According to recent research released by Mintel, consumers are latching onto a more pared-down approach when it comes to skin care. They want results and a simple approach to achieving them. Furthermore, as society becomes increasingly time-starved, many consumers are looking for multifunctional products to use.
Though it has always been important, now, more so than ever, skin care professionals must educate clients on the fundamentals of proper skin care and distill down for them what ingredients, techniques, and treatments will have a true impact on their skin. A number of the tried-and-true, proven ingredients not only have the ability to pull double-duty, but they also affect real change in the skin.
The Fundamentals: Technique
In order to impact real change in the skin, in the treatment room, and during homecare, there is a fairly simple approach that is broken down into four basic steps: cleanse, break down, rebuild, and protect.
Cleanse – Cleansing is the single most important step in achieving optimum skin health. Under cleansing creates a buildup of debris, toxins, and dead skin cells and limits other beneficial ingredients from ever impacting the skin, essentially rendering them useless. This may seem like a rudimentary step, but in my more than 35 years in the industry, I have discovered most people under cleanse and over moisturize. It is important to provide clients with some guidance on cleansing the face for their home care routine. Instruct them to massage the cleanser into the skin for several minutes to allow it to work into the pores and soften residue, rinse with warm water and a white cloth. When the cloth wipes clean, the job
Break it down – It seems counterintuitive, but during exercise, muscles are in essence broken down. Small tears occur in the muscle and as they heal, that muscle grows stronger. The skin reacts in a similar manner. Breaking it down is also when the most visible results occur. In doing this step, cellular buildup is removed, skin regeneration is stimulated, and wrinkles, fine lines, large pores, and oiliness are reduced. For acne clients, it also helps clear blemishes and for hyperpigmented clients, it is the first step in correcting discoloration issues. By stimulating cell turnover and removing damaged layers of cells from the outer surface, an even playing field upon which to rebuild is created. This, of course, can be done in the treatment room with enzymes, chemical peels, and other corrective treatments and at home with active correctives.
Rebuild – Antioxidants, proteins, and adequate sleep are essential to restoring and repairing the body following exercise. The same holds true for skin. This is an essential step in rebuilding beautiful, healthy skin, and an absolute must following corrective treatments like peels. This also enables clients to reinforce skin integrity, firm, tone, tighten, refine lines, and give skin an overall glow. It sets the foundation for healthy, beautiful skin.
Protect – Last, but certainly not least, protecting the skin is an absolute essential component to a healthy skin care routine – safeguarding the work you have done thus far on the skin and preventing any further damage. Skin care professionals should remind clients to limit ultraviolet exposure to 10 minutes a day, and protect the skin with hats, ultraviolet-repellent fabrics, and natural, mineral-based sunscreens to prevent degradation and cancer.
Beyond sun protection, some of the ingredients used in the rebuilding phase will also work to protect the client's skin by strengthening cellular integrity.
The Fundamentals: Ingredients
Many of the ingredients that have stood the test of time not only have the power to dramatically change the skin, but also serve a dual purpose in skin care, which, as I mentioned, consumers will increasingly look for. There are some time-tested ingredients that are a must for every treatment room:
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) – It is composed of 53 amino acids, is an essential protein, potent healer, and powerful cell regenerator.
- Deep-sea Organisms – Ingredients like alteromonas ferment extract, thermos thermophiles ferment, and psuedoalteromonas ferment that aid in wound healing and promote keratinocyte growth for skin regeneration. They also combat free radicals.
- Retinol – It is known as a vital skin rejuvenation ingredient and has been used for decades to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, which improve circulation, increasing the oxygen supply to the skin. It also works to correct lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation caused by ultraviolet damage and aging.
- Resveratrol – A potent antioxidant found in red grapes and wine that limits free-radical damage and is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- Vitamin C – It comes in several beneficial forms: ascorbic acid (L), magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), and ascorbyl palmitate. It is a potent antioxidant and collagen builder that protects against photo damage, neutralizes reactive oxygen species (ROS), and supports wound healing.
- Glycolic Acid – An alpha hydroxy acid that promotes healthy glycine production, increases cell renewal, and provides strengthening support.
- Lactic (L) Acid – An alpha hydroxy acid that softens protein, encourages exfoliation, and hydrates.
- Salicylic Acid – A beta hydroxy acid extracted from wintergreen and birch that is a relatively low-risk acid. It is self-neutralizing and produces a drying and lifting effect.
- Zinc Oxide – An inorganic compound and natural mineral which forms a protective physical barrier over the skin and acts as a natural reflective shield. It also plays an important role in cell production, immunity, and healthy skin.
- Peptides – There are many strands of peptides, each classified by the number of amino acids within its sequence. In a nutshell, peptides have the ability to reduce and freeze wrinkles, activate tissue growth factor and collagen production, and prevent damaging and aging aggressors.
- Antioxidants – An essential component in achieving optimum skin health, antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E, bioflavonoids, and polyphenols, to name a few.
Each is effective as a stand-alone ingredient, however, by teaming them with other proven ingredients, it is possible to boost their efficacy and target very specific skin challenges. There are more that could not be elaborated on, including stem cells, effective antibacterials like totarol, brighteners like kojic acid and daisy flower extract, flower acids, and trichoroacetic acids.
