Post-summer months... Together with the sad feeling about the sunny days gone by and with the fading memories of that wonderful holiday on the sea come worries about the state of your skin.
Due to the post-summer sun-damage and skin dehydration you can notice one or several of the following symptoms:
*The skin feels and looks dry
*New or first fine lines appear and become considerably visible
*The skin tone looks dull and sallow
*Sun and age spots appear
*The skin is flaking and is irritated
*The skin is sagging
Some broken capillaries become visible
These are signs of sun damaged skin and photoaging. What is sun damage:
Sun rays can damage the DNA, the genetic material, of the skin cells deep in dermis layer. As a result, these cells become dysfunctional. They do not produce collagen and elastin as well as they used to and skin sags, shows lines and wrinkles. The damaged cells do not renew properly and skin becomes thick, dull and sallow.
Trying to protect itself from the sun, the skin produces melanin pigment to absorb ultraviolet light. Melanin production normally causes skin to tan. However, sun damage over the years can result in localized spots of hyperpigmentation appearing on the most exposed parts of the body: usually face, shoulders and hands. Such lesions are known as “age spots” or “liver spots” Use the mid-season to restore your skin’s moisture balance and treat the sun-damage. Step 1: Exfoliation.
Exfoliation or peeling will help your skin to get rid of the dead damaged cells and prepare it to take in moisture and nutrition easier. Exfoliation of the skin’s top layer has also shown in many studies to stimulate production of new collagen in the deeper dermis layers thus helping to improve the signs of photoaging.
Professional Peeling: Some cosmetologists recommend to wait until October to take a series of professional peeling procedures. In October the sun becomes mild enough not to cause any damage to the freshly revealed skin layer. If you have sensitive or problem skin, or skin prone to acne, go with a chemical or enzyme peel. If your skin is dry or normal, you can choose either dermabrasion, a chemical peeling or a combination of both.
* To help your skin renew on a daily basis you can also include a moisturizing product with light peeling properties. Look for a product containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Glucosamine, Retinol or Retinoids.
Step 2: Regular Daily Moisturizing
During the hot, sunny summer months your skin looses a lot of moisture. Dehydration is one of the reasons why it looks so dull and you can see new lines. Give your skin the necessary moisture. Moisturize twice daily and apply a moisturizing mask once or twice a week. For normal, combination and oily skin use a light oil free moisturizer marked “non-comedogenic” in the form of fluid or gel. For the dry type of skin choose a thicker moisturizer. Look for a cream marked “for dry skin”, that can be either oil-based or water-based. Step 3: Daily Concentrated Treatment: Treat Photoaging
Cosmetologists recommend, starting from your late 20s-early 30s, to include into your daily routine an intensive skin treatment once or twice a year for 1-3 months. The length and intervals between the treatments depend on your age and skin condition.
Intensive skin treatments come in the form of serums or concentrated emulsions.
- Use Serums Containing Topical Vitamins and Antioxidants to treat and reverse Sun Damage:
To improve skin’s condition and its tone, to reduce inflammation and to treat appearing as a result of sun damage lines, consider using during the post-summer months a cosmetic line with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant, but also works to restore and heel your skin after the sun damage. It is used by our skin to build collagen. Vitamin C Ester is vitamin C with fatty acid attached to it. Due to this it is better absorbed by the skin than vitamin C alone.
This vitamin works together with Vitamin C to protect the epidermis from UV damage. Like Vitamin C it is a powerful antioxidant. On its own, Vitamin E has shown to reduce sunburn and help to heel wounds. Due to the fact that Vitamin E is fat soluble, it gets easily absorbed and stored by the skin.
Polyphenols or Flavonoids:
These are plant-derived substances with antioxidant properties that are powerful free-radical quenchers. The flavonoids often used in skin-care products include green tea, grape seed extract, and soy extract.
Retinoids (synthetic Vitamin A):
Retinoids are widely accepted as a very effective anti-aging treatment that helps to reverse sun-damage by speeding up cells turnover and stimulating collagen production. However, Retinoids can have some side-effects and can cause increased irritation and sensitivity to the sun. In autumn the sun is milder than in summer, the air is not as dry as in winter and the temperatures are not extreme. That is why in some climates Autumn would be a good time to try out a Retinoid treatment. In most countries the best quality Retinoids are available only on prescription. We recommend you consult your dermatologist and start your treatment under her/his supervision.
*If your skin is too sensitive and Retinoid products cause irritation try AHA products instead.
Note: Some moisturizers also come with Vitamins. For a better effect use both - apply serum under the moisturizer either twice daily or as a night repair treatment.
- Use Intensive Moisturizing Serum or Concentrate:
When skin is dehydrated its barrier against environment hazards and free radicals is very low. That makes the skin more susceptible to damage and to rapid development of signs of aging. To boost your skin’s moisture and protection level you can choose a serum with long-proven hyaluronic acid. This acid acts as a magnet for moisture and locks it in to create the ideal environment for healthy and beautiful skin.
Lipids, including Linoleic Acid, ceramides, cholesterol, Avocado Lipids, help your skin to rebuild a weakened moisture barrier and protect skin from environmental irritants.
Step 4: At-Home Intensive Beauty Treatments: Masks
For a couple autumn months give yourself regular at-home beauty treatments. 2-3 times a week apply a mask for example, once or twice– moisturizing and once – antioxidant, anti-aging or energizing. Before applying a mask cleanse your face or use an exfoliator (Note: do not exfoliate more than 2 times a week) to prepare your skin for the treatment.
