Following on from previous blog about slow aging ingredients, I thought I would discuss in greater depth the benefits of topical vitamin C serum. Vitamin C serum is one of my favorite slow aging ingredients for a number of reasons: the research is there to back up the proported benefits, it is a natural ingredient and I have seen it work on my own skin. Specifically I noticed decreased flushing indicating it had worked to strengthen the capillaries in my skin and improved skin tone. I was really pleased with the outcome as I tend to flush easily and get blotchy skin (when I have wine or hot showers, eat spicy or fatty foods, eat too much sugar, sit in air-conditioning or heating, when I get too much sun and oh so many other things…). In the video I discuss how vitamin C works to achieve this result.
Topical Ingredients for Slow Aging
This blog is a bit of a MYTH BUSTER. The myth I am looking at is avoiding oil based serums when you have oily or acne prone skin. In some cases it is appropriate and certainly the heavier oils such as avocado or olive oil would make skin worse but some oils acutally help rather than hinder oily skin.
One of our serum products, Clair Visage is one of the most popular products we have for acne prone and oily skin. Liz, our senior beauty therapist uses this product for the treatment of acne and gets great results. Because of the fine, light molecular weight of this formula, and strategic compounding of the selected essential oils Clair Visage helps to soften, replenish and protect the acid mantle of inflamed and stressed skin, without over nourishing or causing congestion that heavier creams (including water based) creams may contribute to.
Clair Visage is not so much a moisturiser as a balancing nutritive for skin with irregular oil flow. It works by regulaing sebaceous glands and is designed to maintain skin lubricity and elasticity while controlling the amount of natural oil flow to what would be considered regular or healthy for skin.
The video blog outlines how oils can actually help oily skin rather than make it worse.Twitter It!
Every season new anti-aging products are launched and promoted as the new generation of slow aging. The question is “how do we know it works”? The gold standard of proof is a human clinical trial showing evidence of skin improvement however most topical ingredients have very limited research to back them up. This article looks at 4 ingredients that are commonly used in “anti-aging” products, the research that supports them and how to use them to greatest effect.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C has numerous slow aging
benefits: it works within the skin to promote collagen production by stimulating the genes that make collagen and stopping the enzyme that degrades it, it is an antioxidant and so reduces free-radical production in the skin, it also provides photoprotection from ultraviolet A and B, works to lighten hyperpigmentation and may also assist with the reduction of inflammation in inflammatory skin disorders.
Some great benefits however vitamin C is highly unstable in its natural form ascorbic acid and so it is advisable to only use stabilised forms such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate. Even so, vitamin C in these forms must be kept away from direct sunlight and used once opened otherwise they are prone to oxidation and stop being effective.
In addition, vitamin C absorbs into the skin very slowly and so higher concentrations are required for the above benefits. Look for products that contain 10-20% vitamin C as any less will not be effective. They also need to be acidic in form which is one of the factors that promotes an added exfoliation effect. Buffered vitamin C forms are less effective so make sur that your product has a pH of less than 3.8. If the pH and vitamin C concentration are not supplied with the product, ask your supplier before purchase to ensure you get the desired effects.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids - AHAs/PHAs will help slow aging by revitalising the topmost layer of skin. This effect is achieved by AHAs clearing dead skin cells, thinning the strata corneum thereby exposing newer skin cells, improving the quality of elastic fibres, increasing the density of collagen and stimulating the production of collagen. The net result is an anti-wrinkle effect and a reduction in signs of photoaging.
Most over the counter AHA products contain concentrations of 8-15% which promote visible results over time. However, concentrations lower than 8% do not show significant benefit and products such as cleansers and everyday moisturisers that list AHAs are unlikely to contain enough to make a significant difference.
The anti-wrinkle effect of AHAs is achieved by removing the top layer of dead skin cells (stratum corneum) however it also removes valuable antioxidants, particularly vitamin C and E and may also increases sun sensitivity. These side effects need to be countered by using sunscreen during the day and applying an antioxidant rich moisturiser following use of AHAs.
