Within the last 10 years, the number of different kinds of skin care products has exploded – in addition to the familiar cleansers, toners and moisturizers, we now have essences, serums, ampoules and boosters.
To make sense of all these new products, it seems like you need an advanced degree in both chemistry and skin biology — and that’s not far from the truth: it turns out that a bunch of rocket scientists at NASA and the European Space Agency are also trying to figure out what’s the best skin care product for their astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).
You’d think skin care for astronauts would be low on NASA’s list of things to worry about, but it just so happens that those changes which occur in the skin that lead to dryness and itchiness here on earth also occur in space, and worse – those changes accelerate in a microgravity environment.
And while the stakes for us in having healthy skin here on earth are relatively low, they can be quite high for astronauts in space. This is because as one’s skin dries and thins, it becomes more easily bruised, and in space, it takes longer for those bruises to heal. Additionally, dry itchy skin can negatively affect both sleep and mood – the last thing anyone needs, but especially an astronaut 250 miles up in a tight, cramped machine whizzing around the planet at 17,000mph.
A Simple Moisturizer Affords Good Protection in the Challenging Environment of Space
Because NASA sees the protection of the skin of astronauts as an important part of personal hygiene in space, researchers from NASA and the European Space Agency decided to test the protective effects of a simple skin care emulsion (a light moisturizer) on the skins of an astronaut during a recent ISS mission(1).
During the mission, the researchers had an astronaut treat one area of his right forearm with a moisturizer while leaving an identical area on his left forearm untreated. The researchers then measured skin hydration, trans-epidermal water loss, and skin elasticity during the mission.
They found that as more time passed on ISS, the untreated area of the skin experience a clear loss of elasticity, a decrease of density of the skin fiber system, a thinning of the top skin layer and a decrease in the skins ability to replace old, surface-level damaged skin cells with new skin cells.
On the treated arm, however, the researchers found a clear protective benefit against these negative microgravity environment effects on the skin. Specifically, compared to the untreated arm, they found that application of a moisturizer over the course of the mission led to improved hydration, improved skin elasticity, and an improved ability to replace damaged skin cells with new skin cells.
So, among all the new skin care products out there, if you’re wondering, what is the best daily product to maintain the health of your skin, it’s probably that simple moisturizer.
A Message from the International Space Station to All Humankind
In December of 2012, NASA Television shared this inspiring production by Italian videomaker, Giacomo Sardelli, about the International Space Station, its inhabitants, and its role in space exploration:
Computer, computer on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?
Last year saw an explosion of smart, personalized beauty-based assistive technologies led by L’Oréal’s Make-up Genius app. Other smart, beauty-based assistive technologies were the Plum Perfect app (similar to L’Oreal’s Genius app), Sephora’s Skin Care IQ (a diagnostic tool that identifies the right skin care for each consumer), Oku (an at-home device and app that analyses skin condition) and Klara (an app that sends pictures of your skin to dermatologists).
Rapidly building on this surge of beauty-based, personalized technology is the development of new smart, personalized skin care diagnostic tools, forecast to be a leading consumer skin care trend in the coming years says Euromonitor International, an independent provider of global strategic market research.
Fitbit is a family of smart devices and mobile apps that track every part of your day, from the specific activities and exercises you’ve done and the food you ate to how much you slept. Using all this data, Fitbit devices give you specific recommendations to improve your eating habits and physical fitness routines.
“I think that they’ll eventually develop an app that’s kind of like a FitBit for your skin,” says Marla Malcolm Beck, an ‘Entrepreneur-in-Residence’ at Harvard Business School. “It will tell you everything you need to know about your skin that day: the water levels, collagen levels, and on and on. Because, your skin is different from day to day.”
Ms. Beck foresees a time when such smart technology will plug into our smart home and work environments, customizing and tailoring temperature, humidity, and sunlight. Further, these personalized sensing technologies could easily design our skin care products and routines. Says Ms. Beck, “the app [could] be hooked up to a 3-D printer that’s equipped with different skin-care ingredient cartridges. It will be able to cocktail products for you and then print them, so every day you have exactly what you need for your face.”
