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Beauty Talk with Dr. Christine Rodgers


NEW YORK—At BeautyPress®’s second bi-annual Media Spotlight Day, plastic surgeon Christine Rodgers, M.D., founder and creator of anti-aging line EnPoint Skin Solutions, sat down with the beauty press team for a little skin care talk.

Q. What inspired you to create your skincare line, EnPointe Skin Solutions?

A. I created EnPointe Skin Solutions to provide women with an effective, healthy product line that will help them feel and look better. As a female plastic surgeon "of a certain age", and one who sees women of all ages daily with emotional and physical problems of every kind, I am acutely aware of the changes that occur in our skin with stress. When searching for my own skincare products to use, I found some products on the market contained ingredients that potentially could have adverse effects on the skin as well as one’s overall health. On the other hand, there are products out on the market that have very safe ingredients, but are really ineffective in the anti-aging arena and in restoring a youthful glow and luminosity to the skin. I didn’t find a line that fit my needs nor the needs of my patients. I wanted a skincare line that was effective in fighting the signs of aging and stress on multiple levels, yet one that also promoted the health of the skin and body in a very safe way. Thus, the idea for EnPointe Skin Solutions was born.

Q. What are the leading causes for wrinkles and what measures do you suggest taking to counter them?

A. Wrinkles are a combination of genetics, stress, sun exposure and the aging process. What can we control to prevent or reduce wrinkles? More importantly, how does one reduce aging itself? There are really two components to this question. One can try to "fix " the signs of aging that already exist and, at the same time try to counteract the cellular mechanisms of aging itself in a way that does not harm a person.

For the first method to reduce the existing signs of aging, proper sun protection is key; I always suggest using at least an SPF of 30 in one's morning skincare regimen. Prevention is key in countering the onset of wrinkles, so starting a good skincare program early in life, not when wrinkles and sun damage appear, definitely will help in delaying the onset of aging skin. Beyond using a good cleanser, toner and moisturizer morning and night, I believe in adding vitamin A and a vitamin C into a skincare program. Vitamin A aids in turnover of the outer surface of the skin and reveals a younger, more refreshed look to the skin. The vitamin C. functions as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory to reduce free radical damage to the skin. The vitamin C should be both water and fat soluble for it to be effective.

Current theories of aging include inflammation, wear and tear in the mitochondria (the powerhouse of all our cells), telomere (the ends of our DNA) reduction, neuroendocrine factors, glycosylation (attachment of sugar molecules to protein receptors on cells) and free radical damage to cellular structures. A key issue in any research to reduce cellular damage, and thus aging, is how to do it without causing harm to the patient, which as a physician is always uppermost in my mind.

There are a variety of really great antioxidants, cell energizers and cell stabilizers available in products, which can protect against free radical damage, breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin and sometimes strengthen cellular function.

Q. What types of ingredients should we look for in anti-aging products?

A. The types of ingredients that one should look for in anti-aging products are those that address the causes of anti-aging, i.e., sun damage, environmental stresses and aging cellular processes. Most people know that sunscreens are a necessity and that they should provide at least a 30 SPF and be applied frequently throughout the day to provide continuous coverage. Sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can be quite effective, but they may leave a whitish deposit on the skin that people may not like. Other sunscreens with some of the newer types of sunscreen agents, are also effective, but do not leave the same white residue on the skin.

Products that help turnover the skin more rapidly, such as an over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin A, micro-dermabrasion scrubs (used judiciously) and a vitamin C can rid the superficial layer of skin of the dry flaky dead cells that lie on the surface and give the skin its grayish, dull look. Additionally, vitamin C is also a great anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenger.

Lactic and glycolic acids also help with skin turnover and additionally, reduce acne breakouts and sebaceous hyperplasia (enlarged skin oil glands). These types of products can reveal a more luminous skin below and give a more vibrant appearance to the skin.

Some botanicals can also have a positive effect on skin health and effectively act as anti-agers as well. One example is sea buckthorn, a plant that is typically grown in colder climates, but can also be cultivated in temperate climates as well. When I was researching ingredients for EnPointe, I visited a herbiary in Italy where they had actually grown the sea buckthorn that was used to treat the burned children of Chernobyl after the nuclear explosion in the Ukraine many years ago. On further researching this botanical, I it has been used to proactively treat the skin of Russian and Chinese astronauts as they are traveling in space. This botanical appears to offer protection against sun damage.

The ingredients that actually attempt to repair skin damage with DNA modifications and increase cellular functions are controversial. The consumer needs to be aware that not only are there limitations to what an external cream or serum can do, but that there also are some ingredients in anti-aging skincare products that have potentially harmful effects. One of the most disturbing ingredients in anti-aging skincare products is the inclusion of growth factors. These growth factors are helpful in healing non-healing wounds, but they also have the potential to cause random cellular proliferation or cancer by stimulating angiogenesis, or the process where a tumor starts to grow blood vessels to support itself. TGF beta, specifically has been shown to stimulate breast cancer cells in culture, but it has not stopped some researchers from touting its effects as an anti-ager in their line. As a breast cancer survivor myself and as an advocate for women's health, I find it disturbing, to say the least , that no mention of these potentially dangerous side effects is made on the packaging of these very expensive skincare lines.

Recent reports have also mentioned the effect that estrogen creams have on animals when their female owners pet their animals after applying their hormone creams. Some reports have shown the animals go into heat once again, even though they are past their reproductive age. It has been commented on as well that our daughters are entering puberty sooner than ever before and it makes one wonder if a similar process is occurring with our children as with our pets?

Q. The beauty industry is now pushing natural and organic products without parabens and other “harmful" ingredients. Today, the industry is split between those who think these ingredients are in such small quantities that they do not cause harm, and those who think all “harmful" ingredients should be done away with. Which side do you agree with, and why?

I agree that harmful ingredients should be removed from skincare products, as we don’t have enough scientific evidence about how our skin absorbs these ingredients and what effects they may have on our health. I also think there are some great scientifically derived peptides that are safe and effective for use as well, so I think completely organic and/or natural products would not be as efficacious in reducing, treating or preventing signs of aging on one's skin as one that combines scientific research and natural botanicals.


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