The connection between air pollution and aging skin cannot be denied.  All you have to do is think of the people who work where the air is polluted or smoky and the effects on skin become intuitively obvious.  Air pollution even extends into the lives of our rancher friends who have been bombarded with smoke from the many fires they have had to deal with in the last few years.  Add lots of sun exposure and lack of hydration to the mix and you have a formula for prematurely aged skin.

 Plain old dust, what researchers call “ambient particulate matter,” is another factor in premature skin aging.  When we lived in the desert we accepted the frequent sand storms as facts of life.  Now that we live in the mountains of North County San Diego, dust in the air is so commonplace we joke that “dust brown” is the official color of Valley Center. 

 The signs of premature skin aging include large pores, age spots and hyperpigmentation on the forehead and cheeks as well as wrinkles on the skin of the face.  And that can even result in deeper naso-labial folds (the lines from the corners of your nose to the corners of your mouth.)

 Since we can’t run away to some tropical island where the air is clean and the humidity is perfect, where can we turn for help?


We always say the first step is to cleanse your skin thoroughly, twice a day, especially at night.  Our Sanctuary Daily Gel Wash contains Turmeric, a very effective anti-inflammatory, known to have therapeutic benefits for skin.  The Gel Wash also contains Willow Bark, a precursor to salicylic acid, known for its ability to dissolve skin debris and unclog pores.  As Willow Bark, it is very well tolerated and does not cause irritation.  Best of all, Daily Gel Wash is never drying.

When you speak of skin care, sooner or later the subject of exfoliation (removal of dead skin cells) comes up.  People use everything from ground up peach pits to fine sand but what ever is used inevitably injures the skin.  We believe in exfoliating naturally with our Superfruit Microscrub a few times a week.  This product depends upon the exfoliating qualities of blueberry and other fruit acids to remove the dead cells without injuring the skin.  It also helps skin health if you have acne prone skin. 

The importance of using anti-oxidants on your skin cannot be overemphasized.  FIXX Serum has white and green tea extracts as well as Retinyl Palmatate and Niacinamide.  Pollutants damage the cell membranes in the skin by a process of oxidation which leads to wrinkling and discoloration.  The ingredients in Foxx Serum help to reverse free radical damage caused by oxidation and help your skin look more youthful longer. 

Hydrated skin is healthy skin.  Dry skin has many tiny cracks that allow impurities to creep in.  We love Sea Kelp Mist that has purified water and dried sea kelp because the hydrating properties of dried sea kelp are legendary.  It can be spritzed on your skin as often as you like.  Once you get used to the feeling of hydrated skin it is nothing short of addictive.  And even though there’s no fragrance, we think it smells like Santa Fe.  We think that’s a good thing.

One of our best and most effective products for maintaining hydration is called FIXX Cream.  Containing all three ceramides it also contains Coenzyme Q-10.  Co Q-10 is known for its ability to power those little mitochondria bundles in the cells and slow the aging process. Daily use of this magic product keeps moisture in your skin better than just about anything we know. 

Don’t neglect the inside.  It’s important to eat a diet containing seven or so servings a day of fruits and vegetables and to supplement your diet with vitamins such as Vitamin C and fish oil.  (A serving, in case you didn’t know, is about the amount you can hold in a fist.)  And keep yourself hydrated by drinking about sixty or so ounces of water daily.  There is more information on that here: 

Last, but definitely not least, is sunscreen.  Ultraviolet rays have been shown to work together with toxic particle to increase damage to the skin.  All of our patients always want to know what we recommend.  From the time we opened The Medical and Skin Spa in 2003, the answer has always been the same: LaRoche Posay sunscreen with UV-A blocking ingredient called Mexoryl.  We personally use an SPF 60 and reapply it at least once a day.  As of this writing you have to go online and buy it through a Canadian pharmacy but I can tell you from personal experience, it’s worth the trouble.

There’s nothing I like better than simple and easy.  And there you have it, in less than 900 words.  The fewer steps, the more likely you are to follow them.  That’s why I love Occam’s Razor: the simplest solution tends to be the right one. 

Questions?  email JoAnn at or me at

Gotta go… 

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