We hear a lot about this topic, but do we really know the importance of these powerful substances and the role antioxidants play in the world of skin care? We know the word antioxidant sounds good when we look at the ingredients in a product, but do we really know what they are doing in our products and how we benefit from them? Antioxidants are found in many foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. But what antioxidants are in our skin care products and why?
Some of the most common antioxidants are Vitamins A, (Retinol) C, (L-ascorbic acid) E (Tocopherols) and green tea. These powerful antioxidants are believed to play a major role in preventing cancer, strokes, and heart disease. It only seems logical that when applied topically, these same antioxidants would be beneficial for our skin. When antioxidants are put in skin care, they help to fight the free radicals that have been known to damage our skin and cause pre mature aging. Antioxidants actually help to repair tissue damage. You may have heard of the analogy that explains antioxidants by using fruit as an example. Have you ever noticed that soon after you open a banana or bite into an apple, the fruit will go dark and brown? This process occurs when the air oxidizes the fruit, causing it to wilt and change color. When antioxidants are in place they will help to fight this damage from occurring. A good example of an antioxidant is a lemon. You can use lemons to preserve fruits and vegetables, preventing them from becoming stale and brown. Antioxidants will protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. They are called free radical scavengers, because they fight off pollutants, sun damage, and help your body stay healthy.
Some other examples of antioxidants are alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, and Vitamin B. You can find these ingredients in many of the products we carry here at SkinStore.com. It is important to educate yourself on these powerful antioxidants and what they can do for you. CoQ10 or coenzyme Q10 is actually present in our bodies and it helps the cells in our bodies produce more energy. So you are probably wondering what benefits this antioxidant will have when it is in your skin care right? CoQ10 is considered fairly new to the skin care industry, yet it has been studied and researched for years. While this antioxidant is a naturally occurring antioxidant in our bodies, sometimes the levels can be lower for certain people. This includes people who are stressed, on medications, or who have aging skin. If you are over the age of 30 chances are your levels are below optimum, so it would be beneficial to use a product that contains this powerful antioxidant. It has been known to speed up skin repair and will help the cells regenerate more quickly, thus reducing free radical damage. CoQ10 has also been effective in naturally stimulating collagen production in the skin. Because of its small molecular structure, it can penetrate into your skin very effectively. It is also beneficial to take this antioxidant in a supplement form for optimum benefits.
One example of a product containing CoQ10 that we carry is the Osmotics Kinetin Cellular Renewal Serum. This serum also contains Vitamins A, E, and D. This product is beneficial in treating fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and blotchy skin. If you are looking for a vitamin supplement thatcontains CoQ10 we suggestMurad Wet Suit Cell Hydrating Dietary Supplement. These supplements also contain Vitamin E, zinc, and copper, to protect your skin from the inside out.
Another antioxidant that deserves an explanation is alpha-lipoic acid or ALA. It is an antioxidant that our bodies produce naturally, but only in small amounts. This antioxidant in some cases has reduced wrinkles. It is less irritating than Retin A and Alpha Hydroxy Acids, so even people with sensitive or delicate skin can find ALA beneficial. A proponent of ALA is Dr. Perricone. He offers Alpha Lipoic Capsules that help to neutralize free radicals and protect against cell damage. You can also find ALA in a variety of his cleansers, toners, and moisturizers. If you are looking for powerful antioxidant supplements in a drinkable form, you may want to consider Pure Inventions products. Developed by certified clinical nutritionists Pure Inventions offers an assortment of green tea extracts to add hydration, help with stress and relaxation and even appetite suppression. They contain green tea, acai berry, and polyphenols to help support a healthy immune system.
A lot of skin care companies are becoming more educated on giving us what we deserve in a skin care product. It is important to ask questions and do the research when finding the right products. When we are informed about what is in our skin care products, we can make a more accurate choice when it comes to our skin care needs and concerns. It is always best to consult with your health care provider before starting a new vitamin or supplement program.
