Women's Adventure Magazine
By Jennifer C. Olson - Published 2012
In a nutshell, sunscreen and antioxidants are the most crucial components of an outdoorsy woman’s skin care regimen. And, while smooth and healthy skin is not quite that simple, getting (and keeping) a radiant complexion doesn’t have to be—and in fact shouldn’t be—complicated either.
An outdoor woman’s skin needs extra attention. Your outer shell gets a beating as you play in the sun, wind, and dirt every day. “An outdoor woman’s skin is pushed to the limit,” says adventure enthusiast and motorcycle chick Michele Carter, who founded Adventuress Skin Care, a line inspired by and created around her on-the-road lifestyle. Michele goes on to say, “If a woman spends a lot of time outdoors, her skin may be drying and is in danger of premature aging: sun spots and wrinkles. Because she’s exercising, her skin could be irritated by fragrances and synthetically derived ingredients, too.”
Michele hired chemist Mosoomeh Wake—formerly a liaison between core scientists and marketers for brands like L’Oréal, Chanel, and Estée Lauder—to develop the line. “I knew which claims were bullshit and which had science to back them,” says Mosoomeh, who gave us the no-B.S. version of a good skin care regimen.
An active woman should focus on cleansing, protecting against sun and wind burn, and repairing damage via antioxidant vitamins C, D, and E.
Look for a cleanser that doesn’t strip away your skin’s natural fatty acids. “Consumers have been taught that if their skin is squeaky clean, then they’re really cleaning,” Mosoomeh says, emphasizing that many people’s perceptions are misguided. “If we’re working with really mild cleansers, we have to add something that creates a bit of foam to satisfy the customer, even though foam doesn’t necessarily up the product’s effectiveness. It’s good to use really mild surfactants that remove makeup and oil but not natural sebum.”
Routine exfoliation is also necessary so products apply evenly, stay on longer, and are more effective. One major skin care debate: chemical versus mechanical exfoliants (scrubs). Both operate on the surface, but chemical exfoliants also go into the pores. If the grain of mechanical exfoliants is the wrong size, it may not do any good. In fact, it may only irritate the skin.
The most effective chemical exfoliants are AHAs and BHA. Alpha hydroxy acids—such as glycolic, lactic, malic, and citric acids—are naturally found in fruits, milk, sugarcane, and molasses. Beta hydroxy acid (or salicylic acid) has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties so it works well on blemish-prone skin. “For them to be operative, they have to have a PH of about 4. The PH cannot be any higher though, as it would unbalance the skin’s natural PH,” Mosoomeh says, delving into the science of AHAs and BHA. “Natural fruit acids are phenomenal for skin. Some of these synthetic acids are atrocious.”
Dr. Neal Schultz, who’s been practicing dermatology for 30 years, agrees: “Glycolic acid is the gold standard of chemical exfoliants, as it’s clinically proven to give results of exfoliation without the harsh side effects.” After cleansing and exfoliating, moisturize. Choose a moisturizer with anti-aging ingredients—such as carrot extract (with beta-carotene), green tea, or olive oil—and SPF to protect from damaging rays that cause sunburn, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, freckling, and skin cancer. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: If you do nothing else in the way of skin care, at least wear sunscreen.