News

  • Crazy for Cranberries

    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.

  • Antioxidants: Past, Present & Future

    In this recent Q&A, Dr. Claudia Aguirre met with American Spa Magazine to discuss the latest in antioxidants and skin care. Get the scoop on these famed ingredients and find out what trends in antioxidant research we can expect to see next!

    Q. “Antioxidant” is an overused buzzword in the beauty industry. What should people look out for when choosing skincare products? Are there any common marketing claims that are particularly misleading?
    A. Antioxidants are so widely varied, with a multitude of functions, that they can appear to be as ubiquitous as moisturizers themselves. In fact, there are over 600 known carotenoids and over 8,000 sources of polyphenols found in nature. And those are just the ones we know. The activity and effectiveness behind a product’s antioxidant power comes from its unique formulation. It all depends on the formula when it comes to antioxidants, and since the formulas are not always disclosed, the best thing for a spa owner or consumer to do is to look for products coming from reputable brands which spend heavily on research and development.

    Much of the marketing claims that are in fact misleading are typically confined to the food industry. For example, the word ‘superfood’ is not recognized as a true category of food in the scientific community although many people believe the antioxidant power behind goji berry is better than blueberry (or other food not currently in the spotlight). These trendy foods of course then get translated into skin care formulations that highlight the ‘superfoods.’

    Q. What are some common misconceptions about antioxidants?
    A. Probably that they’re quick acting. We are always looking for a quick fix, and compared to sunscreens and retinoids, antioxidants are more preventative and protective rather than corrective. However, over time these can correct some signs of photodamage, as vitamin C has been shown to lighten up sun-induced pigmentation.

    Another is that a vitamin is a single compound. A ‘vitamin’ is typically a family of compounds. For example, Vitamin A can be sourced from animals (retinoids) or plants (carotenoids) in our diet. So they’re not as simple as we think.

    Q. What are some of the most promising emerging antioxidant ingredients on the market and why?
    A. Vitamins are tried and true and many people may not realize that these also have a number of derivatives which can produce the same effects on the skin as the original vitamin compound. For instance, vitamin C has an active form of L-Ascorbic Acid but has a long list of derivative compounds (MAP, Ascorbyl Glucoside, etc) that can also provide benefits to the skin such as lightening up photodamage and promoting collagen production.

    The plant based antioxidants – polyphenols – are also great at scavenging free radicals in the skin. However, these likely have benefits that extend beyond preventing oxidative damage. Recent studies suggest these compounds can also promote oxidation (prooxidant) and trigger cell death, which may prevent tumor cells from growing and proliferating. Some may even mimic our own chemical messengers like hormones, as in the case of soy isoflavones1. Others like the catechins found in green tea can also impart anti-inflammatory benefits to sensitized or irritated skin.

    Q. What is your company doing to increase the antioxidant power in your skin care products?
    A. The biggest issue when it comes to antioxidants in skin care is how to deliver it efficaciously to the skin. We at Dermalogica not only use a wide variety of antioxidant compounds from botanical, marine and synthetic sources, but we also employ the latest technology to ensure delivery and penetration of the product. Since these are highly sensitive compounds, they easily ‘rust’ or oxidize, turning the product brown and rendering it useless. We encapsulate derivatives of stabilized vitamins in an advanced liposomal delivery system to optimize results on the skin. This ensures we don’t get adverse effects like irritation, and allows the ingredient to penetrate without being oxidized by the environment. Some packaging options such as airless tubes can also help with the delivery.

    Q. Are there any other trends that you’re seeing in antioxidant research?
    A. Combinations of antioxidants have been shown to work better than when used individually. So you’re likely to see products with a cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants rather than a product based on a single ingredient.

    Some of the current research is focused on marine algae, a large and diverse group of species that include kelp and seaweed. These have shown to include a large variety of antioxidant compounds such as carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamins and polysaccharides2. It won’t be surprising to see products crop up with marine antioxidants as the next trend in anti-aging cosmetics.

