You hear it talked about a lot these days; you see it in books, magazine articles, and the Internet. The pH levels of our bodies, our water, and our food are a constant topic of conversation and interest. Are the levels acidic or alkaline, and which numbers on the pH scale are healthiest for the particular topic of discussion?
The abbreviation “pH” stands for the “potential of hydrogen” or the measure of “hydrogen ion concentration.” Levels of pH are measured on a scale that ranges from zero (acidic) to 14 (alkaline).
Your skin’s pH level is between 4 and 5.5, which means it is more acidic. Actually, your skin has a “film” on its exterior called the “acid mantle.” The purpose of the acid mantle is to protect your skin from contaminants, bacteria, and viruses. These attackers tend to be alkaline in nature, so the role of this acidic mantle on your skin is protection, which it accomplishes by dissolving the harmful molecules trying to penetrate it.
This is why maintaining your skin’s naturally acidic pH is important. Using skincare products, such as cleansers and moisturizers, which are too alkaline can destroy the protective acid mantle. Believe it or not, the pH of the typical bar of hand soap is 8.0. Because of the damage it does to the acid mantle (and other reasons to be discussed later), cleansing with soap like this is terrible for your skin.
It is also significant to understand how the active ingredients in your anti-aging and acne skincare products are affected by their pH levels … this is why you can have two products with the same active ingredients, yet one is more efficacious than the other.
The molecules that constitute many of the active, acidic ingredients incorporated into today’s skincare products can be “bound” or “free.” The more “free” these acids are, the more potent and effective they are for your skin (remember that healthy skin has a more acidic pH). If the acid’s are “bound” the acid cannot penetrate the skin and is therefore ineffective.
What assists in “freeing”up these molecules is the pH level of the product. The lower the pH, the higher the free acid. However, it is also imperative that the power of pH is understood in order to control the strength of the acid being used so it does not become too irritating to the skin.
For instance, if a face cream had a pH of 1, which would free up a high concentration of “free acid” molecules, applying it on your face would be very irritating. Obviously, there needs to be a healthy balance maintained when developing a skincare product; and this is most effectively done through controlling the pH levels.
Properly formulating the high quality active ingredients and understanding the science behind pH levels works remarkably well in achieving impressive results for your skin.
In the world of skincare, collagen makes a lot of noise…and for good reason! Once you understand what it is, you can easily understand why dermatologists and skincare specialists proclaim its importance.
Collagen is found throughout your body, not solely in the make up of your skin. It is a structural protein made up of amino acids and is the most abundant one found in mammals (between 25% and 35%).
When you think of proteins, you may very often think of it as a substance that makes you strong. Such is the case with collagen and your skin. The word “collagen” is derived from two Greek words… “kolla,”which means glue, and a suffix “gen,” meaning producing. Since it is a predominant part of connective tissues found in your skin, ligaments, bones, and a multitude of other places in your body, you can think of collagen as a substance that produces the glue that strengthens and holds them together.
While collagen plays a major role in maintaining the strength and suppleness of your skin and other vital body parts, another function it performs involves protecting your skin against toxins, viruses, and other microorganisms.
As is the case with other bodily parts and functions, aging takes its toll on the levels of collagen production in your body. What this means to your skin is that the structure is weakened, and it doesn't look and feel as strong and toned as it did when you were younger. It is for this reason that the use of collagen plays an important part in skincare regimens and products today.
If you grab and pinch a place on your skin, whether it is on your face, arm, or stomach, the quickness with which it retracts to its original form is a sign of your skin's elasticity. If you are a teenager, the elasticity of your skin is generally much better than that of your 65-year-old grandmother.
As you age, your skin’s outer layer (the epidermis) starts to thin, and the health of the dermis beneath plays a crucial part in the elasticity of your skin. As we've discussed elsewhere on the site, the connective, fiber-like character of collagen and also elastin greatly impact the look and health of your skin. If these two proteins are depleted or compromised, so is your skin’s health, which can result in a condition called elastosis (prevalent in the elderly).
Challenges to elasticity are very prevalent in your everyday life, although most of them are either preventable or can be minimized. Those challenges include:
• Dehydration — not caused solely by lack of water intake, but also from drinking too much alcohol or being in weather conditions that cause you to become dehydrated. It can lead to thinning skin and loss of elasticity
- • Smoking and Other Pollutants — The toxins inherent in these two factors need to be avoided whenever possible if elasticity and good skin are your goals.
- • Sun exposure — The effects of sun exposure can obviously be minimized by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Too much unprotected sun time can destroy that all-important collagen that your skin needs to maintain its strength and rejuvenating power.
- • Diet — Eating foods high in antioxidants (such as vitamin C) help to boost the power of your skin’s collagen and elastin.
- • Normal “Wear and Tear” — This one is hard to avoid, because all of us over the course of our day will smile, frown, and squint, which takes a toll on the skin’s elasticity after many years; it’s called “aging.”
If you make the effort to build a skincare regimen geared toward protecting the epidermis and the collagen/elastin team working in the dermis below it, the elasticity of your skin should diminish less quickly.
Like collagen, elastin is a protein that functions in your skin like a rubber band, stretching and contracting back to its original shape, although becoming weakened and losing elasticity the older it gets and the more it is used.
As with collagen, elastin uses vitamin C and amino acids as its powerhouse for reproducing. It’s also important to eat sufficient proteins in your diet in order to help replenish your body’s supply…including collagen and elastin.
