Skilled and seasoned skin care professionals and dermatologists regularly get asked how to turn back the clock on visible skin aging. The biggest encouragement is simple: use a daily regimen of barrier-boosting products, apply sunscreen daily, and do not neglect often overlooked areas of skin like the neck.
More attention has recently been given to the importance of a healthy skin barrier, including its role in reversing and slowing the signs of extrinsic skin aging. Research supports that a damaged barrier coupled with chronic inflammation is the main driver of visible skin aging. The significant function that skin care products play to preempt skin aging, not simply reverse the process, is no surprise to skin professionals. They have a keen understanding of skin biology and the effect topical products have on skin. They have also been long-time proponents that quality skin care formulations, those that calm skin, promote barrier strength, and protect skin from environmental damage, are paramount for maintaining skin’s health and appearance now and in years to come.
The skin barrier acts as an outer layer of protection from harmful environmental factors and holds in moisture necessary for a healthy, functioning body. Skin contains a balanced ratio of essential lipids like cholesterol, ceramide, and free fatty acids. These naturally occurring compounds help the barrier protect the body against environmental assaults, assist in wound healing, and maintain a youthful appearance. Using skin care products every day that include these key lipids helps to not only keep the barrier intact but also promotes the improvement of a damaged barrier so skin can do what it was meant to do – protect the body.
The neck can show signs of aging seven times faster than on the face as its skin is thinner and more sensitive to common environmental factors. Fewer sebaceous glands mean less protective lipid production, making it prone to dryness, irritation, wrinkling, and crepiness. Since most information about using a daily skin care routine emphasizes the face, it often excludes needs of skin on the neck entirely. Irregular attention leads to an accelerated rate of epidermal degradation and more noticeable signs of photo damage. Many antiaging products with harsh ingredients induce irritation of the neck. For this reason, you must remind clients to address the needs of skin on both the face and neck using gentle and safe products, including a cleanser, treatment moisturizer, and broad-spectrum sunscreen.
As people age, skin all over the body produces key lipids at a slower rate, which results in diminished elasticity and less capacity to hold on to hydration. Additionally, the cumulative effects of exposure to ultraviolet rays emerge as unwanted dark spots and coarse wrinkles. Using a lipid-rich, botanically based skin care line is effective to gently rejuvenate skin’s appearance while supporting its natural structure and hydration without causing damage or visible irritation. Botanical extracts from plants and herbs are a nonirritating alternative to harsh synthetics and have been shown to have similar or better results.
Botanicals have calming properties and have grown in demand recently as clients desire more natural and gentle beauty routine alternatives. A moisturizing product enhanced with ceramides and botanicals is the foundation of any regimen to effectively slow and reverse signs of photoaging on the face and neck. By providing the right amount of key lipids, hydration, and nonirritating ingredients, skin on the face and neck achieves optimum beauty and function.
As educated skin care professionals, it is their goal to help clients achieve healthy skin for life. Recommend a combination of quality skin care products with prescription-grade therapies that reverse the foundational problems that lead to visible skin aging and skin conditions. Witnessing first-hand client satisfaction of those who follow these recommended protocols is most satisfying as a skin professional and client advocate.
Carl R. Thornfeldt, MD, FAAD is founder and CEO of Episciences, Inc., the creators of Epionce skin care. He is a practicing dermatologist with over 30 years of skin research, 22 U.S. patents granted, and over 40 scientific publications on the topic of the skin barrier, skin inflammation, drug delivery, and dermatology. Thornfeldt has been dubbed the “Father of Barrier Repair” for his extensive research and writings about the importance of the skin barrier to resolve chronic skin disease and prevent premature skin aging.