Most janegee clients know that I have 30+ years' experience in skincare. More specifically, I've dedicated my career to empowering and educating people on the benefits of natural skincare (or, as we like to call it here at janegee, "nutritional skincare"). Traditionalists may roll their eyes at my philosophies, but the results speak for themselves. Our bodies and skin are self-regulating, proving beyond doubt that nature truly knows best.
Exfoliation: Separate Fact From Fiction
If we supply our bodies with the tools needed to do its job, it can out perform harsh, abrasive skin therapies that can cause significant damage to the stratum corneum. Case in point: exfoliation. Right now, exfoliation, in one form or another, is all the rage. At the surface (yes, pun intended), the premise of exfoliation makes sense. Removing the skin's outer layer will stimulate the growth of new cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Sounds great, right?
Yes and no.
Exfoliation has been around since the 80's. I would assume that after 30+ years of practice, if it indeed were a miracle cure, we would be seeing some pretty spectacular results by now. We're not. I always advise young skincare practitioners to go beyond current practices and assess the actual science behind it. In short, question everything. In the 80's, most assumed that because daughter cells migrated upwards through the epidermis that the skin exfoliated every 7 days. We now know the cellular exchange occurs every 14 to 28 days. However, the quality and amount of nutrition available to our skin has a direct impact on our rate of cellular exchange.
Some of the most popular current exfoliation practices include:
Yes, really. Some forego the use of poisonous chemicals, instead opting to use a very sharp knife to remove skin and vellus hairs. Often, specialists combine this with other treatments, as it does not impact wrinkles.
Unfortunately, the suction aspect of microdermabrasion creates temporary plumping and stretching of the skin, causing it to go lax and sag once the inflammation subsides. Pinpoint bleeding during microdermabrasion indicates compromise to the dermal-epidermal junction. Regular treatments can also cause thickening of the skin, which minimizes product absorption.
Similar to blading, these devices eliminate surface cells but don't remove vellus hair on the face. Vibration treatments tend to cause temporary plumping of the skin caused by the pulsating nature of the device, which results in swelling of the epidermal tissue with no long-term effects.
Most people don't realize that lasers remove the entire epidermis and not just the epidermal barrier. The heat component in laser treatments actually damages the epidermal-dermal junction in the skin. Your skin will feel tight post-treatment only because of the swelling caused by irritation. Once the inflammation is gone "results" are no longer noticeable. Ultimately, the treatment doesn't stimulate the collagen - it wounds it. Your body is just replacing what was damaged by the actual procedure.
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids
This is possibly one of the best-known methods of exfoliation, often using glycolic acid to regenerate skin cells. Much like lasers, acids wound the dermal-epidermal junction, which plumps up the skin to achieve the desired effect of firm, supple skin. L-lactic acid is gentler because of its moisturizing properties, and salicylic acid has a small amount of anti-inflammatory properties, but they still cause damage and will not provide a long-term solution.
Enzymes are the gentlest option as they target and remove some of the corneocytes and do not cause temporary plumping of the skin. They selectively target cells and leave the fat or lipid piece of the barrier intact. They do not cause trauma to the surface like other methods.
My skincare "pet hate" – scrubs are relatively inexpensive and readily available. The reason I dislike scrubs so much is the trauma they cause the skin, especially when regularly used. Scrubs and beads are far too harsh, disrupting the corneocytes and the acid mantle or lipped barrier of the skin. I do not advocate this type of mechanical exfoliation at all, and often tell my clients, "Scrub your floor not your face!"
Not every retinol performs the same. However, when present in the epidermis, retinols are keratolytic, which is proven to disable epidermal maturation and ultimately prevent the natural cycling of the skin. For this reason alone, I do not advise them.
Many Exfoliates Inflame Tissues For Short-Term Results (And Long-Term Damage)
While some of these practices treat the surface layer of tissues, many of these exfoliating treatments rely on inflammation to go deep into the epidermal-dermal junction, potentially leading to long-term damage. Each time you exfoliate the skin, you are deteriorating its protective barrier and removing vital DNA layers of stratum corneum.