Such smart devices could soon do more than just make us prettier – with recent advances in sensor technology and data analytics, “mobile devices will [soon] know more about users, their preferences, and the environment than ever before,” says Mckinsey & Company in their recent 2012 report ‘A New Era of Personalized Computing.’ Such advanced sensor and data analytics power could, for example, allow a smart device to check your calendar, ‘notice’ an important upcoming business call, and, if you’re out in the city, automatically suggest a nearby coffee shop, one that that the coffee shop’s real-time internal sensors has indicated is quiet. That’s ‘smart’ off the charts.
Says global market insight agency Mintel, it is the consumers’ increased desire to save both time and money with custom tailored recommendations and solutions that is ultimately driving this trend across all industries.
Shizuka New York Day Spa is mentioned in American Spa Magazine’s May 2015 issue!
The Geisha Facial is still getting media buzz, almost as much as it did when Shizuka New York Day Spa owner, Shizuka Bernstein, introduced the facial to the beauty and spa industry in 2008.
According to owner and celebrity facialist Shizuka Bernstein, geishas relied on frequent facials using nightingale droppings to not only remove makeup but also to brighten and heal their skin. She attributes the ingredient’s natural enzymes and guanine to helping impart a pearly luster to the skin.
In the article, spa consultant Peter Anderson speaks to how the origin of The Geisha Facial stems from ancient Japanese culture and how “that predates a modern understanding of skincare”.
Many of these facials have their roots in culture and chemistry that predates a modern understanding of skincare.
The usage of nightingale droppings in The Geisha Facial isn’t the facial’s only element with ancient Japanese origins. A recent article on Vogue.com highlights an ancient Japanese skincare technique known as double-cleansing. The Geisha Facial (and all other SNY facials) incorporates double-cleansing using the all-natural products from the Shizuka New York Skincare System to thoroughly cleanse and refresh the skin before the nightingale droppings are applied. This technique maximizes the “Geisha Glow” effect following the facial.
It’s said that Geishas would use nightingale feces to keep their skin beautiful and unblemished, and would brighten and heal their skin after continued use. At Shizuka Spa in New York, powdered nightingale droppings are sanitized through exposure to ultraviolet light and mixed with Japanese rice bran to enhance its exfoliating properties. $180 for a facial; shizukany.com
The Geisha Facial is pooping–er–popping up all over the world wide net. We received this new mention in Her.ie, an online publication from Ireland!
According to New York dermatologist Debra Jaliman, “The bird dung is UV irradiated to make it sterile,” and isn’t as laden in bacteria as you might expect.
So how exactly does the bird bowel contents work its way into your skincare routine?
The bird poop facial uses powdered nightingale droppings, and can be massaged into your skin for $180 at Shizuka New York Day Spa.
Every spring Japanese sakura, or cherry blossoms, bloom around the world displaying its natural ephemeral and gleaming beauty. In Japanese, the term ‘hanami’ pertains to the practice of gathering together with friends and family under sakura trees when they’re in full bloom. Hanami literally means “blossom watching”. Gatherings usually comprise of bringing boxed meals or bento to picnic under the blooms. Hanami is a tradition over a thousand years old and is a symbol of togetherness, fresh renewal, and all the notions of new life that spring brings with it every year.
Sakura blossoms last only for a week or two so hanami is a special time for people to meet and create joyous memories together.
These cherry tree blossoms represent a beaming delicate beauty that’s displayed only once a year, but in terms of skincare you can gently revitalize your skin anytime with fruit enzyme peels. Fruit peels are a natural alternative to acid peels to refresh your skin’s tone and texture regularly. This Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel is a gentle but effective way to exfoliate your skin while joyously indulging your senses in the deep luscious scents of sweet cherries and red wine.
While The Geisha Facial is an all-natural way to cleanse the skin, the enzymes in the nightingale droppings work to also gently exfoliate and nourish the skin producing smooth glowing results. Just look at Victoria Beckham!
Victoria Beckham loves a good bird poop facial
Bird poo? No, seriously! The Daily Mail reports that the former pop star’s glossy skin is all about bird poop and smearing it on her face. Also known as the Geisha facial, it is an ancient Japanese beauty practice that uses nightingale droppings to form a cleansing paste. Sounds gross, but it works. What’s more, celebrities (including Posh’s hubby David Beckham) are all about it today as it leaves the skin super shiny and smooth.
