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  • The Lowdown On Lipids: Part 1 – Why Does the Skin Need Them?

    Phyto Replenish Oil Puddle

    Lipids, or natural protective oils, are essential for maintaining the integrity of all living matter due to their ability to form a barrier between the living cell and the outside world. In human skin, lipids are used as building blocks for membranes and fulfill specific functions such as preventing desiccation (a state of extreme dryness) by forming a barrier and preventing evaporation of water.

    More specifically, the outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum (SC), constitutes the main barrier to the movement of substances into and out of the skin; it consists of corneocytes (SC cells) and several different types of lipids, such as ceramides, sterols and free fatty acids. These lipids that make up the barrier lipid layer of the stratum corneum are expelled from cells during the process of keratinization in the epidermis. When the barrier lipid layer is disturbed, this can lead to pathological diseases such as ichthyosis, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis.

    Aging also has an effect on the composition of SC lipids. Studies have shown a decline in ceramide and sterol components with an increase in fatty acid composition in aged skin.1

    Seasonal changes have also been shown to impact SC barrier lipids which leads to dryness, roughness and increased trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) while a reduction in ceramides generally leads to an increase in skin sensitivity and irritability2. Likewise, diet and the products we apply to our skin can impact the barrier lipids. Alcohol, acetone, harsh surfactants, AHAs, BHAs and retinoids can strip lipids giving that taut skin feeling which is often associated with increased dehydration, wrinkles, sensitivity and premature aging.

    Unfortunately, nothing good results from having a compromised lipid barrier layer. Therefore, the challenge to the cosmetic formulator is to create an esthetically appealing formula that helps replenish those critical lipids to the epidermis. The most important property of lipids in skin care is their ability to restore the barrier lipid, promote moisturization, smooth skin texture as well as, a visual reduction of the signs of dryness. Restoring the barrier lipids not only inhibits TEWL, it helps keep the natural moisturizing factor (NMF) inside the cells where it is needed to keep cells hydrated and enzymes functioning normally.

    Fortunately, when we are young our skin can restore its natural barrier lipids after an insult such as exposure to alcohol, soap or chemical peels. The time required for barrier lipid recovery varies according to age; in young individuals 50-60% of the barrier lipids are restored within 12 hours with full recovery taking about three days. However, in older adults complete recovery can take over a week. Depending on the condition of the skin this can lead to dehydration and additional sensitization.

    The most obvious possibility for recovering the skin barrier function is by replacing the intercellular lipids in between our keratinocyte cells. Studies measuring TEWL as an indicator of barrier integrity have demonstrated that the barrier function can be restored with the application of skin type lipids.

    Understanding the science and the physiological processes behind the barrier lipids of the SC as well as how we can optimize their functionality is something we have studied extensively at The International Dermal Institute; we have looked at the effects of adding various plant or phytolipid complexes to the skin in order to optimize hydration, reduce sensitivity and enhance the health of the skin.

    Read Part 2 of this blog series to learn about the latest plant oil ingredients, also called phytochemicals, that help to restore the natural barrier function of the skin.

    References:

    1. Lipids in Skin Care Formulations p 279 in Cosmetic Lipids and the Skin Barrier. ed T. Forster, Marcel Dekker. 2002

    2. DiNardo et al. Contact Derm. 1996; 35:86-91

  • Get Sun Smart

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    Like many people, childhood holidays were always spent on the beach, where young tender skin was exposed to the elements sun up to sun down. Mum’s beach bag contained the ‘Sun Oil’ and her first-aid bag the calamine lotion. If only we had known then what we know now about the dangers of the sun.

    Believe it or not, there are many people that are still uninformed about the importance of sun protection. Here are some common questions (or excuses) that we often hear from clients with ways to explain or debunk myths about sun safety.

    Q: The sun will dry up my spots.
    A: FALSE
    As you unwind on the beach and relax, stress hormones will begin to level out and eventually dwindle. As acne is exacerbated by stress, it makes sense that as we relax, acne may improve. You may be in and out of salt water and chlorine, which can also dry up spots. Overall it may seem that acne breakouts have cleared…wrong! The heat and often clogging sunscreens will cause oil to speed up production and skin to be in overdrive, leaving you with the same issues. There are plenty of SPF options for oily or acneic skins that will not clog but rather keep skin hydrated, while prevent more serious UV damage. Seek relaxation but avoid the sun!

