• Get Soy Smart!

    In recent years, Soy has been marketed for it’s nutritional benefits, but did you know that topical application of Soy can also contribute to healthy skin? Here’s 5 questions and answers to get you Soy-smart.

    1. What are some of the benefits of using Soy in skincare products?

    Soy and its derivatives have shown to reduce free radical damage (ROS) and reduce inflammation. It also hydrates the skin by stimulating the production of Hyaluronic Acid and stimulates production of collagen and increases skin thickness, which may be beneficial for postmenopausal women who develop a thinner dermis and decreased collagen. Soy isoflavonoids act as anti-glycation agents (AGEs) to fight collagen cross-linking and inhibits collagen degrading enzymes (matrix-metalloproteinase enzymes also referred to as MMPs). Soy ingredients can also produce a brightening effect for hyperpigmentation.

    2. Are there different types of Soy that are used in skincare products? 

    Yes, Soy has different derivatives that are used in various skincare products.  Soybeans are a rich source of flavonoids called isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens or plant compounds that have a weak estrogenic effect. The most commonly used Soy isoflavonoids is Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Oil or Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Lecithin that are rich in amino acids that help to smooth, aid in wound healing, and stimulate elastin and collagen synthesis.

    3. What type of skin treatment is Soy a good ingredient for?

    Soy is primarily used in aging skin treatments that are geared towards stimulating elastin and collagen synthesis, reducing fine lines, wrinkles and UV induced photo-damage. Soy isoflavones have also been used in treatment for hyperpigmentation disorders as they prevent melanin from adhering to skin cells, therefore helping with blotchiness and discoloration.

    However, Soy, which is a phytoestrogen, is NOT recommended for melasma treatment since melasma is somewhat estrogen mediated.

    4. Is there any danger in applying Soy-based products topically on the skin? For example on a client with Soy allergies, hormonal imbalances, etc.

    Most concerns or negative effects associated with soy are consumption based, however, Soy may act as a food allergen (similar to milk, eggs or peanuts). If the client has a Soy allergy, then it’s recommended to avoid products that contain Soy. There has been some consumer concerns between Soy and breast cancer. Studies are still on-going to determine whether these isoflavones spur tumor growth. Ensure client’s check with their physician before proceeding to use or prescribe any Soy-based products.

    5. What other key ingredients work with Soy?

    Soy itself has been suggested to have a variety of effects when used in in skin care products. For maximum results, look for products that have an additional complex of age-fighting ingredients that work synergistically with Soy, such as peptides, White Tea and Licorice.

  • Crazy for Cranberries

    With the holiday season upon us I seem to have cranberries on the brain, so it should come as no surprise that one of my all-time favorite ingredients happens to be Cranberry Seed Oil. Why am I so enamored with the oil from this super fruit? When the fruit is cold pressed the resulting oil is rich in tocopherols, tocotrienols (Vitamin E) and phytosterols (plant sterols). Vitamin E is really a family of eight different isomers consisting of 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols. The Vitamin E constituents found in Cranberry Seed Oils contain significant levels of alpha and gamma tocopherols and alpha and gamma tocotrienols. All of these isomers of Vitamin E provide excellent antioxidant protection and help to reinforce the barrier lipid properties of the skin.

    In addition, Cranberry Seed Oil contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids; including those that are essential to your health, such as the Omega-3 fatty acid also called alpha-linolenic acid. The 1:1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 essential fatty acids gives Cranberry Seed Oil its excellent antioxidant activity and skin nurturing benefits, but also explains why this oil absorbs very nicely into the skin and helps it hold onto moisture by contributing to the skin’s structure and barrier formation. This moisturizing power of Cranberry Seed Oil makes it perfect for aging, rough, dry, and scaly skin.

    We all know that free radical damage and inflammation are two potent drivers of skin aging, so being able to address these two issues with a topical antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent goes a long way in preventing premature aging of the skin and repairing some of the existing damage. The high antioxidant potential of Cranberry Seed Oil makes it an excellent addition to any nighttime treatment product where it can help scavenge free radicals while promoting skin repair – as well as in daytime sun protection products to provide antioxidant benefits along with sunscreens for photoprotection of the skin.

    It’s no wonder cranberries are considered a super fruit! Not only do they provide topical benefits for the skin but they taste delicious, and provide similar benefits when consumed in our diet.

  • Eyedeas for Eyes!

