Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 2

By now, you should be getting some ideas as to how to market to the millennial crowd. But there are still other characteristics you may want to consider before finalizing your marketing strategies.
Millennials are civic-minded (good citizenship) with a strong sense of community – locally and globally. Remember, they’ve been instilled that they are here for a purpose. They prefer to work for companies that sponsor events outside of work, especially so, when these are charity events or when the company supports volunteer opportunities.  They also care about supporting local businesses and promoting local employment. In fact, more than 50% of millennials make an extra effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about (research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency). They’re also twice as likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to care how their food is produced and whether or not is organic (Boston Consulting Group).

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Salon: You’re small and you’re local – you’re already half way there! Connect and submit a proposal to a few local companies that provide wellness programs for their employees. Present monthly lunch-and-learns at the company site, then provide discount coupons to the person in charge of benefits in the HR department so that they can be handed out to the employees. You can also connect with a local charity and co-host a fundraising event. Don’t know which charity to give to? Survey your clients before they’re out your door. Provide them with 3 or 4 options and extra space to add their own. Majority wins. 

Millennials are not individualistic but rather group-oriented, as long as these groups are formed by members of their own generation. They are willing to sacrifice their own identity – to not stand out among their peers – in order to be seen as part of the group.  This stems from the fact that parents of millennials have taught their children that every voice matters and equality is worth fighting for. Millennials have a strong sense of justice. They can be compared to the “Flower Child” of the Baby Boomer era.

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Salon: Provide opportunities to experience your services and products in groups!  Offer BOGO’s and…don’t cringe… extend the Loyalty Program to their best friend (only one friend) so that they can share it. 
Millennials like collaboration because they are community-oriented. They want everyone to get along. So, the possibility of collaborating with businesses and brands, is high in their list of interests. Alex Castellarnau from Dropbox, the popular file transfer cloud service, said: With millennials, “a new brand, service or product is only started by the company; it’s finished by the customers. Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you. Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with millennials will have an edge.”
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Salon: While the observation above mainly refers to the technology sector, there are many ways in which a salon can collaborate with their millennial clients. Surveys are a great way to learn what people think, feel, need and want. Use MailChimp or Constant Contact to reach out to your clients. Choose your more loyal millennial clients and ask them how they would solve a specific problem you’re having and make it fun, like a contest. Provide a raffle opportunity for every participant and 1-month free membership, for example, to the winner of the contest. Talk about engagement!

Millennials are high-achievers. They’ve probably been put in career tracks since grade school. While Baby Boomers made their mark in the humanities and arts, millennials are leaving theirs in science and math. However, they care about balance between work and life. They are healthy-minded and actively seek out potential employers that offer fitness and wellness programs for their employees.

Because they are high achievers, they don’t like to waste time. When it comes to in-store experience, millennials will instantly grab their cell phones to do their own research about a service or product.  However, if the in-store experience can provide the knowledge they seek faster and better than it would take for them to browse their cell phones, that would prove to be a real value to the millennial.

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Salon: Having well-trained and knowledgeable employees is very important if your target market is Gen Yers. 

Millennials are adventurers. This is also the generation that has traveled the most. They consider business travel is an opportunity to explore a different place. As the adventurers they are, they crave new discoveries even within the daily and mundane. Shopping is no longer for “needed” items. They want the whole experience: the lighting, the colors, the textures, the music, the scents, customer service, testers, demos, and if possible, the history of the product or service and how the product or service is helping sustain our planet! They want to feel pleasure inside the store. They want to talk about it and share their experience with their peers (remember, they’re group-oriented). This is, in part, the reason why cuisine in America has become so eclectic, from expensive fusions to cheap messy food trucks. Millennials are always searching for the new, exotic, memorable, and even perhaps, dangerous experience.

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Salon: Because millennials are so keen to traveling and to new experiences, providing regular new experiences will keep the millennials’ interest. These experiences can range from product launches to workshops to surprise monthly “late night” hours. Get creative – the options are limitless.