    Q: I only need sunscreen when it’s sunny.
    A: FALSE
    UVA rays are the longest rays in the spectrum and penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin all year round, including winter months. UVA rays cause damage at a cellular level, making them responsible for most skin cancers and the main cause of visible aging in the form of wrinkles, sagging and sun spots. Other signs of damage are small blood vessels and spider veins on the face, neck and chest. UVA also goes through glass including most car windows and is present on cloudy days as well as sunny days. Protecting daily with a Broad Spectrum (filters both UVA and UVB) sunscreen should be included in everyone’s skin care regime.

    Q: How much sunscreen do you need for a face and neck application?
    A: FULL TEASPOON
    A full teaspoon for face and neck is a good rough guide—though it’s better to be more generous than to skimp. More importantly, to ensure an SPF is doing its job it needs to be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, so don’t wait until you are on the beach before applying. Remember you need to re-apply regularly, especially if swimming, sweating or if removing with a towel, think about when eating drinking and wiping your mouth.

    Q: The SPF in my makeup protects my skin.
    A: FALSE
    The problem with relying on the SPF in your makeup is that you’re just not getting enough of it. You should wear at least an SPF of 15, but an SPF of 30 is ideal and topped up every 2 hours. The easiest solution is to use a moisturiser or primer (or both!) that also contain sunscreen. It’s fine to have sunscreen in your makeup, but consider it an added bonus, not your main safeguard.

    Q: Two layers of SPF15 make an SPF30. 
    A: FALSE 
    Adding another layer on top of an existing layer of sunscreen does not double the sun protection factor. Two layers of an SPF 15 sunscreen remains an SPF 15 and does not become an SPF 30. Re-apply every 2 hours if outside in summer months or on holiday in the sun.

  • SPF and Aging

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    A good SPF product is a skin care essential, but clients often struggle with finding the right formula. Here is how to help clients choose the perfect SPF products for their skin at every age.

    20’s: Since oil production is still high, skin may be breakout prone. Clients need a daily SPF formula that does not clog pores or contribute to comedones; and fragrance, color, Isopropyl Myristate, Lanolin and Mineral Oil should all be avoided. Suggest a lightweight SPF that helps combat and treat breakout prone skin and soak up excess oil, and add an eye treatment with SPF to your clients’ regimens to prevent future ultraviolet (UV) damage like crow’s feet.

    30’s: Recommend a tinted moisturizer! Multi benefit, 3-in-1 products with a wash of color, hydration and built-in broad spectrum SPF are ideal. Another option is to customize your clients’ moisturizers by mixing in a SPF booster. Look for the latest Oleosome technology that also acts as an emulsifier and allows for a higher concentration of sunscreen ingredients without the irritation.

    40’s: Signs of aging and hyperpigmentation are more evident in your 40s, so SPF30 or higher will best address firmness, elasticity and age-related triggers like reactive oxygen species (ROS). Clients can layer an age-fighting skin primer with peptides, Pearl Powder and SPF30 to help combat harmful rays while smoothing lines.

    50’s and up: Skin is significantly drier and more sensitive in your 50s, so a chemical SPF might not be an option. Suggest an ultra-sensitive SPF30 that has physical sunscreen ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, as well as built-in calming complexes to soothe skin. If your clients’ skin is very dry, recommend an appropriate moisturizer under which they can layer SPF.

    This article was originally published on ModernSalon.com

  • Beauty Sleep – Myth or Truth?

    This topic has always been one of some debate, from a personal perspective it was just one of the many ploys that my mother used to coax me to go to bed when I was a wee one! Today we know more about what actually happens to us when we sleep and the consequences of not getting enough quality shut eye. From credible research that links sleep deprivation to obesity to the abundance of apps that measure how many times we roll over, sleep is a hot topic and big business… Here’s what we know about sleep and the skin, and what happens when you don’t get enough!