Further down the list notes that Halle Berry uses coffee grounds to deeply cleanse and smooth her skin. Coffee grounds is also a natural way to beat cellulite. Halle Berry proves our Coffee Break Mud Wrap is a tried and true way to achieve smooth vibrant skin!
Ever wanted flawless celebrity skin? The Times of India reported that Tom Cruise and Victoria and David Beckham include The Geisha Facial in their skincare regimens! Read on for some celebrity beauty secrets from The Times of India:
Tom Cruise – powdered Nightingale poop: The actor is as known for his acting as he is for his belief in Scientology and so on. But he too, like the Beckhams, believes that bird droppings can keep him looking young. However, not just any bird poop will do for him! Known as a Geisha facial due to its Japanese origins, the technique involves powdered nightingale droppings in the facial cleanse.
Since Shizuka Bernstein created The Geisha Facial® utilizing the geisha beauty secret of nightingale droppings to cleanse and purify skin. The natural enzymes in the droppings removed the geishas’ heavy makeup while giving the skin nourishment making it smooth and supple.
Ancient geishas who were known for their flawless skin took great care to make sure they treated their skin as a prized possession. As much of a ritual as it was to put on their make up, removing it and prepping the skin before sleeping was another ritual altogether.
Believe it or not, there are geisha beauty secrets that go beyond bird poop. Another ingredient primary to the flawless skin of geisha beauty is rice. Rice has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for centuries so it comes as no surprise that Japanese people would find other ways to incorporate it into their lifestyles. For ancient geishas, it was a primary component to their beauty ritual to keep their skin bright and moisturized. Two ways rice was and still is used for the skin today is in its fermented and raw states.
Geishas were known to use sake and rice bran to brighten and soften their skin. Sake, which is prepared from fermented rice grains, contains kojic acid, a common ingredient in brightening serums and creams. When used over time kojic acid gradually brightens the skin, evening out skin tone. Additionally, Geishas applied sake to their skin for its natural antibacterial and anti-aging properties to purify (protect against acne) and soften skin.
Rice bran and rice bran oil comes from the bran that surrounds the rice grain. Rice bran is rich in nutrients such as fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamins A and E. This oil naturally moisturizes and protects skin from free radical damage. Rice bran’s ability to retain moisture on the skin’s surface keeps the skin deeply hydrated creating a youthful glow.
You can bring geisha beauty secrets that go beyond bird poop into your skincare regimen everyday. In the effort to keep these time-honored traditions of geisha beauty secrets alive, Shizuka Bernstein incorporated sake and rice bran into the Shizuka New York Skincare System. These products are used in The Geisha Facial® and can be purchased so you can make geisha beauty secrets your own beauty secret!
Shizuka NY featured on TruTV’s show: Top 20 Funniest TV Blunders3!
TruTV featured Shizuka New York Day Spa’s The Geisha Facial® on their show: Top 20 Funniest TV Blunders3!
They borrowed footage from Shizuka Bernstein’s Interview with RT TV News back in 2013 while poking fun at the prized ingredient: bird poop.
Shizuka assures the poop is sanitized and comes from a special breed of birds who are fed organic feed for the best quality bird poop around–only the best for our clients!
This treatment is popular among men and women alike, including women who are pregnant. Due to the all-natural ingredients used throughout the facial, The Geisha Facial® is a nourishing and deeply cleansing treatment even for those with sensitive skin.
A common skincare mistake is treating dry and dehydrated skin the same way. Each has a different cause therefore requires its own skincare regimen. Applying the wrong regimen could further harm skin potentially leading it to age prematurely. Read on for tips on how to tell if your skin is dry or dehydrated and what to do about it.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin is a skin type whose cause is not entirely clear. Sometimes the cause of dry skin is genetics while other times it’s the product of hormonal changes in the body. Whatever the reason, spotting dry skin is relatively easy. Dry skin is characterized by lack of natural oils, or sebum, that are present in normal skin types. Dry skin will look rough and scaly and may also be sensitive or inflamed. Also, wrinkles or fine lines can look more pronounced.
