Prescribing skin care

I think it’s fair to say that in general we are ill-informed about topical agents suited to our skin type, and may be swayed by TV adverts, magazine advertorials, celebrity endorsements, alluring scent and funky packaging when it comes to choosing skin care products.

We are likely to have grown up in a household where there were products in the bathroom, mum’s dressing table, a basket with tubes and bottles not quite empty enough to throw away but no longer worthy of shelf space. In my own collection, at any one time, there would be at least four moisturisers.

Why moisturisers? Why did I think it helpful to suggest to my daughter in her late-teens that it was time to start using a moisturiser? What great ant-ageing skin care advice was I giving? None, in fact, now I know that I may have set her on a path to sensitised skin!

There are conditions under which the use of moisturisers are helpful, e.g. in someone whose barrier function is inherently compromised, or if we live in environmental conditions where we are exposed to extremes a moisturiser will prevent the skin from drying.

When we don’t have a skin condition requiring the use of a moisturiser but we apply it anyway we disrupt the skin barrier (water, lipid, protein) balance. Once disrupted we embark on a journey of trying this product and that product to recapture skin health. The thinning epidermis and the accumulation of surface dead cells makes that radiant glow all the more elusive.

If the barrier function in the epidermis is working properly it protects the dermis from dehydration; this barrier relies on the balance of water, lipid, and protein it contains. The external application of moisturisers, an unnatural source of water, lipid, protein disrupts the natural balance and the barrier is no longer as effective; this can lead to sensitivity and allow allergens to penetrate the skin. The artificial hydration also inhibits fibroblast activity.

It’s not all bad news though, there are products containing ingredients that will promote a return to naturally hydrated skin; to fully appreciate the properties of such products we must understand the functions responsible for skin hydration. Fibroblast cells produce collagen, elastin, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and natural moisturising factors; the dermis is host to fibroblast cells and it is within this layer that they attract hydration.

Good products should enhance exfoliation, restore the balance between water, lipids and protein, stimulate collagen and elastin production, hydrate, minimise the production of free radicals and repair DNA. Treatments such as Collagen Induction Therapy, Chemical Peels and IPL/RF Photo Rejuvenation can be carried out alongside topical therapy to enhance results by stimulating an instant reaction from the body’s repair mechanism.

The ingredients we should be looking for in products have properties that trigger a response; the response may not be one you like immediately. I have had clients complain the products are drying their skin out but one month later, having been reassured that what they are experiencing is exfoliation, they are delighted with the results and won’t go back to moisturisers.

The short list of ingredients that follows, along with their properties, is an introduction to the science of skin care; rather than suggest you arm yourself with this and go off internet shopping (be very wary of fakes) think about the effects of misuse. These ingredients wrongly applied will be worse for you than years of misusing moisturiser because they are capable of changing the biology of the skin.

Skin care technicians have been trained to diagnose, will advise where to start and will be with you for the long haul. They can suggest complimentary therapies to fast track a response if you are desperate for change or help you to introduce a product to your regime every time you reach the bottom of an old one.  Be wary of anyone who wants to sell you 6 products at a time unless they have advised how to introduce them over a period of time.

If you can purchase a product off the shelf then it contains minute amounts of the active ingredients it claims to contain as it has to be safe in all hands and suit all skin types.

We can’t turn back the hands of time but we can increase our cell turnover rate to a youthful state.

Wishing you all good skin health,

Glycolic Acid, a natural constituent of sugar cane, exfoliates the skin by enhancing cell turnover, evens the distribution of pigmentation, refines the appearance of pore size and helps smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Within the dermis, this Alpha Hydroxy Acid increases the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and collagen fibres for skin that appears firmer.

Citric Acid, found naturally in citrus fruits, is a powerful Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acid that has preventative antioxidant and corrective anti-ageing effects, helping to reverse signs of photo-damage and solar elastosis by improving the quality of elastic fibres and increasing the quantity of GAGs. Because it has both preventative antioxidant and corrective anti-ageing effects it is often used as a booster to target specific skin concerns.

Mandelic Acid, found naturally in almonds, is a lipophilic AHA, readily absorbed by oily skin, making its anti-ageing properties particularly effective in this skin type.  Mandelic Acid also has natural antibacterial benefits and reduces oiliness over time without over drying the skin.

Gluconolactone, a Poly Hydroxy Acid found naturally in the skin, provides full strength anti-ageing benefits without irritation, even for patients with clinically sensitive
skin or rosacea, or those who have had cosmetic procedures.  A powerful antioxidant, Gluconolactone inhibits elastase to preserve healthy tissue and maintain youthful elasticity, it also strengthens the skin’s barrier function, reducing sensitivity to irritants and skin redness over time.

Lactobionic Acid, a patented non-irritating ‘Bionic’ PHA derived from milk sugar, helps prevent and reverse the appearance of photo-ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores and roughness.  A potent antioxidant used to prevent oxidative damage to transplant organs, Lactobionic Acid promotes firmness by inhibiting the MMP enzyme responsible for degradation of collagen and consequent wrinkling and skin laxity.  A natural humectant, it binds water to create a moisturising barrier on skin.

NeoGlucosamineTM, is a patented non-acid amino sugar technology that will gently exfoliate the skin to promote cellular turnover, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, and exfoliates hyper-pigmented spots and acne for a more even skin tone. NeoGlucosamine is also a building block of Hyaluronic Acid, skin’s natural filler, promoting a superior plumping of the skin, smoothing the appearance of lines and wrinkles from the inside and creating a firmer, more lifted look.

AminofilTM is a novel tyrosine amino acid derivative with a fast volume building effect in the deep skin matrix.  A targeted treatment to lift deep lines and wrinkles.