Due to their acidic nature AHA’s produce a tingling sensation on the skin. This effect is a sign that the product is working to exfoliate the top layers of skin. The exfoliation is gradual and results can be expected after 3 months of use. However, ongoing use of AHAs may have a mild dehydrating effect on the skin due to the potential for water loss as the strata corneum is thinned. To counter this effect, use AHAs for 2-3 months then take a break of 2-3 months.
Copper Peptides – Copper peptides emerged as a skin treatment product in the 70s when it was found to significantly stimulate skin wound healing. This end is achieved by promoting normal collagen growth rather than the abnormal collagen growth found in scar tissue. While these results were achieved with wound healing more recent use has shown that copper peptides may also have a collagen regenerating effect on normal skin. In particular, they can help repair skin after exfoliation (seen as controlled skin damage), minimise the daily assaults from sun damage and pollution and reduce skin inflammation which is significantly associated with hastening the aging process.
While copper peptides have a good safety and efficacy profile, there are some notes of caution related to using copper peptides. Again, with copper peptides, as with AHA’s more is not always better. Taking a break after 2-3 months is advisable as too much copper can have an irritating and pro-oxidant effect. In addition copper peptides are made less effective in an acidic environment so it is best to use them away from AHAs, vitamin C and retanoids.
Plant antioxidants – The most common significant finding for antioxidants of plant origin such as the catechins present in green tea, curcumin from the curry spice turmeric and apigenin present in many fruits and vegetables, is
that they reduce the effects of UV damage in the skin.
For example studies using 10% green tea extract have shown that it works to minimise sun damage by reducing the production of free radicals and inflammation that result from exposure to UV rays. Apart from free radical damage, inflammation is a potential driver of premature skin ageing. Green tea would therefore be a useful addition to a sunscreen or daily moisturiser as it will provide an additional protective effective aside from the SPF factor. Please keep in mind, green tea is in no way a substitute for SPF rather it works by supporting the skins resistance to sun damage.
The unknown factor associated with the use of polyphenols and many other new topical ingredients is that unless a human clinical trial has been conducted, the concentration of the active ingredient required in the cream is unknown. Adding minute amounts of an extract to make a label claim may be beneficial from a marketing perspective but it doesn’t promote skin rejuvenation or slow skin aging.
When choosing a slow aging product for your skin, ensure that you choose those with a high enough concentration of the active ingredient where it is known and otherwise, that it is in at least the top 2/3 of the ingredient listing. Ingredients in the last 1/3 of the label listing are included in very small quantities. Alternatively, if an ingredient is touted as the active in a product then the concentration may be listed on the label. If in doubt, ask the retailer or manufacturer for this information.
Related ArticlesTwitter It!
This is an article that I wrote last year which following on from the “Natural Instinct” article I thought warranted another viewing. It addresses issues of greenwashing and looks at what it really means in the skin care industry.
Walk down the personal care isle of the supermarket isles and you might see 3 or 4 hair products with “organic” or “natural” ingredients or branded with an organic sounding name. Take a closer look at the label and you will soon realize that underneath the feel good name these products are still made of synthetic cleansers, include artificial fragrances and are chock full of preservatives. True to label claim there may be ½ a percent of an organic essential oil or herbal extract but is this what we really expect as consumers when we read “organic” or “natural” on the label of a product? Practices such as these are known as greenwashing. To be more specific, when a company or organization misleads consumers by claiming have green practices or sell green products without actually having any or limited basis for this claim, this is known as greenwashing.
From a consumer perspective, green is the new black. Companies are jumping on the green bandwagon in an effort to appear more ecologically sound and in many instances, those behind the marketing claims really are making an effort to minimize their impact on the environment. However, in other cases, it is all just a marketing ploy to get consumers on side. In skincare, the issue becomes even more blurred and there are many companies taking advantage of an industry-wide lack of clarity. In the skincare industry Greenwashing can occur in a number of different ways.
1. Using a single environmental claim suggesting that the product is greener than it actually is eg. A shampoo that claims to contain no Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) but uses alternative foaming agents such as Ammonium Laurel Sulphate, which have the same risks associated with their use.
