ARE SILK PILLOWCASES GOOD FOR SKIN?
Silk pillowcases are lovely. They feel soft and smooth on the skin. Advice from "skincare experts" regarding the benefits of silk pillowcases on social media, on-line blogs, and in health and beauty magazines is ubiquitous. Claims include they prevent acne and wrinkles. The use of a silk pillowcase supposedly prevents split ends on hair. They are reported to help the skin retain moisture and minimize chemical exposure (from what particular chemicals I do not know.) Most of these "experts" are well-intentioned but are simply misinformed. Others financially benefit from their claims by selling silk pillowcases although they may still believe such claims to be true. Let's be clear: There are no scientific studies that correlate the use of a silk pillowcase with improved skin or hair health. There is no evidence that sleeping on a silk pillowcase minimizes acne breakouts, minimizes the formation of facial wrinkles, prevents split ends or chemical exposure. So don't expect healthier skin or hair from making such a purchase.
However, silk pillowcases are beautiful. They are a true luxury!
THE BEST ANTI-AGING PRODUCT
Other than sun avoidance, sunscreen application is the single most effective anti-aging preventative. Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause discoloration and wrinkling of the skin. Compare the skin on the face or chest with skin on unexposed areas of the body, like the breast or buttocks. Unexposed and exposed skin are the same age but unexposed skin always appears less wrinkled and more evenly pigmented, it has better tone and texture. Sunscreen prevents the skin discoloration and wrinkling and, as recent studies suggest, may even improve skin tone and texture.
Skincare moisturizers that claim to be "anti-aging" or "age defying" fill drugstore shelves. They often contain "marketing tool" ingredients that have never proven to rid of wrinkles or fine lines, certainly not at the concentrations used in the over-the counter (OTC) formulations. The fact remains, science has yet to find a single ingredient or product that can reverse or slow the aging process. In addition, by law, any skincare product sold in the United States that claims to actually change the skin is classified as a drug and must get FDA pre-market approval. It cannot be sold as an OTC cosmetic. (Cosmetic vs. Drug) Terms like "anti-aging" and "age defying" seen on skincare product labels are brilliant marketing phrases. The true benefit of including these terms on facial moisturizer labels, increased sales!
SKINCARE PRODUCT SELECTION ADVICE
With so many over-the-counter (OTC) skincare products available, selecting a quality moisturizer, cleanser or sunscreen can be overwhelming. Our Product Selector simplifies the process for you.
Consider these three FryFace rules:
1. There is no correlation between the cost of a skincare product and the efficacy of that product.
2. Science has shown that the regular use of moisturizer and sunscreen is beneficial to human health and well-being.
3. Science has yet to discover a single ingredient that can reverse or slow the aging process. Be cautious of "miracle" products. They don't exist!
OTC cosmetics, including "anti-aging" creams, "anti-wrinkle" creams, firming creams, toning creams, night creams and eye creams ARE moisturizers. Their ability to temporarily improve skin appearance is determined by the product's ability to increase the water content of skin. If these products could actually change the skin, by law, they would be considered drugs and require pre-market approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)
Buy skincare products from nationally and internationally recognized brands. These companies have the resources to purchase quality ingredients and manufacture effective and affordable products that can be found in local drugstores and retail shops. Major manufacturers have the highest of safety standards and a reputation at stake!
Hyaluronic acid is also known as hyaluronan. It is a carbohydrate, or more specifically a mucopolysaccharide found in abundance in almost every cell of the body. It is a very large molecule and can be several thousand sugar molecules long.
Hyaluronic acid is a major component of connective tissue in the body and is also found in between cells. It is found in all bones and cartilage, a part of tendons and ligaments, in lips, and in greatest concentrations, in the skin. Almost half of the body's hyaluronic acid is found in skin. When not bound to other molecules, hyaluronic acid is bound to water. This large molecule has the ability to bind to a great deal of water! It is this property of hyaluronic acid that helps keep the skin healthy. As we age, the skin's ability to produce hyaluronic acid decreases.