    Bettina ZammertNo other part of the face is as expressive or reveals our moods and feelings as much as the eye area. The area is an eye-catcher in the truest sense of the word – but unfortunately it’s also the part of the face that shows the first signs of skin aging. The first fine lines start to appear when we are in our early to mid-20s, and it’s followed by changes in pigmentation and a reduction in the skin’s firmness. And regardless of our age, a glance in the mirror can often reveal puffiness and shadows around the eyes – which is guaranteed to spoil the mood!

    Our clients also have their concerns regarding the youthfulness and radiance of their eye area. Needless to say, an individual consultation also includes the recommendation of suitable eye care products. Which is most suitable is determined by the condition of the skin and your clients’ preferences. You must also find out whether your clients are already using an eye care product, and whether it contains a protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays.

    You must also ask clients about their lifestyles and daily habits. Do they wear sunglasses with adequately large frames to protect the tissue around the eyes from harmful UV rays? Are the frames efficient enough to prevent squinting, which can lead to expression lines?

    You can achieve amazing results around the eye area if you use a chemical exfoliant during the skin treatment. But be careful – do not use mechanical exfoliants with granules, as they could enter your clients’ eyes and cause a severe mechanical irritation on the sensitive area. It is better to use a gentle acid exfoliant, applied in a semi-circle around the outer corner of the eye. Take great care not to get too close to the lash line, and only work on the areas under the eye and by the outer corner of the eye – the inner corner of the eye is a no-go area! Finish this with a gentle drainage massage using a concentrate of active substances followed by a cooling gel mask for a real WOW effect when your client looks in the mirror.

    Incidentally: A chemical exfoliation, light massage and mask can also leave the lip area looking much fresher and fuller. Please take care to avoid the oral fissure – and make sure your client doesn’t inadvertently “sample” the products.

    Wishing you every success, and with best wishes from Germany!

  • The Scary Truth Behind Halloween and Accelerated Skin Aging!

    When it comes to celebrating Halloween, many of us don’t realize that the “trick really is in the treat”! Those sugary delights that await us as we eagerly go knocking from door to door, could be leading to more than the anticipated side effects of tooth decay!

    Researchers have discovered that sugar consumption leads to a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, which triggers a series of biochemical reactions in the cells that cause inflammation and glycation, which ultimately leads to accelerated aging of the body.

    Glycation in the skin occurs when blood sugar levels rapidly rise and sugar molecules attach to one of the fundamental architectural structures in the skin, Collagen. Once sugar bonds with Collagen, the process of “Glycation” takes place, and produces harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End products, which ultimately undermine the skin’s internal scaffolding, weakening its strength and turgor. With the repetitive attack of sugar to the skin, fine lines and wrinkles will eventually start to manifest and the skin will take on a more fragile and flaccid appearance! YIKES!!!

    Scientists from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and Unilever in the UK measured the blood sugar levels of 600 men and women aged between 50 and 70. Photographs of these people were presented to a board of 60 independent evaluators. What these evaluators perceived in this study was that those with higher blood sugar levels looked older than those with lower blood sugar levels. The researchers also discovered that with every 1mm/liter increase in blood sugar, the perceived age of that person rose by five months! Now if that does not scare you then I don’t know what will!

    How much you can tolerate before glycation occurs depends on your age, metabolism and how much you exercise. If you’re an active 25-year-old, your body can tolerate more sugar than if you are a sedentary 35-year-old.

    The good news is if you change your ways and start to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, then you should quickly see benefits manifesting on the surface of your skin. The aim should be to ensure that high Glycemic Index foods make up less than ten percent of your total diet. The results you achieve from your dietary changes will be further accelerated by making sure you use skin care formulations that fight the effects of sugar from the outside in. Skin care products rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients and sugar trapping cosmeceuticals such as Arginine Lysine Polypeptide are a definite must have!

    Try to repair existing damage by using ingredients that can stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. Examples of ingredients with collagen stimulating capabilities include:
    • Hydroxypenacolon Retinoate, a brand new, non-irritating form of Vitamin A
    • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a stabilized form of Vitamin C
    • Palmitoyl Hexapeptide 14, a small amino acid chain molecule that stimulates the fibroblast cell into action.

    And if you simply can’t help but give in to those sugary cravings, then try some fresh strawberries dipped in 70% dark chocolate, which has a substantially lower glycemic index and is considered by some to be an antioxidant “super food!”

    Here’s to a happy, healthy Halloween!

