Monday, July 4, 2011

Bright Me Up!!!

Lets bid skin concerns (cosmetically) good bye and make place for healthy looking skin.............This should be the motto of WHO (World Health Organization) as I believe healthy lustrous skin symbolizes physical and social well being. It is so important to not stop caring about the largest organ in the body that fights internally as well externally.

Skin is like a baby, very adamant and demanding. Feed it on time and it will not CRY. Skin doesn't like to listen to Brain and that why its always opposite of what we think. This post however is about brightening your skin and we'd deal with other skin concerns separately. "Brighten" is the new word that is taken place of words like lighten and whiten. The latter are more suggestive of bleaching agents but they not necessarily mean that the skin is even toned and fresh looking.

What is this healthy skin?

I call it healthy in an age-appropriate way. You must look glowing and bright needless of what you have on. Its on how you perceive. But on this notion I always feel that our skin is the most neglected part of our body. Though skin's functions are great and appreciable we dont work on it the way we do on our other things. We do spend on looking good but that is by wearing better clothes. But nothing for our skin per se.

Why is FACIAL skin different?

Because its on the highest point of our body where the gravity can pull. Gravity could pull your legs as well but not as much as your face. That why it sags. Face has more blood supply due to brain inside and the skin is the first there to be exposed to various environmental aggressions. Face is something we dont hide (cultural stuff) and that why the skin there is different. Also not to forget the amount of muscles face has and the deposition of fat. Fat under the skin keeps it in shape as skin does not have a shape of its own, along with the bone structure. Once facial fat is lost along with skin's broken support structure of collagen and elastin, there is sagging and wrinkling. Not forgetting pigmentation which is actually the scope of the discussion.

Well technically face is where head is and head encases the principal organ of the body that is the BRAIN. So the blood supply is more for the face and skin is not an exception. Plus the facial skin is thinner and fragile, loses moisture easily and since its a part of the body that is not covered thence its exposed to sun light and environmental aggression more than anything and thats how the skin suffers.

How to brighten UP?

The word is E-X-F-O-L-I-A-T-I-O-N which means removal of the superficial dead skin layer (stratum corneum to be specific) which is dull and flaky so that it is replaced by a healthier skin layer that is fresh, takes up moisture easily, plump and glowing skin lies here. Folia means leaf, exfoliation of skin is how leaves fall from trees similarly loose dead skin falls off from the actual true skin. This is a natural process done by the body when the pH of the skin is acidic as the process is enzyme activated. Oily skin has alkaline pH which makes exfoliation sluggish and causes clogged pores and ultimately acne.

We exfoliate manually (physical exfoliation) or with liquid exfoliatiors (chemical exfoliation). Physical exfoliators are all forms of scrubs, I prefer suggesting the ones with micro beads as they are very gentle. These micro beads are ususally made up of Jojoba oil. I refrain from using and recommending Apricot kernels and nut shells as they can be very abrasive and cause lot of uneven damage on the skin, resulting in microscarring and subsequently ageing.

For liquid exfoliators companies have lotions or toners with an AHA or BHA that needs to be wiped on the face with a 100% cotton ball (since its less abrasive). This marriage of cotton ball with the liquid helps dissolution of skin cells and manual removal with cotton. AHA or alpha hyrdoxy acids like Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and Malic Acid are famous out of which Glycolic is the strongest. BHA or Beta Hydroxy Acid like Salicylic Acid is very famous as an exfoliator and also is extensively used for anti acne and oily skin treatments. Glucosamine is a new trend with exfoliators derived from Glucose and is as amazing as it boosts up cellular turnover and imparts radiance.

Advanced levels of exfoliation are micro dermabrasion, laser, combination of physical + chemical exfoliators and more which I will cover in the next post.

Is that enough?

Follow with regular gentle cleansing, exfoliating (using liquids) and moisturising with sun protection or anti-ageing treatments and your skin gets brighter and younger by the day. I love tinted moisturizers with illuminating particles or just to give an oil free dewy finish. Makeup has skin glow enhancing products like Illuminators and Bronzers to brighten up skin. Antioxidant based creams containing Echinacea, Rosemary, Vit C and Vit E are excellent for skin brightening and should be incorporated in the basic skin care routine.

Brightening also meant.....................taking care of uneven skin and pigmentation unlike whitening of the skin.

To sum up, we know everything what I said above and this article may inspire you to start your treatment. This was the first article in the skin care series and I wanted it to be less comprehensive so I did not mention any products but the posts that follow later would have product recommendations too. Do keep reading and don't forget to ask any doubts in the comments section.

Till then,


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