything ever getting past the surface, including water, oil and you name it. Nothing. So much for moisturizers or snazzy lipids.

It’s over, babe.

Another thing about grandma skin. You will see odd looking dark areas (purple or violet if you prefer) where last chance attempts to produce new skin cells have failed, or from bruises because the area has no more bounce and can’t roll with the punches.

Grandma skin can happen way before you are a fossil, as the Skin Dork has said before.

Skincare products, especially exfoliating products and BENZOYL PEROXIDE, can prematurely and permanently age your skin. Over application of VITAMIN A (there are many different versions) can do the same.

Remember, you only have so many turnovers in the epidermis, then it is game over. How many is that? You don’t know and as yet it can’t be predicted. It could be but then the skincare industry (Big Skin?) has little interest in telling you that you’re cooked, so the money to test that idea just might not (ever be) forthcoming. Not A Surprise.

The skin takes its clues from the epidermis, not from down deep. What you do at the surface changes things below. On the other hand, bad things in your bloodstream will bring problems to the skin and these will show. The skin presents your health to the world.

Meanwhile, why does all this dreadful thinning to dust happen? Why does our skin age? Cell signaling errors caused by many factors is the simple answer. The Skin Prof describes the many ways throughout this blog.

Abuse by skincare products is a great way to age your skin quickly. Sunlight is a distant second.

The negative visual effects of sun damage can be reversed for the most part. The negative skin effects of poor health practices can also be reversed to a large extent. But, the negative effects of skincare product abuse, not so much.


Skincare Addiction

(btw – this topic is duplicated as its own section)

The biggest problem with your topical products is that you are using them according to directions.

Topical product addiction is rampant, epidemic even, and damaging.

Are you addicted? Discontinue your products to test. If you skin becomes quickly unstable and/or noticeably dry (in a day or so) you are addicted.

Now what?

The skin is the most complicated organ you can play with. It evolved from the brain, if that gives you an idea. The brain as we all know is easily addicted, ditto the skin.

First comes tolerance, and then dependency and then inescapable weakness.

That’s the classic addiction process. Weaning away from topical addiction can take a week, or it can take months. The skin is quick to react and slow to normalize. Skin metabolism is slow, topical products tend to speed that up as the body, the skin, defends itself. The process can also accelerate aging of the skin.

If your skin is not senescent (grandma skin), you can run a second test. Apply a topical product and then immediately wipe it off. The skin will have, in those first milliseconds, already identified it as friend or foe, memorized its chemistry and reacted. The immediate reaction always is to protect the vital organs. It may be a mild ho-hum reaction or an OMG what have you done! reaction.

Active skin will be in a high state of alarm with any molecule that is charged or below approximately 750 daltons in size.

Molecule size matters in skincare, the smaller the molecule, the easier it can get down to the epidermal/dermal junction. I will make note of molecule size throughout this syllabus.

A charged particle is any molecule that has a positive or negative charge. Acids are strongly charged or weakly charged, depending on what kind of acid, but whether it is a fatty acid (weak) from olive oil or glycolic acid (strong) from a laboratory source or a fruit extract, the skin is not happy. A charged particle is a potential threat to the internal organs because it has the potential to break through the skin (go transdermal) and then go systemic and cause havoc. The skin doesn’t know you put this substance on to look gorgeous.

A charged molecule below 750 daltons in size can cause problems, sooner or later. Usually sooner. Note that I say a ‘charged’ particle which is very different from an uncharged one. Fats and oils are uncharged for the most part, glycolic acid on the other hand is highly charged.

Most biologically active molecules in skincare are about 300 daltons molecular weight. Many oral drugs are about the same size. Interesting. If the skincare ingredient is a charged particle, and low molecular weight, however, that means trouble.

Beware charged particles.

The skin will redden, itch, swell up and so on as the battle unfolds against a charged particle. Gradually tolerance sets in and with it, dependency. The skin gives up and its reactivity slows. Over time the skin looks worn out. It is very uneven in tone and texture. The dependency has weakened the skin. Then one day redness and irritation bloom and like weeds, won’t go away.

Rosacea and dermatitis are at epidemic levels among skincare product users. Charged particles, especially acids, are the primary cause.

Anyway, with dependency your skin is at a histamine threshold (as in, ready to go bananas). Add anything more to the skin, even warm water or walking outside into pollen or smelling a rose can set off your skin into a difficult visible rosacea or worse: dermatitis. The practical distinction between the two is only a matter of degree and often, time.

Dermatitis can be lethal. With nothing to counter the nonstop itching on all areas of the body, not just where a product was applied, the only relief is suicide. It happens.

People who use a lot of products on their skin are usually sub-clinically inflamed (meaning you can’t really see it) but they are a lit fuse.

Your skin is like a houseplant, the more you feed and water it, the worse it looks.

Now anyone who tells you to apply any esthetic product twice per day (other than a light, neutral cleanser) knows nothing about skin. That includes about every skincare marketer apparently and a lot of poorly informed practitioners including physicians who should know better.

It makes no sense to cleanse, add a serum, moisturize and include a sunscreen. None. Ever. That is a recipe for product addiction and serious skin weakening and premature aging. To do this twice per day is asking to be addicted. Add in an exfoliating ingredient and you are on the road to dependent, weak, prematurely aged skin. But usually much worse.

Try this: take your usual application of products in the usual amounts and place these in a ramekin. Now stir and apply to a stack of six sheets of paper. Allow to dry. How does that paper look?

Your skin won’t absorb much of any of this into eager cells, either. Instead, it has done a ton of metabolic work and wasted energy to haul away and isolate this goo in reservoirs until it can be sloughed off. It has spent a lot of metabolic money to get rid of the wonderful stuff you have paid dearly for: oils, proteins, vitamins, sugars, glycols, acids, alkalis, and phyto-chemicals (those organic botanical extracts), etc., etc. With the best of luck, the goo has sat on the tippy top surface of the skin and will go airborne with the squames.

Fortunately, most skincare product ingredients dry up at the surface and don’t go deeper. Yay.

