how smoking impacts the skin

November 4, 2014

Smoking is one of the most controllable causes of disease and death today. It is also a major contributor to many skin conditions and complications, such as skin discoloration, breakdown of collagen and elastin, deep wrinkling, skin aging, poor wound healing and abnormal skin growths.

Our skin relies on oxygen in order to function properly. Air is pulled into our lungs, travels down to the smallest air sacs in the lungs, and is then carried throughout the body via the tiny and intricate network of capillaries. Without sufficient oxygen, the body and the skin suffer.

Nicotine in cigarette smoke causes vasoconstriction or blood vessel contraction, which limits the actual size of the vessel. Carbon monoxide in cigarettes bonds with oxygen, greatly reducing the amount available to the body. This combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide not only limits the size of the vessel, but also the amount of oxygen flowing through them.

some not so fun facts

  • Just one cigarette restricts blood flow for up to 90 minutes.
  • The body produces more blood vessels to compensate for the oxygen restriction due to smoking.
  • De-oxygenated skin often exhibits a grey or yellow tone.
  • It only takes 15-20 seconds for cigarette smoke to impact each part of the body.
  • Blood circulation is significantly decreased due to the vasoconstrictive nature of nicotine.

The sooner a smoker decides to quit, the sooner the vital organs and the skin start to heal. However, the breakdown of the dermal layers is not easily recovered by simply putting out the cigarette. Rebuilding of collagen, repairing elastin and improving the overall function of the dermis must be instigated.

Regular chemical peels will improve not only the production of collagen, but will also improve the tone and texture of the skin. Daily use of collagen-building topical products is also a vital component to reversing the signs of aging due to smoking. Integrating ingredients like vitamin C during the morning and retinoids at night, along with advanced peptides and epidermal growth factor, will prolong the benefits gained from monthly chemical peels.

The effects of cigarettes reach nearly every organ of the body, including the skin. The sooner a smoker puts down the cigarettes, the sooner the body will begin healing from the damage of the nicotine and various chemicals contained within. The skin, however, typically requires more attention. With monthly chemical peels and a comprehensive collagen-building daily care regimen, the skin can begin the recovery process.


C&E strength and C&E strength max: the newest PCA products

August 22, 2014

The latest products added to PCA SKIN’s corrective line-up, C&E Strength and C&E Strength Max, launched on Monday, August 18, 2014. These vitamin C and E products are unsurpassed, antioxidant-rich topicals boasting pure 5% vitamin E (tocopherol), and 15% and 20% vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), respectively. With daily use, patients can expect to see a plethora of dramatic results.

These anhydrous formulas provide an optimal environment for the 15% or 20% pure L-ascorbic acid to remain completely stable until applied to the skin. The unique encapsulation method employed in both formulations leads to increased efficacy and ensures the maximum amount of L-ascorbic acid is introduced into the skin, leading to optimal results. As the only bioavailable form of vitamin C for the skin, L-ascorbic acid not only delivers antioxidant value, but also instigates the production of collagen and acts as an effective melanogenesis inhibitor.

C&E Strength and C&E Strength Max utilize pure 5% vitamin E (tocopherol), leading to increased efficacy. Topical use of vitamin E alone leads to accelerated epithelialization; increased stratum corneum moisture; and the negation of photoaging, as well as protection against it. Vitamin E, in addition to the aforementioned benefits, also has the ability to reduce edema, erythema and sunburn cell formation.

Together, vitamins C and E work synergistically within the skin to protect the epidermis and the dermis against the harmful effects of UV radiation and free radical damage. Daily use each morning will help to supplement and raise the level of daily UV defense when used prior to broad spectrum SPF application. With two formulas depending on sensitivity level, all patients can benefit.

Add these outstanding products to your back bar and retail space today by calling 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546] or visiting to learn more.

vitamin c infused showers

January 14, 2014

Can a vitamin C-infused shower head really benefit the health of the hair and skin? According to VitaShower Corporation of Pasadena, CA, it does more than just provide vitamin C benefits to the skin.

VitaShower Corp. manufactures a filter containing 100% pharmaceutical grade vitamin C that attaches directly to the shower head. As the water passes through the filter, the chlorine content is significantly reduced, thus improving the overall health of the hair and skin.