It’s all in the name…Remedy CX DNA Recovery Complex! This product reverses cell-dysfunction and helps to protect your skin from future damage by using a combination of active enzymes and antioxidants. Some of you may have used the Remergent DNA Repair; this is a comparable replacement that does wonders for your skin. It has a lighter texture, so our customers seem to like this one better. It is suitable for all skin types, but those of you who are looking for a progressive anti-aging treatment should really consider giving this product a try. Also, anyone with sun damage can appreciate a little repair and wrinkle reversal!
Here is a listing and description of effectively proven ingredients that help make this product stand out from a lot of other anti-aging products.
Evodia rutaecarpa fruit extract: A recent study by the Journal of Dermatological Science proved evodia rutaecarpa fruit extract to be effective in treating inflammation when used topically on the skin. This is important when treating sun damaged skin or people with skin irritations.
Plankton extract: Is a natural algae enzyme that over time has developed a resistance to sunlight and ultraviolet rays. The algae will use energy from the sun to repair the damage caused by solar UV radiation. This material holds a significant potential of energy that can stimulate cellular metabolism to revitalize aged skin. This will improve the radiance of skin complexion, tone and strengthen the cutaneous tissue, and trap free radicals. This enzyme is proven to target damaged DNA and help correct the damage that we have done to our skin.
Arabidopsis thaliana extract: This extract has a repair enzyme known as OGG1 and is a member of the mustard seed family. It recognizes DNA damage that will help the body’s natural development by initiating the cellular repair process.
The results are an improved appearance of your skin’s texture and reduction of visible damage that your skin may have. Because of the active enzymes, antioxidants, and moisturizers Remedy CX promotes self healing of the skin which will prevent further damage from occurring.
Remedy CX is easy to use and cost effective because it comes in a metered dose to ensure you are putting the right amount on. You can use it after you cleanse your skin, and it will be an added benefit to any skin care regime. Don’t forget your sunscreen after your morning application!
PhotoFacial is a word you’ve probably heard before if you keep up on the latest and greatest in-office procedures. A PhotoFacial is administered by a medical technician to rejuvenate your skin and ensure a bright, even and glowing complexion. While a PhotoFacial is beneficial for lines, dull skin and even broken capillaries, it’s best for treating hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
A series of PhotoFacial treatments will normally be administered over the course of a few months, and can cost upwards of $2000 for the series. If your find PhotoFacials intriguing but can’t foot the bill, we have the next best thing for just about a $100.
Kinerase skincare, a leader in the cosmeceutical world, has created Kinerase PhotoFacials Sun Damage Reversal System, a revolutionary 3-step topical skincare system that replicates the sun damage reversal benefits of one of the top dermatologist procedures, PhotoFacials, at home. The revolutionary system is formulated to work synergistically to stop, correct, and protect from the signs of sun damage to restore soft, radiant skin.
The Kinerase PhotoFacials Sun Damage Reversal System contains three simple products to ensure a simple and easy to use routine. The first step is the Kinerase PhotoFacials Daily Exfoliating Cleanser which contains a combination of powerful yet gentle fruit enzymes which mildly exfoliate the skin while also improving hydration for a brighter, glowing complexion. The cleanser contains SepiTonic M3, a multi-mineral active ingredient, which consist of zinc, copper and magnesium that re-energizes the skin by stimulating cell turnover. It also contains Kinetin, and pomegranate extract for antioxidant protection, as well as jojoba and silica beads to gently remove dead skin cell build-up. The cleanser’s creamy consistency ensures that your skin will stay hydrated and supple while it’s thoroughly exfoliated.
The Day Moisturizer with SPF50 is a highly effective rejuvenating and preventative product with an SPF of 50, it contains Kinetin like the rest of Kinerase products, but also contains a new, powerful blend of lightening ingredients; lactic acid, kojic acid, mulberry extract, bearberry extract, and licorice extract. The high content of palmitoyl glycine promotes collagen production, thus firming and strengthening the skin, while a peptide blend works synergistically to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The SPF50 is composed of UVA and UVB skin protectants, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, so irritation is kept at a minimum and your skin is protected to the maximum.
