I am always being asked, “Gary, what are your favorite products and why?”. Well, the answer is not really that easy. I love all of our products, so that would be a difficult call. Each product has a very specific purpose. I don’t really think of it in terms of which is my favorite…I think of it in terms of what does my skin need to stay young! So…let me tell you what I consider to be the top anti-aging must haves that no one should be without.
It is estimated that 85 – 90% of the signs of aging are caused by sun damage, so it makes sense that sunscreen would be at the top of the list of things you need to stave off the aging process. While we all love the glow of a summer tan, the sun can cause some pretty extreme damage to our skin’s DNA that can result in both reversible and irreversible damage. There are 2 types of UV rays that are emitted by the sun:
- UVB rays – these are the ones that cause the skin to burn
- UVA rays – these are the ones that cause the skin to age
The UVB rays cause our skin to burn or tan. They penetrate just under the skin’s surface and the damage can be seen pretty easily. UVA rays, on the other hand, penetrate all the way through the skin and their damage is not obvious to the naked eye. UVA rays are the ones that are responsible for the long-term damage that will manifest itself down the road in the form of sagging skin, lines and wrinkles and age spots.
It is crucial that your sunscreen contain both UVA and UVB protection. Simply keeping the skin from burning does not ensure healthy skin.
Damage to the skin that is not the result of the sun is caused by oxidation. To put it in very simple terms, think of it like this. Each skin cell is like an apple. The outer coating of the skin cell is pretty durable and will help maintain cellular moisturization and normal cell growth. UV rays act like a knife, jabbing into the apple’s skin. What happens to an apple when the skin is broken? It turns brown! This is the result of oxidation. The same thing happens to your skin. When the UV rays break the outer protection of each skin cell, it causes the skin cell to oxidize and become defective. Antioxidants prevent the process of oxidation and allow the skin cells to “heal” as well as ensure that the damage caused by the sun does not affect the skin’s DNA, resulting in long-term skin damage.
While vitamin C is the most recognizable antioxidant ingredient, it is far from the most effective. It is crucial that your products contain a comprehensive blend of anti-oxidants to ensure that your skin is protected…preventing oxidation AND helping the skin recover from UV exposure.
Chemical AND Physical Exfoliation
The process of repair requires exfoliation…both chemical and physical exfoliation! One, without the other is not as effective.
The skin’s turnover slows as we age. The ONLY way to help make the skin act as it did when we were younger is through the process of exfoliation…both chemical and physical exfoliation. Only when we get rid of surface cells will the body force the production of new skin cells.
Think of it this way…have you ever removed wallpaper from a wall? If you have, you know that it is no easy chore, but, if you are going to do anything to the wall underneath, you have to remove that paper first. You could use sandpaper, but it really just smoothes the surface, it really doesn’t get below the surface of the wallpaper. You could use a scraper, but you will only get the loose, flakey bits and pieces of the wallpaper removed and it takes FOREVER! Luckily, they have this really great stuff that you can spray on top of the wallpaper that kind of melts the paper and causes it to bubble up. After it has done its work, then you can take your scraper and quickly and easily remove that layer of wallpaper to reveal a pristine surface underneath. Are you with me?
Ok, think of your skin the same way. Think of your surface skin cells as a layer of wallpaper. You can use a scraper (Microdermabrasion), but you are only removing what is loose and flaky. Now when you use your chemical exfoliant (either AHAs or PHAs), they loosen the skin’s dead surface and allow you to exfoliate more deeply that you could have without it. Your daily skin care scrub (polyethylene beads) is like the “sandpaper” we talked about above. It smoothes the surface and makes it feel baby smooth, but to really get in there and remove the surface, you need to use something more aggressive such as Microdermabrasion which is designed to shave the skin’s surface for maximum benefits.
Retinol is the whole vitamin A molecule, which can be broken down into thousands of smaller components, including “retinoic acid” (also called tretinoin, the active ingredient in Renova and Retin-A). Essentially retinol is just a fancy name for vitamin A; however, it is perhaps the most important vitamin for the appearance of the skin. It is one of the few substances with a small enough molecular structure to penetrate the outer layers of the skin and work to repair the lower layers where collagen and elastin reside. Retinol is vitamin A in its purest and most active form. It penetrates deep into the skin, where it becomes fully operative. Wrinkles and lines are gradually smoothed, moisture and elasticity increase, the complexion glows and the appearance of damage is diminished.
The skin cells have a receptor site that is very accepting of retinoic acid. This relationship between retinoic acid and skin cells allows a type of communication in which the cell is encouraged to function normally and continue regular cell renewal— as opposed to the often misshapen and altered cells associated with the natural aging process.
