The Great Skin Hoax Part II

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Having described the anatomical and some of the physical properties of skin, it is time now to delve into the biochemistry and biophysics of skin! No I’m not going to give an in-depth boring medical school lecture. Just common sense facts and logic to help anyone interested in skin care. Everyone needs three (really, only 3) basic skin care products: a moisturizer, a cleanser, and a sun screen. The Skin Care Industry (from here on aka SCI) would have you believe that you need much more and spend much more. The SCI has many impressive lines such as “control systems for sensitive skin” ,”anti-wrinkle treatment”, “corrective protection” , “cell rejuvenation” etc,etc, etc…… you hopefully get the picture. The products include: cyclomethicone, sunflower seed oil, marine algae, cocomide, hops, disodium lauroamphodiacetate, hesperidin methyl chalcone, and a million other compounds with similar sounding important scientific names to impress you. The number one ingredient in most of these products is “purified water”, “glycerin” and sometimes mixed in with a derivative of good old oil presented as “palmitoyloligopeptide”, “propylparaben” “grape seed oil” etc, etc, etc…..again you get the picture. Everybody has oily or dry skin sometimes. In general we fall into two categories: mainly either dry or oily skin. We need moisturizers to help with the dryness or cleansers to help with extra oil. We all need sunscreen protection to avoid burning which is a large factor (but not the only) in skin cancer and aging. Depending on your general skin type you should use the moisturizer or cleanser more often. Cleansers are essentially soaps that break up oil on our skin and abrade the surface giving it a “clean” start. Moisturizers are oils that sit on top of our skin and protect it from the drying environment in which we live. THEY DO NOT PENETRATE OR ABSORB INTO THE SKIN. “Collagen beads” “oil extracts” are huge molecules that physically and biochemically cannot pass through the skin cell membrane transport system.What they do is allow our own skin to replenish the water and oils that our skin cells need. Only our own cells can produce the water and oils that we need. Moisturizers act as a sealant to protect our cells from environmental wear and tare. “Madison Avenue” understands that no one will use a product on their face called a “sealant” and so “moisturizer” came into being; besides it sounds so pro-active in today’s marketing world. People with large oil production tend to have problems with acne, especially early on in life; the good news is that they will have younger looking skin longer than those with a naturally drier skin. One should counter this with a balance that involves using one of the two categories (cleansers or moisturizers) more often! Simple soaps and oils will do the job; the SCI would like you to think that its more complicated than that!