  • Hormones and the Skin Q & A

    As seen in CLEO Magazine, Australia, July 2012

    Do hormones affect our skin? How?
    Absolutely! There are dozens of hormones that have major effects on the body, including our skin. Scientists are still discovering new hormones and new actions of known ones when it comes to effects on skin. The major hormones that affect skin are the sex steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, and growth hormones. The key is balance when it comes to hormones. When there is an imbalance, effects are seen on skin, hair and nails. For example, too much thyroid hormone and you get moist, smooth skin. Too little and you get rough, dry skin. Too much or too little and you can get alopecia. Too much of the androgen (male) hormones increase skin oiliness and face/body hair. This can lead to acne in both men and women. Too little of the female hormones (estrogens and progestogens) and you get thin, dry skin with reduced collagen and elastin, something that is seen in menopausal women.

    Why do we sometimes get pimples in the same spot around the time of our periods?
    Many adult women get a pimple around the time of ovulation, typically a couple weeks before the start of their period. This is most likely due to the surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) that is seen at this time. This hormone can trigger sebaceous gland activity, leading to increased oil production and the perfect environment for an invading bacteria to cause inflammation. Hormonal breakouts are quite common and can be controlled.

    What can be done to stop this kind of skin problem?

    Some methods of birth control can help regulate the hormones that lead to oil production and breakouts. But a good skin care regimen will do wonders for breakout-prone skin. Using mild cleansers that don’t strip skin oils is a good first step, since many people believe that the more squeaky-clean they are the better. Using harsh soaps to remove all oils can actually cause skin to produce even more oil, in an attempt to self-regulate. Next you want to moisturize with oil-free moisturizers to maintain hydration without clogging pores. And using spot treatments with Sulfur and Salicylic Acid are great ways to control breakouts without causing unwanted inflammation, which can worsen the problem. Retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives) are also good ways to manage adult acne and skin aging at the same time.

  • Bridezilla be Gone: Your Skin Guide Countdown to the Big Day

    Annet KingJune is the most popular month for weddings, and according to market research firm IBISWorld, the U.S. wedding industry is worth $48 billion. This recession proof business isn’t showing signs of letting up; in fact it’s predicted to reach $54.3 billion by 2016. So brides, bridegrooms and wedding parties are indeed big business for us, and creating a skin care countdown ensures skin is HD picture perfect! This also helps avoid disasters like “bride hives” from that mystery Taiwanese wrinkle buster!

    Here’s a checklist of professional skin “to dos” before the “I dos” are said:

    Book the Bride: Problem, breakout prone skin and hyperpigmentation issues are going to need consistent treatments and an-at home protocol to achieve significant results. Just like working with a personal trainer to get into the Vera, you’re the official skin trainer, so position yourself in the same way. Schedule six months out from the big day with monthly, then bi-weekly skin treatments, and tweak and customize the treatments and products throughout. Brides should also be alert to potential eyebrow issues at this time too – some areas that may have been over-plucked might need to grow in, which can take several months to accomplish.

    Month 1: Concentrate on deep cleaning for the first treatment, particularly if the client is new to skin treatments. The bride may breakout during this time as the skin is being encouraged to purge, so she shouldn’t be alarmed or discouraged and want to quit her regimen. Upgrade her existing cleansing regimen by adding an oil-based precleanser to dissolve excess sebum and debris prior to using her normal cleanser, and prescribe a clay-based masque to expel blockages and congestion from the skin.

    Months 2-4: These treatments should be spent on problem solving areas that need extra help. Stronger exfoliation should be performed and gradually increased throughout the series. Galvanic or microcurrent should be used to drive in actives to address lines, irregular pigmentation and over active sebaceous glands. Breakouts can be “zapped” with high frequency to expedite clearing. This is also the time that skin should be treated with potent, targeted products to correct problems.

    Months 5-6: The last two treatments should focus on getting the skin glowing, firm, energized and hydrated. This is also a tense time for the bride, and stress hormones can lead to sporadic breakouts. The skin should be pumped with antioxidants and hydrating, energizing ingredients in anticipation of the big day.

    Month 6: The big day has arrived! Schedule the final skin treatment three days before the wedding. Brides make the mistake of doing this the day before and risk a big pre-wedding nerve pimple. Eyebrows should be tidied during this time, and any waxing procedures, body treatments and/or self-tanning applications are best scheduled now. The day before the wedding should be dedicated to a 20 minute flash exfoliation and energizing masque, manicure, and pedicure. If possible, a calming massage can be squeezed in.

    BIG DAY: The day of the wedding should be reserved for makeup and hair – that’s it! Provide the bride with an emergency kit that includes a concealing pimple treatment for combating that stress related breakout, a vitamin-packed mist for keeping her make up fresh and to energize skin throughout the day and a lip complex for keeping those lush lips ready for the big kiss!

