Live your best life & take care
Vitamin C is a "must have" skin care ingredient our skin needs at any age.
One of the best researched skin care ingredients and proven to be very beneficial for skin is Vitamin C. Our skin uses Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant and the dermal fibroblasts need Vitamin C for the production of collagen. Two very good reasons to add this ingredients into your daily skincare routine whether you are twenty or eighty. Moreover, our skin depends on us for the needed supply, as our skin is not able to produce Vitamin C itself.
We can either include enough Vitamin C in our diet or apply Vitamin C topically there where we need it the most. Usually this is the skin which is exposed to (sunlight) as this increases damaging free radical activity in our skin. An active form of vitamin C can reduce the free radical activity, which we call anti-oxidative effect.
There are 4 things to consider when buying a skincare product containing Vitamin C:
Day or night?
Some recommend to use Vitamin C during the night, as the active form of Vitamin C will oxidize in daylight. Hence, your skin can benefit from the Vitamin C longer during the night. I would recommend Vitamin C to be used during daytime (thus added to your morning routine), as we need protection from damaging free radicals the most during daytime and the oxidization of Vitamin C is actually a sign that the ingredient is doing it’s job! It’s even better to add Vitamin C both to your day & night time skincare routine.
Is L-Ascorbid Acid enough?
Vitamin C is counteracting free radicals from UV light. However, UV is not the only damaging light form as there is also High Energy Visible Light or abbreviated HEVIS. This penetrates even deeper into the skin where also the dermal fibroblasts reside. The dermal fibroblasts are our collagen and hyaluronic acid producing cells and a key target in an effective anti-ageing skincare strategy. Lichochalcone A (Licorice-root extract) has proven to be the most potent anti-oxidant to protect the dermal fibroblasts and neutralize free radicals from HEVIS. Moreover, Lichocalcone A increases Glutathione, which is a skin’s own anti-oxidant. Licorice-root extract is an anti-ageing hero.
The combination of Vitamin C and Lichocalcone A will protect our skin and dermal fibroblasts from free radical damage by UV and HEVIS and will provide superior biological cell protection in comparison to Vitamin C only. For me this is a good reason to use a product containing both ingredients as a first step after my cleansing routine in the morning. If you have sensitive eyes, I recommend to use an eye care prior, which will form a barrier to help to prevent the low pH Vitamin C product to migrate into the eye area. Afterwards you can use the other products of your skincare routine. I would like to put emphasis on using a SPF of 30 or higher during the day. This will not only help to protect your skin, but also support he anti-oxidative benefits and make them last longer.
Hope this was helpful.
One of the frequently asked questions is, if it's necessary or if there is a benefit using a special eye care or cleansing products. Yes, there is!
As I mention in many of my previous posts, the right pH-level is very important for healthy skin. Skin usually prefers a pH of around 5. However there are some area's where the skin's natural pH balance is a little bit different. One of those area's is the area around the eyes. The preferred pH-level there is around 7, thus less acidic and more alkalic in comparison to your regular cleansing or care product for face or body.
This is one of the most important reasons why I would recommend to use a special eye make-up remover and eye care product, as they are adjusted to the pH level most suitable for use in the eye area. Furthermore, special eye products are tested and proven to be safe when used around the eyes, while it isn't always recommended or proven for a regular face product.
Some care products have a tendency to "travel" or migrate into the eye area. Even when not directly applied around the eyes, they might end up there. A special eye care product can form a "barrier" and thus help to prevent that unwanted products move to the eye area and cause irritation. I would particularly recommend the use of an eye cream when using other products containing gold standard anti-ageing active ingredients like Vitamin A, C (or derivatives of both), Hydroxy Acids (Alpha, Beta or Poly), when you have experienced some sensitivity of the eyes or eye area in the past or have a more problematic skin type.