As I’ve said before, millennials are a highly social, group-oriented generation, and they socialize over every single experience, offline and online. They are the experts on social media. They live, eat, breathe social media. It would only make sense that businesses that want to target millennials have all their knots and bolts in place to provide exciting, engaging and up-to-the-last-minute social media campaigns. Have you heard the saying “You snooze; you lose?” If you just can’t keep up with DIY campaigns or can’t afford a social media marketing company, there are other very affordable ways you can accomplish this. A highly recommended, trustworthy VA (Virtual Assistant) could become your savior!  If you’re not active on social media, you become irrelevant to millennials, who are quickly moving to the next and best thing in seconds.

 

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Salon: It is important to bring social media into the store. First, you can let millennials know where you are online by posting decals from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, YouTube or whatever social media networks you use. Ask them to “check-in” and provide incentives when they do. Foursquare offers ways to earn badges and win freebies or discounts (incentives) for check-ins that you can control.

Millennials were born in the digital era; so when it comes to technology, they expect it to work flawlessly, period.  From home computers to internet to cell phone texting to online gaming where millennials interact with others, to sharing music – the world is at their fingertips and they expect the information to be available exactly at the moment when they need it. Millennials, for the most part, don’t watch TV, don’t go to church, rarely smoke and hardly sleep. A Pew study concluded that 80% of millennials sleep with or near their cell phones. Not only is the cellphone a way to communicate (call or text), but it’s also a way to learn the latest gossip and news, to hook up, to make new friends, to remind them of tasks or appointments, to recommend travel experiences and to research information about products, read their reviews and compare prices while shopping. They also post reviews and share their experience with a particular business or product IRT (in real time), so they feel they are part of the collective decision-making. Millennials even donate to charities through their cellphones!

Because millennials are all about convenience, making it easy for them to pay for your products and services is key to successfully close a deal with a millennial. This may require an upgrade to POS terminals and add the necessary software to make all transactions as easy as possible. When it comes to Loyalty Programs, there was consensus, at a recent Microsoft Envision Conference, that it must be digital in order for the program to succeed.

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Salon: It would only make sense to make your website and create fun apps that are mobile compatible. Include Loyalty Programs and Discount Coupons that are easily scanable with your POS terminal. For example, you could have the technology in place to safely store clients’ data, including credit card information.  Consider using NFC (near-field communication) contact-less payment options like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Venmo. Even Facebook is beta-testing their contact-less payment app. It would also be advisable to have quality WiFi in your store – a huge convenience for millennials in exchange for your lack of flexibility…

In summary, the fact that you are a small, local business gives you an edge. But don’t stop there. Sell unique products and services and help support a cause by engaging in fundraising events or providing online or app charity donation ability. Make it easy for millennials to see, feel, taste, buy, use, research and review your product or service. Give your salon employees the option to download your payment app (Square, PayPal, Venmo) so that they can more easily check out your clients. Provide an outside-the-salon experience by having an engaging website, online appointment with easy self- rebooking and cancellation, preferably with texting capability. Create your very own business app. Consider upgrading your POS terminal and necessary software such as CRM (Client Retention Management) and accounting system, as well as offering easy access WiFi and cellphone charging station. Have all your social media accounts updated and managed by a professional. Virtual Assistants are an affordable way to go, especially when you need to be on alert to manage your online reputation. Offer Loyalty or Perks programs, memberships and the ability to purchase gift cards and eGifts (www.Yiftee.com) through their cellphones. Provide surveys and opportunities to provide testimonials to make millennials feel part of your business. Offer virtual consultations through Skype or FaceTime and offer express services or technology-based services including the use of ProScope (microscope for phone on-the-go skin analysis) and a SkinScope Scanner for skin analysis. You’ll have them at…hello!

Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 1

Fifteen to twenty-five years ago, the buzz word in our industry was “Baby Boomers.” Marketing efforts emphasized how we needed to market our services to this segment of the population. I remember taking countless workshops on how to develop specific treatments and service menus to ensure that the Baby Boomer generation’s health and beauty needs were being properly addressed in our industry. Millennials who were born in the 1980’s have also been taught that our industry’s lead consumers are Baby Boomers. While Baby Boomers are still a huge part of the target market we serve in our salons, the new buzz word that has been…well, buzzing for a while, is “millennials”. But we have been so conditioned to target Baby Boomers, that millennials are still an untapped segment of the population by salons and spas, and marketing efforts to attract this generation have not been completely successful because we just don’t know how to address their needs.

Salons and spas need to understand the psycho-social attributes of millennials if they want to be successful at targeting this generation. Millennials, or Gen Yers, are simply different. Born approximately between 1980 and 2000, they can be characterized by very specific traits, which must be carefully considered when offering services, products and the space where they will experience these services and products.

Dubbed as Generation “Me”, millennials are highly confident and tolerant, while also demonstrating a strong sense of entitlement and narcissism. They feel special because their parents have instilled in them that they are vital to our world – that they were born for and with a purpose. They have been celebrated and praised; therefore, millennials expect to receive frequent positive feedback. They are assertive. They believe they are “right”. They crave attention.

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Salon: Use words in your marketing campaigns that allude to being special and how they can conquer the world with great skin. Your customer service must be impeccable. 

However, millennials are also a highly protected generation, having been coined the “Peter Pan” Generation. They have grown up in a world where there have been increased safety measures (school lock downs, warning labels, safety laws). They don’t like to deal with unpleasantness because their parents have advocated on their behalf throughout their lives. This, along with financial uncertainty, has caused a tendency in millennials to delay certain rites of passage into adulthood like living with their parents for a longer period of time and delaying age of marriage and having children. Emerging adulthood has been established now at 25 years of age.

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Salon: Emphasize on their need for safety by promoting your salon’s sanitary and safety procedures. Produce videos on your sanitation/sterilization processes or how main supplies are actually disposable rather than re-usable.  

Honesty gives us all a sense of protection. Millennials, in particular, highly value transparency – that is, open, genuine, truthful, authentic and honest relationships with everyone, be it their employers, their service providers, their family members, their peers and the products they buy.

Millennials have accumulated more debt (student loans) than any other generation prior, and experienced firsthand a global financial crisis and the highest unemployment rates in US history – second only to the Great Depression. And, considering that data from a 2014 study of US Millennials, which revealed that over 56% of that group considers themselves as part of the working class, and that only nearly 35% consider themselves in the middle class, transparency seems to be the most powerful motivating factor for millennials as consumers of goods and services – not money. Millennials are loyal to brands that they feel convey authenticity, trustworthiness and reliability and are willing to pay a premium for that trust, even if they can’t afford it.

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Salon: Along with providing more affordable services, provide a service menu with very clear pricing parameters and add-on’s. Once in the room, don’t offer an add-on without providing the additional cost to the final bill ahead of time. No one likes it and millennials much less. Learn your ingredients well and make sure that when you say whether or not a product contains XYZ ingredient, that this is actually accurate for the entire line(s). Millennials will research everything you tell them and will question you. Besides, transparency transcends space and time.

Millennials feel the pressure to succeed at all costs. As children, they had tight schedules with structured activities (school, sports, arts, socials with friends). This generation has had more hours of homework and less free time than all previous generations. What Baby Boomers and Generation Xers once enjoyed – spontaneous play in the rain, makeshift hero capes with towels and houses on a tree with bed sheets – millennials have not experienced.  They are multitaskers and have a hard time handling free time. They can juggle many responsibilities at once, but they are also easily distracted with social media, not to mention texting. They take on a lot, and then expect others to be flexible with them when there is a scheduling conflict.

