From tightening, firming and hydrating, most skin creams claim to do this and much more yet may not contain scientifically proven active ingredients to make a difference. For optimal skin health, Mary Sullivan reveals which cosmeceutical ingredients to look for.
Stem cells, says Dubai-based Holistic Aesthetician, Katrina Valente, are playing a big role in modern skincare. “Many organic lines use plant and fruit stem cells which are found in the basal layer of our skin,” she says which is the deepest part of our top layer. They replace lost or dying cells and repair the skin when it suffers injury. The epidermis is in a constant state of renewal and therefore requires continuous cell replacement, hence using topical stem cells can enable our skin to remain in better condition as we age. Some benefits of stem cells include a delay in the biological ageing of essential cells, to preserve the vitality of the skin and to promote the skin’s ability to regenerate. Valente adds, “Stem cells do make a difference to the appearance of fine lines and leave your skin glowing”. She recommends Éminence Organic skincare which has a range of products incorporating stem cells.
Another must-use skincare ingredient is Vitamin C, which has always played a big role in skincare and overall general wellbeing when taken orally. It protects the skin against free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness as well as fine lines and wrinkles. New research has shown that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of Vitamin C not only neutralises free radicals but also reverses DNA damage. “It also helps with sunburn and protects the skin in the sun as the Vitamin C molecule is bigger than a free radical” she adds. “This ingredient is of great importance in your daily skincare routine as it smoothes the skin, reduces pigmentation and regenerates skin cells.” It is highly recommended to use this ingredient in daytime moisturisers and serums as it protects us from UV rays. “For this, I strongly suggest the C-Boost from Environ skincare which is to be used under your moisturiser,” she says.
Another very important ingredient is Vitamin A, which is also known as retinol. “This is great for treating pigmentation, reducing wrinkles, smoothing out rough skin as well as tightening and firming the skin,” she says and a must-have for your anti-ageing regime. Living in the Middle East, with so much sun, we should stick to using retinol palmitate which is non-irritating in such an environment. “This is best used in a night cream and stronger serums as these have major regenerative properties which allow the skin to repair while we sleep,” she explains.
Hylauronic acid is another power packed ingredient and a super hydrator for the skin, found naturally in our body. It binds one thousand times in its own weight to water resulting in plumped up skin and gives a glow that lasts for days. A lot of creams and serums contain this amazing ingredient which is an absolute must for anti-ageing. “Hylauronic acid is a very well known substance in fillers as the skin recognises it as part of its own.” Her favourite product containing Hylauronic acid is Intraceuticals Hydrating serum which pulls water down into the deep layers of the skin for superior hydration.
Argan oil, although used in the Middle East for centuries, has now become mainstream in beauty products. “It is loaded with Vitamins A and E as well as Omega 6 and 9 essential fatty acids,” she says. As the tree only blossoms twice a year, it is indeed one of the rarest oils in the world and great for moisturising and nourishing the skin. Argan oil is light weight for easy absorption and beneficial in dealing with pesky problems such as stretch marks, psoriasis, acne and chicken pox marks.
And finally, Lipoic acid is another substance that is produced by the body and is a great antioxidant. “It has the power to minimise wrinkles by 50% and make fine lines disappear. This can help smooth, soften and protect our skin from free radical damage.” Nimue skincare line has an amazing Lipoic acid product which claims to promote hydration by 300%.