Eye care products preferably should not contain Vitamin C (L-Asorbic Acid or related) as it requires a low pH value of <4 to be active and do it's job properly. Eye care products with Vitamin C therewith are either too acidic to be used in the eye area or alternatively too alkalic for the Vitamin C to be effective. Safe to use in the eye area are products containing Hyaluronic Acid. Although "Acid" is in the name, Hyaluronic Acid isn't acidic. One of it's key functions is attract and bind water, which usually has a pH of ~7.
Safe use of cosmetics and care products is particularly important for the sensitive eye area. If you've ever or never had a problem, here is how you can avoid them..
If any eye cosmetic or care product causes irritation, stop using it immediately. If irritation persists, see a health care provider.
Avoid using eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection or the skin around the eye is inflamed. Wait until the area is healed. Discard any eye cosmetics you were using when you got the infection. Be aware that there are bacteria on your hands that, if placed in the eye, could cause infections.
Wash your hands before applying eye cosmetics. Make sure that any instrument you place in the eye area is clean. Don't share your cosmetics. Another person's microflora may be hazardous for you.
Don't allow cosmetics to become covered with dust or contaminated with dirt or soil. Keep containers and nozzles clean. Don't use old containers or eye cosmetics and don't re-use containers. Never trust a product that smells funky, looks dirty, or past the open-jar time.
Discard dried-up mascara. Don't add saliva or water to moisten it. The bacteria from your mouth may grow in the mascara and cause infection. Adding water may introduce bacteria and will dilute the preservative that is intended to protect against microbial growth. Manufacturers usually recommend discarding mascara two to four months after purchase.
Don't store cosmetics at temperatures above 85 degrees F or 30 degrees Celsius. Cosmetics held for long periods in hot cars, for example, are more susceptible to deterioration and bacteria. Some products are best stored in the refrigerator. Read the leaflet or follow the instructions how to best store the product.
When applying or removing eye cosmetics, be careful not to scratch the eyeball or other sensitive area. Never apply or remove eye cosmetics in a moving vehicle. Don't use any cosmetics near your eyes unless they are intended specifically for that use. For instance, don't use a lip liner as an eye liner. You may be exposing your eyes to contamination from your mouth, or to color additives that are not approved for use in the area of the eye. Avoid color additives that are not approved for use in the area of the eye, such as "permanent" eyelash tints and kohl.
If you use make-up brushes or sponges, clean them every week with a special product or soap. Give them additionally from time to time an extra spritz with a disinfectant.
Don't mix it up
Sometimes you might feel to mix several products or add something to the product. Problems can arise if you challenge a product’s preservative capability, which is optimal and tested only with the original formula and packaging.
Check ingredient list
As with any cosmetic product sold to consumers, eye cosmetics are required to have an ingredient declaration on the label. Check if there is anything listed you don't tolerate or like. If the product doesn't have the ingredients listed, the product may be considered misbranded and illegal. Do the same for adhesives used for lash extensions or false lashes.
Be aware of testers
Keep in mind when you come across “testers” at retail stores that they might be contaminated. If you do sample cosmetics at a store, be sure to use single-use applicators, such as clean cotton swabs. Check how the store maintains their testers. If possible, ask for a sample, especially for care products. Using a few applications gives you a better idea about the compatibility (how well your skin tolerates the product), if you like the texture and enjoy the product.
We can support's skin natural exfoliation process in various ways, for example with mechanical or chemical exfoliation.
Desquamation (shedding of skin cells thus exfoliation) is an important part of the skin's natural regeneration or renewal process.
Already in our twenties, this process slightly, however increasingly starts to slow down (Kligman 1983). As a result, the cells on the surface of our skin (corneocytes) become bigger (Kligman 1989) and a little disorganised. This leads to a duller appearance (loss of radiance) and a more rough texture of our skin.
A very comprehensive comparison of both methods:
The word "acid" unfortunately sounds very harsh and skin-unfriendly. Many acids are actually skin's own, like for example lactic acid is a skin's own natural moisturising factor (NMF) and so is hyaluronic acid. The level of NMF's decrease as we age and our skin my lose the ability to maintain well hydrated. Many years ago the benefits of lactic acid were capitalised by using baths filled with donkey milk. Citric acid is commonly used in skin care products and toners to balance skin's pH. Gluconolactone is only gradually penetrates skin and is very gentle.