It’s a misconception that completely oil free skin is healthy. A thin layer of sebum is necessary to protect skin and keep it hydrated. Harsh cleansers and bath sponges actually strip the skin of the natural oils needed to keep moisture sealed in. These natural oils also fight against free-radicals in the environment that can damage and cause the skin to age over time. As natural oils decrease skin becomes more sensitive and inflamed leading to collagen break down.
Dry skin solutions:
– Choose moisturizers that are rich in natural oils and butters.
– Use a cleanser that’s creamy. It will most likely contain niacinamides and ceramides which help retain natural oils and not strip them away.
– Avoid bar soaps and harsh cleansers and use hands or a soft washcloth over sponges to cleanse your body.
– Follow up facial cleansing with a toner to balance pH levels, followed with a nutrient rich moisturizer.
– Partake in oil-based anti-aging facial massages like the one incorporated into The Geisha Facial®
Dehydrated skin is a skin condition that’s temporary. Cold weather and illness can easily prompt skin to become dehydrated as well as not drinking enough water. Dehydrated skin is tight and flaky and appear dull and tired.
In a nutshell, dehydrated skin means that your skin lacks water. When the weather is cold skin can easily become dehydrated since the cold air zaps water from the skin. Dehydrated skin is easier to treat than dry skin since dry skin is a skin type that needs to be cared for constantly. Dehydrated skin can come and go. The first step to alleviating dehydrated skin is to..well..hydrate! Drinking enough water is the first step to quell your skin’s thirst for moisture. Remember biology class? The cells in your skin need water to fill out and when they do your skin will appear plumper and more supple.
Dehydrated skin solutions:
– Drink more water and incorporate more water-based foods such as fruits and vegetables into your diet.
E! News reveals red carpet celebrity beauty secrets at SHIZUKA new york Day Spa
E! News’ A List Beauty Secrets Red Carpet Edition was televised on February 20th, 2015 showcasing The Geisha Facial® as one of many celebrity beauty secrets.
Host Alicia Quarles samples The Geisha Facial® by spa owner and creator of the facial, Shizuka Bernstein. As touted by Hollywood royalty like Victoria Beckham, the anti-aging properties of the bird droppings used in the facial work to deeply cleanse and exfoliate revealing soft glowing skin.
As Alicia says,
“If it’s good enough for Victoria Beckham, it’s good enough for me, right?”
SHIZUKA new york Day Spa’s The Geisha Facial® was featured in the February Issue of Avianca em Revista Magazine, a magazine for Brazil’s Avianca airlines. The article is titled “Relax em Nova York” or “Relax in New York”!
They listed SHIZUKA new york Day Spa as a preferred New York City Spa and “hot spot”, for tourists and residents alike, to relax, unwind, and “beautify” in between shopping, sight-seeing, and theater going.
Far Infrared Sauna treatments are what’s hot in wellness right now. It provides a safe and relaxing way to detox (sweat) that’s more effective than traditional methods. The article quotes Sophie Chiche, founder of LA’s Shape House, who says that “the level of toxins that you release with infrared heat is 27 percent—roughly four times as much as with more traditional methods.”
And there are other benefits, too: “As you sweat, you stimulate blood flow and circulation throughout the body,” says Dr. Frank Lipman. “The increased circulation helps lower blood pressure, and makes you feel good all over, relaxing tight muscles, easing minor aches and pains, reducing stiffness and inflammation.”
There’s no better time than now to give your body the detox and rejuvenation it desires! Your body will thank you as it releases toxins while melting away muscle tension and stress. For the ultimate in detox and renewal, combine your Far Infrared Sauna treatment with our signatureCoffee Break Mud Wrap. This full body treatment will enliven your senses, clear your pores, and soften your skin–you’ll feel and look brand new!
At SHIZUKA new york Day Spa a Far Infrared Sauna treatment takes place in a private suite that’s all yours for an hour. In the suite you’ll have private access to a steam shower and locker where you’ll find a Japanese robe, slippers, towels, and soap to use at your convenience. After your treatment relax in our Tranquility Lounge while sipping our refreshing fruit-infused water before setting off into the day.
