What's in your skincare products?
So many skincare ranges, so many ingredients Confused???
Actually you will find many similarities in many different products. It is what is blended together and the level of actives that really make the difference. Oh and the marketing!! For example the iconic Cr'me De La Mer. Why so iconic? "born from the sea" with a trade marked Miracle Broth. Its ingredient list reads similar to many other brands, marine botanicals (seaweed), antioxidants such as vitamin E and sesame seed oil and the usual humectants (glycerine), emollients (mineral oil) and fragrances. I will go on to explore in greater depth some ingredient groups, but safety first.
From 11th July 2013 (Regulation EC No 1223/2009) every product that comes into contact with the skin, teeth, nails and hair and that is placed on the market in the European Union has to conform to a very detailed registration process. Whilst an expensive and time consuming process for manufacturers and distributors, it is hoped that dangerous chemicals and poor manufacturing practices will be outlawed.Animal testing is prohibited and a product safety assessment must be carried out.
Not all skin types may react the same but it is hoped with this new legislation that the frequency of risk may be reduced considerably; dermatologists expect an allergic reaction to a cosmetic product of no more than 1-2%. The compliance register also offers clear traceability back to the manufacturer should an adverse event be reported. Product labelling has become an integral part of the new regulations. Each ingredient is listed in its INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) form using the relevant name. i.e. Aqua is the correct INCI name for water. There are over 1300 banned substances whilst other ingredients are restricted to certain low percentage content i.e. Salicylic Acid at 2%. Some of the alcohol groups (ethanol and isopropyl) used as preservatives are restricted to very low percentages. The following link will give a concise overview of the new regulations: hhttps://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/product_labelling_and_packaging/co0013_en.htm
To view banned and restricted ingredients follow this link, click into ACT 1223/2009 (this will give you the regulations in full) and scroll down to Annex 11
Active and Commonly Used Compounds
Antioxidants: An essential for any skincare range with profoundly protective elements. Well known for their power of free radical scavenging. Free radicals are all around us and have a potentially damaging effect. At a cellular level in the skin they can cause inflammation and are a major cause of accelerated ageing. Antioxidants mop up or neutralise these destructive elements and return cells to their healthy state. Look out for Vitamin C, (ascorbic acid, methylsilanol ascorbate etc.), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Retinols (retinyl palmitate/carrot polypeptide etc.) Green Tea (camellia sinesis) and Idebenone.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids: these can generally be described as skin resurfacers or exfoliants and work on the uppermost layers of the epidermis. They can commonly be found in skin peels but also in advanced at home skincare products. They have excellent anti-ageing outcome, work well to reduce pigmentation and acne. Used alone as a singular ingredient they may cause minor irritation, or used in synergy with other ingredients to create buffering. Familiar names are glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk) and tartaric acid (grapes).
Peptides: these tend to be more complex. They are long or short chains of amino acids. The shorter chains have greater penetrative effects and are able to reach the upper epidermal layers. Peptides target collagen, sending messages and reminding it how to function to peak performance. Collagen is like the pillow beneath the skin which at optimal levels gives a plump, smooth appearance and low levels presents sagging and hollowing with lines and wrinkles. Some peptide products may include a number of different peptides with raw ingredient costs being quite high. Expect to pay more for a complex peptide product. Familiar peptides: matryxl/matryxl 3000, argiline (acetyl hexapepetide- 8), snap-8, a neuropeptide similar but more effective than argeline. Syn-ake a similar compound to that found in snake venom and aids reduction of muscle movement. These last three peptides all profess to mimic the effects of Botox.
Healthy, glowing skin is a key component to confidence and how we and others judge us. From teens to old age, male or female, Celtic to Afro-Caribbean skin types we should all take the very best care of our skin, we will be wearing it a long time, so invest wisely in your skincare.Emma Coates is part of our expert contributor team at Beauty Finder. Emma is dermatology specialist with over 30 years of medical expertise. She and her business partner Morag Hague are founders of "Glow Aesthetic Training" specialising in advanced skin treatments. Utilising their knowledge and experience with skincare-cosmeceuticals they have recently launched "Glow Skin Health", a uniquely comprehensive skincare system comprising at home dermaroller products.