  • Lustrous Pearl Powder for Enhanced Skin Health

    For thousands of years, the pearl has been one of the favorite choices among Asian, Egyptian, Mayan and Indian cultures for both beauty and medicinal treatments. From ancient China and India to medieval Europe and Arabia, pearls have been used for everything from aphrodisiacs to cures for insanity. They have been worn for their curative powers or ground up and made into potions, salves and concoctions to treat a variety of ailments and to promote one’s natural beauty. In recent years, cosmetic industry scientists have focused their research on substantiating many of the benefits of Pearl Powder when topically applied in cosmeceuticals. In order to understand how Pearl Powder can impart a benefit to the skin we need to understand what it is first.

    Pearl Powder is a finely milled powder from natural pearls that is rich in nutrients and composed primarily of Calcium Carbonate, proteins, 20 different amino acids, some trace elements and Conchiolin, an organic (meaning made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms) protein. Conchiolin is what contributes to the lustrous finish of pearls, when alternating layers of Conchiolin and Calcium Carbonate crystals form the pearl’s nacre, often called mother-of-pearl. What’s more amazing is that this magnificent, lustrous substance really begins as an annoying irritation, which brings us to the question: how do pearls form?

    Natural pearls form under a set of accidental conditions when a microscopic intruder or parasite enters a bivalve mollusk (such as an oyster), and settles inside the shell. The mollusk, being irritated by the intruder, secretes Calcium Carbonate and Conchiolin to cover the irritant. This secretion process is repeated many times, thus producing a pearl.

    So how does Pearl Powder benefit our skin? Research studies using markers that indicate keratinocyte cell proliferation have demonstrated that Pearl Powder, when topically applied to skin, stimulates cell regeneration. When complexed with Silicium (a structural component of our connective tissue that helps maintain skin’s mechanical properties such as firmness and elasticity), Pearl Powder protects cells from free radical-induced damage and helps protect collagen fibers from glycation. Glycation is a process whereby sugars react with proteins (i.e. collagen) to form Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) that lead to inflammation and premature aging (i.e. cross-linked collagen). And of course, being a rich source of calcium, Pearl Powder helps in cell cohesion via desmosomes with their calcium dependent proteins, therefore, promoting skin firmness.

    Studies also indicate that Pearl Powder is comparable to Arbutin, the active component of Bearberry that inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme, thereby inhibiting melanin formation. Pearl Powder has also been shown to enhance activity of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), a powerful antioxidant enzyme that scavenges free radicals and slows aging. And finally, studies testing Pearl Powder’s ability to impact skin hydration demonstrated that it enhances the water-holding capacity of the skin.

    As you can see, the benefits of Pearl Powder in cosmeceuticals are indeed impressive. What started off as a mere intruder in an oyster shell results in a beautiful pearl that has promising applications in the realm of skin care.

  • Treatments and Techniques for Aging Skin

    Bettina ZammertHardly any other issue in skin care is as important as aging. This is little wonder, because the “baby boomer” generation is not willing to simply accept skin aging. Expert knowledge is essential for anyone wishing to advise these discerning customers.

    In the past, it was always assumed that lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, and hyperpigmentation were part of the normal aging process and could not be influenced, or if so, then only slightly. However, new research has shown that over 90% of the changes that we see in our skin are due to exposure to daylight (photoaging), which is something we can protect ourselves against. No more than 10% is due to genetic factors.

    So it is quite clear that the best product to use against skin aging is good daylight protection, every day. It should be included in all home care regimens, and active ingredients such as antioxidants and peptides are “super weapons” in the fight against skin aging.

    Intensive exfoliation is particularly important in professional treatments for aging skin, since it increases the cell renewal rate and improves the absorption of the active ingredients. Many customers experience an increase in hyperpigmentation as they age. Treating this discoloration requires active ingredients that reduce melanin synthesis in the skin to a normal level. Systematic, consistent home is required, in combination with a professional treatment series, to bring about the desired success.

    When treating aging/changing skin, it is extremely important to remain reasonable with regard to expectations. Under no circumstances should you promise your customers any miracles, because you will quickly look unprofessional. Instead, work with your customer to draw up a precise treatment plan and the matching home treatment routine. This will show your customers that you are competent, and the expected treatment success will be achieved even more quickly!

  • Aging – It’s Not Just in Your Skin!