    It’s Day Job

    In the daytime, the skin is very active fighting off potential invaders like bacteria and viruses while also neutralizing unstable molecules that cause havoc on cells. These are generated by UV, chemical exposure, smoke, stress, unhealthy diets and pollution. Just another reason why sunscreen is a must and preferably one with built in antioxidant technology. It’s not only you that has to work during the day: your skin has a long list of job responsibilities, too.

    The Night Shift

    At night the skin switches to clean up and repair mode while you rest, new skin cells replace damaged cells and rejuvenation takes place. In fact, cell regeneration increases by double at night and production of collagen also escalates. To help enhance this process, use or prescribe specialized overnight products, specifically those with microencapsulated Retinol and designer peptides that work on repairing skin. As the skin is clean and not in defense mode, it’s more readily able to absorb these helpful ingredients. Most people do best with about 7 hours sleep. Well rested skin looks exactly that — well rested, good tone, plump, fresh, hydrated and bright.

    Burning the Candle

    On the flip side, lack of sleep can be detrimental to both the skin and body. The body uses sleep time for internal housekeeping – processing nutrients, detoxifying, renewing and recharging. If your body is chronically starved for sleep, the effects will eventually become visibly and physically noticeable. Signs like slow healing breakouts or telltale dark circles and puffiness under the eyes are going to give you away, you’ll feel tired and look tired.

    Long Term? Think Zombie Skin!

    Something every party girl needs to know is that when you build up ‘sleep debt’ over time, this has long-term consequences. The aging process will be accelerated and the immune system will be impaired, which means you’ll be more susceptible to skin infections, cold sores maybe even skin cancer. For the body as a whole there are chronic effects like serious health issues, metabolic problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and depression.

    Top Tips For Some Quality Shut Eye

    Ready to change those sleeping habits? Here’s some helpful tips to get you on your way to rest and relaxation:

    •  No caffeinated beverages, tea or coffee after 4 pm (also no sugar at least 2 hours before bed).

    •  Working out after work or doing yoga also really helps not just for the body but for switching off the brain from work.

    •  No phones or bright LED lights next to the bed, or in the room for that matter. Try to black out your room as much as possible or try a sleep masque.

    •  Taking a bath with a blend of relaxing essential oils — the heat from the water soothes muscles, the aromas through you breathing them in will help you to unwind. The best essential oils for sleep are Lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Ylang ylang and Rose.

  • Is Microencapsulated Retinol Better Than Ordinary Retinol?

    While there is no question that Retinol is indeed one of the most effective age fighting ingredients available in skin care today, there is often confusion surrounding the different forms available in cosmetic products. Unfortunately, as effective as pure Retinol is in fighting the signs of aging, the reality is that it is not a very stable molecule. It breaks down in the presence of oxygen and light so great care must be exercised when formulating with Retinol to ensure that the active Retinol is still present 6 months later. Cosmetic manufacturers will often use metal or glaminate tubes with a narrow needle nose delivery orifice to minimize exposure to light and air.

    With the numerous clinical studies supporting the benefits of Retinol in skin care products, we have sought ways to optimize using this unstable molecule. Microencapsulation is a process whereby Retinol is subjected to a laboratory process that encapsulates the active molecule within a microscopic capsule or sphere that not only protects the unstable Retinol molecule, it facilitates controlled release delivery and enhanced penetration through the lipid bilayer of the skin. This is the result of the microcapsule structure being constructed of multiple layers of lipid membranes surrounding a solid Retinol containing core that allows for an easier transfer of the Retinol molecule. At the same time the very nature of the capsule enables a lipid film to form over the skin’s surface to impede trans epidermal water loss (TEWL).

    Formulating with microencapsulated Retinol is also advantageous over the free form of Retinol in that it protects the Retinol from oxidation or spoilage and extends the shelf life of the product. The microcapsules break when they are applied to the skin so that the Retinol is at its most active when delivered. And due to the lipid nature of the microencapsulation it facilitates a controlled release delivery with better penetration through the barrier lipids of the skin.

     

     

     

     

     

  • 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 Center in the Netherlands and Unilever in the UK performed a study where they 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:
    • Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, a non-irritating form of Vitamin A
    • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP), 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.