What skincare products can do is send electro-chemical signals down to the dermal/epidermal junction and that will cause a positive or negative reaction. So even if the actual chemical doesn’t get past the guard shack, it can do good or evil. In other words, you could apply your magic serum and wipe it off and you will most likely get all of its biologic benefits without the negatives when it absorbs deeply. This insight into skin biology was developed at the University of California at San Francisco, for those interested.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin cannot metabolize all that stuff that doesn’t dry up and float away at the surface. It takes it to those landfills discussed earlier and reservoirs it. The skin has big fat tick-like creatures who move around on intracellular tight ropes to do their job. Not kidding, these exosome workers exist in your skin. The skin spends all of its metabolic energy hiring these fat ticks to haul around your skincare product garbage to internal landfills. Once the landfill overflows, more bad things happen. ROSACEA is most common. The skin flares up and then what? Add something more to stop the flare up? Of course, always the solution. Not.

Or maybe an oral antibiotic.

The ‘studies’ though, what about the ‘studies’ that show a huge proliferation of new cells, collagen, and all that? Yes?

As in immune response, you bet. A whole bunch of new fragmented deformed and wholly undesirable cells are generated like mad to protect the vital organs. These sandbag cells quickly degrade and become part of the cellular waste landfill. This is not biology, it’s the Alamo, it’s Stalingrad. The rate of turnover in the epidermis increased exponentially. You have made an early appointment to meet grandma skin. Not awesome.

Does this make sense to you? Sound familiar?

It is not just one product, though one product can most definitely cause dependency, it is also the totality of what is going on that causes addiction, or weakening and chronic inflammation and acne and the mess that is the visual evidence of addicted skin.

And to repeat myself: when you then apply liquid makeup to hide your true self, the dependency is complete. You are an addict and in denial; you know, that old jokey river in Egypt.

So now what? You go have a ‘professional’ peel, sometimes down to within three layers of a skin graft. Bright shiny me! Then after recovery, you take a weaker version of that peel home, usually in the form of an exfoliating cleanser, use it every day and soon after, bad things happen. Skin problems just won’t go away.

But, wait, you say again. (We are going to hear this over and over, alas.) All the “studies” show I will have a huge proliferation of new cells! Plump me! The Skin Dork repeats: except the studies don’t show the quality of those cells is lousy as they mature, the protein is fragmented and while you bulk up you also weaken the skin. You succeeded only to increase the rate of turnover and prematurely age yourself. Grandma is coming to your mirror ahead of schedule.

The issue as you age is not the quantity of cells, it is the quality and how they interact. See the TRAINING MODEL to find a way forward.

By the time you are thirty years of age you have seen at least 50% of your functional skin go away, kaput, forever. Won’t come back. The skin slowly sacrifices itself over its lifespan and deconstructs itself to avoid cancer and penetration by toxicants. That’s the nature of things and when one day you noticed this, you went out to the addiction center and loaded up on ‘anti-aging’ skincare products that do – well, precisely the opposite if you follow product directions.

Cells live in an ocean (the ECM/EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX) and send signals back and forth and link up together to form chains that keep the skin world bouncing along, but then along comes a peel or an injury and the cells now link together like mad to protect the vital organs – the primary job of the skin. A mass of cells, gobs of them, pile on top of one another and a kind of micro-gristle forms to protect the body from invasion. Plump indeed.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin doesn’t know you want to look gorgeous. It just deals with your crazy topical stuff; like whatever.

This over cross-linked melange is a direct result of exfoliation chemicals, scrubs, peels, and bad lasers. It is a sheer, thinning, easily sun ravaged sheet of nascent molecular scar tissue.

But you’re not done yet. More abuse is on the way. Your experimental theory of skincare is self-evident in the mirror and your practitioner now advises: “the strippings and beatings will continue until your skin improves.”

Does this sound familiar?

Next up, your local hardware store, er, skincare clinic, highly recommends an armful of products to increase skin thickness (got to get that collagen growing!) and in truth, absolute truth, slapping yourself five times per day will do the same if quantity is all you are after – and slapping doesn’t bring with it chemical dependency. The products just weaken the skin, the new ‘collagen’ disappears as fast as it arrives. Cell signaling is in chaos. Be slap happy if you are into self-abuse; it’s far better than chemical addiction by topical products.

The skin is irritated, weak, drab, lifeless and in the hands of an industry and not you.

Addiction is a very profitable practice for everyone but the addicted.

What the Skin Dork just described has a name. It is called the REPAIR MODEL in skincare. It isn’t taught under that name in esthetician schools, but it is the dominant practice in the skincare industry and has been since the mid-1980’s when the concept was published in dermatology journals. This was before much was known about skin cell biology, it must be said in defense of the notion at that time, but which not everyone accepted even then. It is an indefensible practice now.

The REPAIR MODEL seeks to induce micro injury and thereby generate a repair process that yields more skin protein. In practice it yields a skin stiffening formica look that accelerates skin aging. It is wrong at its very core assumption: cell quality not protein quantity provides a youthful looking skin. Injury, especially chronic induced injury, leads to inflammation and worse.

The REPAIR MODEL is the dominant practice in applied skincare today. It is without a biologic rationale. In skin esthetics cell signaling is harmed by micro injury (and more so from macro injury as caused by exfoliation). Chronic micro injury always brings visible damage to the surface. The Repair Model is, in practice today, an economic model, nothing more.

There are ways to look and feel your best. You won’t get there being an addict or shredding yourself into raw meat.

The TRAINING MODEL in skincare is how you should go about looking young. Like cardio and other exercise, you optimize your metabolism, optimize your muscle tone, and how you look and feel. With skin, you do the same.

Great skin is not expensive, addicting or difficult to get and keep. Not all grandmas have grandma skin or ever will because they paid attention to what their skin told them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

REFERENCE TOPICS

Introduction

Skin  |  Skincare  |  Skincare Addiction

The skin ranges in thickness from 0.5 mm at the eyelids to 1.5 – 2.0 mm on the rest of the face. There is beneath the skin a fat layer that may add up to 5 mm more, usually on the cheeks and around the mouth.

Sidebar: This baby fat layer however contains for the most part a thick spongy fluid that as we age, beginning in our early twenties more or less, becomes displaced by a web of inelastic tissue. Gradually over the decades visible grandma skin (very thin) forms.

To compare, 1.5 mm of skin thickness on the face is equivalent to a stack of fifteen sheets of 20 lb. paper. Your eyelids are about three sheets of paper thick.