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Salon: Flexibility is difficult to provide when we are in the business of scheduled services. However, providing other conveniences and trusted services and products to millennials will prove effective in having them develop brand loyalty toward your business.  Additionally, as professionals, we were trained to serve the Baby Boomer generation who didn’t even imagine what the internet could do. We need to serve millennials differently. Salon services need to be cut shorter and/or allow time for millennials to check their cellphones. Relaxation has another meaning to them. And if this idea makes you cringe, perhaps your marketing campaigns could address the effects of radiation and gravity on the skin.Read these article from Skin Inc: Tech neck, cellphones, and selfies.

Skin is a mirror reflection of your overall health

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By now, you’ve heard the cliche’ – and may be tired of hearing – that your health is a mirror reflection of your skin. It’s true! In my 24 years working with skin and hearing my clients talk about their health concerns and situations and my continuous studying of skin as an organ – not as a beauty statement – have led me to recognize this fact – the skin is a mirror reflection of your overall health. In today’s blog, I will use myself as an example of this fact.

For several months now, I had been experiencing an unbearable itch all over my body. I developed sensitivities to soap, even to the non-latex gloves I use to perform skin treatments! There have been countless sleepless nights and nothing – nothing – can take the itch away. We changed our laundry detergent, dish washing soap, shower gels, shampoo, you name it.  At some point, I thought we were infested with bed bugs, but that wasn’t the case, to my relief!

Shortly after the itching began, I ended up in the ER and after 2 months of tests and appointments with several specialists, they discovered I had gallstones. This is the reason I needed surgery – I had my gallbladder removed. Because my gallbladder was blocked, I was accumulating the bile, which started to become toxic and caused to liver to become fatty. My liver just couldn’t handle or process anything, so it began to become enlarged. Throughout this ordeal of medical appointments, I began to notice that I was developing some sores on random places of my body (not scratch related – see picture below).

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So, I began to share with friends, family and acquaintances about my severe case of itchiness. Until finally someone mentioned that they had known people with gallstones who had the same symptoms. So, I decided to do more research on this.

Sure enough! Although not very common, it is not unusual either for people to experience itchy skin when having gallstones. When a stone blocks the bile duct, the bile collects and becomes toxic, and this toxicity may reflect as itchy skin.

The day after surgery, the itchiness almost went away in its entirety! I am still dealing with itchy skin because I am still healing and my liver is now in the process of cleansing and repairing itself but nothing compared to what I was experiencing! And I am not even going to address the fact that even my melasma has cleared! But this is another topic for another time.

I cannot convey in my writing how horrendous this itchiness has been. There were times that I left my skin raw, other areas with rash-like bumps. In my travels through the internet researching this itch, I came across this excellent article about gallbladder and liver health and I thought it would be nice to share. Gallbladder and liver diseases are sometimes masked by other health issues. An innocent (or not so innocent) itch that has no apparent reason might be a symptom. Please take care of your health and your skin will treat you well.

YOUNGER SKIN THROUGH EXERCISE

YOUNGER SKIN THROUGH EXERCISE

I thought this was a fascinating research. Exercising is good for heart, muscles and also for the skin!

Cosmetic Pre and Post OP Care

Cosmetic Pre and Post OP Care

If you’re considering cosmetic surgery, your skin MUST be prepared to receive such trauma.  Your skin is an organ, not just flesh that can be stretched without consequences.

THE AGING PROCESS AND HOW YOU CAN BEAT IT

ImageThere are between 25 and 30 different theories of aging recognized by the NIH (National Institute of Health). There is no unified theory of aging. Otherwise, only one ingredient in only one skincare product would serve to treat all aging skins. Therefore, aging must be approached from a multi-factor point of view with multiple ingredients and products. (By Charlene DeHaven, MD, FACEP, Clinical Director).

