Clients’ worries about wrinkles, dark spots and other aging skin concerns aren’t all vanity, a new poll reveals. According to research by Penn Schoen Berland, 42 percent of women age 50 to 59 believe they need to look young to be successful professionally. “Increasingly, both men and women have anxiety about looking older, but the good news is that science has developed natural tools to help us look younger longer,” say Rick and Arlene Noodleman, M.D., the husband-and-wife physician team at Silicon Valley’s Age Defy Dermatology and Wellness. “Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have lost electrons through oxidation, making them unstable. If your body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to stabilize them and render them harmless, they can damage cell membranes, which eventually breaks down the proteins that support and plump the skin,” says Arlene. “We’re bombarded by free radicals every day”, she says. “They’re in the environment – diesel exhaust, air pollution, UV radiation, and cigarette smoke are all major producers.” As clients age, they slowly lose their natural defenses against these free radicals and visible damage multiplies.
Clinical studies have found that certain vitamins containing antioxidants are effective in preventing or correcting damage such as reducing wrinkles and dark spots. According to the Noodlemans, the following vitamins are effective in topical treatments and work well when applied to the skin.
- vitamin A—There is significant scientific evidence that the form of vitamin A called retinoid, when applied topically, can treat damage caused by sun exposure. It can soften fine lines and wrinkles and lighten dark spots. In one study, subjects had significantly fewer fine wrinkles after applying a prescription-strength retinoid cream (0.1 percent isotretinoin) once a day for 36 weeks. Of the over-the-counter retinoid products, Retinol appears most effective.
- vitamin C—Vitamin C applied topically is much more effective than taken orally. That’s because vitamin C is relatively unstable, it quickly oxidizes when exposed to air and in certain other conditions. So, to get the full benefit, you would need it in much greater amounts than you would normally consume in a tablet. You can get that benefit by using a topical formulation. Look for ‘stable’ vitamin C of the L-ascorbic variety, which offers the best protection against sun damage. It reduces lines and wrinkles, protects against sun damage, and encourages production of collagen, one of the proteins susceptible to free radical damage. Importantly, collagen is a major component—75 percent—of skin and gives it support and volume.
- vitamin B3— As a ‘damage corrector’, test-tube studies have shown that vitamin B3 boosts collagen production and clinical studies have shown that it reduces dark spots. In one significant study, 50 Caucasian women applied a 5 percent vitamin B3 solution to one side of their faces every day for 12 weeks. They had a marked reduction in dark spots, redness and yellowing, and increased elasticity. For best results, clients should buy these topical vitamin products at concentrations that have been proven effective and use them for the recommendation duration.
Rick Noodleman, M.D., a board-certified, Stanford-trained dermatologist, is an expert in the medical and surgical management of skin disease, aging skin, and advanced cosmetic techniques. Arlene Noodleman, M.D., board-certified in preventive medicine and fellowship-trained in integrative medicine, is a healthy aging expert who focuses on the whole person and strategies that facilitate the body's innate healing. Together, the couple created the Revercel product line.