What’s the key to having youthful, clear-looking skin? Collagen, Moisturizing, Exfoliating, Microneedling, Retinol? There is so much that contributes to happy and healthy skin, but it can be difficult to stay on top of all the most recent tips and trends. Then, on the contrary, there are plenty of lifestyle factors that can contribute to damaging our skin; sun, poor hygiene, incorrect skincare products, stress, diet, exercise – it feels like you just can’t win!
On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely had an impact on how we go about our daily lives, and not just for our work-life routines, but also for how we look after our body. Aging, acne, pigmentation and other skin-related conditions can have a strong impact on how we feel and interact within our day, and some of us really take pride in how we can best look after our skin.
So now that the pandemic is coming to a close, and as we can start to get back to the living our lives the way we love, let’s take a bit of a refresher course in all things skin with 8 West Clinics 8 Best Skincare Tips and Treatments:
Drinking water is possibly the number one suggestion that you will be given for anything health-related; weight loss, dental health, skincare – water is almost literally the fountain of health.
While there actually aren’t many studies out there that conclusively determine that water will undoubtedly improve your skin health. However, amongst what research has been done, there are findings that suggest drinking plenty of water aids deep skin hydration, reduces signs of dryness and roughness, and will increase the elasticity of the skin. Furthermore, research into skin hydration has shown that severe dehydration results in a loss of elasticity in the skin.
The primary consensus that research and medical professionals present is that, when it comes to skincare, hydration is a foundational layer. Drinking upwards of 1.5 litres of water a day will almost undoubtedly support your skin’s health, but won’t fundamentally change how it looks or feels in the same way skincare or injectables might.
Here is something that has plenty of research backing it, and something we cannot say enough; sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! But why, exactly?
Living in Vancouver, between the months of October and May, it can be easy to forget that there is a giant ball of gas and plasma (aka the sun) that is ferociously firing warmth and radiation at us. All-year ‘round, while the sun is warming our seas, and providing food to our plants, it is also giving off UVA and UVB radiation. UVB rays, or as they are more commonly known, “the ones that help us tan, or burn” are less prevalent in winter, mornings and evenings. UVB rays affect the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) and cause superficial damage. UVA rays, on the other hand, are here to stay; with UVA rays being prevalent 95% of the year, and these penetrate the skin deeper, reaching the dermis and can cause permanent damage to the skin (i.e. skin aging).
Using products to help protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays are key to keeping your skin safe and youthful. A good sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is recommended to help stave off the Sun’s harmful rays. Combined with a potent topical antioxidant (Vitamin C Serum) such as SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, helps to further protect your skin from UVA rays and other free radicals.
When it comes to many different skin factors, such as pigmentation, aging and acne, it can be difficult to find the right balance of hydration for your skin through moisturizers.
For those with very oily skin, which can often result in congestion and acne, people commonly think that the best way to combat this is to not use moisturizer and dry the skin out. What this actually can do is encourage your skin to over-produce oil to compensate for the moisture you are purposefully taking away, which results in even oiler skin than you started with.
The same works in reverse for those who have dryer or combination skin. As your skin can only absorb so much topical moisture, any additional product will just be left on the surface of your skin; happily gathering up dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria, resulting in congestion and break-outs.
When it comes to finding the right moisturizer, it is best to seek the advice of a skincare professional who can determine your skin type, and suggest the best products and active ingredients for your skin. Sometimes finding the perfect product can be a careful balancing act that may take months, but once you finally find your match made in moisturizer Heaven, you won’t know how you lived without it!
Another skincare treatment that you may hear skin aestheticians and dermatologists rave about is Retinol (or Retinoids). Retinol is derived from Vitamin-A, and works by prompting the surface skin cells to rapidly turnover, encouraging new cell growth. Retinol impedes the breakdown of collagen, and thickens the deeper layers of the skin, which is where wrinkles get their debut.
We suggest starting with a low percentage of Retinol (0.25% or lower) once a week, and slowly increasing the frequency as your skin gets used to the product, and the goal is to work your way up to using this 2-3 times a week. Once you get to 2-3 times a week with the lower percentage, and you notice you aren’t peeling as much, then bring up the percentage by a fraction (e.g. from 0.25% to 0.5%) and repeat the process.
When you first start using Retinol, you should expect peeling and dry, flaky skin anywhere from 3-6 days after using the product, so if you have an important event coming up, try and do this at least a week beforehand.
Please note: at 8 West Clinic, we suggest that people who are pregnant or are breast/chest feeding shouldn’t use Retinol during this period. It is also recommended that if you are starting out with this product, to avoid this during the summer months, and wait for Fall and Winter, as it does make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. If you are a Retinol pro, then your skin will be a bit more used to this and therefore it is okay to use during summer (but only if you are using your sunscreen).
Ah yes, that part of your skincare routine that just FEELS like it’s doing all the right things. Cleaning off all the dirt, oil and dead skin cells off your face with a nice foamy cleanser, followed by a revitalizing exfoliation – it just makes your skin feel so fresh and rejuvenated.
There are multiple types of cleansers and exfoliators; some with manual exfoliation beads, and some that are chemical exfoliants, or cleansers with active ingredients perfect for oily skin, or those to soothe and clean highly sensitive skin. Whatever the combination, it is important to find the right cleanser and exfoliant for your skin type, so you are not only cleaning your skin the best way you can, but also ensuring that you are not exasperating the problem further and doing damage to your skin.
The five primary skin types are: normal, dry, oily, combination (both oily and dry skin) and sensitive. Finding the right products for your skin type can be a life changer, and just like finding the perfect moisturizer, finding the perfect cleanser and exfoliant can be a careful balancing act that takes time.
