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Skin Deep

When it comes to aging, there are thousands of products you can try - all modeled by ancient 30 year olds.... In reality, many of these skincare products are mostly filler - and by that, we don't mean that they are using models with botox and filler... we mean non-active ingredients, with small amounts of an 'active' ingredient. However, there are some potent serums that really do help with wrinkles, discoloration, pore size, and overall skin quality. These can help combat signs of aging (if you want to) and improve overall skin integrity.

Top Skincare Takeaways -

  1. To take care of your skin the best, choose high quality, potent serums/creams, typically single ingredient, that are applied after cleansing but before moisturizer.
  2. Be mindful of HOW to apply - each product may have its own specific requirements, i.e., hyaluronic acid is best applied when the face is damp with water, as this helps absorption and reduces fine lines.
  3. Know the science! Not all products are developed based on solid science - for example, gummies with collagen have not been found to have a meaningful effect on the skin or to reduce signs of aging.
  4. Healthy living - good diet, exercise, and LOTS of water, always play the biggest role in skin health and overall aging, since they have more of an influence on telomeres (we will likely want explain telomeres if we are going to use the term) and gene expression. Factors such as stress and significant weight loss will also have an effect on skin integrity, wrinkles, and dark circles under the eyes.
  5. Choose a stylish sun hat, stay in the shade, and use SPF - the sun ages skin and causes discoloration (as well as melanoma), so this tip is always fundamental. Some sun for Vitamin D is critical...one of the drawbacks of stay out of the sun messaging has been a precipitous drop in Vitamin D levels. So, limit the time your skin gets unprotected direct sunlight to 20 minutes a day to replenish your Vitamin D levels.

How & Why Skin Ages (and what role does menopause play?)

There are many different contributors to skin aging - but ultimately, there are two key factors; the overall process of cellular decline and telomere shortening that causes the aging process and then some external effects that include: loss of collagen, UV rays, pollutants, diet, which can cause skin to lose elasticity, develop sun spots. Consistently elevated cortisol has been shown to have an aging effect, and fatigue can contribute to puffiness in the eye area, both of which can contribute to the 'look' of wrinkles and aging in the skin. Lastly, hormones can affect skin quality (estrogen plays a roll in collagen production), as well as rosacea/tone, acne, and hair growth, all of which affect the look and overall quality of skin.

So, what can we do to take care of our skin?

The Skin Heavy Hitters


What it does > It helps unclog pores. Retinol also exfoliates your skin and increases collagen production, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, giving your skin a fresher, plump appearance.

How it works > Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is an ingredient added to skin creams, lotions and serums. Retinol increases skin cell production (proliferation).

When/How to use > Retinoids work best if you use them daily. Specifically, try to use them at night because light and air deactivate some types. If you experience any side effects — like skin redness or dryness — then it's a good idea to back down to once every 2 or 3 nights.

Hyaluronic Acid:

What it does > Hyaluronic acid has beneficial properties when used on your skin. It’s especially useful for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age lines. It’s also great for helping improve overall skin flexibility and elasticity (meaning it makes your skin more stretchy and soft).

How it works > Hyaluronic acid belongs to a type of long, complicated chain-like molecules called polymers. The chain has plenty of spots on it where other chemical compounds can latch, in fact, it is the best polymer for absorbing water - meaning it helps skin retain moisture. Hyaluronic acid’s chain-like structure also means it can act like a scaffold structure, allowing tissues to grow.

When/How to use > Most experts would encourage you to apply it twice a day, every day, as part of your morning and evening rituals, after cleansing, before moisturizer.

Vitamin C:

What it does > Vitamin C contributes to photoprotection, decreases photodamage, and is needed for adequate wound healing. It can increase skin 'brightness'. It also fights toxins that come into contact with your skin.

How it works > Vitamin C is an essential part of skin health both as a small molecular weight antioxidant and as a critical factor for collagen synthesis - meaning it helps boost collagen production.

When/How to use > Vitamin C is a skin-care “active”—meaning it's particularly potent—applying too much of it on your face can potentially lead to more breakouts or irritation. Never apply more than 2x per day, but generally, think about applying a few times a week. Vitamin C is effectively an acid (it's sometimes known as ascorbic acid), so layering it with AHAs and BHAs like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids is a big no-no.