    Annet KingAging. Of course it’s something that happens to all of us, every day, and it can’t be stopped. The good news is, we have a bit more control over it than we may think! I’m not talking Botox injections or invasive plastic surgeries, but rather lifestyle habits that you can practice every day to keep you young, fit, and healthy. Try these lifestyle changes out, and see for yourself how much healthier you’ll start to feel and look!

    Diet plays an important role in how a person ages. Fried and fatty foods, sugar (Advanced Glycation End-products, or AGEs), and fast foods speed up the aging process. Advise clients to eat a balanced diet that is packed with antioxidants and minerals including raw fruits; vegetables; whole grains; seeds; nuts; fish – especially purple; red berries (flavonoids); red, yellow and orange veggies, (carotenoids, lycopene); iron and mineral rich green, leafy veggies and cancer fighting broccoli. Protein from fish and soy is preferable. Processed, artificial or toxic foods accelerate aging due to the harmful chemicals that need to be disposed of. It is also important to get adequate intake of pure, clean water. The average person should drink 6 to 8 glasses per day.

    One of the most important lifestyle habits to fight aging is regular exercise. Regular exercise promotes healthy oxygen levels in the body. Brisk walking is very beneficial for the brain and cardiovascular system. Other types of exercise are also beneficial, especially strength training (bone loss), yoga (joint mobility) and cycling.

    The body uses sleep time to do its internal housekeeping – process nutrients, detoxify, renew and recharge in general. If your body is chronically starved for sleep, the effects will eventually become both visibly and physically noticeable. Most people do best with about 7 hours sleep.

    Protect your skin all the time from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not just while you’re in the sun. Don’t think of it as sunscreen, think of it as daylight defense! Protection from UV rays and the use of age-fighting ingredients is the secret to wrinkle free, younger-looking, healthy skin.

    Avoid tanning and DO NOT Burn!
    One blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma. It is best to stay out of the midday sun (from mid-morning to late afternoon) whenever you can. Wear long sleeves and long pants of tightly woven fabrics, a hat with a wide brim, and sunglasses that absorb UV rays.

    Laughter boosts the immune system and beats stress. Adopting a humorous view of life’s difficulties can take the edge off of every day stressful situations. Laughter prevents stress build up and stops the release of damaging stress hormones into the body, and it also triggers the release of endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers – producing a general sense of well-being!

    How do your lifestyle choices keep you healthy, young and vibrant?

  • Beauty Supplements: Hype or Hope?

    Dr Claudia AguirreThe fountain of youth is a mythical spring said to be discovered by 16th century Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon in Florida. Legend says that bathing in its waters gives one eternal youth. It remains a legend – but every day there are claims and studies aimed at quenching the desire for eternal youth and longevity. Wednesday, a very exciting study was published about a breakthrough that delayed the signs of aging (like wrinkles) in mice by flushing out the retired or ‘senescent’ cells in their genome1. Far from fiction, scientific studies can bring hope for delayed aging. But today we are inundated with claims that swallowing a pill will prevent aging overnight. The latest craze in the search for the fountain of youth seems to be in a surge of ‘beauty supplements’ that will prevent wrinkles and loss of tone and elasticity.

    Now I’m all about beauty – or health – from within, but there are people capitalizing on a lack of consumer information. An example: you can purchase a bottle of 60 caplets for about $50-$60 from some companies, which may contain antioxidants from goji berries, resveratrol, açai, and even marine extracts like algae. That’s about $1 per pill. There are a few arguments I have against buying hope in jar.

    First, there are not enough well-designed independent studies that prove these ‘beauty’ supplements really work. Take açai: Although touted as a superfood, both for products that are consumed and that are put on the skin, there is little to no scientific evidence that the anti-aging claims are substantiated, according to the National Institutes of Health. Second, the concept of beauty from within is not a foreign one, and it begins with a healthy diet. A person snacking away on junk food all day and taking her or his ‘beauty pill’ at night will undoubtedly be disappointed the following morning. Whole, unprocessed food provides ample nourishment with vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy body – and this is reflected on the skin. Of course for those lacking, a vitamin supplement may indeed help. Choosing a healthy diet is surely the way to go when looking to enhance the appearance of the skin from within.

    Finally, I’m a firm believer in the placebo effect, so results with supplements will vary! Bottom line: replenish your skin’s lipids topically, fight stressed out skin with topical antioxidants and peptides, and always protect from the environment. Save that dollar and invest it in a healthy diet, which has been proven over the ages to contribute to health and wellness!

    1. D.J. Baker, et al. Clearance of p16Ink4a-positive senescent cells delays ageing-associated disorders. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10600