The Night Moisturizer also uses kinetin and peptides, but instead of the alpha hydroxy acid blend it incorporates a patented lightening formulation called SepiWhite. SepiWhite is unique pigment-targeting agent that works by halting 6 different stages of melanin pigments production. The product also contains another patented ingredient called SepiCalm. SepiCalm soothes the skin and reduces irregular melanin production. The Night Moisturizer also contains purified pomegranate extract, as well as brown algae extract to provide antioxidant protection and to promote firmness and elasticity of the skin. The high content of Matrixyl 3000 provides retinol-like benefits without any irritation or redness. The beta glucan component provides a soothing action and stimulates skin’s natural immune response while promoting skin regeneration.
We understand that in this economy the much coveted PhotoFacial can be out of reach, so we suggest that you invest $100 into the hard-working Kinerase PhotoFacial Sun Damage Reversal system to achieve amazing results that’ll have everyone wondering just what you’ve done with your skin.
From the time I was fifteen, until I was eighteen, I snuck away from home for “study sessions with friends” on a daily basis- study sessions consisted of guzzling Starbucks White Mocha Frapuccinos, giggling, and frequenting the tanning salon. My mother, a sunscreen activist, would have had a heart attack had she known that her angel was visiting the booth for UV-overexposure.
Initially, I had parental permission for a one-time spray on tan for a homecoming dance… but the spray tan fumes had hardwired my brain to seek my inner golden goddess. The plethora of self-tanning bottles in my bathroom were the excuse for my very brown skin, my mama, loving and gullible, fell for my silly tricks. Don’t judge me… most teenagers are manipulative and devious, we all know that much.
After high school I went to beauty school- my love for facials, department store cosmetic counters and all things girly led me to believe that this was my future. Thus far, it’s been my meal ticket, and I’m so thankful to be in this industry… I only wish I had the power of knowledge that I have now, back THEN, when I was so young, and so dim. As I’m approaching my mid-twenties and beginning to see the sun damage surface, I’m kicking myself- my mom was right, excess sun exposure wreaks havoc on your skin, and my own skin is proof.
I’m really hoping that if any tanaholics out there are reading this, they will take my anti-sun advice into consideration. If you’re a recovering tanaholic like me, I’ve got some great suggestions for you on what you need to use to reverse, treat and prevent sun damage from popping up on your gorgeous skin.
Before we get into the fun stuff- let’s explore some nitty-gritty details of what hyperpigmentation is and what causes it. Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition in which some areas of the skin become noticeably darker than the rest of the skin. Hyperpigmented patches can range in size from pen-tip to the size of a pancake. The hyperpigmented areas don’t feel any different than the rest of your skin, but can be very prominent and at times, embarrassing. Hyperpigmented spots are caused by hyperactive melanin. While melanin can be found in your eyes, hair and even brain, it’s mostly predominant in your skin and is the determining factor of your skin color. Melanin is produced by melanocytes, which are cells in the basal layer of your epidermis. When your skin is exposed to excess UV rays, the melanocytes feel pressured to produce superfluous melanin to protect your skin from the inside out. With constant UV exposure, your melanocytes go into overdrive and continue to sprout melanin and create extra pigment. This excess pigment may not be noticeable when first produced, it can take a few years to surface, thus most of our hyperpigmentation does not occur until later in our life.
Hyperpigmentation can occur anywhere on our body, but it’s mostly bothersome on our faces, chests and arms. Sadly, these are the areas that receive most of the UV exposure. There are many topical products that will address our hyperpigmenation- lighten our spots and produce a more even skin tone, but first let’s set the most important ground rules… you’ll need to be patient, and you’ll need to put in effort to make it work. Hyperpigmentation is like your boyfriend… you’ve taught him to pick up his dirty socks… now it’s time to train your melanocytes to behave.
Now for the fun stuff! The first step in your skincare regimen; cleansing, is the most important. Dead skin cells need to be sloughed off so that active ingredients can penetrate deep into your skin. I recommend that you use an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser to gently remove dead skin build up. PRIORI Advanced AHA Gentle Facial Cleanser is an outstanding choice; it contains lactic acid, which is a suitable AHA for all skin types, even the most sensitive.
