We all have seen gorgeous photos of celebrities in magazines, in film, and photographs that reflect flawless skin with a healthy natural glow and have many times spent lots of money on products promising to deliver this flawless, air brushed look, only to be disappointed (again) as we move through the revolving door of beauty treatment trial and error. We purchase serums, wrinkle creams, lotions and potions and even purchase electric power tools hoping to achieve that ceramic look and youthful glow we see in those images.
The disappointment in the overall result of any corrective product or treatment program really stems from not correctly identifying the issue you want to correct. Yes – I am talking about proper skin analysis.
When you specifically identify what needs correction in order to achieve the desired result, you can more accurately choose the right products and key ingredients necessary to make those changes happen!
That brings us to this week’s topic: Skin Texture
What exactly is Skin Texture?
Skin texture refers to your skin’s surface condition. Good skin texture is soft and smooth, well hydrated with firm collagen and elastin support. Uneven skin texture is coarse, rough, dull, dry and often sun damaged. How does your skin feel to the touch if you run your fingers across your face, your hands and your arms?
Ideally, skin should be soft with a smooth, even texture, but it’s not uncommon to have skin that feels coarse and irregular. Sometimes this is due to specific skin problems such as Rosacea or acne, but it can also be a product of sun damage, aging, or the result of using the wrong skin care products and poor exfoliation. Dry skin can also cause skin texture to feel rough and uneven, especially during the winter months. Uneven skin texture not only feels unpleasant, it makes skin look dull because it doesn’t reflect light as well. In addition, it makes it hard to apply cosmetics smoothly.
What Causes It?
Skin in areas that are not exposed to sunlight is usually soft and smooth to the touch, an indication that sun damage contributes to uneven skin texture. Sun exposure causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin that gives skin its smooth texture and resiliency. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin and contributes to rough, prematurely aged skin. Aging is another common cause of irregular skin texture. With aging, surface skin cells aren’t shed as rapidly. This causes dead skin cells to build up; leading to skin that feels rough and has a dull appearance. Dry skin that lacks moisture also feels less smooth to the touch.
There are a variety of treatments that can improve uneven skin texture, but the simplest and MOST important part of ANY daily skin care program (the one that most people overlook or half way do) is deep and thorough cleansing! Research show that American women spend an average of 15 seconds, once a day cleansing their skin. This all too brief regimen removes surface layers of make up, at best. Skin cells begin to build up, pores clog and blotchiness begins to occur. In addition, unless the skin is deeply and thoroughly cleansed, this cellular build up prevents active skin care products from penetrating into the skin to bring about the desired changes. The truth is if you cleanse your skin properly, many skin imbalances clear themselves! Proper cleansing is crucial and is the foundation of all effective treatment programs. Cleanse, purify and decongest.
This simple approach will prevent excessive cellular build up and maintain the skins natural glow. Important ingredients to look for in products that can refine skin texture include pumpkin, papaya and bromelain enzymes and fruit acids such as lactic, malic, tartaric and citric acids, and Proline, an amino acid that aids in collagen production and helps slow collagen loss as we age. Daily exfoliation that does not damage the skin barrier is important to keep skin smooth and clear, but be careful not to over do it and strip the skin in the process! After exfoliating, it’s important to follow up with moisture and skin nutrients including Omega 3’s, hyaluronic acid, comfrey, grapeseed extract and antioxidants that shield skin against further water loss and can make it feel dry and rough.
Sun protection should also be a priority since sun damage contributes to uneven skin texture by breaking down collagen and elastin. Choose a sunscreen that offers high-powered protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Titanium and zinc oxide are UV reflective minerals that provide broad-spectrum protection without chemical toxicity.
Nutritional Factors that Effect Skin Texture
Good nutrition is critical to smooth healthy glowing skin, and mineral deficiency is a common cause of many rough skin conditions. A number of medical conditions are at the root of some skin texture disorders – Thyroid disorders and Lupus (an autoimmune disease) and hormonal changes can impact the skin as well. Minerals and essential fatty acids are vital nutrients needed to support and feed the skin. Most of us need more silicon (NOT silicone) in our diet.
Silicon is an element that works with calcium to improve the strength and flexibility of the structural system of the body. Calcium is hard and brittle (like chalk), but when silicon combines with calcium and other minerals for bones, nails, hair, and teeth, it adds flexibility to the strength. Western diets tend to be low in silica. The coarse, fibrous parts of the plant containing the most silicon (husks, stems, peelings, cores, etc.) are not part of our diet. They are usually discarded.
Dulse (seaweed) and the herb Horsetail (a vital mineral) are two of the richest sources of organic silicon in the plant kingdom and key nutrients that target the skin, addressing skin texture specifically.
Dulse is a form of seaweed and one of the richest sources of silicon. If you’ve ever examined seaweed washed up on the shore, you probably noticed that it is flexible, but tough to tear. This is the major characteristic which silicon imparts to plants and animal tissue – strength with flexibility. Dulse is also rich in iodine, which is important for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, responsible for healthy hair, skin and nails and contains many other trace minerals essential for overall good health.
Antioxidants to Improve Skin Texture
If you want to know how to improve skin texture, the simple answer is there is no substitute for a solid skin care routine. Yet, that routine is only part of the equation, because the products you actually use on your skin are just as important as how often you use them.
For smooth skin and better skin texture, all of your beauty care products should have liberal amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential because they neutralize free radicals present in our environment, especially in UV radiation. Free radicals are characterized by their need to “steal” electrons from other atoms, which leads to oxidation. This damages skin cells over time, and destroys the support network of collagen and elastin, which keep the skin firm.
To improve skin texture, when searching for beauty products, look for those that contain antioxidants in the forms of vitamins A, C and E. Natural skin peels made with pumpkin enzymes are a powerful way to quickly smooth rough skin, and Oat Beta Glucan. Ascorbic acid polypeptide and superoxide dismutase are also very effective antioxidants to look for in corrective skin care formulations.
So, to get the benefits of beautifully textured and glowing skin, be sure to identify why your skin is reacting the way it is, have a dedicated and appropriate cleansing routine, and choose products that contain the key ingredients and nutrients your skin is craving while avoiding harsh chemicals that can do more damage than natural good.