VitaShower Corp. states that the vitamin C filter completely neutralizes both chlorine and chloramine from the water. This process is safe, non-toxic and environmentally conscious as compared to the alternatives currently used. As the water is de-chlorinated, the nutrients in the water remain unaltered. The filter provides 15,000 gallons of chlorine-free water and is deemed 100% organic.

The purpose of this filter is to neutralize the chlorine and chloramine content present in public water systems. But can this filter’s vitamin C content really benefit the skin? Most skin health professionals would agree that in order for proper absorption, topically applied vitamin C is the best way to give the skin a boost of this vital antioxidant. L-ascorbic acid is the most stable and bioavailable form of vitamin C. PCA SKIN’s C-Strength 15% or 20% with 5% Vitamin E contain encapsulated L-ascorbic acid to maintain efficacy and stability until the capsules interact with the water content of the epidermis.

To learn more, call us at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546] or visit

importance of daily care

February 19, 2013

Along with receiving regular treatments from a clinician, a patient’s daily care regimen is critical to maintaining optimal skin health. A good way to explain the importance of daily care is to share the 60:1 analogy with patients. Patients must manage their own skin at least twice a day; that’s 60 times in any given month vs. a single monthly treatment from a clinician. Therefore, one professional treatment won’t be beneficial if the patient is not doing his or her own part on a daily basis to maintain the health of their skin.

The basics for a PCA SKIN daily care regimen are: cleanse, tone, correct, hydrate & protect. Dermatologist-approved and clinically researched, our daily care products contain advanced ingredients such as peptides, antioxidants and botanicals.

PCA SKIN offers daily care products for all skin types and conditions. Above is an example of a daily care regimen that addresses pigmentation concerns.

PCA SKIN offers daily care products for all skin types and conditions. Above is an example of a daily care regimen that addresses uneven skin tone concerns.

The following are examples of staple daily care products offered by PCA SKIN:

Cleanse: Facial Wash – This refreshing, pH appropriate AHA and aloe gel cleanser gently and effectively removes makeup and environmental impurities.

Tone: Nutrient Toner – This formulation of vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and AHA helps refine pores, remove superficial dead skin cells and provide added nutrients.

Correct: Pigment Gel – This spot treatment product combines hydroquinone with kojic, azelaic and lactic acids to help exfoliate, lighten and even skin tone.

Correct: Rejuvenating Serum – This age-defying serum uses epidermal growth factors to plump and firm the skin creating less appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Correct: C-Strength 15% with 5% Vitamin E – This stable vitamin C & E topical strengthens skin and minimizes the appearance fine lines and wrinkles.

Hydrate: ReBalance – This nourishing, light nighttime moisturizer is excellent for use after professional treatments as it helps to soothe reddened or irritated skin.

Protect: Protecting Hydrator Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – This non-oily broad spectrum sunscreen is formulated with aloe vera and panthenol to provide light moisture with a matte finish.

A daily care regimen used in conjunction with regular PCA SKIN professional treatments will help patients reach their skin care goals and achieve visible results.

If you have  questions regarding product selection for daily care customization, please call us at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546] or email us at

making the most of your daily care regimen

November 6, 2012

Many people feel overwhelmed when beginning a new daily care regimen.  Because there are so many different products available in every skin care line, it’s easy to see how this can happen.  A basic regimen can be as simple as 3 steps in the morning and 3 steps in the evening, with only 5 products.

In the morning, every person needs to cleanse their skin.  Choose a cleanser that is best suited for your patient’s skin type and condition. Next, everyone needs to apply some type of vitamin C product.  Vitamin C has multiple benefits such as firming, epidermal thickening and helps to even skin tone.  Vitamin C also provides antioxidant and photo protection, which is why it is best to use it in the morning.  It is also essential to use antioxidants with your SPF products that are not already formulated with antioxidants.  Be sure your vitamin C product is formulated with L-ascorbic acid, as that is the only type that will provide all of these benefits.

In the evening after cleansing the skin, apply a vitamin A product.  Again, every patient regardless of skin type or condition needs to use this ingredient.  Vitamin A is best used at night, not only because it is extremely photosensitive, but it works to increase cellular turnover and renewal, which only takes place while we sleep.  In addition, it is also an antioxidant, it also provides plumping and firming benefits and helps to even skin tone.  Last, apply an appropriate evening hydrator.