Because skin changes are among the most visible signs of aging, before we get into the causes of aging, let’s take a look at the structure of the skin and what happens to it during the aging process:

Your skin does many things. It protects you from the environment, helps control your body temperature and fluid balance, and contains nerve receptors that allow you to feel sensations such as touch and pain.  Although the skin has many layers, it can be generally divided into three main parts:

  • The outer part (epidermis) contains skin cells, pigment, and proteins.
  • The middle part (dermis) contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and oil glands. The dermis provides nutrients to the epidermis.
  • The inner layer under the dermis (the subcutaneous layer) contains sweat glands, some hair follicles, blood vessels, and fat. Each layer also contains connective tissue with collagen fibers to give support, and elastin fibers to provide flexibility and strength.
AGING CHANGES: Aging changes in the skin are a group of common conditions and developments that occur as people grow older.  Aging skin is a natural part of getting older, and from the moment you are born your skin begins to respond to two sets of biological processes:
  • The aging skin “genes” you inherited, over which you have little control: If you are fortunate enough to know older generations of your family members, you may see patterns of aging skin in their faces and bodies. These can include:
    •  Furrows in the brow or forehead
    •  Tiny lines or crinkles around the eyes
    •  Deep creases along the sides of the nose to the mouth
    • Drooping eyelids
    • Loose skin along the jaw line
    • A “tired” look
    • The tendency to develop cellulite
    • Male pattern baldness or female pattern baldnes.

If you see any of these indicators of aging skin—or others—in your older family members, chances are that you will experience at least some of them too.  Some people choose cosmetic treatments, surgery, hair transplants, and other choices to slow the external signs of aging skin, but the fact remains that everyone ages.  If you are lucky and live long enough, aging skin will catch up to you and the years you acquire will eventually show on your face. One of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to work on accepting your aging process with dignity…and grace…and style.

  •  The external factors that act on aging skin, over which you have a lot of control and which will be explained later.

How does the aging process work?

With aging, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins, even though the number of cell layers remains unchanged.  The number of pigment cells (melanocytes) decreases, but the remaining melanocytes increase in size. Aging skin thus appears thinner, more pale, and clear (translucent). Large pigmented spots (called age spots, liver spots, or lentigos) may appear in sun-exposed areas.

Changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity. This is known as elastosis and is especially pronounced in sun-exposed areas (solar elastosis). Elastosis produces the leathery, weather-beaten appearance common to farmers, sailors, and others who spend a large amount of time outdoors.

The blood vessels of the dermis become more fragile. This leads to bruising, bleeding under the skin (often called senile purpura) and cherry angiomas.

Sebaceous glands produce less oil as you age. Men experience a minimal decrease, usually after the age of 80. Women gradually produce less oil beginning after menopause. This can make it harder to keep the skin moist, resulting in dryness and itchiness.

The subcutaneous fat layer thins, reducing its normal insulation and padding. This increases your risk of skin injury and reduces your ability to maintain body temperature. Because you have less natural insulation, you can get hypothermia in cold weather.

Some medications are absorbed by the fat layer, and loss of this layer changes the way that these medications work.

The sweat glands produce less sweat. This makes it harder to keep cool, and you are at increased risk for becoming overheated or developing heat stroke.

Growths such as skin tags, warts, and other blemishes are more common in older people.

Aging changes in the face

The typical appearance of the face and neck changes with age. Muscle tone may be lost, causing a flabby or droopy appearance. The jowls may begin to sag, leading to a “double chin” in some people. In some people the nose lengthens slightly and may look more prominent.

There also may be an increase in the number, size, and color of colored spots on the face. This is largely due to sun exposure.

The skin may thin, become dryer, and develop wrinkles. Although wrinkles are inevitable to some extent, sun exposure and cigarette smoking are likely to make them develop faster.

The ears may lengthen slightly in some people (probably caused by cartilage growth). Some men may find that they develop hair in their ears that becomes longer, coarser, and more noticeable as they age.

Wax glands drop in number and activity, and ear wax becomes drier. This drier wax can more easily become impacted and block the ear canal, reducing your ability to hear.

The eyebrows and eyelashes become gray. The skin around the eyelids becomes loose and wrinkled, often making a “crow’s feet” pattern. The eye socket loses some of its fat pads, making the eyes look sunken and limiting eye movement.