    Other carotenoids besides β-carotene are also being closely investigated. Powerful antioxidants found in tomatoes, peppers and even microalgae include lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, among many other compounds.

    And just as combinations of antioxidants are proving to be better than using them separately, combination treatments are also becoming more popular. A recent study concluded that ‘the addition of polyphenolic antioxidants to an IPL regimen improved the clinical, biochemical, and histological changes seen following IPL treatment alone3,’ suggesting that topical antioxidants are not only great protective elements in skin care, but they can even impact the efficacy and results of other treatments.

    References:

    1. Scalbert, et al. Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond Am J Clin Nutr January 2005 vol. 81 no. 1 215S-217S
    2. Cornish, M.L. and Garbary, D.J. Algae 2010, 25(4): 155-171
    3. Freedman, B. M. (2009), Topical antioxidant application augments the effects of intense pulsed light therapy. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 8: 254–259

  • The Benefits of Pumpkin Ingredients on the Skin

    Pumpkin2

    Autumn can play some nasty tricks on your skin with its winds and chilly weather. But you can give your skin a treat by using the perfect ingredient of the season, pumpkin, to reveal glowing new skin underneath.

    Pumpkin contains a lot of amazing properties that benefit the skin in many different ways. So how does pumpkin help skin?

    • Pumpkin is packed with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which increase cell turnover, to brighten and smooth the skin.

    • Pumpkin contains antioxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin C to help soften and soothe the skin and boost collagen production to prevent the signs of aging.

    • Zinc in pumpkin seeds is brilliant for acne sufferers. Zinc will help control the hormone level and oil production, as well as assist with healing of the skin.

    • Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are necessary to maintain good barrier function of the skin. They also regulate sebum, great for an oily skin.

    • The molecular structure of pumpkin is small and therefore can penetrate deeper into the skin when used topically. This is amazing for treating a dull complexion, aging skin and pigmentation.

    Due to the many benefits pumpkin has, clients can adjust their home care routine to include products with this key ingredient. Start with recommending a day moisturizer with SPF, especially if they’re concerned with hyperpigmentation. Look for formulations with unique encapsulation technology that time-releases active ingredients and sunscreens into the skin for enhanced ultraviolet (UV) protection, while inhibiting melanosome activity and providing hydration benefits.

    Pair it up with a night time treatment moisturizer that also contains peptides, antioxidants and plant extracts like Giant White Bird of Paradise Seed and Moth Bean Seed to improve luminosity, strengthen skin and increase cell turnover all while they sleep.

    For the best results this season, it’s simple – target skin with products containing pumpkin!

  • The ABCDEFGs of Mole Detection

    Skin cancer is on the rise. In fact, more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancers are diagnosed annually in more than 2 million people. That’s roughly 1 in 5 people that will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. But skin cancer is just the beginning; it could lead or develop into other types of cancer. Checking for skin cancer or suspicious markings should be as easy as your ABC’s, which is the exact guide skin care experts have developed for looking for visible changes on the skin.

    With the advancement of technology there is a variety of tools available, such as the UMSkinCheck app available via iTunes. This app sends automatic reminders and offers step-by-step instructions for a skin self-exam. It also provides pictures of various types of skin cancers for comparison with any questionable markings on the skin you may encounter. But for those who aren’t as technologically savvy, the classic method of checking will still help.

    Follow the ABCDE’s of mole detection to check for potential risks and red flags:

    – Asymmetrical: an irregularly shaped mole.
    – Borders: the borders/edges of the mole are uneven.
    – Color: the mole is multi-colored.
    – Diameter: the mole is larger in diameter than 6mm (about the width of the top of a pencil).
    – Evolving: the mole has changed over time.
    – Firm: the mole is harder than surrounding tissue and doesn’t flatten if you press it.
    – Growing: the mole is getting gradually larger.