Skin tissue in the eyelid is different, and generally speaking applying active metabolites in the form of skincare products to the eyelids will do little to improve them in quality of looks or quantity of healthy cells, and probably will promote only a blemish or sty or temporary and unpleasant swelling.

Anyway, if you will count out those sheets of paper and pinch them together you will see how really thin your skin is, and it usually gets thinner every year. Alas.

Sidebar: The plump feel and look of our skin so evident in babies occurs because of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM) that shrinks more or less as we age. The ECM could mean Extraordinarily Complicated Mess, too. It is essential to the health of our skin and little understood.

We can use these sheets of paper to locate the layers of the skin. The first five or six sheets of paper deep comprises the epidermis. Below that is the dermis. Where they meet is imaginatively called the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where the skin does all its work, where the stem cells are. More on that junction later.

In the epidermis, the cells are layered like bricks (as you get older, unfortunately, the bricks may look like a wall that fell apart). The bricks have a weak glue between them, like mortar.

Over the course of thirty days the bricks, or new cells, will come up from that junction and slough off at the surface. As they go up and out the cells change, age, get new names, act a little differently and so on before they are non-viable and are just squames (dry flakes).

The squames are the human dust you shed around the house, your clothes, your car or what you leave behind when you press your face against the bank window that is now having a run on deposits and has locked its doors.

Squames are what you see at the surface, unless you just exfoliated. We talk about that in EXFOLIATION.

To restate: your epidermal cells have a thirty-day life span that replenishes for the life of your skin. The cells form, rise up to the visible surface and then slough off. Thirty days. One turnover. Start over.

No fun fact # 1: The skin cell population decreases with age and the quality or vitality of the cells degrades first.

Saying it again: It takes about thirty days for a cell to cycle out (a complete turnover) of the epidermis. Then a new cycle begins.

No fun fact # 2: once you go past your magic number of turnovers, you get grandma skin and that’s it. Old. Even if you are young. It can happen to you if you exfoliate a lot.

Up close, the fresh made cells rising upward in the epidermis look like mattresses, not bricks. They highly resist water getting inside, but are more receptive to oils and lower molecular weight hydrocarbon solvents, like DMSO or gasoline. CERAMIDES glide around on the surfaces of these mattresses, er, cells.

Below the epidermis and the junction area sits the dermis and it is about eight (8) sheets of paper thick and is composed of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM). It resembles Jell-O chemically that’s full of little springs (elastin, collagen). The sugar provides the energy for new protein synthesis. And blood/lymphatic pipelines run through the neighborhood. When you bleed, you have hit the dermis (and maybe a lot deeper). You won’t bleed from the epidermis. See PROCEDURES / MICRO-NEEDLING for more on that topic.

Below the dermis is fat/fluid and then below that is fascia, a thin tough membrane. It acts to secure the skin to the muscle tissue below. It is easily seen on the bone side of pork spare ribs. Most spare rib enthusiasts pull it off before cooking. They lift a corner with a knife and pull it off using a paper towel to get a grip, it’s slippery like everything else associated with the skin.

This cake layer imagery gives you the idea, but in reality, the dermis and epidermis can get very jumbled up as we age. That can be fixed however.

Now when a skincare product goes into the skin, we say it goes “trans-cutaneous”. When the ingredient goes all the way through the skin and into the body, like DMSO or other solvents, we say it goes “trans-dermal”.

There is usually a bad outcome when products/ingredients go trans-dermal. DMSO once thought to be okay on occasional application to deliver a molecule into the body, is not so cool anymore. It quickly routes itself to the eye and does bad things. Transdermal delivery using insulin patches for diabetes has not worked out well either.

Skincare products ideally go to the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where stem cells, the workers who make the epidermal mattresses and the Jell-O like ECM pad for the dermis below locate and run the overall metabolic machinery.

The skin has landfills also, where it takes all the cellular debris, especially pigment cells and skincare product waste that didn’t go out the top. The cellular debris is called lipofuscin and it collects in these landfills down in the dermis. What you see on your skin from two feet away are most often landfill areas, or spots and we call them pigment spots, or age spots.

What to do? We might cover the spots with makeup. That often leads to more problems. Vanity is a hardship for most of us. No question it is better to be born with perfect skin, never going wrong, and gloat at the misbegotten.

People do all sorts of things to “get those hideous spots out, now!” (especially with exfoliation peels), but that only pushes the landfills deeper. Geniuses figured out a way to zap these landfills with lasers and voila! the spots are gone. For maybe as long as a year, but usually only a few months, and then the skin just goes back to it and starts filling up the landfills again, and in the very same place! The landfill. Grrrr.

More bad news: go back and forth to laser treatments and you will see your skin become leathery from micro-scarring. A LASER after all just torches you in micro-measurable, scientific ways, all over.

Now what??!

Cell waste and skincare product waste is a problem as we become fossils (beginning around age 30, our skin is half way in the grave). Except for the perfect among us.

We’ll talk about this anxiety in other sections.

Now, back to the epidermis and the thirty-day cycle. Yes. So that continues through life until you have reached the end of days for your skin. No more turnovers, you are out of luck, no more money in the bank and no credit. You might have a lot of years left to live but your skin is out of the game. You are probably a grandma when this happens, if you are lucky, and haven’t terminated your skin metabolism before that. That can happen.

The Skin Dork has seen more than a few in their early 30’s whose skin is largely senescent from over application of skincare products. As in old. Interestingly, these same people are often quite susceptible to cancers.

“Grandma always has such a clean house.” Your children might say. Now you know why. No squames. Tell them that and watch their eyes bulge. “Grandma has no squames,” you will say in sorrowful tones. They will feel sorry for her and appreciate the dustbin that is your house.

You can accelerate the aging process with peels. Want to look old earlier? Do a lot of peels. Sunlight isn’t helpful either, but sunscreens aren’t a solution to keep you looking young, or prevent skin cancer or much of anything.

What? See SUNSCREENS for the Skin Dork’s take – which is the same as the American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreens do next to nothing good and a lot that isn’t.

Now as we age the dermis down deep has lost its spring and bounce, the happy collagen and elastin springs in the dermis have all turned into little dark knots and blobs (more spots!) and the dermal pad is now flatter, pulled out of shape and rigid and getting very thin.

