Activate your skin

I have long suspected that there was a connection between physical aging and physical activity and so I was not at all surprised to read reports of a McMaster University study that connected frequent exercise with younger looking skin.

Unfortunately the term “younger looking” always sets off the alarm bells because appearances (like anything) are subjective (and that’s why I absolutely hate it when beauty product research studies and claims reference “more youthful looking skin”).

The good news from this study is that the research team did find some meaningful, positive changes to the composition of the skin of the subjects who exercised versus those that did not.  More interestingly, the study also suggested that exercise could actually turn back your skin’s clock.

According to the study you need only three 30 minute aerobic workouts per week and you don’t need to train at high intensity.   Subjects trained at 65 percent of maximum aerobic capacity for 30 minutes – which is roughly the equivalent of a comfortable jog for some (or brisk walk for others).  So just enough to keep you fit – not too much to age you.

Importantly the research suggested that the changes to the skin were activated by the exercise itself which is bad news for couch potatoes with a preference for pill popping or magic potions.

Activate-your-skinNow just because I BELIEVE in exercise as a key to maintaining youthful skin – doesn’t mean I DON’T believe in, or use products that will help protect and repair the skin over time.   The upside of having a billion dollar beauty industry is that the size of the market attracts research funding – and while I agree it would seem more altruistic to direct much of that money to say Alzheimers or Cancer research (or world peace for that matter) – the reality is quite different (and who am I to say that none of those funds actually deliver breakthroughs that help save lives? eg skin cancer for a start).

There fact is there ARE products out there which can activate the skin positively – not in the same way that exercise does – but they can and do deliver results that women (myself included) swear by.  Some of these products work by activating the skin cycle (so causing the skin to renew itself more quickly) while others can deliver potent peptides and vitamins (think B’s C’s and retinoids (A’s)) to help protect and maintain healthy looking skin.

While I haven’t conducted a formal study of these products – I have personally sampled them.  In some cases I have been given the products to try – in others I’ve purchased the product on my own.  In either case I have a golden rule which is if it appears on these pages it is a product I would personally spend my hard earned cash on – oh and the science needs to stack up!


Step one: Renew

Turning over the skin cells elevates newer skin to the surface reducing pigmentation and promoting the even skin tone that is present in more youthful looking skin.  You can do this in a variety of ways – one of them is to exfoliate the skin.   There are a range of grainy scrubs out there on the market  – many of them effective – but if you prefer a less aggressive product you can tryArbonne’s Cellular Renewal Masque.  Like a fruit peel the citrus scented gel combines fruit extracts with conditionning and delivery agents like reservratol and squalane.  The product is very active – so expect some tingling when you apply it and a citrus scent.  Arbonne recommends application twice per week for 5-7 minutes (and at night to allow for the skin time to recover).  I would go for no more than five minutes the first time you use this product and if it’s more of a burn than a tingle I would remove it right away.  I always follow an exfoliation with a vitamin serum and/or deep moisturizer.


Step two: Replenish

With exfoliation, moisture is usually the first thing to go.  That is generally why you feel tightness in the skin after you use any kind of exfoliating product.  The skin at this point is ready to receive.  I like to use a vitamin serum – especially a C or B product.  Ultraceuticals Ultra BHydrating Serum does both.  Combined with Hyaluronic Acid it also plumps the skin nicely as it helps the skin retain moisture – and is attributed with reducing inflammation and facilitating the skin’s healing process.  You could also go a straight Hyaluronic serum product like MyChelle Dermaceuticals Serious Hyluronic Firming Serum.   Or you could go straight for the C and apply a Vitamin C Serum (I have reviewed a few of these products previously here) – but I’ve recently triedObagi Medical’s Professional C Serum with some good results.  A lightweight serum, Obagi’s Professional C can also help calm inflammation and deliver C to the skin’s outer layer.  Vitamin C is key to the production of collagen – key to retaining the skins elasticity over time.


Step three: Moisturize

I have dry skin.  So I am always searching for good moisturizers.  Obagi Medical’s Hydtate Facial Moisturiser is a rich cream that immediately delivers a punchy drink to the skins surface.  I also love Dermalogica’s Super Rich Repair.  If you work in an office setting or are expecting to spend long periods of time on a plane I recommend topping up your moisturizer with a hydrating spray.   Grown Alchemist’s Hydra Mist +  is packed with a hydrating amino peptide and has a refreshing lime scent.


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Sano Pasal

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