You will most likely begin to see signs of a decrease in elastin in your skin between the ages of 30 and 40. As mentioned in our section on Elasticity (Link), pollutants and sun exposure can weaken the elastin and have a negative affect on its production in your body, along with that of collagen.
Enzymes are molecules that accelerate biochemical reactions; they get things started, so to speak. There are different types of enzymes, and each type must be chosen specifically for the desired reaction. Proteolytic enzymes are those that aid in the digestion of protein, while lipolytic enzymes focus on the break down of fats. Research shows that a combination of enzymes produces the best results for enhancing exfoliation, so our Enzyme Complex Peel includes not one, but a combination of several proteolytic enzymes and lipolytic enzymes.
Our Enzyme Complex Peel was developed to enhance exfoliation, the process by which skin sheds its dead cells to allow for cell renewal. Unlike acid peels, our Enzyme Complex Peel acts only on the stratum corneum layer of the skin for a milder and gentler exfoliation.
The activity of enzymes also depends on the acidity or alkalinity of the environment in which they react. Some act at an acidic pH and others at a higher, more alkaline pH. A pH level beyond a specific range deactivates the enzyme, so it is no longer effective. To ensure maximum results, Rx Systems PF formulates our Enzyme Complex Peel with the ideal pH environment.
We also combine our enzymes with other natural ingredients that are nourishing and anti-inflammatory, such as colloidal oat extract (rich in beta-glucan, which has anti-irritant properties), alfalfa herb (a natural source of vitamins C, D,E, and K), saponin (a natural plant surfactant), and carboxy-methyl-cellulose (a natural cellulose gum used to modify the mask’s consistency).
Unlike typical acne treatments that produce a similar exfoliating effect, our Enzyme Complex Peel is non-irritating. In addition, the proteolytic enzymes in our peel provide a wound healing effect to diminish acne scars.
By accelerating the removal of dead skin cells, our Enzyme Complex Peel improves skin texture, tone, color, and pore size. It normalizes the thickness of the stratum corneum to allow better penetration of active ingredients in skin care products, including glycolic acid, alpha lipoic acid, azelaic acid, retinoic acid, retinol, vitamin C, growth factors, and other agents applied to improve the structure and function of the skin.
Antioxidants are a very effective weapon in our arsenal as we fight against the signs of aging, as well as the battle to control acne. These molecules of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes do an amazing job of battling the well-known enemies of overall health (including skin) - free radicals.
Free radicals are inflammatory atoms or molecules that can cause a great deal of damage through oxidation when an over abundance of them are found in the body. One of the ways these free radicals can harm your skin is through the breakdown of collagen,which is something your skin requires if it is to stay soft, strong, and supple.
Vitamins A, C,and E are natural warriors in this fight. They do a remarkable job of slowing down the damage that free radicals can cause through oxidation of cells within your body, including your skin. They do this by actually being oxidized themselves while protecting other cells from damage.
Vitamin A(retinol) is probably one of the most effective antioxidants for protecting your skin and helping its cells to grow and repair themselves. When it penetrates the outside layers of your skin, Vitamin A helps shield your skin from sun damage and works on dissolving keratin plugs (which contribute to acne problems).
Vitamin E works in tandem with vitamin A, because it insures that your body’s store of retinol is adequate for protecting your skin. Selenium (a mineral), which shares the same properties as other antioxidants, aids vitamin A in its protection of the skin from sun damage.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that can be of great help in your skin’s regeneration.
In addition, if you are beginning to notice age spots as time marches on, vitamin C (and other antioxidants) could possibly help minimize the discoloration that makes them so noticeable.
Read below about Glypoic® Complex or click one of the links below to learn more about:
What is Glypoic® Complex?
Glypoic Complex(TM) is a scientifically advanced skin care ingredient that combines glycolic acid and alpha lipoic acid. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived naturally from sugar cane; alpha lipoic acid is an organic acid derived from many natural plant sources. Each acid serves an important function. With the smallest molecular size of any AHA, glycolic acid achieves superior epidermal penetration while alpha lipoic acid is an essential antioxidant for cell metabolism.
How does it work?
Glypoic Complex (glycolic acid and alpha lipoic acid) penetrates the epidermis and works in three ways:
1. Glycolic acid loosens and dissolves the glue-like substance that holds the outer layer of cells
to each other and to the underlying epidermis. These thick, piled up, clinging cells are
responsible for the appearance of dry, rough, scaly skin, discolored skin and sun damaged spots.
Thanks to Glypoic Complex(TM), these skin cells can now grow and slough in a normal
fashion resulting in smoother, hydrated and vibrant skin. This process takes place at the opening
of the pores to reduce pore size and blackheads.
2. Alpha lipoic acid is an essential element required for cell growth and improved cell
metabolism. Alpha lipoic acid attacks free radicals that damage normal cell division and
collagen formation and makes them inactive. This allows better and faster results with products
containing Glypoic Complex(TM).
3. Glypoic Complex affects the deeper layers of the skin by improving collagen and elastin
synthesis. As alpha lipoic acid inactivates free radicals that interfere with collagen production, glycolic acid stimulates elastin production. The synergistic result is improved skin tone and a decrease in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What are the benefits?
Regular use of products with Glypoic Complex(TM):
- Improves skin texture, tone, and moisture content
- Improves skin color and lightens brown spots
- Increases elasticity and firmness of the skin
- Decreases the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet
- Decreases the puffiness of the skin under the eyes
- Decreases pore size and reduces blackheads