Fat disappears below the dermis, even if you are obese, as you age. This means sag and turkey wattles.

What you see is grandma skin: papery thin, blotchy, impervious. It is dry, a parchment whose metabolism has packed up and left. Grandma skin goes to sleep for the most part, it is ‘senescent’ to use the biology term. It does that to avoid cancer (no cell reproduction) and to block anything ever getting past the surface, including water, oil and you name it. Nothing. So much for moisturizers or snazzy lipids.

It’s over, babe.

Another thing about grandma skin. You will see odd looking dark areas (purple or violet if you prefer) where last chance attempts to produce new skin cells have failed, or from bruises because the area has no more bounce and can’t roll with the punches.

Grandma skin can happen way before you are a fossil, as the Skin Dork has said before.

Skincare products, especially exfoliating products and BENZOYL PEROXIDE, can prematurely and permanently age your skin. Over application of VITAMIN A (there are many different versions) can do the same.

Remember, you only have so many turnovers in the epidermis, then it is game over. How many is that? You don’t know and as yet it can’t be predicted. It could be but then the skincare industry (Big Skin?) has little interest in telling you that you’re cooked, so the money to test that idea just might not (ever be) forthcoming. Not A Surprise.

The skin takes its clues from the epidermis, not from down deep. What you do at the surface changes things below. On the other hand, bad things in your bloodstream will bring problems to the skin and these will show. The skin presents your health to the world.

Meanwhile, why does all this dreadful thinning to dust happen? Why does our skin age? Cell signaling errors caused by many factors is the simple answer. The Skin Prof describes the many ways throughout this blog.

Abuse by skincare products is a great way to age your skin quickly. Sunlight is a distant second.

The negative visual effects of sun damage can be reversed for the most part. The negative skin effects of poor health practices can also be reversed to a large extent. But, the negative effects of skincare product abuse, not so much.


Skincare Addiction

(btw – this topic is duplicated as its own section)

The biggest problem with your topical products is that you are using them according to directions.

Topical product addiction is rampant, epidemic even, and damaging.

Are you addicted? Discontinue your products to test. If you skin becomes quickly unstable and/or noticeably dry (in a day or so) you are addicted.

Now what?

The skin is the most complicated organ you can play with. It evolved from the brain, if that gives you an idea. The brain as we all know is easily addicted, ditto the skin.

First comes tolerance, and then dependency and then inescapable weakness.

That’s the classic addiction process. Weaning away from topical addiction can take a week, or it can take months. The skin is quick to react and slow to normalize. Skin metabolism is slow, topical products tend to speed that up as the body, the skin, defends itself. The process can also accelerate aging of the skin.

If your skin is not senescent (grandma skin), you can run a second test. Apply a topical product and then immediately wipe it off. The skin will have, in those first milliseconds, already identified it as friend or foe, memorized its chemistry and reacted. The immediate reaction always is to protect the vital organs. It may be a mild ho-hum reaction or an OMG what have you done! reaction.

Active skin will be in a high state of alarm with any molecule that is charged or below approximately 750 daltons in size.

Molecule size matters in skincare, the smaller the molecule, the easier it can get down to the epidermal/dermal junction. I will make note of molecule size throughout this syllabus.

A charged particle is any molecule that has a positive or negative charge. Acids are strongly charged or weakly charged, depending on what kind of acid, but whether it is a fatty acid (weak) from olive oil or glycolic acid (strong) from a laboratory source or a fruit extract, the skin is not happy. A charged particle is a potential threat to the internal organs because it has the potential to break through the skin (go transdermal) and then go systemic and cause havoc. The skin doesn’t know you put this substance on to look gorgeous.

A charged molecule below 750 daltons in size can cause problems, sooner or later. Usually sooner. Note that I say a ‘charged’ particle which is very different from an uncharged one. Fats and oils are uncharged for the most part, glycolic acid on the other hand is highly charged.

Most biologically active molecules in skincare are about 300 daltons molecular weight. Many oral drugs are about the same size. Interesting. If the skincare ingredient is a charged particle, and low molecular weight, however, that means trouble.

Beware charged particles.

The skin will redden, itch, swell up and so on as the battle unfolds against a charged particle. Gradually tolerance sets in and with it, dependency. The skin gives up and its reactivity slows. Over time the skin looks worn out. It is very uneven in tone and texture. The dependency has weakened the skin. Then one day redness and irritation bloom and like weeds, won’t go away.

Rosacea and dermatitis are at epidemic levels among skincare product users. Charged particles, especially acids, are the primary cause.

Anyway, with dependency your skin is at a histamine threshold (as in, ready to go bananas). Add anything more to the skin, even warm water or walking outside into pollen or smelling a rose can set off your skin into a difficult visible rosacea or worse: dermatitis. The practical distinction between the two is only a matter of degree and often, time.

Dermatitis can be lethal. With nothing to counter the nonstop itching on all areas of the body, not just where a product was applied, the only relief is suicide. It happens.

People who use a lot of products on their skin are usually sub-clinically inflamed (meaning you can’t really see it) but they are a lit fuse.

Your skin is like a houseplant, the more you feed and water it, the worse it looks.

Now anyone who tells you to apply any esthetic product twice per day (other than a light, neutral cleanser) knows nothing about skin. That includes about every skincare marketer apparently and a lot of poorly informed practitioners including physicians who should know better.

It makes no sense to cleanse, add a serum, moisturize and include a sunscreen. None. Ever. That is a recipe for product addiction and serious skin weakening and premature aging. To do this twice per day is asking to be addicted. Add in an exfoliating ingredient and you are on the road to dependent, weak, prematurely aged skin. But usually much worse.

Try this: take your usual application of products in the usual amounts and place these in a ramekin. Now stir and apply to a stack of six sheets of paper. Allow to dry. How does that paper look?

Your skin won’t absorb much of any of this into eager cells, either. Instead, it has done a ton of metabolic work and wasted energy to haul away and isolate this goo in reservoirs until it can be sloughed off. It has spent a lot of metabolic money to get rid of the wonderful stuff you have paid dearly for: oils, proteins, vitamins, sugars, glycols, acids, alkalis, and phyto-chemicals (those organic botanical extracts), etc., etc. With the best of luck, the goo has sat on the tippy top surface of the skin and will go airborne with the squames.

