Medical skin care products, or cosmeceuticals, are functional cosmetic products that go above and beyond their intended function of external beautification and enhancement of the skin by offering additional therapeutic and anti-aging benefits. These products are formulated to improve the skin’s health and appearance and also have positive physiological effects on the skin on a cellular level.
Dr. Rostan created this skin nutritional pyramid to organize the many different products into categories of ascending priority and make it clearer for her patients. Each category is described below. The 3 basic products of any anti-aging skin routine are:
- Sun block
- Retinol or retinoid
- Topical anti-oxidant
Cleansers, Toners and Scrubs
Facial cleansers are used once or more a day to remove dirt, oil, makeup, sunscreen and dead skin cells to leave skin clean and refreshed. Treatment cleansers contain ingredients such as hydroxy acids or benzoyl peroxide and are best for oily or acne-prone skin. Cream cleansers are the most gentle and moisturizing for very sensitive skin. Foaming cleansers are very popular for their cleansing properties and are appropriate for many skin types.
Facial toners are helpful for additional cleansing and exfoliation, and are important to return the skin to normal pH after using cleanser.
Moisturizing the skin is essential for skin health and for maintaining a youthful, vibrant look. Even oily skin requires moisture as skin oils, while making the skin look and feel oily, do little to hydrate the skin. Dry skin can look dull and wrinkled and can be prone to rashes and flares of rosacea. New moisturizers uses ceramides to replenish the outer layer of skin – repairing and maintaining the skin barrier function. Such moisturizers can help prevent flares of rosacea, dermatitis and eczema.
The most essential part of a daily skin care regimen is a daily sun block – even on cloudy days and in the winter. Using a daily sun block is the most effective anti-aging step you can do for your skin.
Sun blocks usually have a combination of ingredients to achieve protection from both UVA and UVB. For best UVA coverage, a zinc or titanium containing block is recommended. A minimum concentration of zinc that is considered adequate is about 5%, but most drug store sun blocks either contain no zinc or concentrations of less than 2%. Zinc has the additional benefit of being very safe for children and gentle on sensitive skin.
Charlotte Skin & Laser offers a number of different sun blocks so that each individual can pick a sun care product that is ideal for their skin type and activity.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, a chain of events occurs in the skin, leading to the activation of an enzyme called collagenase that breaks down collagen. The skin will go through a healing process, but over time and with repeat cycles of collagen breakdown and repair, dermal scarring occurs, which produces wrinkling and aging changes in the skin.
Topical retinoids – such as tretinoin and retinol – block the activation of this enzyme, thus preventing loss of your skin’s collagen. The anti-aging properties of topical retinoids have been widely researched and proven. Additional benefits include: reducing brown spots and blotches, minimizing pores, and improving fine lines and texture.
Sun exposure causes formation of free radicals in the skin that damage collagen, leading to premature aging and wrinkles. Antioxidant serums and creams increase the skin’s defenses against sun damage by absorbing free radicals and preventing their damaging effects. Along with a broad-spectrum sun block, daily use of an antioxidant skin care product is essential as part of an anti-aging skin care routine.
Antioxidant skin care products include Vitamins C and E, ferulic acid, phloretin, green tea, coffee berry, and idebenone.
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids
These natural fruit and plant based acids help exfoliate and hydrate skin and clear pores giving a fresher appearance and reducing acne.
Growth factors, cytokines and other natural healing proteins help damaged skin repair and help skin respond and produce collagen following laser and cosmetic treatments. These are found in Neocutis, Skin Medica TNS and Tensage products.
Eye creams can be used to improve fine lines and dark circles and improve hydration of the sensitive skin around the eyes.
Facial scrubs can be used once or more a week for more effective exfoliation, but should be avoided in very sensitive skin or rosacea.
Lightening products may contain Kojic Acid or Hydroquinone and are effective at lightening pigmentation irregularities and evening out skin tone.
Additional specialized products may be chosen depending on your skin type and skin needs.
Brands Charlotte Skin & Laser Carries
Obagi, Glytone, Avene, Elta MD, Clarisonic, RevaleSkin, Revision Skincare, Glo Minerals, CeraVe, Neocutis, Skin Ceuticals, Priori and our own private label