We often get asked by patients:
Why do I actually need all of these creams? Can’t I just use one?
While the answer is yes, yes you can.
It is important to understand what each topical is used for instead of just using what the new fad is. And with so many options, it can be both very tempting to use what your friends use, but it can also be very overwhelming. In this blog, we will try to simplify why we recommend the products we do. Let’s first understand the layers of the skin.
Excuse me your epidermis is showing? Did I make you look?
Don’t worry, the epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin. This layer gives us our waterproof barrier and also creates our skin tone. Everyday your epidermis is shedding dead skin cells. Certain products act specifically on this layer of the skin. These products can help exfoliate dead skin cells all while leaving your skin looking fresher. Two of the most common products used to achieve exfoliation of the epidermis are glycolic acid and salicylic acid. You can find these agents in some over the counter lines, as well as in products we carry in our office.
Another important topical that works on the epidermis are moisturizers. Moisturizers can help make a barrier against harsh chemicals we encounter in our day to day. They also can prevent your skin from loosing water leading to skin dehydration. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C serums, partially work on the epidermis. Antioxidants can protect the skin from free radicals, which can damage skin cells. Antioxidants can be helpful for texture, toning, and anti aging. Think of them as the dump trucks of the skin; cleaning up toxins that have penetrated.
By using products that protect against free radicals, exfoliate dead skin cells and moisturizer, we allow our skin to be more intact and appear more healthy.
Moving on to the dermis. Our own skin cells produce Hyaluronic Acid (HA). HA helps to maintain moisture levels. Unfortunately as we age, those levels tend to dip. Thats where products that contain HA can be helpful. HA acts as a magnet for moisture. It helps your cells to retain as much moisture as possible so that your skin feels and appears hydrated, plump, and healthy.
Growth factors are also important products that act on the dermis. Growth factors are natural substances that are made by skin cells to help repair damaged skin, help make components that provide firmness and elasticity to the skin, and also helping to maintain the skin’s protective functions. As we age we make less growth factors.
Finally, retinoids also work on this deeper layer of the skin. Retinoids boost collagen production (reducing wrinkles and preventing fine lines), speed cell turnover (evening out discoloration and brightening skin tone ) and unclog pores.
When choosing products to use, it is important to think of a multi step approach. Often we recommend creams to target different areas of the skin. All of these products work together to keep your skin looking healthy and rejuvenated. Don’t forget, if you get overwhelmed, come see us. We can make an individualized regimen to suit your needs.