Most skincare professionals are unknowingly forcing the cells into an emergency response through exfoliation, compelling the skin to repair itself much faster than it wants. I understand that proponents of exfoliation say that process leads to cellular renewal. However, the epidermis is already proactively renewing itself without the use of chemicals and abrasives.
The janegee Philosophy
Two things we can probably all agree upon: 1) the skin is a complex organ and 2) we still don't know all there is to know about the skin. Current practices oversimplify skincare, lulling many of us into a false pretense of safety and results. I have personally seen far too many people with unhealthy and irritated skin from these aggressive anti-aging methods. I believe that the skin is a self-regulating tissue, organically adjusting according to health, diet, age, and environment. In short, every response from our skin is purposeful and designed for the benefit of the whole organism.
Nourishing Your Skin At Any Age
It has been my observation that the skin will slow down or speed up, depending on what the body demands to create a harmonious environment for the good of the organism. I don’t believe that the skin makes mistakes; it's busy performing thousands of actions a day, and it rarely makes errors. If we understand and accept that nature knows best, then we can work with the skin and not against it, giving it what it needs to do its job.
As we age, our body's cellular turnover slows down. I believe that this is because the skin has fewer nutrients available to it. Blood is food for the skin, making good circulation vital for its holistic health. Unfortunately, as we age, circulation diminishes. By our mid-twenties, the skin loses 1% of its flow; I believe the skin adjusts its turnover rate based on the lower distribution and nutrition (blood).
In our 40's and 50's, skin circulation can decrease by as much as 15%, which directly results in less capacity to maintain cellular activities. At this point, cellular exchange can take up to 35 days to renew itself. As a result, we begin to notice tired, aging, dull skin.
Healthy Skin Is Beautiful Skin
I believe that over exfoliating encourages the slow starvation of the skin, decreasing blood supply annually, which can play a vital role in accelerating the aging process. I believe that excessive exfoliation can compromise the skin's immune support system, reducing its ability to keep up with repair demands. As a result, my clients that have exfoliated daily or a few times per week report increased sensitivity, redness, irritation, and resistance to active ingredients, all of which can have a long-term, detrimental impact on healthy skin.
If you would like to know how the janegee protocol achieves skin health, both in the treatment room and through daily rituals, I will continue the discussion in my next blog. We will look at the protocol step-by-step, support products for home use, and foods to eat (or not to eat) for more beautiful skin.
At janegee, we consult with our clients to create a comprehensive skincare regime that eliminates the use of toxins, chemicals, and synthetic materials. We'll work directly with you to create a plan that incorporates natural products and processes, as well as consider dietary and hydration habits to help your skin look and feel its very best. Contact us today to make an appointment with one of our skincare practitioners today!
Kligman,A.M. (2011)Corneobiology and /corneotherapy – a final chapter Intl jour of Cosmetic Science,33, 197-209( written form his note posthumously) Chapter3” How dead Stratum Corneum Became Alive. Skin edited by Elias and Feingld.Taylor and Francis, NY,London.p15, Dermatological science, 55(1),10-17.
Kornhauser,A.,Wei,R.,Yamaguchi,Y.,Coelho,S.,Kaidbey,K.,barton,C.,Hearing,V.(2009).The effects of topically applied glycolic acid and salicylic acid on ultraviolet radiation-induced erythema,DNA damage and sunburn cell formation in human skin. Journal of Dermatological Science.
Lautenschlager,H.(2007) Applied Corneotherapy and skin care: Guidelines for the anti-aging treatment. Aestheische dermatologie (3),8-16 make better decisions. Following the principles of corneotherapy provides a common sense approach to preserving the integrity of the skin and successful treatment.
Nardo.,A.,Gallo,R.(2006).Chapter 22: Cutaneous Barriers in Defense against Microbial Invasion. Skin barrier, edited by Peter M. Elias and Kenneth R. Feingold.taylor and Francis, NY London.p.364
Kligman, AM. (2006)Chapter3: A brief History f how the dead stratum corneum became alive. Skin barrier, edited by Peter M. Elias and Kenneth R.Feingold. Taylor and Francis. NY,London.pp 15-24 The anti aging treatment. Aesthetische Dermatologie (3),8-16