*Please give us a call at 212-644-7400 to make an appointment for the Far Infrared Sauna. For same day appointments, please contact us at least a 90 minutes in advance to ensure the sauna is properly prepared for your arrival.
Giada is helmed by Giada De Laurentiis, an Italian-born American chef, writer, television personality and host of the current Food Network television program “Giada at Home”. Her digital weekly publishes exclusive recipes and tips on style, travel & healthy living. You can subscribe here.
Today, 7 years later, the Geisha Facial is still attracting positive attention and testimonials — check out these recent mentions from around the web:
Simon Hill, the assistant editor for The Knot, a one-stop online wedding planning site, had this to say about her unique experience with the infamous ‘bird poop’ facial:
As far as beauty treatments go, putting bird poop on your face is as pretty strange as it gets, but it’s really not as bizarre as you might think . . . afterwards my face felt clean and had a nice glow to it . . . what really stood out to me was how gentle the facial was. All of the products used are all-natural which is great if you have sensitive skin or prefer to avoid chemicals.
Latest Web Mention Touts the Geisha (Bird Poop) Facial As Just The Thing To Make You Wedding Ready!
The OMGSkinCare.com site adds a new superlative to the list of adjectives journalists and bloggers have used to describe the Geisha Facial – insane:
Perhaps the best known aspect of the geisha is her white pancake makeup, which was once lead-based and ravaged the skin. To restore their appearance, the geisha used a cream made from the droppings of nightingales, which contained revitalizing enzymes . . . customers have reported a “glow” on their face after the treatment.
Finally, both TreatNowBlog.com and Metro.us, drawing on a list of previously used adjectives – weird and bizarre respectively – also brought to the attention of their audiences the benefits of the Geisha Facial:
The story goes that in the past Japanese Geisha’s used a cream derived of Nightingale dropping to revitalise their skin after a day wearing harmful lead based make-up. The dropping are said to contain beneficial enzymes that help heal and brighten the skin. Today, the Shizuka Day Spa in New York [has] brought this ancient treatment into the 21st century in the form of a facial.
The Geisha Facial at Shizuka New York Day Spa cleanses and rejuvenates the skin with a little help from some bird poop (nightingale droppings, to be precise). The treatment wraps up with an antioxidant green tea collagen masque. When all is said and done, [Shizuka New York Day Spa] says the glow the bird poop leaves behind is well worth it.
Adult Acne Causes – Propionibacterium, Hormones vs. Free Radicals
Propionibacterium is a naturally occurring bacterium living inside your follicles and pores, below the surface of the skin. Normally this bacterium does no harm to your skin because it feeds on the sebum secreted by your sebaceous glands along with any cellular debris and wastes products from skin cell production (1).
Hormones and Free Radicals can Trigger Adult Acne
Hormonal fluctuations brought on by stress, poor diet, PMS, or pregnancy can cause an increase in cortisol. Cortisol then breaks down into testosterone causing excess oil production – sebum – in your skin and pores. This excess oil production can increase the growth of propionibacterium, and this in turn can contribute to the pores getting clogged up with dead skin cells, dirt and oil. This gunky pileup then causes inflammation of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands – in other words: adult acne.
And it doesn’t take much stress to bring on adult acne. “Even a moderate amount of daily stress—like balancing a career and a social life, or coming home from work and having to cook dinner for your family—is enough to trigger a breakout,” says Ava Shamban, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA and author of “Heal Your Skin” (2). Smoking can also trigger adult acne, at least in women (3).
A recent theory proposes that inflammation of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands can be caused by oxidative stress (4). Oxidative stress is counteracted by antioxidants. A decrease in antioxidant vitamins such as A, C and E in adults has been correlated with acne.
Adult Acne Treatment
Adult Acne Treatment – We’ve Come a Long Way Baby
Salicylic Acid Cleaners & Anti-Microbial Agent
Whether adult acne is caused by hormonal fluctuations and/or oxidative stress, the best way to clean the skin and unplug pores is to use over-the-counter salicylic acid cleaners, like our AHA Oily & Acne Solution (4 oz), followed by a product containing benzoyl peroxide to fight bacterial growth in the skin (or an oil free moisturizer with anti-microbial agent, like our Oil Free Moisturizer (1 oz) and a skin cover, like our Vitamin C Power Gel (1 oz), to combat both inflammation and oxidative stress.