It's unfortunate that "acids" have such a negative connotation, as our skin (healthy and problematic) can benefit if we use them regularly. Moreover, I prefer this method over mechanical exfoliation for all skin types, however particularly if you have dry skin, acne- or redness prone skin, sensitive skin or mature skin.
The risk of exfoliation is over-exfoliation. Over-exfoliation is damage of our skin barrier and the symptoms are very comparable to dry or (hyper) sensitive skin symptoms, which are: redness, irritation, tightness, excessive dryness, dry patches, flaking skin, uncomfortable stinging, or even burning sensation. Whenever you experience one or more symptoms of over-exfoliation, it's recommended to reduce the number of times you exfoliate and support the skin barrier repair with a moisturiser.
Hope you enjoy healthy skin & take care.
Facial oils are a trending skin care product at the moment, loved and recommended by many "beauty guru's" and skin care experts. This is why I found it very interesting to read a comment written by a well respected dermatologist claiming that face oils would stifle skin renewal and exfoliation and would make skin dull over time. She must have a reason why she is saying this, and that's why I looked into this a little bit deeper.
To start with, I've done own research (not just me) with a facial oil, included many testers and found many benefits and no draw backs during the duration of the study. Moreover, I jumped out of my chair (literally) when I saw the visible results from the clinical photography, no joke! We've found that the oil (a combination of Argan oil and Lady's Thistle oil) improves moisture, elasticity and firmness, supports skin resilience, making the skin feel smooth and look more radiant. There was even a reduction of comedones detected. The results were published in a poster, accepted by the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology in 2016.
If you are an impatient person, and demand a fast answer, I can spill the tea right now: I've found no data to support that facial oils would stifle skin renewal and exfoliation, but the opposite.
Moisturisers absolutely influence the skin barrier function and TEWL (transepidermal water loss - which is used to measure the skin barrier function). A good barrier function (confirmed by low TEWL), positively contributes to the skin cell renewal process, which includes skin exfoliation process. Very dry skin has an increased TEWL, and so does very well hydrated skin. There is simply more water on the skin surface to evaporate. A high TEWL with very well hydrated skin can therefore give the impression of an impaired barrier function and thus give a "false positive". This phenomenon is nicely explained in a publication by Marie Loden "Effect of moisturizers on epidermal barrier function".
Looking at non fragrance plant oils also called fixed oils, there are many and they are all different, so it's impossible to generalise. Many plant oils, like almond, jojoba, soybean and avocado oils mostly remain on the skin surface. Even without penetrating deeper into the outer layer of the skin (called epidermis), the occlusive effect of plant oils will reduce water evaporation from the skin and help the growth of the cells of the top layer called keratinocytes. They actually support the skin barrier and therewith skin cell renewal. Part of the skin cell renewal is a process called desquamation, which is skin's natural exfoliation of dead skin cells. Helping this process will make skin appear more radiant and smooth, not duller.
The benefits of plant oils are supported in many publications, one of which is found in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences anti inflammatory skin barrier repair effects by Tzu-Kai Lin 2017.
One of the most popular and well researched fixed oils is organ oil. It contains oleic and linoleic fatty acids. Both are part of our skin's natural intercellular lipid-enriched matrix or skin barrier. Linoleic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid) is in fact the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid. Our skin barrier is protecting our skin from water loss and penetration of external agressors. Thus the skin barrier keeps the good stuff in and bad stuff out.
Linoleic acid plays a direct role in maintaining the integrity of this skin barrier. Some research shows that oleic acid may indeed disrupt the skin barrier and act as an permeability enhancer, helping other ingredients to penetrate deeper. When oleic acid is continuously applied, it could lead to barrier problems. Another ingredient in argan oil is tocopherol or vitamin E. Tocopherol is well known for it's antioxidative effect (neutralising damaging free radicals from pollution or sun which cause premature ageing) and lesser known for supporting the skin barrier. Daily topical application of argan oil (the finished product which contains multiple ingredients) has shown to improve skin elasticity (firmness), improve the skin hydration by restoring the barrier function and maintaining water-holding capacity. Furthermore it has a softening and relaxing effect on skin.