Advancing Time-Tested Ingredients
There are ways to boost the effects of retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, enzymes, and vitamins by coupling them with new technologies and other active ingredients.
For instance, retinol has powerful regenerative benefits, which may be boosted when rendered in a peel application. When this ingredient is combined with a tripeptide, it is possible to boost retinol’s impact by stimulating the desquamation process and toning and firming on a deeper level.
Similarly, blending retinyl palmitate, another vitamin A derivative, with flower acids, such as those obtained from the hibiscus or lotus flower, creates a powerful rejuvenation formula that works well with sensitive skins.
Retinol with lactic acid (L) will also provide the cell renewal benefits, while delivering hydration and skin-strengthening properties to the skin. Peptides blended with antioxidants can create a powerful skin-building and fortifying formula that provides environmentally-stressed, photo-damaged skin with toning, strengthening, moisture-binding, and youthful benefits.
Another powerful ingredient combination is vitamin C, peptides, and ascorbic acid (L). Together, these ingredients provide reprieve from free-radical damage while boosting collagen production, strengthening skin, and supporting the skin’s immune system.
Enhancing the Tools
Just as it is possible to boost the effects of these time-tested ingredients by strategically combining them, it is also possible to do so by merging them with advanced skin care modalities and technologies. Modalities such as peels, microdermabrasion, IPL, laser, LED light therapy, and radio frequency, when combined with powerful ingredients, enable skin care professionals to take treatments to the
A strong knowledge in ingredients and how they work will support skin care professionals in determining how they may be combined with each other to affect changes in the skin more rapidly, enhance results, speed recovery time, and help mitigate any negative side effects of certain procedures like hyperpigmentation or excess inflammation.
Of course, a client’s skin and desired results will also play a role in which skin care ingredients and advanced technologies may be paired, but typically, combining modalities with ingredients or products that purport similar results will usually enhance the outcome. This, once again, requires in depth product and ingredient knowledge and the ability to effectively analyze the skin.
There are many ways to customize advanced treatments, but there are a few ingredient and advanced treatment combinations that work well together.
Skin Peels – Enzymes, alpha hydroxy acids, and retinols typically work well as pre-treatments to prepare the skin and enhance results. Soothing anti-inflammatories and wound-repair topicals like arnica, epidermal growth factors, amino acids, and essential fatty acids in the post-treatment process will speed up recovery time.
Microdermabrasion – Microdermabrasion remains one of the most popular and frequently used modalities for skin rejuvenation. Its effects may be enhanced and intensified by certain acids including arbutin (L), mandelic (L), a combination of lactic (L) and salicylic acid, papain enzyme, and bromelain enzyme. This combination will deepen the exfoliation of the keratin and support tissue regeneration. Using it in combination with microdermabrasion or epidermal leveling will leave skin smooth, polished, and rejuvenated. After the procedure, a complex of essential vitamins B, C, D, and K, along with potent building and fortifying extracts like growth factors, will nourish, soothe, hydrate, and strengthen the skin. Microdermabrasion may also be used to prepare the skin prior to using the flower acids to further enhance the exfoliation for thicker, coarse, or oily skin types.
Epidermal Leveling (dermaplaning) – Using retinols, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid will accelerate the exfoliation of dead skin and
Laser – For IPL, Fraxel or pixel laser procedures, or when enzymes or light peels are applied as pre-treatments, skin lightening and resurfacing are enhanced and skin recovers much quicker. Following a laser procedure, a post-care system focused on hydration, protection, and nourishment will accelerate the healing process tremendously.
Non-irritating omega-6 essential fatty acids provide nutritional and moisturizing benefits, as well as prevent growth of bacteria and help increase skin thickness. Other ingredients like grape seed extract and vitamin E will provide antioxidant support. Thermus thermophills ferment and other deep-sea algae extracts may also be used to aid in the prevention of pigmentation, which can be a side effect of laser treatments.
LED and Microcurrent – Combining LED light therapy with a corrective treatment is one of the most popular procedures for healing and repairing, as it provides nourishment and recharges the skin. The light intensifies the nutrient and corrective characteristics of certain ingredients to actively restore the skin to its youthful state. When used with certain acid formulations, it boosts the firming and toning benefits of LED therapy, as well as enhances the cell turnover process. LED also supports the hydrating properties of certain ingredients like amino acids, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and tocopherols and can heal the skin from the inside out. Technologies like microcurrent are much more effective when ingredients that gently retexturize are used one to two weeks before the procedure. Since microcurrent lifts and tightens, ingredients like peptides will enhance the firming of the skin, creating a stronger effect from the microcurrent technology.
Because they work, these core ingredients – retinols, peptides, antioxidants, growth factors, and certain acids – have been around for decades. It is important to remember that getting back to the fundamentals can produce powerful results in a simplified, straightforward way.
Rhonda Allison, a pioneer in the skin care industry, is the founder and CEO of Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals and RAW Skin Care for Men. She is also an author and internationally known speaker with more than 30 years of aesthetic experience. www.rhondaallison.com or www.rawmethod.com