The lower eyelids may appear baggy, and drooping eyelids are fairly common, occasionally limiting vision. The outer surface of the eye (cornea) may develop a grayish-white ring.  The colored portion of the eye (iris) loses pigment, making most very elderly people appear to have gray or light blue eyes.

Loss of teeth can make the lips look shrunken. The jawbone loses bone material, reducing the size of the lower face. The forehead, nose, and mouth thus look more pronounced.  Gums may also recede, contributing to dental problems and changes in the appearance of the mouth.

PREVENTION (External Factors for which YOU DO have control!)

Skin changes are related to environmental factors, genetic makeup, nutrition, and other factors. The greatest single factor, though, is sun exposure. This can be seen by comparing areas of your body that have regular sun exposure with areas that are protected from sunlight.  Because most skin changes are related to sun exposure, prevention is a lifelong process.

1. UV Exposure tops every dermatologist’s list. UV rays (and lack of sunscreen) accelerate skin aging and cause hyperpigmentation and skin laxity. The best fix: prevent sunburn if at all possible, apply sunscreen every day, in every season, and wear protective clothing and hats as necessary. Sunlight can cause:

  • Loss of elasticity (elastosis)
  • Noncancerous skin growths (keratoacanthomas)
  • Pigment changes such as liver spots
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Sun exposure has also been directly linked to skin cancers, including basal cell epithelioma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Natural pigments seem to provide some protection against sun-induced skin damage. Blue-eyed, fair-skinned people show more aging skin changes than people with darker, more heavily pigmented skin.

2. Weight -You’ve probably waited a long time to find out when having a few extra pounds actually works to your advantage. If you’re over 40, a slightly higher Body Mass Index (about 4 points) makes you look up to 3 years younger. If you’re over 55, you’ll look even younger than that! If you’re less than 40, the reverse is true.

3. Stress -Maybe you’ve heard this expression: “Don’t frown, your face could stay that way.” Stress and worry cause frowning, and over time the muscles in the face actually conform to that movement.  Financial stress, personal problems, marital difficulties and job-related stress all take a toll. Stress is definitely inter-related with your physiology as well as your mind, and increases the free radicals in your body—which are constant scavengers of anti-oxidants. Stress causes or exacerbates acne, eczema, rosacea, wrinkles and laxity. To help reduce aging skin due to stress, be aware of your stress level, try to vary your facial expressions during the day and take time to manage your stress with yoga, exercise or deep breathing. 
4. Smoking -Many of the 4,000 toxins contained in cigarette smoke go directly to the bloodstream, and reach the skin. “Smoker’s face” is now actually a term in medical dictionaries, because people who have smoked for 10+ years have added lines and wrinkles (typically perpendicular to the lips), as well as deeper vertical lines on the cheeks. Smoking also affects the tint of the skin and reduces the efficiency of the skin’s ability to regenerate itself. Cigarette smoke depletes your body of Vitamin C, which is a key ingredient for keeping skin plump and moist.  Do you need one more reason to quit smoking?
5. Medication/Drugs -Prescription meds that relax the muscles (such as anti-depressants) may make the skin look older. The author of the Case Western Reserve study theorizes that depression may compromise the production of hormones, like human growth hormone, that contribute to healthy, plump skin. With your physician’s guidance, manage your medications. Avoid using recreational drugs as well.  Any damage to your internal organs will accelerate the aging process and will reflect on your skin.
6. Exposure to cold weather – Cold winds and low temperatures contribute to aging skin by making skin dry, so if you venture out in the cold be sure to use a good moisturizer.  It’s important to use moisturizer indoors too, as heated rooms can be very drying to skin. Consider using a humidifier to help keep your skin more comfortable and reduce the aging skin effects of heated rooms.
7. Hormones -Menopause can wreak havoc on your skin, but hormone replacement therapy can help preserve a more youthful look. According to the Case Western study that was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a 70-year old who has had HRT for at least 16 years will look four years younger.
8. Lack of sleep -Too little sleep makes you look and feel tired. One of the first places lack of sleep shows up is on the face, with dark circles and bags under the eyes, and sagging skin. Lack of sleep is also a major factor in memory loss and symptoms of depression that include low interest in daily activities and negative thinking.  Research has shown that most adults function best with 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Reduce caffeine during the day (with none in the evening), avoid eating at least 2 hours before bedtime, and maintain a sleep routine that includes going to bed at the same time each night.  If you are having trouble sleeping, for any reason, it’s important to see your health care provider.


