Our skin does not exist in a void--everything in our environment works to set off a cascade of activity deep under the surface of our complexion. And the effects of those environmental factors are ultimately visible each time we look in the mirror.
To fully understand how the world we live in impacts how quickly our skin ages, we need to start with its barrier. Also known as the acid mantle, the skin’s barrier is responsible for locking in skin-beautifying lipids and moisture, while blocking out germs, pollution, toxins, and bacteria. To function at its best, the skin’s barrier needs to stay in a state of ideal pH balance. When it’s too alkaline, skin becomes dry and sensitive (you may even get eczema). A common symptom is inflammation, which impedes the skin’s ability to fight off the MMP enzymes that terrorize your collagen and elastin. In fact, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, women with an alkaline stratum corneum (the skin’s outermost layer) developed more fine lines and crow’s feet than over an 8-year period. Even worse, when the skin’s protective barrier becomes too alkaline, it isn’t able to actually protect against environmental factors that further damage our complexions.
It’s an evil cycle: environmental and lifestyle factors throw the barrier out of whack, which impedes its ability to protect against those same damaging factors.
“UV damage and other environmental aggressors break down the collagen and elastin fibers our skin needs to give it structure—so it can expand, stretch, and bounce back to a tighter appearance,” says Rosalba Martone, Perricone MD Director of Education.
“We need to protect the collagen and elastin that makes up our skin in order to help ward off fine lines, wrinkles & a loss of firmness.”
Read on to learn more about how environmental factors are damaging that precious barrier, and how Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum is a breakthrough in protecting skin and improving the appearance of existing damage.
THE 5 ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS GUILTY OF AGING YOUR SKIN
FACTOR #1: UV RAYS
Only 14 percent of women wear sunscreen daily, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. And even those who do slather it on every day may not be getting nearly as much protection as they think. Anything less than the perfect dose provides less than the SPF on the label (so a 50 can quickly become a 15).
More bad news: Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean your skin is safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Whether you’re sitting in gridlock or in your corner office, if you’re by a window, you’re exposed to UVA rays—those that are responsible for aging instead of burning. And applying SPF every morning isn’t enough, as it’s only effective for about 3 hours.
Chronic sun exposure is directly linked to uneven skin tone, as well as an increase in lines and wrinkles because of the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
FIX IT WITH: ENCAPSULATED RETINOL
What it is:
Retinol (a derivative of vitamin A) is the gold standard when it comes to fighting signs of aging & sun damage like improving the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots, and minimizing the appearance of pores while maintaining the skin’s pH balance.
What it does:
Retinol ramps up exfoliation, helping to promote the turnover of new skin cells while speeding up the shedding of dead cell layers.
Retinoids (such as Retin A or retinoic acid) mimic the master control gene that drives skin development, so they actually trick your skin into developing new collagen and elastin.
Numerous studies have shown that retinoids reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles & discoloration by accelerating surface skin exfoliation & renewal.
However, retinol can also dry and irritate skin, making it a no-go for people with sensitive skin. Plus, retinol becomes less stable (and therefore less effective) when exposed to air and sunlight. The game-changer for retinol is the encapsulation process, which means that it is encased in shell materials such as polysaccharides (gums, starches, celluloses), proteins like gelatin or soy; lipids like waxes, paraffin, and oils; or synthetic polymers. Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum uses a polymer matrix shell to protect the retinol from oxidation, degradation and evaporation. Plus, the encapsulation creates a unique slow-release carrier system that helps calm the skin and make the retinol experience less irritating, explains Martone.
FACTOR #2: DRY AIR
Whether you’re exposed to dry air because you live in a hot dry climate, or you spend the winter months indoors with the heat pumping (and no humidifier), it’s bad news for your complexion. That’s because dry air can make your skin age faster. A Japanese study tracked volunteers as they smiled in a room that had a humidity level of either 10 percent or 80 percent. They used special technology to see how the expression of smiling caused their skin to fold. And wouldn’t you know it: The faces of volunteers in the dry (low-humidity) rooms were stiffer. Their folds weren’t just more pronounced while they smiled, but remained that way even after their faces relaxed.
FIX IT WITH: EGGSHELL MEMBRANE
What it is:
“The thin layer that lines the eggshell is designed to nourish and protect the precious egg components,” says Martone “Working like a gatekeeper, it delivers three-dimensional results, giving the appearance of collagen-rich skin with improved elasticity. It’s protective, regenerating, and moisturizing.”
What it does:
Because the eggshell membrane is made of insoluble protein keratin, it acts as a barrier between environmental aggressors and skin. In nature, its job is to make sure the egg embryo receives all of the antioxidants and nutrients it needs to survive and thrive, and these benefits carry over to the skin when it’s applied topically. In a 2014 study, researchers found that egg shell membrane was proven to energize the skin, making it appear collagen-rich and more youthful. It can help act as a barrier to the dry air, keeping moisture where it should be--in the dermis.