Topical retinoids, which come in liquids, creams or gels, like our Hyaluronic Acid Gel (1 oz), help remove plugged follicles by inducing the skin to create new skin cells. Creating new skin cells in this way increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so you’ll want to apply a good sunscreen before you head outdoors, like our Super Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50+ (2.5 oz).
If you have severe, potentially disfiguring, adult acne, you may need to try prescription oral retinoids, but these oral retinoids do have some potentially serious side effects, like depression and inflammatory bowel disease.
Because bacterium is the root cause of adult acne, especially in serious cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics in the form of either a cream, gel or lotion. Such antibiotics include erythromycin (Brand name: Benzamycin), clindamycin (Brand name: Duac), and sulfacetamide (Brand name: Plexion).
Birth control pills
For women, birth control pills have traditionally provided great defense against acne. Common birth control pills include Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Yasmin.
Skip The Laser And Light Therapies For Now.
Laser light therapies may one day play a role in treating adult acne, but so far, there is little good research to support their use.
Finally, if you have acne and your diet is poor, shift to a high antioxidant diet to combat both inflammation and oxidative stress
Shizuka Bernstein, owner of Shizuka new york Day Spa, offers skin care advice for young women while performing The Geisha Facial® on MTV’s hit show: Girl Code .
Here’s a rundown of MTV’s Girl Code from IMDb:
“Girl Code” offers over-the-top tips to open the dialogue about being a woman, covering everything from “frenemies” and girl fights to dancing, drinking and dating. Female comics, athletes and entertainers — and even some dudes — discuss the rules girls can use for any and every situation in life.
In the segment Shizuka offers skin care advice for young women after the cast member asks: What can I do to keep my skin healthy after a facial?
Shizuka offers this advice to young women:
1. Stay out of the sun.
2. Don’t drink too much.
3. Always cleanse the face before going to sleep.
In this post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at moisturizers and talk a bit about which products are probably the best moisturizers for the face — and which you’ll want to avoid.
Applying Vitamins and Antioxidants
While evidence abounds that having a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants confers health benefits and protects against a variety of illnesses and aliments, the same, unfortunately, cannot be said about taking vitamin and antioxidant supplements (1).
Given the lack of evidence for the health benefits of supplementing with vitamins and antioxidants, does it make sense to put vitamins and antioxidants in moisturizers for the benefit of the skin?
Surprisingly, it turns out that vitamins and antioxidants applied to the skin may indeed help heal and protect it.
For example, derivatives of vitamin A can help repair wrinkles, altered texture, discolored skin, mottled hyperpigmented skin, and epidermal thickness due to photodamage; in addition, these derivatives can increase collagen production improving both the skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Vitamin C and B (niacinamide) work similarly: vitamin C can help repair the skin’s elastic tissue by increasing collagen production, and vitamin B can help repair other damage done to the skin by the sun. Coenzyme Q, alpha lipoic acid, and copper also seem to help repair and protect against sun damage.
There is evidence that combining antioxidants may result in a synergistic effect. For example, research has shown that combining vitamins C, E and ferulic acid helps protect against both sun damage and skin cancer (2).
Other Ingredients that May Help Heal and Protect the Skin
Most moisturizing products have other vitamin and antioxidant substances with purported benefits – we say ‘purported,’ because to date, for most part, there’s scant evidence that these extra ingredients help heal and protect the skin.
Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) – a compound purported to improve wrinkles. This claim is backed up by some research (3).
Genistein – an antioxidant purported to protect skin against UVB damage. This claim is also backed up by at least one study, but only for skin cells in cell cultures (4).
Green tea – another antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against UV damage and repair photoaging damage. A recent 2013 study (5) has found some evidence for this claim when green tea was combined with lotus extract.
Growth factors – substances purported to assist in wound healing and to repair sun damaged skin.
Kinetin – a specific plant growth factor and antioxidant purported to improve skin texture and wrinkles. Scant evidence exists for this claim (6).
Peptides – an amino acid purported to increase production of collagen and elastin. A 2004 study using a synthetically developed peptide found it had a strong effect in reducing wrinkles (7).