Fortunately, most skincare product ingredients dry up at the surface and don’t go deeper. Yay.

What skincare products can do is send electro-chemical signals down to the dermal/epidermal junction and that will cause a positive or negative reaction. So even if the actual chemical doesn’t get past the guard shack, it can do good or evil. In other words, you could apply your magic serum and wipe it off and you will most likely get all of its biologic benefits without the negatives when it absorbs deeply. This insight into skin biology was developed at the University of California at San Francisco, for those interested.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin cannot metabolize all that stuff that doesn’t dry up and float away at the surface. It takes it to those landfills discussed earlier and reservoirs it. The skin has big fat tick-like creatures who move around on intracellular tight ropes to do their job. Not kidding, these exosome workers exist in your skin. The skin spends all of its metabolic energy hiring these fat ticks to haul around your skincare product garbage to internal landfills. Once the landfill overflows, more bad things happen. ROSACEA is most common. The skin flares up and then what? Add something more to stop the flare up? Of course, always the solution. Not.

Or maybe an oral antibiotic.

The ‘studies’ though, what about the ‘studies’ that show a huge proliferation of new cells, collagen, and all that? Yes?

As in immune response, you bet. A whole bunch of new fragmented deformed and wholly undesirable cells are generated like mad to protect the vital organs. These sandbag cells quickly degrade and become part of the cellular waste landfill. This is not biology, it’s the Alamo, it’s Stalingrad. The rate of turnover in the epidermis increased exponentially. You have made an early appointment to meet grandma skin. Not awesome.

Does this make sense to you? Sound familiar?

It is not just one product, though one product can most definitely cause dependency, it is also the totality of what is going on that causes addiction, or weakening and chronic inflammation and acne and the mess that is the visual evidence of addicted skin.

And to repeat myself: when you then apply liquid makeup to hide your true self, the dependency is complete. You are an addict and in denial; you know, that old jokey river in Egypt.

So now what? You go have a ‘professional’ peel, sometimes down to within three layers of a skin graft. Bright shiny me! Then after recovery, you take a weaker version of that peel home, usually in the form of an exfoliating cleanser, use it every day and soon after, bad things happen. Skin problems just won’t go away.

But, wait, you say again. (We are going to hear this over and over, alas.) All the “studies” show I will have a huge proliferation of new cells! Plump me! The Skin Dork repeats: except the studies don’t show the quality of those cells is lousy as they mature, the protein is fragmented and while you bulk up you also weaken the skin. You succeeded only to increase the rate of turnover and prematurely age yourself. Grandma is coming to your mirror ahead of schedule.

The issue as you age is not the quantity of cells, it is the quality and how they interact. See the TRAINING MODEL to find a way forward.

By the time you are thirty years of age you have seen at least 50% of your functional skin go away, kaput, forever. Won’t come back. The skin slowly sacrifices itself over its lifespan and deconstructs itself to avoid cancer and penetration by toxicants. That’s the nature of things and when one day you noticed this, you went out to the addiction center and loaded up on ‘anti-aging’ skincare products that do – well, precisely the opposite if you follow product directions.

Cells live in an ocean (the ECM/EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX) and send signals back and forth and link up together to form chains that keep the skin world bouncing along, but then along comes a peel or an injury and the cells now link together like mad to protect the vital organs – the primary job of the skin. A mass of cells, gobs of them, pile on top of one another and a kind of micro-gristle forms to protect the body from invasion. Plump indeed.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin doesn’t know you want to look gorgeous. It just deals with your crazy topical stuff; like whatever.

This over cross-linked melange is a direct result of exfoliation chemicals, scrubs, peels, and bad lasers. It is a sheer, thinning, easily sun ravaged sheet of nascent molecular scar tissue.

But you’re not done yet. More abuse is on the way. Your experimental theory of skincare is self-evident in the mirror and your practitioner now advises: “the strippings and beatings will continue until your skin improves.”

Does this sound familiar?

Next up, your local hardware store, er, skincare clinic, highly recommends an armful of products to increase skin thickness (got to get that collagen growing!) and in truth, absolute truth, slapping yourself five times per day will do the same if quantity is all you are after – and slapping doesn’t bring with it chemical dependency. The products just weaken the skin, the new ‘collagen’ disappears as fast as it arrives. Cell signaling is in chaos. Be slap happy if you are into self-abuse; it’s far better than chemical addiction by topical products.

The skin is irritated, weak, drab, lifeless and in the hands of an industry and not you.

Addiction is a very profitable practice for everyone but the addicted.

What the Skin Dork just described has a name. It is called the REPAIR MODEL in skincare. It isn’t taught under that name in esthetician schools, but it is the dominant practice in the skincare industry and has been since the mid-1980’s when the concept was published in dermatology journals. This was before much was known about skin cell biology, it must be said in defense of the notion at that time, but which not everyone accepted even then. It is an indefensible practice now.

The REPAIR MODEL seeks to induce micro injury and thereby generate a repair process that yields more skin protein. In practice it yields a skin stiffening formica look that accelerates skin aging. It is wrong at its very core assumption: cell quality not protein quantity provides a youthful looking skin. Injury, especially chronic induced injury, leads to inflammation and worse.

The REPAIR MODEL is the dominant practice in applied skincare today. It is without a biologic rationale. In skin esthetics cell signaling is harmed by micro injury (and more so from macro injury as caused by exfoliation). Chronic micro injury always brings visible damage to the surface. The Repair Model is, in practice today, an economic model, nothing more.

There are ways to look and feel your best. You won’t get there being an addict or shredding yourself into raw meat.

The TRAINING MODEL in skincare is how you should go about looking young. Like cardio and other exercise, you optimize your metabolism, optimize your muscle tone, and how you look and feel. With skin, you do the same.

Great skin is not expensive, addicting or difficult to get and keep. Not all grandmas have grandma skin or ever will because they paid attention to what their skin told them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

REFERENCE TOPICS

Introduction

Skin  |  Skincare  |  Skincare Addiction

The skin ranges in thickness from 0.5 mm at the eyelids to 1.5 – 2.0 mm on the rest of the face. There is beneath the skin a fat layer that may add up to 5 mm more, usually on the cheeks and around the mouth.