2. Having no proof – for example personal care products that claim to that they are “fair trade” without any certification or evidence. Whiel the certificatio nmay not necessarily be on the lable, upon request from the manufacturer or supplier you should receive evidence of fair trade status.
3. Lack of definition – using terms such as “green” or “natural” without actually outlining what that means. Australia has no set guidelines here, so there is alot of confusion as to what is considered “natural skin care”. Again if in doubt, ask the manufacturer or supplier what their guidelines are for making a “natural” label claim.
4. Make “green” claims that are irrelevant. The claim might be truthful, but is also unimportant, eg CFC-free shaving creams. Given that the use of CFC (cholorflurocarbons) has been banned for some time, this claims is considered irrelevant.
5. Outright fibbing about a “green” claim, eg. A product that claims to be “certified organic” when there is no such certification. In many cases the claim isn’t so blatant. eg. A certain well known company offers ‘a truly organic experience’, but also uses SLS, propylene glycol and D&C red dyes in their products, which are not organic. This in not to say that the product doesn’t include some organic ingredients but to the consumer, the assumption is that the product is truly organic. http://www.terrachoice.com
As a consumer how do work your way through the fog of marketing greenwash? Firstly, read the labels and full ingredient listing of the products you choose to determine the products full worth. If you are unsure about an ingredient, ask the supplier or seller. Once you know you can make an informed choice about the products you use.
Secondly look for evidence of certification. In Australia, unlike “natural” status we have strict guidelines about “organic” status. If a product claims to be “certified organic” ensure the appropriate certification logo is on the label eg products bearing the logos of Australian Certified Organic (ACO) or the The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture of Australia (NASAA).
Many skin care manufacturers claim that a product is organic or natural without certification but you want to know that the claim is made with integrity. For example, a manufacturer including water when claiming a product is 99% organic when in fact this is a misleading claim. Water does not contribute to the organic status of a skin care product and so should not be included in the percentage claim. If a product claims to be organic, as opposed to certified organic, ask the supplier or manufacture what this means.
Green marketing is a powerful tool of communication for both buyers and sellers. More and more consumers expect to see evidence of a commitment to the environment from manufacturers and the green dollar spend is increasing as a result. If a product isn’t green, natural or organic, that’s ok but truth in advertising is fundamental to the ongoing growth of the green industry. Without it, consumer cynicism and apathy creep in and we will lose the potential for not just greener products but also a greener earth.
Greenwashing is an issue we now commonly face as consumers however, a little curiosity and some well asked questions will help you to work your way through the marketing maze. Another useful resource is http://www.safecosmetics.org
1. Darbre, P. D., Aljarrah, A., Miller, W. R., Coldham, N. G., Sauer, M. J., and Pope, G. S., “Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumors,” Journal of Applied Toxicology, Jan 2004: (24): 5-13.
This is an invite to our Brisbane-based clients to the launch of Spirit of Women Australian Wild Flower Essences.This event is close to my heart as the woman behind these deeply healing essences is my mother, Annie Meredith. I will be the MC for the event and I would love to see you there.
All profits from the launch day will benefit the work of CEO Challenge in reducing domestic violence in Australia. To attend, please call CEO Challenge now on 3119 6347 or click here to register online!
Please register in plenty of time so that you don’t miss out.
It is shaping up to be a memorable event – raffle prizes, beautiful music played by I’m With U, high tea and champagne to celebrate the occasion!
Grace Grace, the State member for Brisbane will launch the essences and the accompanying book.
I have been using fluoride-free toothpaste since I was 15 years old and have been really happy with that choice. Why fluoride-free? Apart from being a personal choice, I believe that just because a little is good for teeth doesn’t mean that more is better. There is some quite contentious research out there about fluoride and you can click on this link for more information on the potential issues with fluoride in toothpaste.