    For some there are just a few weeks left of summer; however, the prevention of skin cancer should be year round because ultraviolet (UV) rays are always present. Follow these tips for prevention and protection from UV rays:

    – Apply a teaspoon to the face and a shotglass amount to the body of a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) SPF daily (yes, everyday). Apply 30 minutes before going outside.
    – Ensure protection by wearing minimum SPF15, however SPF30 is preferable.
    – Reapply every two hours.
    – Seek shade, do not burn.
    – Exfoliate! It not only smooths and freshens skin, it helps to remove possible precancerous cells before they become dangerous.
    – Face-kinis are all the rage in Qingdao, China. This light cloth looks much like a ski mask but allows one to enjoy the water and sand without the effects of the sun, much like wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
    – Increase intake of antioxidants, fruits and vegetables. A variety of foods have been found to help minimize the attack of free-radical damage and even help protect us from the inside out. Drink moderate amounts of green tea or coffee, and consuming berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, cherries), colored peppers, red ripe tomatoes, turmeric root, and cocoa have all been found to be some of nature’s antioxidants.

    There are advances in genetic testing that can be done for those with a family history to identify potential threats and incorporate a possible vaccination. One such case is the catalytic DNA molecule (DNAzyme) that looks promising in vivo efficacy in the treatment of some types of cancer. PD1, while still in the early stages of clinical trials, is making waves as a potential for anticancer immunotherapy. Increased levels of the protein Panx1 is being further studied as a potential in treating melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer). And two studies suggest that two peptide agents used either together or individually with a low-dose of a standard chemotherapy drug might offer more effective cancer therapy than current standard single-drug treatments.

    You can still enjoy your time in the sun, just remember your sun smarts and use your ABCDEFG’s when examining your skin!

    References:

    1. Rogers, HW, Weinstock, MA, Harris, AR, et al. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):283-287

    2. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 11, 602 (August 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrd3807

    3. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 11, 601 (August 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrd3806

    4. http://www.breakthroughdigest.com/medical-news/combination-peptide-therapies-might-offer-more-effective-less-toxic-cancer-treatment/

  • Sunscreen and Expiration Dates Explained

    Taking sunbath

    One of the most critical products that I would advocate a client use before any other type of skin care product would be a sunscreen. We know that Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is responsible for a number of skin concerns ranging from various forms of hyperpigmentation to more serious precancerous and cancerous lesions. We also know that approximately 80-99% of extrinsic aging comes from exposure to UVR! For this reason, The International Dermal Institute recommends using sunscreen every day, not just during the summer months.

    The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 2-3 years, and in order to make these claims the sunscreen formula has to undergo a series of real time or accelerated stability tests to prove that the ingredient is still active up until the time of expiration. It’s important to point out at this point that if you’re using sunscreen every day and in the correct amount, a tube should not last that long. Most clients don’t realize that their sunscreen has a limited time in which it can be used effectively, so it may be a good idea to point out the expiration date to the client when they purchase their next sunscreen product from you. Most expiration dates can be found stamped on the crimp of the product packaging tube or printed on the bottom of the product carton.

    If sunscreens have expired there is a good chance they are still good for a few months; however once you reach the expiration date there is no guarantee that the level of activity is still present. You may also want to point out a few of these basic but important tips to your clients next time they inquire about purchasing their sunscreen from you:

    • The best place to store your SPF product is in a cool place out of direct sunlight and heat.

    • Buy smaller sizes of your SPF product vs. larger “30% extra for free” products, which will inevitably expire before you get a chance to use them all and you’ll end up having to throw them out.

    • Don’t use any SPF formulation that contains fragrance or perfume as this may cause hyperpigmentation and, in some cases, a photosensitized reaction on the skin.

    • If your client has a more sensitive skin, she or he would be better off using a physical SPF (containing Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide), as these formulations tend to have a larger molecular size that does not penetrate and potentially cause irritation.

