AHAs and the Sun

 At Alpha Skin Care, we want to help you to make good, well-informed decisions about skin care products and how to use them.  We have found that there a lot of confusion regarding alpha hydroxy acids, commonly known as AHAs and whether or not they increase sun sensitivity. We thought we would take this opportunity to clarify the information.

AHAs are natural exfoliates.  They are derived from natural ingredients like sour milk, grapes and sugar cane.  When used in skin care products, these natural fruit acids loosen the glue-like bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of skin.  If you are not using AHAs as part of your skin care routine the top layer of cells is fairly thick.  This thick layer of dead cells is the body’s natural way of providing protection from the sun.

When you begin using an AHA treatment product, it gradually exfoliates the layer of dead cells from the skin’s surface.  AHAs allow newer, fresher, healthier cells to come to emerge.  That’s a good thing. The newer, healthier cells are what makes your skin look younger and more radiant. Skin feels softer and smoother.  Fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots are less noticeable. As unwanted cells are removed, however, so is your natural protection from the sun.  

AHAs do not make you more sensitive to the sun.  They simply remove the layer of dead cells.  There are ingredients that do make you more sensitive.  For example, retinoids, also known as retinol or Retin-A can cause significant sun sensitivity.  Many people will stop using retinoids in the summer for that very reason.  Although, sun exposure any time of year is equally damaging.

If you are using an alpha hydroxy acids as part of your daily skin care routine you must wear a sunscreen to replace the natural protection that is lost with exfoliation.  Some people think that if you are using AHAs at night, you do not need to wear a sunscreen during the day.  At Alpha Skin Care, we suggest wearing a sunscreen every day year round. We all know that the sun can damage skin and accelerates the aging process. Why take chances when wearing a sunscreen is so easy?  You can still enjoy feeling the sun on your face.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Moisturize From The Inside Out!

Drinking water is an easy, inexpensive way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Topical moisturizers are important but they do not provide enough hydration to keep your skin moist and supple. Skin is an organ and just like any other part of the body, your skin is made up of cells. The cells of the human body are mostly water. At the height a newborn baby’s cells may be as much as 75% water! With age, the amount of water in the human body decreases but water is still the primary content in the cells of the human body. Without it our organs, and that includes skin, will not function at their best.

When skin is not adequately hydrated it loses thickness, can become more sensitive and offers less body protection. Dry skin feels tight and your skin tone may look flaky and dull. The drier your skin, the less resilient and more prone to wrinkling it becomes. Chronic dehydration can age your skin very quickly and can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Proper hydration is an important part of keeping skin firm and supple. Drinking plenty of water helps to reduce the signs of aging and keeps skin soft and elastic.

Water also helps the body to utilize essential nutrients, eliminate toxins and maintain a healthy pH balance. Anything that makes you sweat, like exercise or just being out in the sun, causes fluid loss. Dehydration can also occur when you are sick. All these may mean you need to increase your water intake. Although delicious, coffee and alcohol do not count as fluids since they act as diuretics and actually reduce your body’s hydration. Water aids the natural repair process, helping the body to heal faster when damaged. In the case of severe sunburn, be sure to drink a lot of water!

So how much water is enough to keep your body and skin looking and feeling its best? It may be more than you might think. Its recommended that women should drink at least nine cups of plain water every day and men should drink 13. An important side note, no matter how much water you drink, your other organs will get the water they need first, not your skin, and we are all different, so use guidelines as that, just a guide listen to your body first and foremost!

To have beautiful, healthy skin, try moisturizing from the inside out!  We all know that beauty is more than skin deep.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts and in this case, that means a lot of water and a well-hydrated body.  It’s easy, inexpensive and you can start today!  Let’s drink (a glass of water) to your health!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Face Food: Top 5 Foods for Beautiful Skin!

There is more to skin care and beautiful skin than the lotions and potions applied religiously in the morning and at night.  Having beautiful skin is not just about what you put ON your body it is also about what you put IN your body.  Treating blemishes and fighting wrinkles may not be enough to help you have a glowing complexion. Many of the nutrients you need to be healthy on the inside also keep you beautiful on the outside.  The best part is that they are readily available and you can pick them up on your trip to the grocery store!

Here are the Top 5 Foods you should eat if you want beautiful skin and good health.

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1. Tomatoes.  Tomatoes contain Lycopene, a phytochemical, an active compound found in plants. Lycopene is important for skin because it helps to eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays and protect your skin from sun damage. Tomatoes are the best source of the anti-aging antioxidant Lycopene. The Lycopene in tomatoes is more easily absorbed by your body when it is cooked so have a little extra marinara sauce or tomato bisque.

2.  Spinach. Dark leafy vegetables like spinach reduce the likelihood of cancer cell growth. The folates in dark leafy greens help repair and maintain DNA improving your cell’s ability to regenerate. Spinach is also full of water that penetrates cell membranes to help you and your skin stay hydrated, making your skin look plumper and less wrinkled.

3.  Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C helps to smooth wrinkles and is essential for collagen production. The more collagen you have the less noticeable lines and wrinkles appear by helping to keep skin firm. Additionally, like Lycopene, the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes is an antioxidant that fights the aging process. Beta-carotene is also found in carrots, pumpkins and squash.