The next step is to exfoliate (yes, more exfoliating after an exfoliating cleanser- you really need to work on revealing your healthy skin cells beneath all that dead skin build up). I recommend DDF Discoloration Reversal Pod; it is a targeted treatment that helps reclaim the natural radiance of youthful-looking skin. The formulation hydrates and exfoliates to reduce the appearance of discoloration and dullness on areas where hyperpigmentation occurs. Each pod contains three key ingredients that hydrate to reduce appearance of existing skin pigmentation, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine (UPA), N-Acetyl Glucosamine and Niacinamide. This treatment is light weight and outstanding for daytime use.
The step following your exfoliation treatment should consist of your actual hyperpigmentation treatment. There are many ingredients which will lighten the hyperpigmenation. Hydroquinone is the most popular, but also the most controversial. It’s been pulled from the market numerous times as it’s been said to be a carcinogen and a skin irritant, but sufficient studies to prove that hydroquinone is harmful are contentious as well. If you’re interested in using hydroquinone, we recommend a two percent concentration for a three month period. PCA SKIN pHaze 13 Pigment Gel is a great choice. It incorporates 2% hydroquinone with kojic acid and alpha hydroxy acid to effectively target bothersome facial brown spots. It simultaneously helps to exfoliate, bleach and inhibit hyperpigmentation. If you choose not to use hydroquinone, we recommend the HQ free version of PCA SKIN pHaze 13 Pigment Gel which incorporates kojic acid and AHAs to target bothersome facial discoloration.
Daily SPF protection is a must. (I can hear you sun worshippers and tanaholics saying “what is spf?”) Your sun protection factor… THE most important step of ANY skincare regimen at every age, with every skin color, in any weather condition (I don’t care if you don’t ever see a ray of sun- put on your sunblock, PLEASE)! When you use lightening products you must, must, must use your SPF. If you exfoliate and attempt to lighten hyperpigmenation but don’t protect your sun-sensitive skin, all that money and effort will just wash down the drain- and can actually have a detrimental effect. Since your skin is more sun-sensitive when you’re using lightening products, it’ll pigment ten times as much as it would should you choose to bypass SPF application. Use an SPF with antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress, so your newly exfoliated, fresh skin will reap the benefits of vitamins. Topix Citrix Antioxidant SunScreen SPF 30 is a great choice as it contains a broad-spectrum SPF in addition to Vitamins A, C & E, green tea extract and co-Q10. The formulation is light, oil-free and fast absorbing while providing SPF 30 protection.
Your regimen should consist of twice daily cleansing and twice daily active lightening application, the other products are meant to be used once a day only. Your lightening product will be the pillar of your regime for quite some time. If you choose to use hydroquinone on a cycle of three months on and three months off, you may cycle to a retinol treatment when you do not use the hydroquinone. Retinol induces cellular turn-over at a cellular level so your skin cells renew way faster than usual- thus shedding old, dead, over-hyperpigmented cells to reveal fresh ones. If you do not use a hydroquinone in your regime, you may use both your HQ-free lightening gel and retinol together, just call or email our estheticians first for proper usage instructions, we’re always happy to help.
As you can imagine, these active products and lightening ingredients will probably cause some sensitivity, redness and initial irritation- you’ll need a gentle, soothing moisturizer to balance things out. I recommend an antioxidant rich product with barrier repair properties. Kinerase products are outstanding for soothing the skin while providing anti-aging and antioxidant benefits, the active ingredient (Kinetin) also acts as a barrier repair aging as it is a plant-based growth factor. Amazing, isn’t it? The Kinerase Lotion is best for an oily to combination skin type, and Kinerase Cream is outstanding for normal to dry skin. The Pro Therapy line contains an additional antioxidant (Zeatin) which will boost your regimen if you’re looking for something a bit more potent.
Hyperpigmentation is a tricky, sensitive thing. You’re young and reckless and just having fun, dancing on a yacht in your bikini, not thinking of what’s coming next- and ten years later you’re staring at your splotchy face in the mirror saying “whyy meee?” Don’t give up hope- commit to correct this pesky problem. Yes, you can get it under control… and STILL have fun on a yacht, in a bikini, except wearing SPF70 this time around.
Update: Since the original publishing date of this article, a new product has entered the marketplace. We are in the process of creating a new blog with more information about the SkinCeuticals Pigment Regulator.