Tretinoin (also known as Retin-A/Vitamin A, it is a retinoid)

What it does > Tretinoin is a medication used to treat acne and sun-damaged skin. It can’t erase deep wrinkles, but it can help improve the appearance of surface wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots.

How it works > It works by lightening the skin, replacing older skin with newer skin, and slowing down the way the body removes skin cells that may have been harmed by the sun.

When/How to use > You can use tretinoin every night, but you may not want to at first—and some people may never want to. Tretinoin can cause skin irritation and peeling, especially when you first start using it - it should be used at night, after cleansing, and a moisturizer should be used to mitigate dryness. Also, be sure to use SPF if you are using tretinoin.

Tranexamic Acid (TXA):

What it does > TXA is an ingredient that may offer many benefits for the skin, including the ability to fade dark spots, discolorations, and melasma. It may also be beneficial for treating acne and improving the skin barrier.

How it works > TXA has been found to lighten melasma by interfering with the interaction of melanocytes and keratinocytes by inhibiting the plasminogen/plasmin system.

When/How to use > When used topically, it can take around six to eight weeks of regular use before you start seeing results. It can be used daily, but be sure to apply after cleansing and toning, before moisturizer. PM use is recommended.


What it does > It may help calm your skin, reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and increase moisture in your skin's uppermost layer. It is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly minimize enlarged pores, tighten lax or stretched out pores, improve uneven skin tone, soften fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dullness, and strengthen a weakened surface.

How it works > It has the ability to improve skin’s barrier (its first line of defense), plus it also plays a role in helping skin to repair signs of past damage. Once applied to the skin, it is broken down into the form of this vitamin that our cells can use. Niacinamide has a normalizing ability on the pore lining. This plays a role in helping to keep oil and debris from getting backed up, which leads to clogs and rough, bumpy skin.

When/How to use > Apply a few drops of Niacinamide once or twice daily after cleansing, toning, and exfoliating.

Snail Mucin:

What it does > Its purported benefits include moisturizing the skin, fighting signs of premature skin aging, and healing wounds.

How it works > This is due to the AHA found within; Glycolic acid, an AHA present in snail mucin, has been shown to help unclog pores, improve skin texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, boost collagen production, and fade dark spots (aka hyperpigmentation).

When/How to use > Consider this a bonus hydration step for dry skin—it's not a replacement for moisturizer, but an addition. Put it on after your active products, like a vitamin C serum, and before your moisturizer.

Liquid Exfoliants (BHA's, AHA):

What it does > AHAs exfoliate your skin, improve its natural moisturizing abilities, and stimulate collagen production. BHAs are effective for calming inflammation, redness, or rosacea. They’re also highly effective at penetrating oily pores.

How it works > Alpha and Beta hydroxy acid, though similar, differ in how deeply they exfoliate; for some, BHA's are too strong of an exfoliant.

When/How to use > If you have normal to dry skin and want a product that helps restore moisture, combat aging, and improve the appearance of sun damage, you would use an AHA, since BHA's works on a deeper level to help combat acne and improve deep sun damage.

Ceramides/Peptide serums:

What it does > Think of ceramides as the glue that holds your skin cells together — they also help retain moisture and prevent environmental damage from pollution or harsh weather conditions. Peptides are for targeted skincare concerns – like increasing skin firmness or decreasing inflammation.

How it works > Peptides are a type of amino acid that helps form collagen and elastin. Ceramides are a type of lipid or fat that naturally occurs in the skin and they’re essential for maintaining plump, hydrated skin as we age.

When/How to use > These can be used after cleansing and toning, before moisturizing, and they can be used daily.

Facial Oils (almond, coconut, ect.):

What it does> Depending on the type of face oil, oils can cleanse, moisturize or work as a spot treatment.

How it works> They can be useful in some situations where they can act as an emulsifier and help lift oily residues from makeup or other products and pollutants from the skin.

When/How to use > As a rule of thumb, all skincare should be applied thinnest to thickest, so, moisturizer first, facial oil second.

Dermal Estrogen (estriol):

What it does > helps skin rebuild and retain collagen which will hold the skin cells together in a cohesive unit

How it works > Because estrogen is partially responsible for collagen production, adding it in increases overall collagen levels.

When/how to use > small amount daily. it's important not to over use as estrogen will have other impacts within the body


What it does > High DHT levels can increase oiliness, acne, and skin breakouts, progesterone will reduce breakouts overall.

