22 Jun Skin Survival Kit
BY Dr Terrence Scamp
1. Sunblock – You need two sunblocks. A great one is a makeup-style sunblock that works as well as your favourite makeup but a product strong enough to protect your skin. The GloMinerals range is a good example of this. It can be selected to match your skin like any other cosmetic makeup but at the same time you are getting some protection from incidental sun exposure. For men a sunblock moisturiser to apply post-shaving is ideal.
However, for days when you are on the beach, on the boat, the golf course or anywhere you are going to get significant exposure you need a more robust sunblock. Something with zinc in it is deal as this will block both UVA and UVB. UVB is the ray that causes your sunburn but UVA actually does a lot of harm to the elastic network of your skin and tends to make your skin age. Most sunblocks don’t block UVA well and therefore look for something with zinc in it. Skinmedika Environmental Defense ($55 available at esteemdayspa.com.au) is a good example.
2. Antioxidants – Because sunblocks are never perfect you need a second line of defense. Most of the fault with sunblocks is that they don’t have a broad enough spectrum (i.e. not zinc based to block out UVA) but more commonly it is because we don’t put enough on and we turn a SPF 30 into a SPF of 5! And of course there is the old dictum that you need to reapply your sunblock every two hours and unfortunately the facts of life are that this almost never happens!
Antioxidants can help mop up the harmful particles that UV light form in the skin. These free radicals damage the DNA of your cells and the elastic network of your skin. The nice thing about antioxidants is once they saturate the skin it takes several days for them to “wash out” so you get some ongoing protection. Plus they can stimulate cells in your skin to produce collagen.
3. Growth factors and peptides – You get half the sun exposure of your life by the time you are 15 years of age so by the time you are reading this most of the harm has already been done. However, you can fight a rearguard action to improve your skin.
Research into growth factors and peptides in the skin has shown that they are capable of improving skin texture and repairing the fine lines in the skin. These are the very features of the skin that sun damage can worsen so it is well worth your while to see if you can turn back the clock a bit on your skin.
4. Retinoids – These vitamin A derivatives were originally developed in the 70s as a treatment for acne. However, over the years it has become clear that they are much more potent than for treating acne alone. While they do decrease the oil gland activity in the skin and help to unblock your pores and alleviate acne, they also improve the texture of the skin, correct pigmentation disturbances and alleviate fine lines. Great for your skin.
5. Pigment faders – One of the more obvious features of the ageing skin is disturbances to the colouration. Brown patches appear and these are easy to see and make the skin look old and tired. Even darker skin types are prone to this problem.
Pigment faders help to remove these discolourations and give the skin a healthier sheen. They are usually used in combinations to be most effective. Rentinoids and antioxidants also help with this process and of course using a sunblock to stop the sun from turning the darkening process on is a necessary step.
6. Intense Pulse Light (IPL) – Another hallmark of ageing skin is the formation of red discolourations and prominent blood vessels on the face. These are effectively treated by use of light-based devices such as Intense Pulse Light. This is usually done as a series of three or more ‘no-down time’ procedures.
If the blood vessels are larger or higher in flow then the combination of IPL with a vascular laser will be recommended. Here the cooling tip of the laser helps to numb the skin and ease discomfort while the laser seals off these prominent blood vessels. Sometimes one treatment is enough, but two or three may be required.
And of course, don’t forget simple smart things like a hat and protective clothing. These days there are a lot of light weight clothing options around that protect your skin very effectively without making you sweat too much and can safely see you through your trip to the beach, your journey on the boat or your battle around the golf course!
So get your skin survival kit and get out there and enjoy the beautiful Gold Coast.
Dr Terrence Scamp is located at Esteem Medi Spa. Level 1, Marina Mirage, 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach.
Phone: 07 5539 1000