Sidebar: This baby fat layer however contains for the most part a thick spongy fluid that as we age, beginning in our early twenties more or less, becomes displaced by a web of inelastic tissue. Gradually over the decades visible grandma skin (very thin) forms.

To compare, 1.5 mm of skin thickness on the face is equivalent to a stack of fifteen sheets of 20 lb. paper. Your eyelids are about three sheets of paper thick.

Skin tissue in the eyelid is different, and generally speaking applying active metabolites in the form of skincare products to the eyelids will do little to improve them in quality of looks or quantity of healthy cells, and probably will promote only a blemish or sty or temporary and unpleasant swelling.

Anyway, if you will count out those sheets of paper and pinch them together you will see how really thin your skin is, and it usually gets thinner every year. Alas.

Sidebar: The plump feel and look of our skin so evident in babies occurs because of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM) that shrinks more or less as we age. The ECM could mean Extraordinarily Complicated Mess, too. It is essential to the health of our skin and little understood.

We can use these sheets of paper to locate the layers of the skin. The first five or six sheets of paper deep comprises the epidermis. Below that is the dermis. Where they meet is imaginatively called the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where the skin does all its work, where the stem cells are. More on that junction later.

In the epidermis, the cells are layered like bricks (as you get older, unfortunately, the bricks may look like a wall that fell apart). The bricks have a weak glue between them, like mortar.

Over the course of thirty days the bricks, or new cells, will come up from that junction and slough off at the surface. As they go up and out the cells change, age, get new names, act a little differently and so on before they are non-viable and are just squames (dry flakes).

The squames are the human dust you shed around the house, your clothes, your car or what you leave behind when you press your face against the bank window that is now having a run on deposits and has locked its doors.

Squames are what you see at the surface, unless you just exfoliated. We talk about that in EXFOLIATION.

To restate: your epidermal cells have a thirty-day life span that replenishes for the life of your skin. The cells form, rise up to the visible surface and then slough off. Thirty days. One turnover. Start over.

No fun fact # 1: The skin cell population decreases with age and the quality or vitality of the cells degrades first.

Saying it again: It takes about thirty days for a cell to cycle out (a complete turnover) of the epidermis. Then a new cycle begins.

No fun fact # 2: once you go past your magic number of turnovers, you get grandma skin and that’s it. Old. Even if you are young. It can happen to you if you exfoliate a lot.

Up close, the fresh made cells rising upward in the epidermis look like mattresses, not bricks. They highly resist water getting inside, but are more receptive to oils and lower molecular weight hydrocarbon solvents, like DMSO or gasoline. CERAMIDES glide around on the surfaces of these mattresses, er, cells.

Below the epidermis and the junction area sits the dermis and it is about eight (8) sheets of paper thick and is composed of the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM). It resembles Jell-O chemically that’s full of little springs (elastin, collagen). The sugar provides the energy for new protein synthesis. And blood/lymphatic pipelines run through the neighborhood. When you bleed, you have hit the dermis (and maybe a lot deeper). You won’t bleed from the epidermis. See PROCEDURES / MICRO-NEEDLING for more on that topic.

Below the dermis is fat/fluid and then below that is fascia, a thin tough membrane. It acts to secure the skin to the muscle tissue below. It is easily seen on the bone side of pork spare ribs. Most spare rib enthusiasts pull it off before cooking. They lift a corner with a knife and pull it off using a paper towel to get a grip, it’s slippery like everything else associated with the skin.

This cake layer imagery gives you the idea, but in reality, the dermis and epidermis can get very jumbled up as we age. That can be fixed however.

Now when a skincare product goes into the skin, we say it goes “trans-cutaneous”. When the ingredient goes all the way through the skin and into the body, like DMSO or other solvents, we say it goes “trans-dermal”.

There is usually a bad outcome when products/ingredients go trans-dermal. DMSO once thought to be okay on occasional application to deliver a molecule into the body, is not so cool anymore. It quickly routes itself to the eye and does bad things. Transdermal delivery using insulin patches for diabetes has not worked out well either.

Skincare products ideally go to the epidermal/dermal junction. This is where stem cells, the workers who make the epidermal mattresses and the Jell-O like ECM pad for the dermis below locate and run the overall metabolic machinery.

The skin has landfills also, where it takes all the cellular debris, especially pigment cells and skincare product waste that didn’t go out the top. The cellular debris is called lipofuscin and it collects in these landfills down in the dermis. What you see on your skin from two feet away are most often landfill areas, or spots and we call them pigment spots, or age spots.

What to do? We might cover the spots with makeup. That often leads to more problems. Vanity is a hardship for most of us. No question it is better to be born with perfect skin, never going wrong, and gloat at the misbegotten.

People do all sorts of things to “get those hideous spots out, now!” (especially with exfoliation peels), but that only pushes the landfills deeper. Geniuses figured out a way to zap these landfills with lasers and voila! the spots are gone. For maybe as long as a year, but usually only a few months, and then the skin just goes back to it and starts filling up the landfills again, and in the very same place! The landfill. Grrrr.

More bad news: go back and forth to laser treatments and you will see your skin become leathery from micro-scarring. A LASER after all just torches you in micro-measurable, scientific ways, all over.

Now what??!

Cell waste and skincare product waste is a problem as we become fossils (beginning around age 30, our skin is half way in the grave). Except for the perfect among us.

We’ll talk about this anxiety in other sections.

Now, back to the epidermis and the thirty-day cycle. Yes. So that continues through life until you have reached the end of days for your skin. No more turnovers, you are out of luck, no more money in the bank and no credit. You might have a lot of years left to live but your skin is out of the game. You are probably a grandma when this happens, if you are lucky, and haven’t terminated your skin metabolism before that. That can happen.

The Skin Dork has seen more than a few in their early 30’s whose skin is largely senescent from over application of skincare products. As in old. Interestingly, these same people are often quite susceptible to cancers.

“Grandma always has such a clean house.” Your children might say. Now you know why. No squames. Tell them that and watch their eyes bulge. “Grandma has no squames,” you will say in sorrowful tones. They will feel sorry for her and appreciate the dustbin that is your house.

You can accelerate the aging process with peels. Want to look old earlier? Do a lot of peels. Sunlight isn’t helpful either, but sunscreens aren’t a solution to keep you looking young, or prevent skin cancer or much of anything.