To increase the potency of the mask you can add one more step to your at-home facial and treat your face to a steam bath. Put some hot water in a bowl, cleanse your face and sit over the bowl. Cover yourself with a towel to keep the steam in. You can also add a green tea bag for additional antioxidant effect or a chamomile tea bag for soothing effect into the hot water. A steam bath will open up the pores and help to cleanse them of the accumulated sebum and dirt. It will also moisturize, soften the skin and stimulate blood circulation (that is why if you are prone to broken vessels in the face you should avoid it). Follow all the other steps of the facial: exfoliate and apply a mask. (See some ideas for 100% natural Autumn masks at the end of the article)
Step 5: Treat sun spots
If you notice age spots appearing after summer, use exfoliating treatments and whitening products to solve this problem. Ingredients used in products targeting age spots include Kojic Acid and Hydroquinone.
Topical Vitamin C has also shown results in lightening dark spots.
To slow down brown melanin formation choose a moisturizer with glucosamine. Recent studies have shown that topical application of glucosamine inhibits melanin overproduction in UV damaged skin cells and can help improve skin tone, barrier function and hyperpigmentation. You can also take a series of laser treatments to lighten up the spots.
Next summer make sure to use higher SPF protection!
Step 6: Improve your Diet
Beautiful skin comes not only from the bottoms of cream jars and tubes but also from a healthy diet rich in vitamins. In fact, whatever sophisticated topical treatments you apply, you won’t get high quality results without providing your skin with the vitamins and minerals vital for its function and youth from within. Your diet should include fruits, vegetables and “good” fats like fish, olive oils, flaxseed oil. Except from filling your diet with necessary vitamins it is highly recommended to take a quality vitamin and mineral supplement.
Make sure your diet includes:
Vitamin C: a powerful anti-oxidant, it also helps collagen formation.
Vitamin E: an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals and helps to soothe and heal stressed skin.
Vitamin A: required for healthy normal skin cells function.
B-Vitamins, especially Vitamin B3 (Niacin): assist in the functioning of the skin, digestive system, and nerves.
Zinc: critically important for healthy skin function, helps heal blemishes, reduces inflammation, helps to fight acne. Zinc is required for DNA repair, collagen and elastin production in the skin.
Omega-3 fatty acid: improves skin texture by “moisturizing” the skin from the inside.
Alpha lipoic acid: a special antioxidant as it is water and fat soluble which means that it is able to get to every cell in your body. This acid also helps to regenerate other oxidants like Vitamin e, Vitamin c, gluthathione and coenzyme Q10.
Magnesium: improves blood circulation.
Bioflavonoids: natural anti-oxidant free-radical scavengers. Bioflavonoids work in synergy with other antioxidants like Vitamin E, ascorbate (Vitamin C), carotene (Vitamin A) and Selenium to reduce damage to the cells caused by oxidation. Flavonoids have also been found to help in maintaining the thin walls of the capillaries, promote circulation and have an antibacterial effect.
Autumn is the time for a great variety of fruit and vegetables that will provide your body with the necessary vitamins and nutrients to improve your skin from the inside for its health and beauty. Below is a list of delicious fruit and vegetables we would recommend.
Pears contain minerals such as zinc, plus Vitamins C and E, and some B Vitamins.
Leeks contain a selection of nutrients, including folates, B Vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.
Pumpkins are a very rich source of beta carotene, which in our bodies is converted into Vitamin A which is essential for our skin. Pumpkins also contain calcium, iron, and Vitamin C.
Sweetcorn is also in season in autumn. It contains magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
Broccoli is a very important vegetable for beauty diet as it contains a lot of essential vitamins for skin’s beauty and youth. It has Vitamin C and bioflavonoids that together protect biomolecules in the dermis such as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Both Vitamin C and flavonoids are powerful antioxidants and protect your skin from free radical damage. Broccoli also contains alpha lipoic acid.
Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, fiber and also contain Coenzyme Q10, a unique fat-soluble vitamin-like substance that is a potent antioxidant and a proven anti-aging fighter.
Carrots are rich in Vitamin A. In fact one carrot will supply all your Vitamin A needs for the whole day. Be careful not to overdo carrots as your skin may turn orange.
Blackberries are rich in vitamin C. Also, they are an excellent source of Vitamin E which is beneficial for the heart and circulatory problems as well as for the skin. In addition these berries contain the fiber pectin which helps to eliminate cholesterol, and protects against environmental toxins.
Grapes Although in most countries they are now available all year round, autumn is the high season for grapes. Grapes are rich in magnesium, Iron and Selenium as well as biflavonoids.
Plums are a source of potassium as well as Vitamins A and E.
Raspberries contain Vitamin C as well as flavonoids, ellagic acid which neutralize free radicals and prevent damage to cell membranes and other structures in the body.
Edible Autumn Skin Care
Several delicious recipes for 100% natural at-home skin treatments this autumn!
For the fans of natural skin-care we can suggest a couple autumn 100% natural masks. Nourishing Masks with Honey
Apple Toning Mask
Nourishing Mask with Grape Juice
Nourishing Anti-Wrinkle Masks with Potatoes
Nourishing Masks with Honey
Apple Toning Mask
Nourishing Mask with Grape Juice
Nourishing Anti-Wrinkle Masks with Potatoes
Find out about Natural Autumn Skin Care.