Rare is the woman who can indulge with abandon at dessert and not wonder where a little extra wobble might show up later. We all know that when it comes to our bodies, sugar is a sly villain—falling prey to its siren song (presumably something like an Oompa Loompa ditty) will give our taste buds a hit of pleasure before wreaking havoc everywhere else. But there probably aren’t many of us who worry that eating it might also cause wrinkles—and that’s not a sweet story either.
The science is this: When you have sugar molecules in your system, they bombard the body’s cells like a meteor shower—glomming onto fats and proteins in a process known as glycation. This forms advanced glycation end products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs), which cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed. Much of what is known about glycation’s ill effects comes from diabetes research: The connective-tissue damage and chronic inflammation resulting from diabetics’ sustained high blood sugar can lead to debilitating conditions, such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s, vascular tightening, and diseases of the pancreas and liver.
The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy—collagen and elastin. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance. The presence of AGEs also makes the complexion more vulnerable to bad-news assailants such as UV light and cigarette smoke. As New York–based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, puts it: “Number one, the glucose makes the cells abnormal; and number two, it creates free radicals. So you get a double whammy when it comes to aging.”
To an extent, glycation is a fact of life. It’s happening right now, to all of us. It can even be measured: The cross-links formed between sugars and proteins emit a fluorescence, which scientists can capture using Visia complexion-analysis cameras. “If you take a fluorescent image of children, their faces will come out very dark,” says Procter & Gamble biochemist Greg Hillebrand, PhD, “but with each decade, the AGEs, and therefore the brightness, will accumulate more and more.” This means that by the time we reach our dotage, we can expect our Visia visages to resemble those of the incandescent aliens in Cocoon. The external signs of glycation show up around the age of 30 or 35, when a perfect storm of built-up sun damage, environmental oxidative stress, hormonal changes, and the development of AGEs begins to result in, well, a-g-e. “When you’re younger, your body has more resources to ward off damage, and you’re producing more collagen,” says New York– and Miami-based dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD, who in 2007 was one of the first to launch an anti-aging skin-care line specifically addressing glycation. “When you reach a certain age, these sugar by-products begin to build up at the same time that your threshold for damage is getting lower.”
Lest you rue the day you first tasted a Krispy Kreme, note: Refined sugar isn’t the only culprit. Health-nut staples such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables turn to glucose when digested too—albeit in less damaging fashion. And even if we could completely eliminate all types of sugar from our diets, we shouldn’t: It’s an essential fuel for cells and energy metabolism, critical to survival. “For most people with normal levels of glucose, the glycation process is something that happens gradually over the course of a lifetime, and it’s really not that big of a deal,” Hillebrand says, “but diet and lifestyle choices can affect how quickly the effects can be seen on the skin.” One of the key hallmarks of glycation, Hillebrand explains, is the yellowing of skin often seen prematurely in smokers. “Smoke reduces antioxidants in skin, and smokers’ vitamin C and E are being used up trying to take care of all this oxidation that’s caused by smoking, so they don’t have a lot of antioxidant potential to take care of normal processes like glycation,” he says. “And if you add a high-glycemic-index diet, you’re just asking for trouble.”
While glycation can’t be completely stopped, it can be slowed (though Hillebrand says there are pharmaceutical companies working on “AGE busters” that could break the cross-links once they’ve already formed—”something that would apply to a number of diseases as well as skin aging”). From a dietary standpoint, forswearing white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup—which studies have shown increases the rate of glycation by 10 times, compared with glucose—and simple carbs is a no-brainer. “Even though all carbs get converted into sugar, when you eat the good ones, like brown rice and whole-grain bread, you get less glucose, and you get it more slowly,” Karcher says. Brandt also recommends taking supplemental carnosine, an amino acid that has been shown to protect against AGE buildup.
Skin care too makes a difference. Scientists have been on the hunt for potent antiglycation agents since the ’80s, when biochemist Anthony Cerami, PhD, found that aminoguanidine molecules block glucose-collagen pairs from forming, but products containing viable AGE fighters only began to appear on the market about five years ago with the introduction of Brandt’s Lineless range. Now that glycation is widely recognized as a major cause of aging, lots of comprehensive anti-aging creams contain AGE fighters too. Superstar multitasker green tea has been proven to significantly interfere with the glycation process while stimulating collagen synthesis—so if you’re using a product containing green tea (or drinking it regularly), you’re already protecting your skin. “Anything that stimulates the fibroblasts to build new collagen is going to help eradicate damage,” Brandt says, noting that retinoids and some dermal fillers fall into this category. “Since your body has a process where old collagen is broken down by enzymes and new collagen is generated, what’s going to happen is that the old glycated collagen will eventually be eliminated and replaced by un-glycated collagen.”