Since hyaluronic acid is such a large molecule, it is unable to penetrate the 20 most superficial layers of the outer skin (stratum corneum), even in the presence of vitamin C, and pass into the deeper layers of either the epidermis (the top layer of skin) or into the dermis (the middle layer where wrinkling and fine lines are formed). Despite marketing claims by certain manufacturers that the formulation contains "low molecular weight" hyaluronic acid, reliable, reproducible science proving deep penetration of hyaluronic acid doesn't exist to support those claims. However, the ability of this large molecule to bind water helps hydrate the outer layers of skin, thereby improving the skin's appearance.
In skincare products, hyaluronic acid is used as a humectant, a substance that helps the skin hold onto water. In addition, it is used to help thicken the aqueous (water) portion of cosmetics and personal care products.
As for the claims that hyaluronic acid is the "key to the fountain of youth"....well, I'm sorry to say, marketing hype. Science has yet to find a single ingredient, molecule or product that can reverse or slow the aging process.
WHICH CLEANSER IS BEST?
All cleansers, whether they are facial cleansers or body cleansers, are formulated with surface active agents (surfactants) that lower the surface tension on the skin. These ingredients facilitate the removal of dirt, oils, skin cells and makeup, and allow the water to rinse away unwanted bacteria from the skin surface while causing minimal or no damage to the superficial layer of skin that is responsible for keeping the skin hydrated.
True "soap" is a fatty acid alkali salt made by combining a fat with a very strong base (lye). True soap has a very high pH (9-10), has very strong detergent properties and can therefore, clean the skin very effectively. Unfortunately, it also removes the lipids and proteins needed to maintain healthy skin. As a result, true soap can be very drying and irritating, especially for those with sensitive skin or patients who suffer from certain skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis. e.g. Ivory Soap
Synthetic detergents, or syndet bars, are formulated with milder synthetic surfactants that remove unwanted dirt and skin debris without causing the dryness and irritation of true soap. Unfortunately, however, they do not clean as well. This type of cleanser contains less than 10% true soap and has a more skin favorable pH (5-7). e.g. Dove and Oil of Olay Beauty Bars
Combar cleansers combine true soap with syndets to create a more effective cleanser but ones that are less damaging to the skin than true soap. Many of these bars add fragrance. e.g. Dial and Irish Spring bars
Liquid free cleansers are formulated without fats. These types of cleansers are ideal for individuals with dry skin. Their ability to lift skin oils and dirt is less than the bar cleansers described above so are best used in areas that do not need excessive cleansing. e.g. Cetaphil liquid cleanser
Cleansing creams, like Pond's Cold Cream, is formulated with water, occlusives, like petrolatum and beeswax, or mineral oil. Cleansing creams have been used to remove makeup and dirt at the same time.
Oil cleansers have become the latest craze. The thought that oil dissolves oil is the anecdotal premise behind this cleansing modality. In addition, oils lack the irritating surfactants found in cleansers. Many different types of oils have been used (Argan oil, Jojoba oil), each containing varying concentrations of fatty acids. Some individuals experience facial breakouts with the use of some of these oils. Acne sufferers beware!
"Micellar water" is a very clever marketing term for a water based non-soap cleanser. When oily dirt is mixed with a surfactant containing cleanser, the surfactant molecules arrange themselves into tiny clusters called micelles. All surfactants have a water-loving end and an oil-loving end. When oil and water mix, the water-loving ends of the surfactants face outwards towards the water and the oil-loving ends of the surfactants face inward towards the dirt or oil. The micelle is now water-soluble and can wash the dirt away. Micellar water is a soap free surfactant containing water-based cleanser!
So which cleanser is best? That clearly depends on the formulation of the cleanser and the goal of the consumer. The most important information on a skincare product, including cleansers, is the ingredient listing!
For your convenience select a quality cleanser using the Product Selector
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Welcome to Fully Exposed
Hello, and welcome to FryFace!
I've been a New York based dermatologist for over 25 years. I love music. I love triathlons. I love chemistry. (I love petroleum jelly.) I study skincare ingredients and product formulation. I listen to skincare "advice" from self-proclaimed ......Read More