Dr. G Weighs in on Sleep & Skin

Waking up looking refreshed requires more than just the absence of under eye darkness or puffiness, the skin tells the story. To understand better what actually happens to our bodies and minds while we sleep and why it is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, we sat down with Dr. G to get the scoop.

What controls sleep?

Hormones play a major part of healthy sleep. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland and helps to regulate the sleep wake cycle. Human growth hormone or (GH) is released during sleep and hence it’s name, helps to regenerate and grow healthy cells. Studies have shown that ingesting oral melatonin before bed can increase growth hormone by over 150%. As melatonin levels decline with age, only minuscule amounts of the small quantities produced by those suffering from sleep problems actually reach the skin. Ingesting melatonin before bedtime is extremely effective in getting the hormone levels back in balance and delivering a healthy sleep.

Other studies have shown that going straight to the source and applying melatonin directly to the skin may allow those suffering from insomnia to benefit from it’s rejuvenating powers, not only for restoring the appearance and texture of skin, but also in getting a good night’s sleep.

What ingredients should we use night and why?

The restorative power of sleep is vital for rejuvenating and repairing the skin and is controlled by the hormone melatonin. Melatonin production increases and peaks around 2am, so applying a night cream before bed enhances your skin’s ability to rest and reset. Wearing anti-aging products at night allows skin to absorb all the nutrients and ingredients while being in a relaxed state and out range of UV rays and pollution.

During the nighttime hours, the skin springs into action to repair itself back into balance through a restorative and renewal process.The most potent anti-aging ingredients to look for in a night cream include: Retinoids, Peptides and Melatonin. The efficacy of melatonin as a topical agent also offers a promising avenue to enhance the skin’s nightly repair cycle.

  • Retinoids attack hyper-pigmentation, stimulate skin to generate collagen and hyaluronic acid, increase radiance by reducing pore size, safely exfoliate and increase cell turnover .
  • Peptides encourage skin cell growth and collagen production. Peptides are made up of a string of amino acids held together by tough bonds of nitrogen and carbon that act as messengers to send out signals which tell the receptors on your skin cells how they should perform. A few of the most beneficial peptides include palmitoyl pentapeptide-3,which is a peptide that triggers a natural heal-and-repair response that stimulates the development of collagen and elastin, encourages new fibroblast growth, and increases the production of skin cells. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a powerful wrinkle-reducing peptide that works by hindering a signal protein called catecholamine that triggers muscle contraction, thereby relaxing your facial muscles.
  • Melatonin plays a key role in rejuvenating skin by stimulating the growth of major skin cells such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce the essential proteins collagen and elastin, which provide structural support for the skin. Melatonin has also been shown to be effective against skin aging. It has powerful antioxidant properties by quenching mainly hydroxyl radicals, the most damaging of all radicals.

What can we do to ensure a good night’s sleep?

Set yourself up for success by making your bedroom into a successful sleeping area. Sleep with your head slightly elevated can help with fluid retention in the facial area. Fluid retention occurs while we sleep because we are lying flat and circulation can be affected. Excess sugar, salt and alcohol will add to fluid retention. Consumption of all these pollutants can escalate swelling and puffiness to the eyes and face. Try to avoid alcohol before bed as it leads to uneven sleep rhythms in the brain as well as fluid retention.

Top tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature
  • Silk pillow case-softer and less absorbent than cotton-silk won’t dry skin out and also causes less pulling and tugging if you’re a face sleeper
  • Wear earplugs to ensure silence
  • Noise machine- used to calm babies and help them sleep, noise machines can be beneficial for falling asleep as well as staying asleep
  • Stop using electronics an hour before bedtime and keep your phone/tablet out of the bedroom-blue light interferes with sleep
  • Eat plant based high fat foods with dinner to stay satiated and balance blood sugar while asleep
  • Wear an eye mask -keeps light out

What your FACE can tell you about your health

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Your face and skin are windows into your health. Skin issues and other undesirable facial flaws are often thought of in terms of how they’re unpleasing to the eye and take away from a person’s natural beauty. But this way of thinking disregards the important fact that circles under your eyes, red cheeks and unusual acne that pops up in places such as your ears or along your forehead can tell a tale about nutritional deficiencies and the health of your organs.

What your FACE can tell you about your health (including spotting if you need to go on a diet based on where your blemishes and wrinkles are).

 

Acne/Breakouts

Adult acne or breakouts can be caused by all sorts of issues, but are most directly related to hormones and stress. Genetics can play a role in adult acne.  Acne can be caused from hormonal changes or imbalances related to birth control, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and peri-menopause. When stress levels rise the body produces more stress hormones, which cause over production of oil and thus a higher chance of a breakout. Lifestyle choices like exercising and sweating may help to get circulation and blood flow going.

