Part Five: Vitamin C serum, Peptides, and Final Thoughts

We’ve reached the end of our exploration into the critically important, but often mysterious, world of skin care. We’ve already learned all about skin aging. We’ve dived into some of the most important products, ones that you need to be using to maintain and improve the quality of your skin. For this final post I wanted to discuss two often over-looked but highly effective products; Vitamin C serum and Peptides. Consider these the icing on your skin care cake, you can do without them (maybe), but really who wants a cake without frosting?

I have truly fallen in love with Vitamin C serum. I am always hesitant when someone recommends a vitamin as a magical elixir that “fixes what ails you”, but this product has been methodically, scientifically tested and the results are undeniable. It consistently improves skin tone, texture, and pigmentation all while standing guard against the damaging (and aging) effects of free radicals.

You are probably asking yourself “what is a free radical, and why do I need to defend against it”? Back to the lab for one last round of science (seriously, last one, I promise). Free radicals are small, charged compounds that love to interact with other, more stable compounds in the body. Typically, these interactions are bad. When it comes to skin care and aging, free radicals love to interact with the DNA and the collagen of skin. This leads to cell damage (with the worst possible consequence being cancerous transformation) and destruction of collagen (either directly or stimulating other proteins that break down collagen). Clearly this is something we want to defend against, but how? Enter Vitamin C serum.

Vitamin C serum is a highly concentrated and purified version of Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that basically acts as a free radical sponge; absorbing and neutralizing these destructive compounds. In addition to standing guard against free radicals, Vitamin C also acts as a co-factor (needed) in collagen production and lightly inhibits the cellular mechanism responsible for making melanin, the skin’s pigment. All-in, Vitamin C serum helps prevent further skin damage and aging, while promoting collagen production and smoothing pigmentation irregularities (age spots).

This all sounds great, but scientists had to deal with one major challenge; how to get the Vitamin C to the skin. Vitamin C is not fat soluble (won’t easily pass through the skin) and is highly unstable (exposure to the air will almost immediately degrade it). These issues were resolved by joining Vitamin C with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. While both these compounds are also antioxidants (ferulic acid can even lightly inhibit melanin production as well!!), the most important role they play in these serums is to stabilize the Vitamin C so it can penetrate the skin, intact.

This is the big difference between the Vitamin C serums you will find sitting idle on the shelves of your local superstore and the ones offered by your friendly-neighborhood Facial Plastic Surgeon (that’s us!). Our products have been meticulously crafted and tested by companies dedicated to high-end skin care. Simply put, they are effective; the Vitamin C is stabilized, and the actual active compound is what makes it to the skin. While we still stand by the statement that sunscreen and tretinoin are the two most important things to add to your skin care regimen, we can not speak highly enough of Vitamin C serum.

Bioactive peptides are the last major group of skin care products we’ll discuss. They are effective and enhance the results of a complete skin care regimen. Peptides are basically small chains of five or six amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). The bioactive peptides are special in that they promote the cells of the skin to increase the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. This improves skin tone, helps eliminate wrinkles, and makes the skin fuller and more youthful.

The action of bioactive peptides is often misunderstood. Many patients assume (marketing campaigns for beauty products can be quite deceiving) that you can improve collagen and hyaluronic acid content by applying products containing these two compounds directly to the skin. The problem is, these are very large molecules (thousands of amino acids long) and are not easily absorbed through the skin. Bioactive peptides are so small they readily pass into the skin. There they cause the skin to ramp up the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, creating these new from within, not absorbing them from the surface. All this new collagen helps reduce wrinkles and the new hyaluronic acid helps improve the fullness and hydration of the skin.

The last month or so we have learned a lot about the skin. There has been a lot of information, as much science as necessary (fingers crossed – not too painful), and hopefully some real inspiration to take better care of your skin, because you are totally worth it! My last request would be to think about the health of your skin as a long-term investment. Consistency, care, and patience will lead to amazing results.

Any surgery or office procedure (whether BOTOX®, filler, chemical peels, or lasers) can be either limited or enhanced by the quality of your facial skin. It’s like going to the dentist; you can have amazing work done each year, but if you don’t brush your teeth twice a day your results are going to be less than optimal. So treat your skin right and invest in it, you’ll be so happy you did! If you have any questions or concerns about your facial skin, we want to be a resource for you and a partner in your skin care. Never hesitate to contact us or call 860-676-2473.