FACTOR #3: HARD WATER
Most tap water contains minerals like phosphorus and chlorine, both of which dry out skin and cause a buildup that can shift your pH balance. Exposing your skin to these chemicals as you bathe strip it and make it too alkaline. In fact, the lipid barrier of your skin—the one that holds all the healthy fats that keep skin soft and plump—is worn away every time it comes into contact with this water. Over time, skin gets drier and stiffer, and is more prone to sensitivity and wrinkling.
FIX IT WITH: POLYAMINE GROWTH FACTOR
What it is:
Our bodies are loaded with growth factors—the large proteins that float between cells, signaling growth, healing, and cell survival. In the skin, there are two types: keratinocytes, which you see every time you look at your skin because they live in our epidermis; and two forms that live deep down in the dermis –fibroblasts, which pump out collagen, and melanocytes, which make pigment.
What it does:
The whole idea behind these growth factors is that they speak to the cells, telling them to create more healthy cells, or instructing them to repair damaged cells. When hard water chemicals create micro-injuries on the skin, our fibroblasts then spring into action, forcing the body to create more collagen to make up for what’s being depleted in your skin from environmental bad guys.
“Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum contains the highest concentration of polyamine growth factor available to counteract the skins reduction of growth factors as we age,” explains Martone. “It improves the feel of skin, increases elasticity, and helps promote the look of youthful, collagen-rich and visibly firmer skin by replenishing moisture.”
FACTOR #4: POLLUTION
You don’t have to live in a smog-infested city to know that pollution is all around us, and it’s a big problem. What may appear as fresh, clean air is likely filled with tiny, invisible-to-the-eye particulates dirt, exhaust, and other pollutants. Unfortunately, these particles are usually able to penetrate the skin’s protective barrier and wreak havoc deep below the surface, causing inflammation, dehydration, and amping up the production of MMPs. Yes, these are the enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles and sagging.
FIX IT WITH: EGGSHELL MEMBRANE, RETINOL, AND POLYAMINE GROWTH FACTOR
What it is:
Combined in Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum, the fusion of these three ingredients stimulates our skin’s own protective properties.
“The eggshell eggshell membrane and encapsulated retinol renew skin's appearance,” explains. Martone, “and the polyamine growth factor can help reinforce the skin so it appears more youthful and collagen-rich.”
“The new Perricone MD product contains synthetic polyamine skin growth factor, which is believed to be superior to other options,” says Perricone MD Chief Innovation Officer Chris Caires. Perricone’s synthetic form is bioengineered to better penetrate the skin’s surface.
FACTOR #5: HARSH CLIMATES
Winter is the most difficult time for skin, according to many dermatologists.
Frigid temperatures can sap the moisture out of even the most perfectly balanced, radiant complexion. Ice, wind, snow--these conditions suck the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dull and dry, as well as itchy and irritated.
Additionally, certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, become aggravated in the winter.
This skin-destroying process is actually called transepidermal water loss—or TEWL, and it occurs when the harsh, cold air dehydrates the skin by triggering inflammation, disrupting the skin’s protective barrier and allowing water loss through that broken barrier.
FIX IT WITH: EGGSHELL MEMBRANE
What it is:
The thin layer that lines the eggshell is designed by Mother Nature to nourish and protect the precious egg components. It provides all of the nutrients and factors the embryo needs to develop in a short period of time, supplying both antioxidants and nutrients. Working like a gatekeeper, it delivers three-dimensional results—supporting skin's structure and improving its appearance.
What it does:
A 2016 study studied the wrinkle depth of volunteers--both those who applied eggshell membrane topically and those who didn’t. Researchers found that eggshell membrane reduced roughness, contour, and wrinkle depth. Additionally, they saw a reduction in the appearance of redness - more fibroblasts were created and skin was better able to fight off free radicals to help better support the skin’s lipid barrier.
THE NEXT GENERATION IN ANTI-POLLUTION SKINCARE
Instead of simply focusing on nourishing the skin cells, Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum supports/reinforces the skin and visibly improves damage – including the five main factors mentioned here. The key to its efficacy lies in the combination of three multi-faceted, mega-ingredients that protect and renew—think of them as that precious bubble supporting the skin's collagen and elastin for a healthy, youthful appearance.
At Perricone MD, skin aging isn’t just a biological issue we all face, it’s a combination of internal and environmental aggressors that actively attack our skin both inside and outside our home. Keeping skin acting youthful, while also looking and feeling it’s healthiest takes innovative, effective ingredients in combination with a simple skincare routine. Sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram so you know when our new super-hero product, High Potency Firming & Lifting Serum, comes out!