In short, your patient can begin to see results with a cleanser, vitamin C, vitamin A, SPF and evening hydrator.  They will be much more compliant if they can start out simple, but effective, and then build onto this basic regimen by adding more specialty products that include epidermal growth factor, peptides or any other ingredients to further customize their protocols to suit their needs.

If you have any questions about product selection or protocol customization, feel free to call us and speak with one of our consultants!  We can be reached Monday through Friday, between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm Arizona Time at 877-722-7546.

the wonders of papaya

August 21, 2012

Not only is papaya a delicious and nutritious tropical fruit, it is also a rich source of enzymes and nutrients that can be used topically to improve skin health.

Papaya fruit courtesy of

Papain is an important enzyme in papaya that works to exfoliate the skin through proteolytic action. It functions by digesting the excess skin cells that cause impaction on the surface of the skin. Proteolytic enzymes function differently from chemical peeling agents and can be a great alternative between peels. Enzyme treatments are also good introductory options for those who may not be candidates for chemical solutions, or who may be apprehensive and in need of an introduction to professional treatments.

In addition to papain, the papaya fruit is rich in vitamins A and C. These important antioxidants help to fight damaging free radicals and nourish the skin. This powerhouse fruit extract can be found in Revitalize: Therapeutic Papaya Mask by PCA SKIN. This professional-use only mask provides a healthy-dose of papaya fruit extract, along with orange and apple extracts to brighten dull complexions and effectively reduce hyperkeratinized cells, leaving the skin with a healthy glow. Green tea, vitamin E and honey reverse oxidative damage while drawing moisture to the surface, keeping the skin soft and hydrated. This results-oriented therapeutic mask is appropriate for all skin types and conditions.

antioxidants: multifunctional ingredients – part two

January 19, 2012

Although the human body has its own native antioxidant defense sytem, daily use of topical antioxidants dramatically increases your skin’s protection against the visible signs of facial aging.  Following are some of the most effective antioxidants to add to your skin care regimen.

L-ascorbic acid is the only true form of vitamin C, and it is the only ingredient to provide all of vitamin C’s topical benefits, including plumping and firming. Topically applied L-ascorbic acid serves as a primary, secondary and co-antioxidant that fights free radicals in the skin.

Glutathione is part of the body’s natural antioxidant systems.  Many of the most commonly used antioxidants work by regenerating glutathione.  It is a primary antioxidant that neutralizes current and prevents future oxidation.  Glutathione also works as a co-antioxidant that supports L-ascorbic acid and vitamin E.

Green tea is the source of several potent polyphenol antioxidants. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) thought to be responsible for green tea’s primary antioxidant, calming, soothing and skin cancer prevention benefits.   EGCG has been shown to prevent the formation of several highly damaging free radicals.

Genistein is an isoflavone derived from soybeans that increases the activity of the skin’s own antioxidants.  Studies suggest that genistein prevents free radical production.  Genistein also interferes with DNA damage and mutation due to UV exposure. Studies show genistein provides short- and long-term UV damage prevention, including redness, skin cancer and visible skin aging.

Resveratrol is found in berries, grapes and red wine.  It is a potent polyphenolic antioxidant that has been shown to suppress the production of a variety of  free radicals. Studies have also shown the resveratrol has a preventative effect on tumor formation within the skin.

Silymarin is a powerful flavanoid antioxidant found in milk thistle whose most active component is the silybin.  Research shows that silybin inhibits lipid peroxidation, free radical production and increases the amount of the skin’s natural antixoidant glutathione.

Caffeine is considered a primary and secondary antioxidant that is capable of scavenging a variety of damaging free radicals. Studies comparing caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages showed a marked increase in the antioxidant activity of those containing caffeine. Research also suggests that topical application of caffeine can reduce the potential of developing skin cancer by forcing damaged,  UV-exposed skin cells into apoptosis [cell death].

Ergothioneine is newer to the skin care market, but research demonstrates strong primary antioxidant, free radical scavenging capabilities. Skin cancer prevention has also been suggested with topical ergothioneine use.

All of these antioxidants can be found in a range of PCA SKIN daily care products and professional treatments.