Whatever happened to Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise???

Are you confused about what products to use to keep your skin healthy and looking its best?

Skincare is now bigger business than ever before, and research has led to a mass of new serums and other products that we are told we absolutely ‘must have’.

Back in the day we were told to decide whether we had dry, oily or combination skin and then encouraged to cleanse, tone and moisturise using products designed for our ‘skin type’. But the increasing influence of skin science has shone a light on the need to maintain the skin’s natural barrier function for skin health. This dermatological research has led to the development of results driven skincare products that focus on skin maintenance at a cellular level. These cosmetic products that have medically proven therapeutic benefits – so called ‘Cosmeceuticals’ – are generally not available to buy over the counter as they often contain percentages of active ingredients that require professional advice about usage, to both get optimum results and avoid adverse effects.

Everyday Essentials for healthy skin

Below is a list of essential ingredients for your basic skincare regime. There could be other products if you have a particular concern, if for example you are worried about redness or undereye dark circles, but this list includes everything we all need to keep our skin healthy and looking good.

So, do we really need them ALL?

Seems to be a lot? Remember ingredients can be combined, so if time is a concern look for products with multiple ingredients – cleansers with hydroxy acids for example.

Do they actually work?

Look for quality cosmeceutical products with pure ingredients that are formulated to actually penetrate the skin’s natural defensive barrier – research estimates that up to 75% of over the counter products do not contain actives in a form that can enter the skin. Active ingredients need to be either encapsulated in oils so that the skin absorbs them or have their molecular structure altered so that they are physically small enough to pass through. Additionally, they should be chirally correct and so in a chemical form that will allows them to bond with receptors on the skin cells.

  1. Suitable cleanser – free of foaming agents, parabens, emulsions and designed for your basic skin type. Cleansers should remove dirt and debris from the skin’s surface without disturbing or stripping away the natural oil and moisture film that acts as a barrier to protect against it against irritants and pathogens
  2. AHA/BHA exfoliants – many good quality modern cleansers now include mild hydroxy acids. These have gentle exfoliating and humectant effects that support the skin’s natural barrier function whilst encouraging natural cellular renewal. Where this isn’t the case, regular exfoliation using a mild enzyme peel will help keep dead skin build up at bay without the harsh effects of many physical scrubs.
  3. Antioxidants – our bodies naturally produce anti-oxidants, but modern life means that they are frequently overwhelmed by free radicals from UV exposure, pollution, stress and lifestyle choices. Free radical damage is a leading cause of poor skin health and non-age-related changes to the skin’s appearance, which means topical antioxidant products are a vital ingredient in any skincare regime. Topical Vitamin C is a go to antioxidant choice because it provides multiple benefits – it is essential for the production of Collagen and significantly increases the effectiveness of solar protection products, as well as fighting free radical damage.
    Vitamin E is also a superb antioxidant. It protects against damage by strengthening skin cell membranes. Recent research also suggests that it is has the power to prevent the production of skin cancer cells.
  4. Hyaluronic Acid – this is the skin’s natural moisture retention ingredient. Its molecular structure allows it to work like a sponge, retaining water in the deeper skin tissue to provide it with volume.
    Water is essential for healthy skin. It not only provides youthful volume, but is necessary for all effective cellular function, and so the first sign of dehydration as the natural exfoliation process slows is dull lifeless skin.
    Unfortunately, hyaluronic acid has a naturally large molecular structure, and many products containing this superstar ingredient will not work as it will not be able to actually penetrate the skin. When looking for a suitable product, check that the formulation states it is low weight, otherwise it will simply sit on the surface doing nothing, or worse potentially drawing moisture out of your skin!
  5. Retinol – this is a form of vitamin A, which is required for efficient skin cell functioning and renewal. Despite its association with the rejuvenation of older skin, it is actually suitable for almost all skin types. It has a regulating effect on sebum production and so can have a remarkable effect on acne prone skin. However, it can be irritating if introduced too quickly, especially if your skin’s natural protective barrier isn’t operating at full strength. So, it is important to choose wisely to ensure that you select a form that will complement your own skin.
  6. Broad-spectrum solar protection – absolute minimum SPF30! Sun exposure is the leading cause of early skin ageing.
    Most of us know that we should protect our skin to prevent it burning when out in strong sunlight. However, fewer realise about the damaging effects of UVA radiation, which is not limited to periods of intense ‘summer’ sun, and provides a daily threat to our skin’s health regardless of the temperature. UVA rays penetrate more deeply than the UVB rays associated with sunburn, and cause structural damage to the underlying dermal tissue that is the source of support to the skin’s surface.
    This can result in premature lines and wrinkles as well as giving the skin a coarse leathery texture. More worryingly, research suggests that UV exposure can alter a gene that suppresses tumour development.
    In short, it is essential for all exposed skin to be protected by the daily application of a broad-spectrum solar protection product i.e. one that has filters for both UVA and UVB with a minimum SPF 30

Looking for a bargain??

Whilst it might be tempting to opt for a ‘bargain’, please remember that you generally ‘get what you pay for’, and good quality products are generally not cheap. What might look like good value will only be worth it if it actually works! Medically researched products can sometimes seem more expensive than others, but nearly always outperform anything available to buy over the counter. Generally, only minimal application is needed and so on balance they really are an investment.

Remember you will be seeing the results every time you look in the mirror and so quality is worth paying for!

Still confused?

Please contact us, skin science is what we do and love!

We will be happy to help or advise on how to get healthy skin that you’ll simply love to be seen in!