Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It endures constant exposure to toxins, free radicals and oxidation. When you sleep, your pores open and your skin breathes, so anything on your face will be absorbed into your skin. In other words, everything that is on your face – cosmetics and environmental pollutants – will be absorbed into the deeper levels of your skin.
Scientific research has confirmed that topical vitamin C and E help to protect skin against free radicals which breakdown skin tissue and cause premature signs of aging. It is important to know that the benefit to your skin in performance and protection depends upon the percentage and form of vitamin C and E in the skin care formulas.
In Prevention Magazine’s April 2002 issue, Amy Newburger, M.D., associate physician in clinical dermatology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons states, in reference to vitamin E, “You can find this antioxidant in just about any beauty product. Unfortunately it usually isn’t present in high enough concentrations (5% or more according to a recent study) to really do your skin any good.”
Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant, which helps protect the skin against free radical damage (oxidation). However, as Dr. Newburger confirms, vitamin C is very unstable, breaks down quickly, and must be stored correctly to remain potent. Her recommendation, “Look for products in opaque airtight containers. A pump dispenser is great for sealing out oxygen and extending product life.”
Be aware, just because vitamin C is included in an ingredient list doesn’t necessarily mean that it is in the proper form or percentage ratio to achieve its’ claims. The use of vitamins (especially vitamin C) requires knowledge of the proper percentages, pH, and the delivery system.
Choosing a cleanser is almost as important as the act of cleansing. A product that is too harsh can strip skin of natural oils, and leave it dry and irritated. Look for cleansers that rejuvenate the skin at the same time they cleanse it. A gentle goat milk soap and herbal glycerin can help remove excess oil as long as they don’t dry your skin. For most skin, soaps are alkaline and can be irritating. It is best to use a cleanser that’s close to the skin’s normal pH level, which is usually around 4.5. Nourishing shea butter is useful for dry, wrinkled, or irritated skin.
Also consider your skin type when choosing a cleanser. If your skin is oily, avoid products that strip away all the oil as well as those with added moisturizers. Look for ingredients that have antiseptic properties like witch hazel and herbs and essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree oil, and peppermint.
For dry skin, a nonabrasive cleanser that contains nourishing properties such as vegetable glycerin and olive and coconut oil, can help keep the skin soft and dehydrated. Aloe vera and balancing essential oils of chamomile, lavender, and rose are useful for all skin types.
Washcloths and loofahs can damage delicate facial skin and are known to harbor bacteria. It is recommended that you use a soft cloth designed specifically for the face.
After your skin is clean, the next step is to use a toner. Using a cleanser on your face will raise your pH level, even if you use a cleanser that is pH balanced. It is important to use a toner formulated to return the acid mantle (a natural layer that covers the skin) to its normal level and help rebalance the skin after washing.
Using a toner reduces pore size, so that fewer pollutants are absorbed into the skin. Look for toners that contain aloe vera. Aloe vera is one of the best skin nutrients available and you can use pure aloe vera juice (found in most health food stores), poured onto a cotton cosmetic round. Keep it in the refrigerator for an invigorating experience! Aloe vera has an exceptional ability to penetrate the skin. It is absorbed into the skin four times faster than water and has a pH level nearly identical to that of the skin.
If your skin is especially oily, an astringent (similar to a toner, but with a high alcohol content) can help absorb excess oil and kill bacteria. Extracts and essential oils including camphor, menthol, tea tree, and citrus also help control oil.
EC Mode offers salon quality, vitamin based botanicals for the hair, scalp and skin. I have been using their product line for nearly three years with excellent results. My cleansing routine is simple – Facial Cleanser, Vitamin C Serum, Eye Toner, Hydro-Driver Moisturizer.
Their Vitamin C Serum is formulated with 12% fresh-dried, naturally-derived L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that becomes active only when you are ready to use it. Other vitamin C skin care products are in liquid form, often derivatives of vitamin C, and require additional ingredients (and preservatives) to attempt to stabilize the liquid. These ingredients can dilute the potency of the vitamin C plus, given that it is already premixed the vitamin begins breaking down from the time it is formulated to the time you purchase the product and use it.
EC Mode Hydro-Driver Moisturizer is formulated with 5% vitamin E to scavenge free radicals and prevent premature signs of aging, stimulate natural hydration of skin, increase skin’s smoothness and help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It can also reduce and prevent scar tissue, fade age spots and control symptoms associated with skin conditions (rosacea, eczema, dermatitis).
It is best to use botanical based and all-natural cleansers, toners, moisturizers and cosmetics. Your complexion will love you for it and your skin will be radiant.
EC Mode Wellness Collection includes vitamin-based botanicals for your hair, scalp and skin. Available through a licensed professional or online wellness salon store only.