Back to my blog – so about 7 or 8 years ago I picked up my tube of fluoride-free toothpaste and read the other ingredients on the label which among other things included sodium laurel sulphate (for big bubbles), artificial sweetener (for taste) and mineral oil (for goodness knows what). That tube went straight in the bin! I wondered why I had never thought to look at the label beforehand and once again realised that in the land of marketing all is not what it seems. There is always aspect of inference in marketing. In my case because the product was fluoride free I had assumed it contained no other nasty chemicals. Other examples might be a flower or herb on the label inferring that the product is natural or organic. Or the brand name could include the words “natural”, “organic” or “eco” thereby inferring the product is all of those things. Well at that moment, I wizened up a bit and started reading labels obsessively again. And it was quite hard to find a synthetic free, flouride free, all natural, all good toothpaste that didn’t taste like chalk or make me want to gag!
Fortunately, since then things have improved and there are some great toothpastes available that use natural ingredients, taste good and are good for teeth and gums. Riddles Creek Organic toothpaste is one of those but there are others and when choosing a toothpaste for you look for some of the following ingredients:
Calcium carbonate – a polishing agent and gentle abrasive
Stevia – a natural plant sweetener almost as sweet as sugar without the negative effects on teeth. In fact, studies show that chewing gum with stevia can help reduce dental cavities!
Soapwort – a natural plant based surfactant (foaming agent)
Baking Soda – a natural whitening and mouth freshening agent
Essential oils such as peppermint, spearmint or clove – for there breath freshening qualities
Sea Salt – a gentle abrasive to polish teeth
Sillica – gum strengthening and tooth whitening
Aloe Vera – a gel base that has soothing qualities for gums
Tea tree oil – an antibacterial agent
There are also ingredients to avoid (as mentioned above):
Fluoride – if you drink fluoridated water, adding it to toothpaste can be overkill
Sodium laurel sulphate – can irritate the gum lining
Mineral oil – an unnecessary petrochemical based ingredient
Artificial sweeteners – come with a raft of issues and generally should be avoided particularly children as they tend to swallow toothpaste.
So, what’s in your toothpaste? And do you think fluoride should be included? Let us know what you think.
View a product review about Riddell’s Creek Organic Toothpaste:Twitter It!
Herbal teas are a delicious way to start the day and to deliver health benefits. Gentle acting, herbal teas will achieve results if consistently used over time. The added benefit of an herbal tea is that you are getting at least a cup of liquid at the same time which helps to keep up hydration levels and flush toxins out of your body via your kidneys. Savory tasting, Tea Tonic’s Complexion Tea help support elimination via the kidneys, liver and lymphatics thereby reducing the toxic burden on the skin. Roechelle, one of the Vitale Team has been drinking Complexion Tea for the last 3 weeks and has this to say “combining this tea with chlorophyll on a daily basis I have seen real improvements in my skin – mainly less congestion which is great. I noticed the changes after about 2 weeks on this program”.
This video blog looks at the therapeutic benefits of the individual herb in Complexion Tea and a general review of the process of elimination.
Click here to see Complexion Tea.Twitter It!
I love my Sunday skin care ritual. I cleanse and exfoliate my face then apply
a clay based mask. At the moment I am using Revitalising Face Mask which is full of nourishing ingredients. After applying the mask, I make a cup of herbal tea and sip it in the sunshine. Clay has some great benefits for the skin and this blog from Jasmin Skincare below helps us understand many of these.
1) Clay is drawing but not necessarily drying. It is true that clays have a drawing action drawing impurities and some moisture to the surface of the skin and holding those toxins in the clay so they can be washed off the skin however the fact that the right blend of the clays also puts essential minerals back into the skin means that a more balanced water retention of the skin’s epidermal layer can be maintained
2) Clay is exfoliating. There are many optimal combinations of clay that will assist with maintaining the keratinous layer of the skin which is the outer layer where dead skin cells rest until they are removed either by friction ( ie rubbing the face) or by mechanical exfoliators such as the grains in a scrub or by the natural abrasiveness and detoxifying action of mineral clays.
3) Clay is soothing. Once again those fabulous minerals in clay serve another purpose which is to soothe and rebalance the skin, which is why eczema, dermatitis and acne sufferers report great effects from using clays regularly.