Yves Saint Laurent turned the beauty world upside down when he added cosmetics to his empire in 1978: From the outset, his shades were bright and in your face. The designer was also one of the first to inject colorful pigments into mascara—and, more than 30 years later, the trend is back. Chanel is expanding its mascara collection with navy Bleu and deeply aubergine Prune, to be followed by even more vibrant colors like yellow and aqua. Meanwhile, Saint Laurent returns to its roots in April with another extraordinary shade, Indiscreet Purple (pictured), for the launch of Volume Effet Faux Cils BabyDoll Mascara. “This is for someone who wants to stand out from the crowd,” says the company’s makeup creative director, Lloyd Simmonds.
Love to travel but hate to pack? Worried that you won’t be able to keep up with your skincare regimen while traveling? Instead of waiting until the last minute, put together a travel beauty bag ahead of time so you can focus on the rest of your to-do list. Continue reading for tips on creating or buying an affordable springtime skin care kit to toss in your suitcase.
Although it’s not quite spring, you’re probably already feeling the initial stirrings of spring fever — which may signal the perfect time to plan an out-of-town adventure. So why not get a head start on organizing your travel skincare and cosmetic kit as well? After all, a relaxing vacation shouldn’t include worrying about your skin, regretting your choice of skincare formulas or carting around a bag full of superfluous beauty products! In this article, you’ll find in-depth information to help guide you to the right products at the right prices, as well as how to keep skin healthy and balanced no matter where your travels take you this season.
Travel light. Headed to a new destination during that much-needed break from school? You’ll need a travel kit that allows you to travel light and get ready in a hurry. Spring Break Beauty: Skincare Must-Haves On Vacation is chock full of tips on how to find travel-friendly multi-tasking products, makeup that won’t spoil on the road, quick and convenient sun protection and how to easily bring your staple beauty products on the road without ending up with a leaky mess.
If you’d rather buy a ready-made kit, you have a wide array of options. Here are a few good buys:
Juice Beauty Organics To Go
Juara Glow on the Go Travel Kit
ARCONA Travel Kit Basic Five – Aging Skin
Make a list that lasts. Why make a new checklist for every trip? Make a list of the skincare products you need in different cities and climates, plus products needed for specific activities — such as a night on the town, lounging by the beach or pool or spending an afternoon waterskiing or tubing. Print it on sturdy paper and keep it readily accessible. This is especially helpful if you travel frequently for your job, or if you’re a college student or professor who gets long summer vacations.
Need some ideas to get you started? Skincare on the Go: How to Look Great While Traveling includes an easy checklist of the top items every travel kit should include, as well as instructions for creating a last-minute travel kit for a spontaneous overnight or weekend trip.
Beauty tools for the road. Need an easy way to ensure your skin and hair look great day after day? Today’s innovative beauty tools are small enough to fit in a carry-on without being too bulky. Hair tools include travel dryers and hair straighteners, such as CHI Air Compact Ceramic Dual Voltage Mini Flat Iron, a ceramic flat iron that seals cuticles and banishes frizz. For skincare, the renowned Clarisonic Mia cleansing device is just right for travel.
Prep your skin for travel before you hit the road. The best way to ensure your skin is happy and healthy despite the stresses of traveling is to give it some extra attention while you’re still at home. Allure suggests skipping any drying ingredients, such as alpha hydroxy acids, retinols or benzoyl peroxide, a few days before you leave. Risi-Leanne Baranza, editor of the beauty publication Palacinka.com, also suggests giving your skin an extra dose of moisture the night before your flight. This helps prevent dehydration caused by cabin pressure, she tells WebMD.
Bring staple products from home. There’s no need to buy all new travel-sized products. In fact, with some products it’s best not to make a sudden swap. Your cleanser is one item you should stick with no matter where you travel. “An abrupt change in cleansers can disrupt skin’s acid balance and cause a vacation breakout,” dermatologist Erin Welch tells WebMD. And if you frequently experience acne breakouts or have sensitive skin, you should continue using your daily regimen wherever you go — this isn’t a good time to find out whether your skin reacts to a new product. Instead, transfer your daily products into travel-sized bottles for easy travel.
Beauty for the business traveler. Unfortunately, some trips are more business than pleasure. If your job requires frequent travel, you’ll need to master the art of caring for your skin’s needs wherever you are. 10 Beauty Tips for the Business Traveler addresses how to combat the drying effects of airplane travel, packing a carry-on bag while complying with airport security rules and how to achieve healthy skin even when dealing with long drives or jet lag.
Last-minute suggestions. Makeup, facial cleanser, hair care products, deodorant — what are you forgetting? Here are a couple of not-so-obvious additions to your travel bag:
A sleep mask and ear plugs. Having trouble falling asleep in noisy or unfamiliar places? Need some assistance with sleeping on a red-eye? Blocking out light and noise will make it easier to get that much-needed rest so you can arrive at your destination feeling a little fresher.