Do You Need a Skin Toner?
Contrary to the name, skin toners will not improve the tone of your skin (for that, you’ll need to use a laser or IPL); instead, skin toners are designed to shrink the appearance of pores, and are meant to be used after cleansing.
So, do you need a skin toner? It depends on the type. For example, as we age, our skin often becomes dryer. In this case, you’ll want to avoid any skin-toning products that contain alcohol or acetone because while they will help firm the skin, they’ll also exacerbate any dryness. Further, some skin toners are also acidic, containing ingredients like citrus, camphor, or menthol. These acidic ingredients can irritate the skin, especially dry, older skin.
To avoid worsening dry skin and minimize irritation, use water and glycerin-based toners as they can help provide extra moisture to the skin.
Avoid Mineral Oil
You’ll want to avoid any moisturizers that contain mineral oil as researchers (8) have found some of those moisturizers have caused skin cancers in hairless mice to grow more rapidly than they otherwise might.
It is important to highlight that the moisturizers tested by these researchers did not cause skin cancer; rather they caused existing skin cancer in UVB irradiated mice to grow faster. This suggest that on non-sun or UVB damaged skin, such moisturizers may be safe to use.
Nevertheless, common sense dictates caution when using the type of moisturizers these researchers tested in their study.
To partially allay any fears that all moisturizers are potentially harmful, the researchers asked the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to make them a “custom blend” moisturizer without two ingredients previously linked to skin irritation (sodium lauryl sulfate) and tumor promotion (mineral oil). The custom blend (on which Rutgers University and Johnson & Johnson hold a patent) did not promote skin cancer.
Basically anyone who has dry skin, and most often, that means older adults.
Moisturized skin feels better and looks better than dry skin because it is more smooth, flexible and pliable.
Health Benefits of Moisturized Skin
One of the main functions of the skin is to act as a barrier to protect against infection, dry skin, chemical exposure, and mechanical injury. Compromises in this barrier can lead to conditions like atopic dermatitis and other chronic skin diseases. Many skin conditions are preceded by prolonged dry skin.
How Do Moisturizers Work?
Moisturizers work in two ways: 1) first they improve skin hydration by increasing the amount of water in the skin and 2) they create a “protective” or occlusive barrier on the surface of the skin to prevent water evaporating from the epidermis layer.
The main ingredient for improving skin hydration is glycerin, a humectant type of compound that attracts and binds water in the upper layers of the epidermis and makes the stratum corneum (the visible surface of your skin) more flexible.
The main ingredients for keeping for skin hydrated are various types of lipids that create an occlusive barrier to keep water from evaporating from the skin. These ingredients include certain plant oils, petrolatum, and mineral oil.
Today’s Moisturizers do Way More than just Moisturize – Two Main Types of Moisturizers
Most moisturizers also contain ingredients that help improve the appearance of the skin in other ways. Perhaps the most important ingredients are the exfoliants alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
These two exfoliants improve the appearance of the skin by removing dead surface skin cells. This makes more visible newer skin cells that make the skin appear clearer. In addition to giving the skin a newer, fresher look, AHAs can brighten the skin by evening out discoloration from too much sun exposure. Exfoliants can be particularly useful for aging skin that doesn’t replace dead surface skin cells with new cells as easily as younger skin does; exfoliants can help restore this natural skin rejuvenation process.
AHAs come from fruit (e.g., citrus) and are labeled as either glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, hydroxycaprylic acid, alphahydroxyoctanoic acid, triple fruit acid, or sugar cane extract.
While most moisturizers contain a safe amount of AHA, you should double check that you’re not getting an AHA concentration of more than 10%; additionally, it should have a pH of 3.5 or more. Finally, to protect the new skin cells, you’ll want to use sunscreen each day.
Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are salicylic acids, a close relative of aspirin. Salicylic acids work in the same way as AHAs, but they’re more effective than AHAs on oily skin.
Most moisturizers do not list the concentration of BHAs, so the FDA recommends that you first test an area of skin to make sure a particular product’s BHA concentration won’t irritate you. And, again, you’ll want to use a good sun screen in conjunction with BHA products.