8 West Clinic offers free consultations to simply help determine the right types of products for your skin. We can suggest 2 or 3 key products for you, or suggest an entire skincare routine if you need – and just as we strive to find the perfect routine for your skin, we can also help find the perfect routine for your budget. You and your skin are our priority!
Acne can sometimes seem like quite a beast of a topic, and it can be difficult to get a handle on. Treating acne often involves many factors, and there is a lot that contributes to active acne; puberty, diet, hormones, genetics, lifestyle – sometimes it almost seems impossible to get under control.
Those with oily or combination skin types are typically more prone to acne, as their sebaceous glands are producing excess sebum. When sebum is left to sit on the skin and combines with dirt and dead skin cells, this clogs the pores and with the help of bacteria, creates the dreaded blackhead, whitehead or pimple.
When it comes down to treating acne, a good action plan is to have a tailored and consistent skincare routine to clean and exfoliate away the excess sebum, dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria, while taking care to not disturb the natural balance of your skin. It is also important to use products that will not only clean the skin, but aid in the health and healing of your skin to help reduce the chance of scarring.
Along with skincare products, there are some treatments that you can get to help give your skin a boost to both prevent and treat acne (as well as acne scarring). Routine chemical facial treatments like an Acne Peel, or manual exfoliation treatments like the Hydrafacial are a great way to give your skin that extra kick in needs to fight acne.
The final tool in your acne-fighting arsenal is using light therapies like the Broadband Light (BBL) Therapy, also known as IPL. The BBL therapy uses broad-spectrum light energy that is adjusted and customized to penetrate the epidermis (the layer of the skin where acne lies) and kills the bacteria that causes acne.
Acne can affect people in different ways, as those with healthier, stronger skin are often able to heal a majority of their acne, resulting in little to no scarring. Those who may genetically have less healthy skin, or do not take as good care of it, can unfortunately see more aggressive acne scarring. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments that can help resurface the skin and reduce, or even clear away acne scarring.
For younger patients, and those with more recent acne scarring, a great place to start is with Microneedling. This treatment, as the name suggests, uses a pen that contains tiny needles that make thousands of microscopic channels in the upper layer of your skin. This controlled wounding is what stimulates your body’s natural healing response, producing collagen and elastin to help renew and rejuvenate your skin.
For patients who have older scars, which are more set into the deeper layers of the skin, this is where laser treatments, such as Halo or ProFractional Laser have the best chance of resurfacing the skin and removing those scars.
The exact treatment plan depends on a number of factors, such as the severity and the age of the scarring, but Halo and ProFractional laser can also be utilized in tandem to achieve outstanding results. These laser treatments work by completely resurfacing the top layer of the skin (the epidermis), and also penetrating into the dermis layer of the skin; which is where the scarring sits. By simultaneously resurfacing the skin, and triggering both layer’s natural healing response, this stimulates large amounts of collagen and elastin to bring about new skin and cellular growth.
Collagen is one of the hottest topics when it comes to skincare and anti-aging, which is understandable as it is literally the protein that holds us together. When it comes to our skin, collagen is what keeps our skin from sagging, and provides us with a plump, youthful appearance, so it’s no surprise that as we age, we look for ways to restore collagen within our bodies and our skin. So here are some at-home things you can do for collagen production in your skin and body, as well as medical-grade aesthetic treatments to really boost you up!
Collagen At Home – A great way you can help provide your body with more collagen is to take supplements in the form of powders or oils. The great benefit here is that this won’t only help your skin, but your muscle tissue, bones, and hair as well. Bovine and Marine Collagen are two great sources of collagen with high bioavailability, both of which we stock at 8 West Clinic.
Also, as previously mentioned, Retinol is a great at-home treatment that you can easily do to help stimulate collagen for your skin. Another fun tip is that Retinol doesn’t only have to go on your face, but can be used for other parts of your body. Apply it to your body, butt, or legs – anywhere you want to restore collagen and help strengthen your skin. Do note that Retinol can be quite harsh on sensitive skin, so avoid the eye area and other fragile places.
Low-Downtime Medical-Grade Treatments – If you are wanting a bit more of a boost to your collagen and are looking towards a medical-grade treatment or something similar, then look no further than Microneedling. As highlighted earlier as a great way to treat mild acne scarring, this is also just a great way to promote collagen growth in the skin and give yourself a youthful, radiant glow! Microneedling also has the great benefit of having a very low downtime, so you can get back to your daily routine within 24 hours (perhaps with some makeup if you are a bit red and puffy) and results are seen within a week!
Advanced Laser Treatments – Here we are: the holy grail of collagen boosting skin treatments; lasers. We have discussed how Halo and ProFractional Laser treatments are fantastic for resurfacing and reducing acne scarring, and a lot of that has to do with its superior ability to stimulate collagen production. The same can be said for treating the signs of aging, other scars (such as surgical scars) and for overall skin health. The beauty of treatments like Halo and ProFractional Laser is that it has the ability to create microchannels deep into the dermis, and across multiple layers of the skin, to stimulate collagen production through and where static wrinkles and lines form.
We of course couldn’t help but sneak in a 9th tip for skincare, which is to have a in-person consultation to discuss all of your skincare concerns and goals with a specialist. The science behind skincare and skin health is something that not only requires extensive education and training, but years of experience in understanding how unique everyone’s skin is.
Our skin is the largest organ in the body, so it deserves just much as expert advice as your brain, liver or heart. To really understand your skin, and understand your options, many skin clinics offer free consultations. 8 West Clinic is one of such clinics, so feel free to give us a call on (604) 733-1669 and simply start the conversation. With over 25 years experience, our team is dedicated to results, ongoing education, gold standard technology, and best-in-class skincare products—because you and your skin deserve nothing but the best.