Eye drops. Dry air and climate change, not to mention allergies, can leave eyes red and watery, so don’t leave home without eye drops to relieve itchiness and dryness.
Hand cream. Even if your skin is usually pretty comfortable, you should be washing your hands frequently while traveling. Unfortunately, the commercial-grade soaps used in public restrooms are harsh on the skin, esthetician Maxine Siegel tells WebMD. To help repair and restore hydration, try the ultra-protective L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream.
Nail clippers and file. Maintaining perfect nails on the road may not be a priority, but it’s smart to be prepared for a broken nail or a stubborn hangnail. Try the portable Tweezerman Nail Rescue Kit.
Acne spot treatment. Even if you don’t break out on a regular basis, it’s smart to have an emergency treatment on hand just in case, such as Ole Henriksen Roll On Blemish Attack.
Returning from your trip. After all the stress of travel is over and you’re home again, treat your skin to a reparative facial treatment like an at-home facial mask. Look for one designed to nourish and soothe your skin, like Somme Institute Boost Mask. Or, if you’re acne-prone, use a pore unclogging mask like Karuna Clarifying Mask. For additional ideas on how to rejuvenate skin, read this article: Skincare Repair: Rejuvenate Skin After Holiday Travel, Business or a Late Night Out.
Once you have the basics, skincare on the go isn’t any harder than keeping up with your everyday regimen. When you’re choosing what to bring, make sure to consider the climate of your destination, as well as the activities you’ll need to prepare for. Being more prepared now will make it a breeze to protect and care for your skin later — so you can focus on having fun!
“Retinol is a topical formulation of vitamin A in its purest form,” says Brandt. “It naturally provides a more rapid exfoliation of the skin (or skin cell renewal), which works well for its anti-aging benefits as well as acne control and prevention.”
Think stress is just limited to how you are feeling on the inside? Think again. The turmoil of stress can take a serious toll on your skin, showing up as acne, redness, dryness and even speeding up the signs of aging by giving way to fine lines and wrinkles. “All of these conditions come back to the same thing: Stress inhibits your skin’s ability to heal itself,” explains New York celebrity aesthetician Mandy Epley.
When stress takes over, the hormone cortisol rises, which causes an increase in oil production—a precursor to clogged pores, oily skin, acne and problems like dermatitis. “Even if you don’t normally suffer from acne, the onset of stress can cause breakouts; it’s the number-one reason adult patients who are suffering from acne for the first time come in,” says Prospect, KY, dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD. But, besides relaxing, how else can you limit stress before it shows up on the skin? “I recommend a 30- to 60- minute facial or massage to help you unwind and adding anti-inflammatory ingredients like green tea into your skin care.” Epley recommends adding essential oils to your skin-care routine and any time you receive a facial. “They have the ability to help on a topical level, but, perhaps even more important, they help you to relax.”
Even though it’s important to de-stress so that you feel good, it’s also essential to help decrease the formation of free radicals internally, which can lead to premature aging and cell degeneration. Several studies suggest that stress may be a major contributing factor in the deadliest cases of skin cancer. In testing done on mice, researchers at Ohio State University found that stress was shown to accelerate the development of malignant skin cells—especially when those cells were exposed to UV rays. Other studies have also reported that those who develop melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) are more likely to have suffered severely stressful life events in the years prior to diagnosis. “Obviously, the sun is still the main source behind skin cancer, but there is a lot of evidence that stress is responsible in some way,” says Dr. Cassis
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Cameron Diaz is the quintessential California girl even though she’s forty. Cam is tall, tan, blonde, a surfer, and seems like a fun person to be around. I think she’s beautiful and those blue eyes are stunning! It doesn’t take much to make them pop.
Her look here is one of my favorites because its perfect- not too little, not too much. I am digging those recently trimmed bangs. The perfect length, skimming the brows and pushed to the side. This look earns Cameron an A+ from me, which I’m certain she is thrilled about.
Celebrity Makeup Artist Piper Cline of Angelo David Salon detailed how to get Cameron’s look:
1) Start with Dior Skin Forever Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear Makeup SPF 25. Apply evenly all over the place using a Foundation brush or your fingertips.
2) With a blush brush, apply Dior Blush in Passion Fruit color to the apple of the cheeks to create a healthy looking glow with a touch of shimmer.
3) With an eye shadow brush, apply Dior 1 Couleur Powder Mono Eye shadow in Argentic color around to the eyelids up to the crease.
4) Create a tight lash line using Dior Style Liner Intense Liquid Eyeliner in Black at the top eyelid. Finish the lashes by applying 2 or 3 coats of Dior Show New Look Mascara in Black Color to the top lashes and 1 coat to the bottom lid.
5) For the lips, use Dior Rouge Nude Lipstick in Blush Colour to the top and bottom lips.