9. Alcohol use – Alcohol contributes to aging skin by dilating small blood vessels in the skin and increasing blood flow near the skin’s surface. Over time, these blood vessels can become permanently damaged, creating a flushed appearance and broken vessels on the skin’s surface.
10. Lack of exercise – Living a sedentary life contributes to aging skin because exercise helps to tone your muscles and get your blood flowing. Exercise should be an important part of every anti-aging skin care program.  In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, the benefits of a regular exercise program will show on your face. Having a bright smile and lots of energy will help you look and feel younger, at any age.
With all this said, I’d still like to address four scientific theories of the aging process because I believe that we can be more aware of what external factors could lead to these theories of aging and be more holistic in our prevention.  According to these 4 theories, these processes apply to the entire organism and every cell within it. However, keep in mind that the skin is unique in that is the organ that shields the interior of our body from the environment, and therefore will reflect our internal health.
(The following material was developed by Charlene De Haven, MD, FACEP, Clinical Director of INNOVATIVE SKINCARE ® | i S C L I N I C A L ®)
Theory 1 — Oxidative Stress
This theory is more commonly known as the free radical theory of aging. All cells need energy to perform their particular function. This energy is a very “hot” process and uses free radical generation to burn fuel. In this process, extra free radicals are created. These extra free radicals bounce around inside the cell, damaging all cellular structures they contact. Over a lifetime, these free radical “hits” gradually accumulate leading to a physiologic decline in structure and function. We label this decline as “aging.” In relationship to sun exposure, depending on whether the sunscreen chosen is physical or chemical, these solar free radicals can be blocked or neutralized. Antioxidants are helpful because they combine with free radicals and prevent the ongoing cascade of free radical damage. Only about one percent of oral antioxidants reach the skin so topical antioxidants are also critical.  Smokers have huge amounts of free radicals floating about in their bodies.
Theory 2 — Inflammation
A certain amount of inflammation is required for health. Through its inflammatory response the body combats infections, clears away damaged tissue and heals sunburn and other oxidative processes. Excess inflammation results in accelerated rates of aging, scarring and destruction of normal tissue architecture. Free radical damage is well-known to trigger excess inflammation. The inflammatory response is elevated in those having higher levels of oxidative stress byproducts.
Theory 3 – Glycation

The process of attaching a sugar to a protein is called glycation. Oxidative damage is an intracellular process, i.e. occurs inside the cell, whereas glycation is an extracellular process and occurs outside the cell. Glycation occurs in protein-rich tissues that contain large amounts of the protein collagen such as the skin, blood vessels, joints and lens of the eye. 
Theory 4 — DNA Damage
DNA is contained inside chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell. This DNA contains our genetic material and also directs the function of the cell in which it resides. A cell with
damaged DNA cannot properly function and may even become cancerous. Increased DNA damage in skin occurs with photoaging and high oxidative stress. DNA is subject to free radical damage so antioxidants improve rates of DNA damage.

An important part of any anti-aging skin care program is to know what you may be doing that is harming your skin and speeding up your skin’s aging process.  While some signs of aging skin are inevitable, there’s a lot you can do to look your best at any age.  Attacking the processes of aging in younger years is preferable. But even though “younger is better”, any time is better than never. Taking good care of yourself is the most important step in your anti-aging skin care program.