“Chin or jawline breakouts are typically hormonal acne. Try exfoliating more on the chin and forehead and be aware of any hair product that may be getting on your forehead. Always clean your cell phone anything that may touch your chin.  Clean all makeup brushes as to not spread bacteria.”  Dr. Gary Goldfaden

While food doesn’t cause acne, it can attribute to it and make for an unclean, unhealthy appearing complexion. Glycation is the main enemy of skin and the aging process of the body.. The glycation process, which is basically, sugars (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin, which excels the aging process. Foods that feed glycation/cause inflammation in the body/skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, fatty meats and alcohol.

Puffy Eyes + Dark Circles:

Ordinary swelling around the eyes means you have an excessive accumulation of fluids, called edema, in surrounding skin tissue. Because the skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin in the body, swelling and discoloration can be quite prominent. Overconsumption of salt, which causes fluid retention, Allergies Sinus problems, Dehydration, Fatigue and lack of sleep, Stress, Crying, and Aging that can cause inflammation and swelling.

Puffy eyes could also be related to kidney problems, and these should be investigated by your doctor.

Redness:

Blood vessels are more apparent in people who genetically have thin skin, but red skin can also be the result of aging and skin damage. Sun exposure can increase redness, inflammation, and eventually skin cell damage all over the face.

Dr. G says increase anti-inflammatory, cooling and soothing ingredients /foods

  • Red Tea (Rooibos)
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Green Tea
  • Oatmeal
  • Cucumbers

If excessive redness does happen, try applying a cool compress, splashing your face with very cold water, going indoors and allowing your body to cool off. Wearing a little concealer on areas that do tend to get red can help too.

You are what you eat:

Diet: “Eat a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods such as leafy greens and berries and foods high in essential fatty acids (salmon and almonds). Stay away from foods that can encourage and cause Glycation. Some people may benefit from cutting dairy products out of their diet.”

“Overall signs of loss of elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles and sagging may be caused by Glycation. The Glycation process (sugars from food and alcohol, that break down the collagen fibers in the skin) speeds up the aging process. Foods that feed Glycation and cause inflammation in the body and the skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, fatty meats and alcohol. “

“Smoking can attribute to dull and sallow looking skin tone, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, enlarged pores and an overall unhealthy complexion.” Dr. Gary Goldfaden

 

 

The Who, What, Why, When of AHA + BHA Acids

What

Both AHAs and BHAs chemical exfoliators work by combining with the structural lipids in the stratum corneum (aka skin) and dissolving them so that the dead skin cells break away. This is just a fancy was of explaining their very efficient exfoliation method and why they’re an encouraged addition to any healthy skincare regimen.

Who

Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA (which are Lactic acid, Glycolic acid and the Fruit acids) is used as a facial exfoliator and is an excellent choice for people with sun damaged skin, aging skin and normal to dry skin types. AHA does not cause sun sensitivity and comes in many forms. AHA’s come in the form of lactic acid which is derived from milk, glycolic acid which is derived from sugarcane and fruit acids which are derived from fruits (citrus and apples/malic acid). AHA can also aid in thickening the lower layers of the skin thus delivering firmness.

Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA (also called salicylic acid) comes from acetylsalicylic acid which is the same source as aspirin. In general, beta hydroxy acid is a more effective treatment for acne prone skin. BHA also can cause sun sensitivity and must always be used in conjunction with a sunscreen.

Why

  • They’re both powerhouse ingredients!
  • Both get rid of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Both make skin appear smoother and tighter
  • Both make skin look more even in texture
  • Improve scarring
  • Improve appearance of photo-aged skin
  • Both hydrate and exfoliate the skin


Well said from Paula’s Choice: “AHAs and BHA are different, and their different properties make one or the other preferred for different skin types:

  • AHAs are water soluble and are preferred for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin due to their ability to enhance natural moisturizing factors within skin.
  • BHA is oil soluble and preferred for normal to oily, clog-prone and bump-prone skin, and enlarged pores, and can clear pores deeply, even those with hard, tiny, white bumps on the cheeks and face. BHA is even suitable for those prone to milia.
  • AHAs and BHA work on skin’s surface; but BHA also works inside the pore lining, where clogs begin.
  • BHA has natural skin-calming properties, which make it preferred for sensitive, redness-prone skin. It’s great for sensitive skin, even for those with rosacea.”

When

  1. AM/PM: try one in the morning and one at night. If you’re targeting a skin issue then doubling down can be effective. Make sure to always hydrate your skin properly and pay attention to warning signs such as redness or red or dryness.
  2. Alternate days: Try AHA on day and then BHA a few days later. Listen to your skin and you’ll never go wrong!
  3. Spot treat: If you have combo skin, try using BHA only in t-zone or oily areas while using AHA everywhere else.
  4. Know your limits-not everyone needs both and if you’re particularly sensitive and NOT acne prone then stick to AHAs.