Skin Care | Acne Clinic

Skin Care Tips

It may only take a few minutes of brisk walking to work off the calories from that teaspoon of sugar in our morning coffee, but the damaging effects of sugar on skin can persist for much longer. While the body uses sugars as the nutrient source for energy and maintaining cellular health, sugar has a dark side, combining with proteins, fats and even DNA through a chemical reaction called “glycation”.

What is Glycation — and Why Does it Age Skin?

During diabetes research, it was discovered in skin that sugar molecules can bind to proteins such as collagen and eventually form advanced glycation end products (appropriately termed AGEs). These AGEs can abnormally crosslink collagen molecules, making them less flexible and ultimately contributing to aged skin. Glycation causes damaged collagen to accumulate as we get older, leading to wrinkles and loss of suppleness. In addition, UV exposed skin speeds up the formation of AGEs.

So what to do? Although it’s impossible to completely remove sugar from one’s diet, there are now skin care products that fight glycation that our office can recommend, as well as visually analyze the skin to see if it has been effected. You can also Google search “glycation” and learn more about it.

Wipes are convenient; there is no getting around it

Wipes…whether it be baby wipes or facial wipes, they can make life a lot easier.  But are they really doing what we think they are?

Facial cleansers and wipes typically contain the same active ingredients (surfactants, stabilizers, alcohols and emulsifiers) that dissolve makeup, oil, debris and dead skin. However, wipes are missing the vital step of rinsing with water to flush away the grime. Instead, they use chemicals that often leave a residue of unfinished business, despite the clean feeling afterward. Over time this build-up can be irritating and dry, especially with sensitive skin, and lead to premature aging. In addition, the rubbing motion needed to lift makeup can irritate the skin, especially around the eye area.

Packages of facial wipes are a breeding ground for bacteria, requiring potent preservatives and anti-microbial agents to extend shelf-life up to 18 months. Many brands say they are biodegradable, but are they really?  I just received a notice from our local waste-water district warning about wipes clogging household pipes and sewer lines; even wipes claiming to be flushable.  Also keep in mind that if you use two wipes a day (morning and evening), in a month’s time that would be 60 wipes into the landfill!

Despite their misgivings, you may just really need a facial wipe! Besides feeling too tired at night to wash your face, they are great for the gym, camping, and on-the-go.  

If you love using wipes, here are some tips:

  • Rinse with water afterward to remove the chemicals left behind
  • Apply moisturizer after using your wipe.
  • Look for wipes without too many preservatives or chemical sounding names.
  • Wipes with fragrances may cause additional irritation.
  • Use wipes to remove makeup then follow with a cream cleanser that can also moisturize and condition the skin.