It now seems clears that retinol is a beneficial cell-communicating ingredient, as well as an antioxidant. In other words, it assists in creating stronger, healthier skin cells and increases the amount of skin-support substances. Retinol has also been shown to help stimulate new collagen production, which is critical in the battle against aging. Thus it has become clear that retinol is a vital component of high quality skincare products, providing visible, long-lasting results.
Peptides are bioengineered molecules formed by linking chains of amino acids, the body’s building blocks. These ingredients are readily recognized by the skin and have the ability to be manipulated to penetrate to multiple layers of the skin, and be designed to serve a variety of purposes. Some peptides are engineered to reduce the depth of wrinkles on the face caused by the contraction of muscles of facial expression, especially in the forehead and around the eyes (muscle relaxing). Some are designed to help expedite the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Some peptides are engineered to help repair the cohesion of the dermis to the epidermis, helping with sagging skin by increasing skin firmness.
This ingredient has been called the key to the “fountain of youth”. Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of young, healthy skin, but dramatically diminishes with age and skin damage. The loss of hylauronic acid in the skin can result in skin sagging and loss of elasticity. Because hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the skin, it is easily absorbed and readily accepted into the skin when used as a topical treatment. There are various ways that hyaluronic acid can be used in skin care treatments:
- As a stand-alone ingredient to help increase moisturization and skin firmness
- Hyaluronic Filling Spheres: Hyaluronic Filling Spheres are made of pure hyaluronic acid, the leading product used by dermatologists, plastic surgeons and practitioners of aesthetic medicine to penetrate and fill deep wrinkles that usually appear on foreheads, between eyebrows, on the corners of the mouth and on the cheeks of people who have spent considerable time in the sun.
This anti-wrinkle delivery system is a truly breakthrough alternative to painful injections. Our exclusive filling spheres harness the industry's most natural active ingredient, hyaluronic acid, for high-intensity and rapid action skin smoothing and softening results.
Unlike widely used injection treatments, Hyaluronic Filling Spheres are applied topically to the skin in either emulsion or gel form to smooth away heavy wrinkles. The spheres are initially dehydrated, then fill with water present in the skin itself. This hydration process causes an increase in volume proportional to the microspheres' moisture-retaining capacity, which results in reduced wrinkles.
- Hyala-sponge: Hyala-sponge technology is one of the newest and most effective ways to deliver highly effective key ingredients into the skin in a sustained release delivery. The process of sustained delivery keeps the key ingredients active on the skin for a longer period of time, maximizing their effectiveness. Hyala-sponges are created through a highly technical new process:
- The hyaluronic acid molecule, a key component of youthful skin, is cross-linked to create “pockets”, much like a sponge, to hold key ingredients. The process of cross-linking creates the hyala-sponge. Each microscopic “sponge” is then filled with the key ingredients that are required to achieve the desired results.
So, with all of that being said…it is pretty obvious what my skin care regimen looks like. These are the products that I absolutely cannot live without:
- The complete BC Spa Facial regimen: Containing Alpha and Poly Hydroxy acids for chemical exfoliation, peptides to help firm and tighten the skin and sun/antioxidant protection to ensure that my skin stays protected both day and night.
- Regeneration Overnight: I love this product. In addition to a potent concentration of retinol, this formula contains a combination of eleven key ingredients to protect skin from free radicals, glycation and protein breakdown – in turn preventing further aging. Together, all of these ingredients provide your skin with the best defense system so it can function properly.
- Regeneration Tight Firm and Fill: This product contains 3 peptides that relax the expression lines, firm the skin and increase the cohesion of the dermis and epidermis to immediately firm and tighten. This product also contains hyaluronic filling spheres that instantly plump to reduce lines and wrinkles
- Regeneration Tight Firm and Fill Eye Firming Serum: This product contains all the active ingredients of the Tight Firm and Fill face serum , using hyala-sponge technology to ensure that the ingredients are absorbed into the skin and time released for sustained delivery throughout the day.
- BC Spa Resurfacing Peel: I use this product at least 3 times a week. This product contains a 30% acid blend that helps to break down the bonds that hold dry, dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. I have never used a more gentle, yet more effective chemical peel product…and I have tried them all. I always follow my Resurfacing Peel treatment with…
- BC Spa Microdermabrasion: This product utilized the same aluminum oxide crystals used by dermatologists to remove dead skin and resurface the skin’s texture without the high price tag! I can’t imagine anyone being without this product.
You will always find these products in my bathroom or my travel bag…and I never leave home without them.
Remember, if you have any product questions, please be sure to send them to [email protected]. Ciao.