Skin Care 101

The Science of Skin Care Made Easy

Copper peptides, alpha hydroxy, ascorbic acid, nanospheres…ever feel like you need a Ph.D. in biochemistry to choose a simple skin care program?

Indeed, the skin care industry is a complex one with consumers spending billions a year for the promise of smooth, youthful-looking skin. While the products on the market are virtually limitless, most dermatologists and aestheticians agree that a good basic skin care program can be broken down into five simple steps: cleansing, exfoliating, preventing, hydrating, and protecting.


Cleansing, as the name implies, requires a gentle product to remove make-up and environmental grime from the skin.


woman with naturally glowy skin

Exfoliating is the equivalent of polishing tarnished silver – removing the dull, dead skin cells and promoting the regeneration of new skin cells. Today’s exfoliants are gentle enough to be used two to three times a week. The micro granules within the exfoliant should be small, and skin should not be red afterwards.


Preventing refers to the antioxidant serums that are designed to defend the skin from damaging oxygen-free radicals. By neutralizing the oxygen-free radicals, the serums stop the radicals before they can attack and damage the skin. Antioxidant serums also internally calm sun-irritated skin. These skin serums typically include vitamin-rich compounds such as Vitamin C, E, and soy.


Hydrating refers to keeping moisture and/or infusing moisture into the skin. Manufacturers of the higher-end skin care programs insist that the better moisturizers are free of petroleum-based oils, and many companies are now insisting on organically-grown botanical oils for their lines.


Protecting refers to the daily application of sunscreen, the number one practice for beautiful skin according to most dermatologists. Quality sunscreen products should include zinc oxide, Helioplex, or Parasol 1789 to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide, which conjures images of white-nosed lifeguards, has been significantly improved. Now it delivers blocking properties in a translucent form, making it practical for daily use under make-up. Another new technology in sunscreen is Helioplex, a patented formula of Neutrogena Skin Care. Helioplex has combined two sunscreen ingredients which provide complete and longer term UVA and UVB skin protection. Not all sunscreens are considered full spectrum so it is important to read product content.

Your homework for Skin Care Science 101: READ THE LABEL BEFORE YOU BUY! Is it organic? Is it non-petroleum based? Does it include antioxidants necessary for preventing skin cell damage due to sun and environmental elements? Does it include a full spectrum sunscreen?

It pays to know the facts. While women typically spend hundreds of dollars a year on their hair and nails, they often skimp on quality when it comes to their skin. Less expensive skin care lines may seem like a bargain, but they may “cost” you more in the long run with less than desirable results. Is this a price you are willing to pay?

Premier Skin Care Products Available in Chattanooga

Throughout the Chattanooga area, skin care professionals offer a variety of premier products. While obviously not inclusive of all products available, the following are examples of skin care lines offered locally.


Arbonne International offers a complete skin care line which it sells through local independent consultants. Jan Johnston, National Vice President, says the company prides itself on using pure ingredients that are not only safe for the entire family but are incredibly effective. The 100% pure botanical Arbonne line was formulated by Swiss cosmetic chemist Pierre Botiglieri, using the latest technology in delivering nutrients to the skin’s many layers. According to Johnston, Arbonne’s use of nanosphere technology is cutting edge. The company offers three basic lines: NutriMinC for women/NutriMinC for men, both anti-aging systems; the Intelligence Line for teens and young adults; and a comprehensive acne treatment program for problem skin. By going to the company website,, individuals can link up with an independent Arbonne consultant.


If you want a terrific skin care program from a company with a terrific “green” record, look no further than Eminence, available at Natural Body Day Spa. Eminence not only pays close attention to what goes into their products, but they also pay close attention to how they manufacture and package their products. Their ingredients come from all-organic farms, their manufacturing facility utilizes solar and wind power, and their packaging takes advantage of recycled paper content. “Not only is Eminence a socially responsible company, it produces a superior product,” says Natural Body owner, Kelly Brock. Natural Body uses the Eminence products for their spa facials, allowing customers to feel, smell, and see results before buying the skin care line.

Methode Physiodermie

At downtown’s Spa Morrell, owner/licensed aesthetician Monica Dean says they prefer the Methode Physiodermie line of skin care products. “So many of our regular customers are baby boomers who have unique skin issues,” Dean explains, “and Methode Physiodermie has a complete line of products which allows me to customize a skin care regime for a particular client.” Dean says she hopes today’s teens will take advantage of skin care research by taking care of their skin now. “Baby Boomers have had to learn the hard way that neglecting and punishing your skin during your teens and twenties will create irreversible issues later in life,” adds Dean.


At the DiStefano Medical Spa, guests are treated to the MODUS Skin Care System. MODUS is formulated from Mediterranean botanicals, superior grade amino acids, and vitamins to improve the skin’s health. The MODUS system has been proven to restore health to all skin types through a precise combination of active compounds applied in stages. The system optimizes compound concentration and PH levels for maximum penetration and optimal cellular response. Seven essential products comprise the MODUS System: PrepH skin cleanser, PuripHy pH modifier, Stable-C LAA vitamin C serum, claripHy: K-A- skin conditioner, ExpHoliate skin expholiator, Regenerate restoration cream, and Melatonin therapeutic cream. According to Betty Mills, RN, “MODUS is a system that can be customized for each person based on their individual needs. It is, in my opinion, one of the most complete skin are systems available.”


At the newly-opened Larimar Med Spa, located adjacent to Greenlife Grocery, aesthetician Deidre Thompson says their most popular line is SkinCeuticals. Because Larimar is a medically-supervised day spa, the physician-owners wanted to make sure they chose a skin care line that offered scientific research to back up their claims of fewer wrinkles and brighter and tighter complexions. Using only pharmaceutical grade ingredients, SkinCeutical’s products undergo an exhaustive peer review process at major medical institutions before they are ever put on the market. “We were really impressed with the scientific abstracts that researchers provided after testing the products,” says Thompson. SkinCeuticals also offers products which address specific skin disorders, such as rosacea and hyper-pigmentation.

The complexion of the future looks bright for those who follow the five basic skin care rules of cleansing, exfoliating, preventing, hydrating, and protecting.

Linda Benton

Linda Benton is a resident of Signal Mountain. She earned the distinction of Magna cum Laude with a BBA in Marketing from the University of Memphis. Linda has been an active member and leader of community and health organizations, and is currently serving as a member of the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Medical Alliance. She is married to Dr. Oliver Benton III and has three children.

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