Penny Jenkinson presents the case for investing in your biggest organ.
In 1938 cosmetic products claiming to beautify or improve the skin’s appearance were launched. These were sold and marketed without the necessity to establish safety and efficacy. Also, they proved to have no demonstrable effect on the structure and function of the skin.
Fast-forward 50 years: both technology and materials had improved by leaps and bounds, giving rise to the birth of cosmeceuticals. Also known as dermaceuticals/active cosmetics and functional cosmetics, cosmeceuticals is an important area of dermatology because of the increased knowledge about skin physiology and the many novel raw materials that can alter the structure and function of skin.
Cosmeceuticals offer immediate and long-term results, have a low side-effect profile, preventive benefits and address a variety of skin concerns, including texture, pigmentation and laxity. But the major difference between cosmetic products and cosmeceuticals is that in products classed as cosmeceuticals, the various product marketing claims must be substantiated by clinical testing to determine safety and efficacy in improving the skin’s appearance.
Today, men and women alike aspire to a youthful, healthy appearance and they wish to combat signs of ageing proactively. So, despite the popularity of wrinkle-reducing injections, laser resurfacing and so forth, it’s absolutely essential to apply scientifically-proven topical creams to complement and prolong the results of rejuvenation treatments.
Most cosmeceuticals contain important ingredients for preserving the skin’s youthful appearance in some or other form: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, peptides, proteins and sun protection. However, always speak to a qualified consultant, because the quality and quantity of the ingredients are all-important.
Vitamin A (Retinoids, Retinyl palmitate, Tretinoin) stimulates collagen production, increases cell turnover, repairs damaged skin and helps to contain acne. Be aware that vitamin A causes a transient reaction when first using it. To enjoy long-term benefits, persevere through this period! Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) in various forms is an antioxidant which fights free radicals, thus preventing and treating sun-damaged skin. It also stimulates fibroblasts to increase elastin synthesis and collagen production.
Skin lightening agents contain kojic acid, liquorice, bearberry extract, arbutin and vitamin C to treat pigmentation and prevent further pigmentation. Signs of photo-damage (eg sun spots) only present later in life, so using these products will prevent, delay and treat damaged cells.
Alpha and Poly Hydroxy Acids exfoliate the skin, gently dissolving outer layers of dead skin, allowing better product penetration, resulting in a smooth even-textured skin. It’s a vital part of the skincare regime to speed up cell turnover. Alas, the latter process slows down as we age, causing us to look tired and dull. Alpha Hydroxy acids are ideal for severely sun-damaged skin, acne and dry skins. Poly Hydroxy Acids are gentle and moisturising – ideal for normal to sensitive skins.
By only using high-quality, dermatological products on your skin, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.