fools gold.. the skincare joke
Catchy title huh.
In clinic this week I have had some great lengthy conversations with my clients regarding their skincare regimes, these are clients who are actively trying to improve their skin health and have spent hundreds of dollars from their hard earned pay packets on skin care products to assist them in doing this.
The problem is.. I know they've been ripped off.
Now in saying that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a moisturiser sitting atop the skin and locking in precious water, in doing this the moisturiser acts as a blanket reducing trans-epidermal water loss and thereby supporting the necessary action of our amazing skin enzymes.
Skin care does not have to be 'active' or a 'cosmeceutical' to superficially benefit the skin.
However, the issue is that a client has bought this moisturiser because they have been told it contains antioxidants that will promote collagen and slow down the appearance of aging, or that it contains particular Vitamins that will inhibit the transfer of melanin, thereby reducing their pigmentation and brightening their complexion.
It took me a total of 10 minutes on these occasions to ascertain that the ingredients in these products were not formulated to achieve this nor was there any unbiased research, clinical evidence or independent study into these claims, yet they have been made by skin therapists or retailers that are either ignorant or perhaps unethically driven to meet retail targets.
Yes the actual product may contain these ingredients.. but are they able to penetrate through our skins amazing defences and reach the living target cell or tissue in order to take effect?
Here are a few tips on what questions you may like to ask and what you should be looking for when handing over your benjamins...
CHIRALLY CORRECT- this topic has a tragic history... a 'chiral molecule' is a molecule that has a mirror-image form, a left & a right mirror image. Amino Acids for example, can be either a left or a right hand image of each other, however when they are produced by living organisms they are always left handed. Chirality in cosmeceuticals is important as it is common that the wrong molecule can actually damage the body. Take the sedative Thalidomide, this is a drug that was given to ease morning sickness in pregnant women in the 50's and 60's, it is now held responsible for the consequential infant mortality and shocking birth defects. Scientists did not test the effects of both mirror image Thalidomide molecules when creating the drug, one molecule acted as a sedative, the opposing mirror image caused birth defects. Women were given the unsorted mixtures of both molecules.
Today, all molecules are tested so a repeat tragedy is unlikely, but if your product is not chirally correct, you may experience reduced potential or it may be completely ineffective.
BIO-AVAILABLE- this is a huge one! An ingredients bio-availability refers the delivery of the active product to the correct area of tissue or cell without oxidising, being damaged, broken down or rendered in-effective. It is a direct reflection of the products potential. Consider Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant with multi-potentials in skin health, however it is incredibly unstable. If formulated correctly at an appropriate dose then Vit C is a high flyer in the realm of skin care, but it's inclusion in a serum with a percentage amount listed on the back bears zero significance... are you getting it... or are you not?
ENCAPSULATED- this is one to keep an eye out for, particularly in regards to Vitamin A. By encapsulating a product it renders control of it's release. A slow continuous time released delivery is optimal for giving therapeutic doses of products that can cause high levels of irritation, by reducing the likelihood of irritation it increases client compliance and thereby results.
PROFESSIONAL STRENGTH- a professional strength product will contain therapeutic doses of bio-available products to support skin health, low doses may not achieve results, high doses may irritate.. a professional strength product should be backed by science and clinical evidence.
I wholeheartedly believe in holistic and ethical consultation, I have a broad understanding of the skin and of which skin care ingredients are best included or discarded nutritionally and which ones are going to pack more of a skin punch when applied topically. I prescribe skincare with the full intention of seeing results, and whilst I can appreciate great marketing, pretty packaging & incredible perfumes... I don't give a shit if 'results' come with a bow tied around them or not.
If I don't think I can meet a clients skin needs in clinic and through the use of the cosmeceuticals I stock, they are then referred to our Nurse Practitioner who may script a medical compound to assist, or if their needs are beyond our scope of practice, to a Dermatologist.
Cosmeceutical skin care should not be a joke, it should be backed by science and clinical evidence, bio-available, formulated for optimal delivery & targeted to support skin health.
The real gold is out there... just make sure you do your research.