Term Paper: Holistic Skin Care Verses Conventional Skin Care Slowing Down the Aging Process

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Holistic Skin Care vs. Conventional Skin Care

What are the advantages of using holistic sources to care for your skin? Are conventional skin creams worthless in comparison with holistic applications? This paper will examine holistic skin care and review issues associated with holistic skin care.

The Human Skin Issues: Background

The good and the bad of UV: During the daytime hours our skin absorbs a number of non-beneficial elements. The sun itself sends ultraviolet rays into the skin, which are useful and dangerous at the same time. The ultraviolet (UV) assist the body in producing Vitamin D, according to Paulla Estes (Estes, 2003, www.wisegeek.com). Vitamin D strengthens bones and teeth and Estes says Vitamin D "helps our bodies build immunities to such diseases as Rickets and colon cancer." UV rays actually slow the growth of skin cells, Estes explains, and by slowing the growth of skin cells the UV rays can actually help prevent the outbreak of the itchy patches that can become psoriasis. Indeed, in some cases UV rays are used to treat psoriasis.

However when a person stays out in the sun too long UV rays can become extremely harmful unless proper protection is applied to the skin for protection. Sunburn is very common, and it is actually "the damage caused to skin cells" when they absorb too much energy from the UV rays (Estes). What actually happens to some people with severe sunburns is skin cancer. And eyes can be damaged by prolonged exposure to UV rays as well, eventually leading to cataracts.

Besides UV rays the skin contends with other "environmental stressors" like pollution and smoke from cigarettes (Saint Louis, 2009). These so-called stressors can contribute to the aging of the skin -- a condition that women especially try to avoid.

Conventional Skin Care Products

That's why marketers of beauty products suggest that a woman should make sure to put a skin cream of her choice on her face and arms. "At nighttime, skin does its repair," according to Kristine Cryer, VP for Product Development at a company called StriVectin, quoted in the New York Times article (by Catherine Saint Louis). Just to give an idea of how many skin lotions and skin treatments are out there competing for consumer's attention and dollars, the New York Times' article claims that there were "55 nighttime skin care products" that debuted this year (2009). In 2007 there were only 40 new treatments put on the market. The demand for facial creams and lotions is obviously not lessening by any stretch of the imagination.

The sales of "nighttime facial moisturizers" in the first half of 2009 reached "an estimated $43 million," Saint Louis explains. The sales of "specialized nighttime treatments -- mostly concentrated serums -- totaled roughly $17 million," according to Karen Grant, VP for beauty at the NPD Group. What are these conventional applications expected to do for women's skin? StriVectin's latest product is called "Overnight Facial Resurfacing Serum" and it isn't cheap ($59.00). The product promises to dissolve gently "…surface imperfections, minimizing the appearance of large pores, evening skin tone and improving the overall health of skin for a smoother, younger-looking, more vibrant complexion" (Saint Louis, 2009).

Estee Lauder offers something called "Synchronized Recovery Complex," a $47.50 "Advanced Night Repair" serum that supposedly makes certain "cells work together for optimal repair of all the damage that occurred during the day" (Saint Louis). It is clear that cosmetic companies are selling the idea that nighttime is the right time for women to regenerate, restore, resurface, and rejuvenate the skin. But are these products really worth the price that consumers pay? Does skin repair really go into high gear at night?

There is "no scientific proof that skin repair actually ramps up at night," according to dermatologists (Saint Louis). In fact, Dr. Jenny Kim, professor of dermatology at UCLA explains, "Our skin doesn't wait for nighttime repair. We are constantly repairing our skin and responding to stressors." And while Estee Lauder claims that the "Advanced Night Repair" serum can actually "synchronize" clock genes to enhance the process of skin repair, that may be a stretch, according to the Times' writer Saint Louis. Yes, it has been verified through empirical research by molecular biologist Dr. Susana B. Zanello that there are clock genes in the skin; but Zanello told the Times she doesn't know "whether the synchronization of clock genes may enhance the process of the skin. I didn't prove it" (Saint Louis).

Given that consumers cannot really know if the claims of conventional skin care products are true, and the so-called remedies for aging skin are very expensive, the next place a person can turn is holistic skin care.

Holistic Skin Care

Tammy Fender is a purveyor of holistic processes that she believes produce healthier skin. An article about Fender -- published in Town & Country Magazine (Judar, 2008) -- explains that beauty goes much deeper than skin. In the morning, first thing, Fender recommends a cup of "room-temperature water with about a quarter of an organic lemon squeezed into it" (Judar). The reason for lemon is that it stimulates the digestive system and "detoxifies the skin, which is an eliminating organ," Fender explains. Next, the morning should be a time when people drink juice. "When you drink juice, the fruit and vegetable enzymes, also known to improve digestion," reach the bloodstream in a hurry," Fender goes on. She suggests a juice blend of apple juice with lemon, cucumber and celery as a "cleansing blend"; when a person drinks two eight-ounce glasses of juice daily, the skin will look "more radiant" (Judar).

But for healthier skin the holistic way one must also do more than drink healthy juices; Fender says to get involved in some exercise every day. "Circulation brings oxygen to your cells and is key to cell renewal," she contends. Fender also recommends applying essential oils to the skin -- in particular "Bulgarian rose" is the "most potent cell rejuvenator of them all" (Judar). One of two drops of Bulgarian rose on clean skin daily and "you'll start to see a chance," Fender asserts. As a way to avoid stress -- a cause of poor skin due to the nervous system's response to stress -- Fender recommends "daily meditation" and being "peaceful" for long periods can ease the stress and improve skin condition (Judar).

Meantime the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners (AHSCP) point out on their Web site that "Crushed Amber Facial" scrub can reduce "signs of sun damage" and smooth and "firm your skin and rejuvenate your entire being" (AHSCP). Crushed Amber scrub contains succinic acid, co-enzyme Q-10, a blend of "natural vitamins and soy phospholipids" -- and when penetrated into one's skin with "ultra-sound," a reflexology massage with "warm herbal compresses" the skin purportedly will take on "an amber glowing velvety" texture (AHSCP).

Another holistic skin care product discussed by AHSCP is called "Elina Bioenergetic Ambra-Lift Elixir" -- allegedly "scientifically proven to produce anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects after 48 hours" (AHSCP). Anna Langerveld presented the scientific "proof" that this product actually helps skin look healthier, PhD. Langerveld applied Ambra-Lift Skin Elixir to "cultured skin cells for 48 hours" and then analyzed the expression of 91 genes that are supposed to regulate biological processes designed to maintain healthy skin.

The results of Langerveld's research, called "state-of-the-art genetic testing," revealed that Ambra-Lift activates "Sirtuin-1," which is a key "anti-aging gene" (www.PRWeb.com). Previous to the research on Ambra-Lift, only "Resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of grapes and red wine," is known to naturally stimulate Sirtuin-1 in human beings, according to the Web site www.bio-medicine.org. How does Ambra-Lift stimulate Sirtuin-1? By using one of the latest genomic testing tools available, quantitative real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), the researcher is able to measure what… [END OF PREVIEW]

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