There’s snow on the ground and only the faintest signs of spring but even though you’re probably still bundled up in layer upon layer of clothing, now’s the time to be thinking about sprucing up your skin. Eating skin-nourishing foods and making use of powerful medical grade skin care now can make sure that when those sweaters and ski-pants come off you’ll have glowing, healthy-looking skin.
It’s also the perfect time to address pigmentation problems and to experience the benefits of laser hair removal as ultraviolet light radiation is still at a low level and you’ll want to avoid sun exposure immediately after treatment.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Laser hair removal using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a lasting solution for unwanted hair and much more effective, comfortable, and long-lasting than shaving, waxing, and electrolysis. Able to treat larger areas of skin such as the back or legs, as well as the upper lip and under-arms, IPL laser hair removal is quick, pain-free and totally safe and there’s no need to let hair grow out between treatments like there is with waxing and shaving.
Sunlight, environmental factors, medical conditions and the natural passage of time all contribute to the development of dark spots, skin pigmentation and freckles. Your face, hands and chest are the first parts of the body to show signs of ageing because they receive so much sun exposure. Age spots, skin pigmentation and freckles are forms of pigmented lesions. They are caused by excess production of melanin in the skin by cells called melanocytes.
Skin pigmentation (melasma) can also occur in pregnant women due to the associated dramatic changes in circulating hormones during pregnancy. In some cases, skin pigmentation in pregnant women disappears after child birth, but for some women the melasma may worsen with further light exposure and skin ageing.
Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices have been used with great success to remove problematic skin pigmentation. This state of the art technology selectively emits charged light energy to target the pigmented areas and this energy is absorbed by the melanocytes, sparing the normal surrounding skin. Topical remedies such as bleaching agents, glycolic acid, and retinoids can help in cases of minor skin pigmentation but as they only treat visible skin pigmentation they do nothing to treat the underlying cause of dark spots and pigmentation problems.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) uses wavelengths of heated light which are directly aimed at the pigmented spots. The advantages of this technology include the fact that the pigment is able to be targeted precisely without damaging the surrounding tissue. Skin pigmentation in the face, neck, chest and hands can be treated safely and effectively. The added benefit of the Palomar IPL Technology is that is also works to activate cells in the skin called fibroblasts which stimulate collagen remodelling and new collagen production. This added benefit is due to the fact that the laser works with a full spectrum light beam and a unique application tip. Effectively, this helps to rejuvenate the skin, improving its texture, visibly minimising pores and reducing superficial fine lines and wrinkles to reveal a more youthfully hydrated appearance.
Protecting the Skin
Once you’ve got your skin smooth and hair-free you’ll want to make sure that it’s protected from photodamage and age-related changes such as wrinkles, liver spots, pigmentation problems and abnormal vascularity (spider veins). This involves nourishing the skin inside and out with a combination of nutrition and medical grade natural skin solutions like vitamins C, E, and A.
Vitamin A – What’s in Your Skin Cream?
Retinoic acid (vitamin A) is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the cells of the skin from the visible signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, and skin spots. Not all creams containing vitamin A are able to actually deliver this nutrient to the underlying skin cells however.
This is why it’s important to choose a medical grade formula like those available from Zo® Skin Health which penetrate the epidermis to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin and boost the repair and regeneration of youthful, firm, and healthy-looking skin. The Zo Skin Care range is ideal to maintain fabulous skin following the use of the more intensive Anti-Aging kit from DCL which can actually help reverse age-related skin changes.
Vitamin C – It’s Not All the Same!
Vitamin C is also vital for collagen production and applied topically it can improve the tone, texture and overall health of the skin. Vitamin C is a highly unstable molecule however, meaning that the vitamin C included in most skincare products has a very short shelf-life and is of practically no use for skin health. Luckily, there are forms of vitamin C, that much more stable and able to penetrate deeper into the epidermis to support healthy collagen and melanin production (minimising pigmentation problems such as dark circles), to brighten the skin and help repair UV damage.
Feeding the Skin
As well as ensuring that you choose medical grade skin care to spruce up your complexion, it’s also wise to ensure that your skin is well hydrated and nourished during these colder months. Try adding pomegranate juice into your morning breakfast regime to get a regular supply of anthocyanins and antioxidants. These strengthen blood vessel walls helping to maintain healthy circulation to oxygenate the skin and help clear skin toxins quickly and efficiently.
More Great Skin Foods
Try adding pumpkin seeds to your morning granola to boost levels of zinc, a mineral needed to produce collagen and elastin, to help skin heal and to maintain a healthy immune system to fight off skin infections and scarring. The oats in your porridge or granola are also great for the skin as these provide dietary fibre that helps lower inflammation and keeps the bowel regular to flush out toxins. Oats are also rich in silica, which is needed for strong and healthy skin, hair and nails.
Add a little flaxseed to your daily diet and this will also help control inflammation that can make skin look angry, red, and blotchy. The omega 3 found in flaxseed helps to keep cells flexible and strong and the fibre in these seeds even plays a role in balancing healthy hormones, which is great for anyone suffering from skin problems such as acne.
There are so many great foods for the skin but a good general rule is to eat organic, minimally processed, brightly coloured wholefoods that are high in fibre, plant-based proteins, healthy unsaturated fats, and antioxidants. That way, when you finally get to slip into that sun dress your skin will not only be smooth thanks to IPL laser hair removal but also healthy, happy and better protected against photodamage and pollution.