    • Try to look for a formulation that can potentially deliver additional skin health benefits, such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C to the skin, as these types of sunscreens help to minimize the amount of free radical damage to the skin, thereby offering a more advanced level of protection.

    • Many clients are hesitant to use sunscreen because they feel the formulations are too thick, heavy or pore clogging. Professional products, however, use new technology that delivers more sophisticated SPFs, which have the ability to benefit different skin types and conditions. This allows you to prescribe a sunscreen that’s perfectly customized to your clients’ needs.

  • A New Year’s Resolution for the Healthiest of Skin!

    With the holiday and New Year celebrations taking their toll on our skin, now is the time to talk damage recovery with your clients. Those late night parties, traveling and even stress can reveal themselves on the skin well after the holidays have gone bye-bye. Make sure your clients reign in the new year with these healthy skin resolutions.

    1. When your clients look in the mirror and their skin is shouting “I’m tired!” give it a great pick-me-up by using a skin brightening microfoliation containing Rice Bran Powder, which will create a fantastic luminosity to the skin. Follow with a 10 minute “super skin feed” using a multivitamin face masque. Once the masque is removed, apply a skin firming booster. The organic silicones in this type of product act like an invisible “support tight” over the skin and the mesh-like base also creates a super canvas for a great make-up application.

    2. Since alcohol is so dehydrating to the body and makes the skin more sensitized, make sure your clients carry a calming mist in their bag. This will not only add much needed hydration to the skin’s surface but it will also calm and reduce the redness. It can be easily spritzed over make-up.

    3. When nights out become mornings after and skin looks dry and dull, treat it to an overnight, oil-based serum to replenish lost lipids and moisture and rebuild collagen. Apply in the evening and let the essential oils work with the body’s own circadian rhythms to leave skin silky soft and luminous.

    4. How to handle the tell-tale dark circles around the eyes? In Chinese medicine, shadows under eyes are indicative of stress on the kidneys and liver (which makes sense after lots of parties and late nights). You can’t instantly get rid of dark circles, but helping the body detox, rest and revitalize through good nutrition and exercise will all help greatly. For a temporary quick fix, use products that contain anti-inflammatories and optical light diffusers, which are often combined in a light concealer make-up base and act as a multitude of ‘microscopic mirrors’ that deflect the light and decrease shadow lines.

    Here’s to a New Year’s resolution for the healthiest of skin!

  • Does Our Skin Have Different Needs From Day to Night?

    Annet KingThe answer is quite simply yes! Our skin is a dynamic organ that reflects our inner health but also changes with the seasons and environment, and it fluctuates from day to night. It’s not only you that has to work during the day, your skin has a long list of job responsibilities, too!

    Having trouble explaining this to your clients? Use the below tips to better help them understand.

    Skin During the Day
    Your skin excretes the most sebum at mid-day, which coincides with the least amount of Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL.) It is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, environmental pollution, smoke, poor diet, caffeine, make up and extreme temperature changes. It subsequently is harder at work and more stressed during the day, fighting Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS – free radicals) and capturing chemical invaders, shielding from UV rays and producing more lipids to adjust to changing temperatures and humidity levels.

    Skin at Night
    Your skin excretes less sebum, loses more water and is hotter and more acidic at night. It is likely to be drier and perhaps more vulnerable to irritation as well, which may explain why some people complain of “nighttime itch” or “flare-ups” of inflammatory skin conditions at night. Skin also repairs itself more, and cell renewal is enhanced in the evening.

    AM Tips:
    Daytime exposure is similar to sending skin into battle. Prep it with an arsenal of antioxidants and cell energizers to neutralize free radicals. Always protect from UV rays and mop up excess oil production mid-day.

    PM Tips:
    Make sure you start by deeply cleansing your skin at night to remove deep down dirt, long-lasting makeup and sunscreens. Repair damage and stimulate cell renewal while replenishing lost lipids with a powerful cocktail of peptides, Retinol and botanicals.

    Number One Tip: Don’t Forget to Catch Some Zzzzzs!
    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!