What? See SUNSCREENS for the Skin Dork’s take – which is the same as the American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreens do next to nothing good and a lot that isn’t.

Now as we age the dermis down deep has lost its spring and bounce, the happy collagen and elastin springs in the dermis have all turned into little dark knots and blobs (more spots!) and the dermal pad is now flatter, pulled out of shape and rigid and getting very thin.

Fat disappears below the dermis, even if you are obese, as you age. This means sag and turkey wattles.

What you see is grandma skin: papery thin, blotchy, impervious. It is dry, a parchment whose metabolism has packed up and left. Grandma skin goes to sleep for the most part, it is ‘senescent’ to use the biology term. It does that to avoid cancer (no cell reproduction) and to block anything ever getting past the surface, including water, oil and you name it. Nothing. So much for moisturizers or snazzy lipids.

It’s over, babe.

Another thing about grandma skin. You will see odd looking dark areas (purple or violet if you prefer) where last chance attempts to produce new skin cells have failed, or from bruises because the area has no more bounce and can’t roll with the punches.

Grandma skin can happen way before you are a fossil, as the Skin Dork has said before.

Skincare products, especially exfoliating products and BENZOYL PEROXIDE, can prematurely and permanently age your skin. Over application of VITAMIN A (there are many different versions) can do the same.

Remember, you only have so many turnovers in the epidermis, then it is game over. How many is that? You don’t know and as yet it can’t be predicted. It could be but then the skincare industry (Big Skin?) has little interest in telling you that you’re cooked, so the money to test that idea just might not (ever be) forthcoming. Not A Surprise.

The skin takes its clues from the epidermis, not from down deep. What you do at the surface changes things below. On the other hand, bad things in your bloodstream will bring problems to the skin and these will show. The skin presents your health to the world.

Meanwhile, why does all this dreadful thinning to dust happen? Why does our skin age? Cell signaling errors caused by many factors is the simple answer. The Skin Prof describes the many ways throughout this blog.

Abuse by skincare products is a great way to age your skin quickly. Sunlight is a distant second.

The negative visual effects of sun damage can be reversed for the most part. The negative skin effects of poor health practices can also be reversed to a large extent. But, the negative effects of skincare product abuse, not so much.


Skincare Addiction

(btw – this topic is duplicated as its own section)

The biggest problem with your topical products is that you are using them according to directions.

Topical product addiction is rampant, epidemic even, and damaging.

Are you addicted? Discontinue your products to test. If you skin becomes quickly unstable and/or noticeably dry (in a day or so) you are addicted.

Now what?

The skin is the most complicated organ you can play with. It evolved from the brain, if that gives you an idea. The brain as we all know is easily addicted, ditto the skin.

First comes tolerance, and then dependency and then inescapable weakness.

That’s the classic addiction process. Weaning away from topical addiction can take a week, or it can take months. The skin is quick to react and slow to normalize. Skin metabolism is slow, topical products tend to speed that up as the body, the skin, defends itself. The process can also accelerate aging of the skin.

If your skin is not senescent (grandma skin), you can run a second test. Apply a topical product and then immediately wipe it off. The skin will have, in those first milliseconds, already identified it as friend or foe, memorized its chemistry and reacted. The immediate reaction always is to protect the vital organs. It may be a mild ho-hum reaction or an OMG what have you done! reaction.

Active skin will be in a high state of alarm with any molecule that is charged or below approximately 750 daltons in size.

Molecule size matters in skincare, the smaller the molecule, the easier it can get down to the epidermal/dermal junction. I will make note of molecule size throughout this syllabus.

A charged particle is any molecule that has a positive or negative charge. Acids are strongly charged or weakly charged, depending on what kind of acid, but whether it is a fatty acid (weak) from olive oil or glycolic acid (strong) from a laboratory source or a fruit extract, the skin is not happy. A charged particle is a potential threat to the internal organs because it has the potential to break through the skin (go transdermal) and then go systemic and cause havoc. The skin doesn’t know you put this substance on to look gorgeous.

A charged molecule below 750 daltons in size can cause problems, sooner or later. Usually sooner. Note that I say a ‘charged’ particle which is very different from an uncharged one. Fats and oils are uncharged for the most part, glycolic acid on the other hand is highly charged.

Most biologically active molecules in skincare are about 300 daltons molecular weight. Many oral drugs are about the same size. Interesting. If the skincare ingredient is a charged particle, and low molecular weight, however, that means trouble.

Beware charged particles.

The skin will redden, itch, swell up and so on as the battle unfolds against a charged particle. Gradually tolerance sets in and with it, dependency. The skin gives up and its reactivity slows. Over time the skin looks worn out. It is very uneven in tone and texture. The dependency has weakened the skin. Then one day redness and irritation bloom and like weeds, won’t go away.

Rosacea and dermatitis are at epidemic levels among skincare product users. Charged particles, especially acids, are the primary cause.

Anyway, with dependency your skin is at a histamine threshold (as in, ready to go bananas). Add anything more to the skin, even warm water or walking outside into pollen or smelling a rose can set off your skin into a difficult visible rosacea or worse: dermatitis. The practical distinction between the two is only a matter of degree and often, time.

Dermatitis can be lethal. With nothing to counter the nonstop itching on all areas of the body, not just where a product was applied, the only relief is suicide. It happens.

People who use a lot of products on their skin are usually sub-clinically inflamed (meaning you can’t really see it) but they are a lit fuse.

Your skin is like a houseplant, the more you feed and water it, the worse it looks.

Now anyone who tells you to apply any esthetic product twice per day (other than a light, neutral cleanser) knows nothing about skin. That includes about every skincare marketer apparently and a lot of poorly informed practitioners including physicians who should know better.

It makes no sense to cleanse, add a serum, moisturize and include a sunscreen. None. Ever. That is a recipe for product addiction and serious skin weakening and premature aging. To do this twice per day is asking to be addicted. Add in an exfoliating ingredient and you are on the road to dependent, weak, prematurely aged skin. But usually much worse.

Try this: take your usual application of products in the usual amounts and place these in a ramekin. Now stir and apply to a stack of six sheets of paper. Allow to dry. How does that paper look?