4) Clay increases blood circulation. How many times have you put on a clay mask to find that your skin is flushed and rosy and tingling afterwards and thought maybe you were having some kind of reaction, only to find that by the time you washed and moisturised your skin it started to look less flushed and more healthy? Well the drawing action of the clay also draws more healthy blood to the surface of the skin and so it is quite normal to experience these effects. The great part about it is the various layers of the skin get flushed with fresh blood which is essential for healing all skin conditions and for having healthy young looking skin.
Clay is the most important component of our Revitalising Face Mask from Jasmin Skincare. Other key ingredients in this remarkable product are:
Tell me about your clay mask experiences. Do you use them? If so how have they helped your skin?
Allez is French for STOP! Allez Allez is such an appropriate name for an insect repellent because deep in the night, when you are woken by a mozzie, all you want it to do is STOP! I love this product – sweet smelling, citronella free and effective! See what I have to see about this product from REMEDICa and why it is so effective. View Allez Allez.
Suitable for young children and those with sensitive skin, try this product and please let me know what you think.Twitter It!
This is a new section of the blog I will be writing from time to time that specifically addresses the needs of younger skin. Hannah is a gorgeous 17 year-old who regularly comes into the store and asks me the best ways to manage her skin. While clear now, Hannah suffered from breakouts for some time and so is conscious about how to best manage her skin as she gets older.
The reason that I decided to write “The Hannah Files” is because Hannah recently visited asking me if she should change over to a cream cleanser during winter. This was one of the tips I had included in an article about skin hydration. What I didn’t realise while writing that article is that I didn’t make the information specific enough. Hannah for instance doesn’t need to use a cream cleanser because her skin isn’t dehydrated, mature or dry. Her skin is young, fresh and if anything prone to congestion and so a cream cleanser wouldn’t suit her skin at all.
Skin is at its peak in its 20s with cell turnover and collagen & elastin at its production height. This is the age when you can set the ground rules with skin care and make
choices that will affect your skin later in life. At this age, lifestyle will have a big affect on the way your skin looks. Late nights, poor dietary habits, alcohol and poor product choices can all contribute to skin concerns such as breakouts, congestion and dehydration. (Not talking about you Hannah!)
Hormones may also have an influence, contributing to high oil production, congestion and breakouts. However by far the worst habit seen at this age is the desire for a tan. Sunbaking, particularly in Australia where the ozone is thinner is a big no-no. When skin looks young and fresh, it is hard to believe the impact of sun damage but regardless it is occurring.
Also of worthy note is that choosing natural skin care at this younger age is of great benefit. Not only reducing the toxic burden of chemicals at an earlier age, the appropriate natural skin care contains ingredients that will actively help nourish, heal and support younger skin.
A general plan for teen and 20-something skin incorporates a routine includes:
o Cleanse – usually gel or natural foaming cleansers are idea as they keep skin clear of oil and make up. Cream cleansers will not clean young, oily skin effectively. Products I recommend are:
o Exfoliate – with cell turnover high, there are more dead skin cells to slough off. A good exfoliant is essential to prevent congestion.
o Moisturise – usually a lotion or gel moisturiser is enough to hydrate young skin. Lotions and gels are also less likely to contribute to congestion particularly if skin tends to be oily. Using products that are too rich will contribute to congestion.
o Sun Protection – this is for long-term protection. You can generally find a sunfilter and moisturiser in one, which provides sun protection as well as moisture.
At this stage, treatment products aren’t necessary unless dealing with a specific condition such as acne, breakouts or congestion. Anti-aging products are not a focus.
In addition, it is important to ensure that some good dietary habits are put into place or at least maintained.
o Drink enough water – 1.5 to 2 litres per day
o Vegies, more vegies and some fruit – both are good sources of fibre and antioxidants, which assist with internal health as well as skin radiance.
o Avoid soft drinks altogether and well what can I say about alcohol (moderation is the key)
So Hannah, thank you for your question. It certainly motivated me to think about exactly what does suit younger skin. And this brings me to another point, which is that I would love anyone that wants specific advice to ask me. You can either e-mail, blog post, call or make an appointment to see me in-store. That way I can give you individual advice about your skin.
I look forward to more questions.Twitter It!
Free eBook for clear skin:
Receive this free eBook by clicking on this link: Glowing Skin