Lady's Thistle oil
The oil of the Milk Thistle plant (also known as Silybum Marianium) is a common ingredient in anti-aging skincare. It contains skin barrier supporting Linoleic acid and is known to nourish skin and improve radiance.
Facial oils are certainly not for everybody, but in general skin will benefit from a cold pressed fixed plant oil or a mixture. Don't smother skin with oils, just apply a few drops by itself on the skin prior or after your moisturiser, or mix a few drops with your moisturiser of foundation.
Hope you enjoy radiant skin & take care.
Anything you don't enjoy using or doesn't cater to your needs, is not worth buying.
Skin care is personal and there is a good product for all wallet sizes. However, is a luxury product better than a more affordable one? Is expensive the best?
There are actually many factors influencing the prize of a product, other than the prestigious brand-name and advertising costs.
Note: This content will mainly apply to skin care catering to the need of healthy, thus not problematic skin types. Problematic (or diseased) skin needs special care which usually is not found in the prestige or luxury skin care segment.
If you are disappointed by the results your skin care products, you might not have bought the right product for you. Make sure that your understand your skin type. There is also a change that you might have too high expectations of what skin care can actually do for you. Your skin will definitely benefit from a good skin care regimen with the right product(s). However, don't expect a metamorphosis, especially not from one day to the next. There are limitations to what skin care can do for your skin and actually what skin care is allowed to do. These rules apply for all skin care products.
Some very excellent skin care ingredients are expensive, however there are many very good ingredients which are affordable. Expensive ingredients can be useless "actives" in skin care, and "sound" appealing. Usually "rare" ingredients are expensive, but not all rare ingredients are "the best" actives. The majority of active ingredients only give visible or noticeable results in optimal concentrations. Many skin care products in the prestige or luxury skin care category have long INCI lists (ingredient lists). This will increase the price of the product, but does not necessarily mean that this is the right skin care for you. Furthermore, there is more to a formula than an ingredient list! If the end products texture (also called galenics) is too greasy or too light for your liking, you might not enjoy using the product, and it is not worth the splurge. Luxury brands invest in pleasurable textures of the formula to ensure a positive user experience and high repurchasing rate. A nice texture, doesn't necessarily ensure high performance of a product. Actually the more occlusive products (sometimes regarded as greasy or heavy), are commonly well performing in preventing transepidermal water loss, thus hydration.
Note: especially with very long ingredient lists it is highly recommended to try the product before you buy, particularly if you have sensitive skin, as the risk of a skin reaction is increased when the number of ingredients is high. Check also if the product was tested and proven suitable for sensitive skin in this case.
Innovation & technology
New active ingredients may be exclusively developed by a company and it took them a lot of time, effort and money to collect enough data and proof that this particular active ingredient is effective and safe to use. Products containing such a (probably patented) ingredient can be more expensive than products with more generic frequently used ingredients. Sometimes expensive technology is especially developed or used to improve the formula, texture or container.
Formula's may need a special container or dispenser to be stored appropriately. This is more expensive than a simple standard packaging. Some containers are only luxury and aim to look amazing in your bathroom or on your dresser. Others might be very "inviting", quick and easy to use. If this is what you prefer and enjoy, it might be worth the splurge.
Evidence is in my opinion compulsory, however not always scientific. Real proof and particularly scientific proof or clinical proof is expensive and time consuming. The best proof is a combination of scientific publications (in peer reviewed journals) and "product-in-use" tests (most similar to daily use) with large representative groups. A claim xx% of testers agree with a panel of 6 or 25 testers, is not enough to be significant. If you want certainty about the benefits of a product, a formula which has proven to be very effective and well tolerated might be worth the splurge.