Your skin won’t absorb much of any of this into eager cells, either. Instead, it has done a ton of metabolic work and wasted energy to haul away and isolate this goo in reservoirs until it can be sloughed off. It has spent a lot of metabolic money to get rid of the wonderful stuff you have paid dearly for: oils, proteins, vitamins, sugars, glycols, acids, alkalis, and phyto-chemicals (those organic botanical extracts), etc., etc. With the best of luck, the goo has sat on the tippy top surface of the skin and will go airborne with the squames.

Fortunately, most skincare product ingredients dry up at the surface and don’t go deeper. Yay.

What skincare products can do is send electro-chemical signals down to the dermal/epidermal junction and that will cause a positive or negative reaction. So even if the actual chemical doesn’t get past the guard shack, it can do good or evil. In other words, you could apply your magic serum and wipe it off and you will most likely get all of its biologic benefits without the negatives when it absorbs deeply. This insight into skin biology was developed at the University of California at San Francisco, for those interested.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin cannot metabolize all that stuff that doesn’t dry up and float away at the surface. It takes it to those landfills discussed earlier and reservoirs it. The skin has big fat tick-like creatures who move around on intracellular tight ropes to do their job. Not kidding, these exosome workers exist in your skin. The skin spends all of its metabolic energy hiring these fat ticks to haul around your skincare product garbage to internal landfills. Once the landfill overflows, more bad things happen. ROSACEA is most common. The skin flares up and then what? Add something more to stop the flare up? Of course, always the solution. Not.

Or maybe an oral antibiotic.

The ‘studies’ though, what about the ‘studies’ that show a huge proliferation of new cells, collagen, and all that? Yes?

As in immune response, you bet. A whole bunch of new fragmented deformed and wholly undesirable cells are generated like mad to protect the vital organs. These sandbag cells quickly degrade and become part of the cellular waste landfill. This is not biology, it’s the Alamo, it’s Stalingrad. The rate of turnover in the epidermis increased exponentially. You have made an early appointment to meet grandma skin. Not awesome.

Does this make sense to you? Sound familiar?

It is not just one product, though one product can most definitely cause dependency, it is also the totality of what is going on that causes addiction, or weakening and chronic inflammation and acne and the mess that is the visual evidence of addicted skin.

And to repeat myself: when you then apply liquid makeup to hide your true self, the dependency is complete. You are an addict and in denial; you know, that old jokey river in Egypt.

So now what? You go have a ‘professional’ peel, sometimes down to within three layers of a skin graft. Bright shiny me! Then after recovery, you take a weaker version of that peel home, usually in the form of an exfoliating cleanser, use it every day and soon after, bad things happen. Skin problems just won’t go away.

But, wait, you say again. (We are going to hear this over and over, alas.) All the “studies” show I will have a huge proliferation of new cells! Plump me! The Skin Dork repeats: except the studies don’t show the quality of those cells is lousy as they mature, the protein is fragmented and while you bulk up you also weaken the skin. You succeeded only to increase the rate of turnover and prematurely age yourself. Grandma is coming to your mirror ahead of schedule.

The issue as you age is not the quantity of cells, it is the quality and how they interact. See the TRAINING MODEL to find a way forward.

By the time you are thirty years of age you have seen at least 50% of your functional skin go away, kaput, forever. Won’t come back. The skin slowly sacrifices itself over its lifespan and deconstructs itself to avoid cancer and penetration by toxicants. That’s the nature of things and when one day you noticed this, you went out to the addiction center and loaded up on ‘anti-aging’ skincare products that do – well, precisely the opposite if you follow product directions.

Cells live in an ocean (the ECM/EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX) and send signals back and forth and link up together to form chains that keep the skin world bouncing along, but then along comes a peel or an injury and the cells now link together like mad to protect the vital organs – the primary job of the skin. A mass of cells, gobs of them, pile on top of one another and a kind of micro-gristle forms to protect the body from invasion. Plump indeed.

The Skin Dork repeats: the skin doesn’t know you want to look gorgeous. It just deals with your crazy topical stuff; like whatever.

This over cross-linked melange is a direct result of exfoliation chemicals, scrubs, peels, and bad lasers. It is a sheer, thinning, easily sun ravaged sheet of nascent molecular scar tissue.

But you’re not done yet. More abuse is on the way. Your experimental theory of skincare is self-evident in the mirror and your practitioner now advises: “the strippings and beatings will continue until your skin improves.”

Does this sound familiar?

Next up, your local hardware store, er, skincare clinic, highly recommends an armful of products to increase skin thickness (got to get that collagen growing!) and in truth, absolute truth, slapping yourself five times per day will do the same if quantity is all you are after – and slapping doesn’t bring with it chemical dependency. The products just weaken the skin, the new ‘collagen’ disappears as fast as it arrives. Cell signaling is in chaos. Be slap happy if you are into self-abuse; it’s far better than chemical addiction by topical products.

The skin is irritated, weak, drab, lifeless and in the hands of an industry and not you.

Addiction is a very profitable practice for everyone but the addicted.

What the Skin Dork just described has a name. It is called the REPAIR MODEL in skincare. It isn’t taught under that name in esthetician schools, but it is the dominant practice in the skincare industry and has been since the mid-1980’s when the concept was published in dermatology journals. This was before much was known about skin cell biology, it must be said in defense of the notion at that time, but which not everyone accepted even then. It is an indefensible practice now.

The REPAIR MODEL seeks to induce micro injury and thereby generate a repair process that yields more skin protein. In practice it yields a skin stiffening formica look that accelerates skin aging. It is wrong at its very core assumption: cell quality not protein quantity provides a youthful looking skin. Injury, especially chronic induced injury, leads to inflammation and worse.

The REPAIR MODEL is the dominant practice in applied skincare today. It is without a biologic rationale. In skin esthetics cell signaling is harmed by micro injury (and more so from macro injury as caused by exfoliation). Chronic micro injury always brings visible damage to the surface. The Repair Model is, in practice today, an economic model, nothing more.

There are ways to look and feel your best. You won’t get there being an addict or shredding yourself into raw meat.

The TRAINING MODEL in skincare is how you should go about looking young. Like cardio and other exercise, you optimize your metabolism, optimize your muscle tone, and how you look and feel. With skin, you do the same.

Great skin is not expensive, addicting or difficult to get and keep. Not all grandmas have grandma skin or ever will because they paid attention to what their skin told them.

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