How it works > progesterone works to reduce the conversion of testosterone to another hormone called DHT.

When/how it works > Just use as part of your regular hormone supplementation pattern.

What About Lasers, Wands, (& other skin light sabres...)?

Lasers (masks/wands):

What it does > Laser resurfacing can lessen the appearance of fine lines in the face. It can also treat loss of skin tone and improve your complexion.

How it works > LED light masks and devices are best used to help stimulate collagen production and kill the bacteria that cause acne breakouts, though they don't replace your regular skin-care routine. As at-home devices, they may be less effective than in-office procedures at your dermatologist's office.

When/How to use > If you overdo lasering, your skin might not get the time to recover and become more sensitive, leading to other broader issues such as pigmentation. Limit to a few times per week.

High Frequency Wands:

What it does > They have been credited with treating acne, improving fine lines and wrinkles, tightening sagging skin, and reducing dark circles and eye puffiness.

How it works > During the high frequency treatment, enriched oxygen molecules are produced that create an anti-bacterial action and a “natural” thermal tissue warming. This reaction helps your blood vessels push away toxins, while the cells in your skin are enriched with nutrients and hydrating volume.

When/How to use > Overexposure can cause issues, so you will not want to overuse; home treatment can be done weekly.

Microcurrent Device:

What it does > Some people report experiencing immediate results after microcurrent facials, including tighter skin and a more sculpted appearance. However, there is little scientific research proving that this treatment is effective or safe long term.

How it works > Microcurrent facials can help to lift and tighten the muscles in the area and stimulate collagen and elastin, helping your skin look smoother, brighter and more rejuvenated.

When/How to use > While it may sound uncomfortable, the process should be pain-free. Because you're dealing with electrical currents, people who are pregnant, have epilepsy, seizures, or any electronic-implanted devices like pacemakers or cochlear implants or metal braces should steer clear of the treatment! Otherwise at home, the device can be used every other day.

What About Skincare/Aging Supplements?

A plethora of gummies, supplements, and liquid collagens have exploded onto the market, touting dewy skin from within... but do they actually work? The consensus is that overall health will win out over any skin care supplement. Whilst we are not against supplements, especially during menopause when we can need a boost - we've written all about them here! - overall skin health relies on too many factors to be treated by just one thing (collagen, vitamin D, vitamin C, H2O, etc. etc.). However, there is some suggestion that higher doses of oral Vitamin C is good for skin, so enjoy those cuties! Otherwise, save your money for delicious whole foods, and ditch the expensive gummies!

What Else Plays A Role in Skincare? This seems like a repetition of the first part?

Want skin to be DEWY? Remember DEWSS (Diet, Exercise, Water, Stress, Sun) These all play a role in skin health (and overall health), as well as skin hydration and elasticity.

DIET = Sugars, caffeine, refined carbs, processed foods, high sodium intake, and alcohol, all contribute to skin 'negatives' (think redness, water loss, puffiness etc.) in different ways. Conversely, fruits and veggies contain tons of necessary vitamins and minerals that our skin (and whole body!) needs!

EXERCISE = Exercise, aside from helping boost collagen production, also increases happy hormones, reduces stress, and increases blood flow. All of these are factors in whole body - and yes, skin! - health.

WATER = Water is the holy grail of skin care, humble and easy to forget about in a sea of juice, wine, tea, and coffee - but, water is king! Dehydrated skin lacks moisture from the inside. It may appear not only dry and itchy but also dull, uneven, and wrinkled. You can even detect dehydration through your skin, so drink up (pure H2O!).

STRESS/SLEEP = Stress is pretty debilitating for many of our organs. Lack of sleep isn't great either, but many of us are chronically stressed and tired. Stress can contribute to weight fluctuations that age our skin, and lack of sleep can have us reaching for quick sugars and caffeine to help combat fatigue - also, not great. Think about ditching screens, taking time to meditate, and getting a sleep schedule lined up that helps you prioritize your Zen and your Zzz's!

SUN = Ok, we all know this one. The solution is simple: sun-hats, SPF, and shade! The sun can increase risk of melanoma, increase discoloration a.k.a. sun spots, as well as increase fine lines.

Why care about your skin? Your skin is the largest organ in the body - it is a critical barrier to keep the bad things out. Love on your skin to keep the inside strong and healthy!