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4. Salmon.  Like most fish, salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acids in fish help to reduce inflammation and to keep cells strong. Strong cells successfully hold on to moisture keeping your skin hydrated. Salmon and tuna and have an extra benefit. They contain selenium, a nutrient that helps preserve elastin. Elastin is a protein that keeps your skin smooth and tight. Cooked or raw, add a little more fish to your diet. Flax seeds are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids if you are looking for a vegetarian option.

5. Nuts. Almonds and Walnuts, in particular, have lots of vitamin E, an effective sun protectant. Just 20 nuts a day can reduce the possibility of sunburn. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light that generate free radicals that can cause cell damage. Sun protection is key to having great skin. 

Lots of foods offer an extra dose of sun protection. Tomatoes and nuts are two already mentioned. In addition, dark chocolate, carrots, and green tea all have properties that contribute to reducing your risk of damage during sun exposure. That doesn’t mean you should stop wearing sunscreen! Nutrition is just an added bonus. Apply sunscreen daily to avoid the risk of sun damage.

Beautiful skin on the outside, start with the inside! The next time you’re at the grocery store, make one or two healthier food choices. It’s a win-win for you and your skin!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

For most of us when we think of sunscreen, our first thoughts are likely of grabbing our swimsuit and towel to head out into the summer sun. Many may not even consider sunscreen on cold and cloudy days when the beach or pool is out of the picture, and especially during the winter months. Don’t be fooled by dropping temperatures or cloudy skies, sunscreen is an absolute necessity all year-round. The sun’s rays are just as strong and damaging in the winter and can get even stronger when reflecting UV radiation off of pale snow.

If you still need some more convincing, both the World Health Organization and the US. Department of Health and Human Services have identified ultralight radiation as a human carcinogen. It is a main cause of skin cancer for more than a million Americans each year. 95% of the UV rays that we are exposed to in our lifetimes are UVA rays and these UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply and increase the appearance of skin wrinkles and aging. Sun damage accumulates gradually over time and yields lasting consequences for your skin and health.

So pull out the sunscreen and lather up year round! Sunscreen is imperative when used in conjunction with your daily Alpha Skin Care routine. Adding a light SPF 15 or SPF 30 to be applied and reapplied daily, will help to make it a habitual part of your inside and outside days. UVA rays can penetrate through clouds and through glass in your car’s windows. Tempering your levels of sun with the shade, broad-brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses will keep your skin healthy in the long run.

It is never too late to start wearing sunscreen year-round. Start building the habit today!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Happy New You!

Is taking better care of your skin on your list of New You Resolutions? What would that even mean?  Does it mean washing your face before bed? Possibly just wearing sunscreen every day? Or does it mean committing to a daily skin care routine? Taking better care of your skin is likely not just one thing. Like a healthy diet, it means doing a lot of little things that add up to healthier, fresher, younger-looking skin.

So let’s try a different approach to taking better care of your skin this year. Instead of taking on the entire year together, why not focus on one resolution each month? It is easier than trying to change every aspect of life at one time.  Here are some suggestions for making changes to your skin care routine in 2021!

In January – Take off your make-up at the end of the day and wash your face. Make-up traps skin oils, dirt, and environmental pollutants to cause acne and dull skin. It’s only January, let’s start small.

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In February – Moisturize after washing your face and body.  Hot water can strip skin of natural oils leaving it dry and tight. Replace lost moisture with a lightweight lotion even if you have oily skin.

In March – Start wearing sunscreen every day.  It is easy and it is the best way to reduce and prevent signs of premature aging, and time to get in the habit before summer.

In April – Shower after exercise! Trying to squeeze in a work out at lunch? Sweating is good. It helps get rid of toxins, but don’t let those toxins just sits on your skin too long. It will lead to acne and blemishes.

In May – Exfoliate regularly. We recommend using AHAs to gently exfoliate skin but you can use a gentle scrub as well. Be sure to exfoliate all parts of your body for soft, glowing skin from head to toe.

In June – Clean make-up brushes regularly. Brushes hold skin oils and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Wash them at least once a month with lukewarm water and a mild cleanser. Our Refreshing Face Wash works great on brushes!

In July – Take care of your hands.  Hands often take a beating and can give away your age. Give them a little extra TLC every day.  Use a SPF on your hands during the day and rich lotion on them at night.

In August – Start a basic skin care routine that includes a Glycolic AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). Stick to a program for at least 6 weeks.  That’s how long it takes to see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Patience and diligence will pay off with a skin care routine.

In September – Schedule an annual skin check-up.  Follow up by doing a monthly self-exam as well.  Never let unusual moles, bumps or rashes go to long without seeing a dermatologist.

In October – Keep your hands off your face!  The germs and bacteria on your hands wind up on your face causing acne and irritation. And clean that cell phone with anti-bacterial wipes for the same reason.

In November – We’re in the home stretch of the year! Keep your momentum in November. Take care of your lips!  Use moisturizers and lip balms that have an SPF. Lips are the thinnest skin on the body and are more susceptible to sun damage than any other part of you.

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In December – Holiday season, time to celebrate! Be aware, however, of alcohol consumption. Alcohol leaves you dehydrated causing dryness, bloating and redness. It also makes some skin conditions worse, like rosacea and broken capillaries. Just be aware and moderate when celebrating at the end the year.

At the end of 2021, your skin will look better and feel better than it has in years. By focusing on just one small change each month you can develop skin care habits that will last a lifetime. Just like a healthy diet, these changes are lifestyle changes that can help you to be healthier, younger-looking and truly comfortable in your own skin.  Best wishes to a Happy New You!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.