Usually (not always) brands that are recommended by or sold through dermatologists, aesthetic doctors or health care providers have conducted more rigorous research to provide the doctors with evidence, so they feel confident in recommending the product.
Some brands have a great story, background, founder and thus a high likeability or appeal. Some huge companies producing large quantities may have lower production costs per product than small companies producing a limited number of products at an external supplier. Some brands "harvest" their own ingredients, have an intense auditing procedure for suppliers or special requirements for the ingredients they use. These factors influence the price of the product. It's certainly not worth the splurge, if you don't like the brand or the company behind the brand. If you have special wishes or requirements, you might be willing to pay for those.
If you love special skin care, indulging "me-moments" and therewith skin care is high on your priority list, you will look at a pricy skin care purchase very differently from someone who just wants an effective moisturiser. If the product or the purchase makes you more happy and you it's use, it might be very well worth the splurge.
Last but not least, any purchase you make only makes sense if the product fits your needs (skin type and concerns) and your skin care regimen.
Try before you buy
Some expensive high end products may be worth the splurge, if you enjoy them too. However, there are good affordable alternatives available. The most expensive isn't per se the best or the best for you. Do some research on the product and check reviews from customers. I would recommend to ask a sample and try every product before you buy it and preferably apply it first on the area where you want to use it. For example: applying a product on your hand in the store is not the same as trying it on your face, neck or décolletage!
I apologise for the length of this blog post, but the answer is not so easy. Any purchase you make depends on what your are looking for, are willing and able to spend. Invest in proper cleansing before applying any serum or care. If the skin care product is so expensive that you are hesitant to actually use it and you know that it will sit in your bathroom untouched, it's not worth to buy it. If you already own such a product, rather use it and keep the empty container on display.
Hope you enjoy and use your skin care.
We predominantly start too late with appropriate skin care that counteracts signs of ageing. Usually we begin when first signs, like fine lines and wrinkles start to appear. The process leading up to these visible signs of ageing starts in the skin approximately 10 years before they are visible. Therefore I recommend to start with "anti-ageing" skin care (I dislike the word, as actual ageing is a privilege) in your twenties, even when you are not yet thinking about wrinkles. Unless you don't mind the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In our twenties, it is understood that the content of skin's most important filling substance called hyaluronic acid and other components in the skin's extracellular matrix are already declining. It is proven that skin's regeneration (renewal) process is slowly declining too. This would be a good time to start replenishing skin's own hyaluron, which is moreover a very effective moisturiser.
Thus regarding anti-ageing skin care, we should rename the category and start before visible signs appear. Some medical doctors even recommend to start as soon as we stop growing. It's easier to maintain the balance than trying to fix it.
Hope you enjoy healthy skin & take care.
Recently I've read an article in which facial toners were called a redundant step in the cleansing routine. They would not serve any purpose anymore and would be “old-fashioned". I disagree, and will explain why.
Particularly when you prefer wet facial cleansing (water has a pH of 7-8), your skin’s pH goes up and you may consider using a toner to bring it back to normal (~5) before using a moisturizer or serum. This also applies if you use an alkaline cleanser or micellar water. It is common that products which are suitable to be used around the eyes, like micellar water, are adapted to a more “eye-friendly” and less “skin friendly” pH of ~7. Skin prefers a pH of ~5.
In my humble opinion, toners are a very important step in every a.m. and p.m. skin care regimen for both healthy and particularly problematic skin types. They refresh, remove left-over debris and make-up and moreover instantly rebalance skin’s pH value. A balanced pH value is the cornerstone for healthy skin. An optimal pH supports skin's microbiome (microflora or "ecosystem") and barrier function. Furthermore, the use of a toner usually helps the penetration and thus efficacy of your care product!
Alternatively, you can use “chemical” exfoliating lotions or pads which contain AHA (glycol, citric and lactic acid), BHA (salicylic acid), PHA (gluconotactone), etcetera. Just be careful using them around the eyes or even avoid this area.
Hope you enjoy healthy skin & take care.
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