What you need to know for better skin
Think you’ve heard it all before when it comes to skin care? The latest research and innovation is about to give you a whole new beauty perspective.
#1 / Spice up your skin care with turmeric
Once relegated to the depths of the spice cupboard, turmeric is now enjoying a moment as a fully-fledged superfood. New research from Clarins looked into the language of skin cells (called lipid microdomains) and discovered the way they make exchanges, or “express” themselves, within their environment played a major role in skin ageing. Clarins scientists explained that a bioactive ingredient in turmeric (called tumerone) helped skin cells produce elements to make the skin become plumper, firmer and younger-looking.
#2 / Get smart with cholesterol
It turns out cholesterol is not such a dirty word after all – at least when it comes to skin care. In fact, as Dr Dendy Engelman, Elizabeth Arden’s consulting dermatologist, explains: “Cholesterol is an important part of your skin’s lipid layer, making up about 25 per cent of the lipids in the outermost layer of the skin.” Together with ceramides and fatty acids, it supports the skin cells and holds them together for firmness. But, here’s the catch: these lipids decrease dramatically with age. However Dr Dendy explains that this is no solo act – ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids are actually more effective working together than individually.
#3 / Take a more gentle approach
It’s easy to get overzealous with our skin, especially when there are new products popping up each week promising better skin. But as Dr Phil Tong – skin researcher, Dean’s Fellow in Dermatology and clinical lecturer at the University of Sydney – explains, our love of trying everything may actually be creating skin issues that didn’t otherwise exist, such as sensitivity. “This is in part related to the overwhelming number of products women are using,” he says. “Ultimately, over-scrubbing, cleansing and toning can strip away the natural oils of our skin.” And, while he acknowledges that exfoliation is important to clean away dead skin cells, the key message is not to get too carried away.
#4 / Stop being so sensitive
Once upon a time we were just born with sensitive skin, but thanks to a whole host of environmental aggressors, including an increase in pollution, issues may exacerbate later in life. Dr Véronique Delvigne, Scientific Director at Lancôme, explains: “Our international studies performed on more than 3000 women worldwide show that more than one out of two women declare suffering from sensitivity peaks,” she says, also noting that Google searches for the term “skin reaction” have risen by 27 per cent in the last five years. When the skin is under environmental attack like this, it leads to a whole circus of issues, including redness, inflammation, plus the biggie – premature ageing. It’s no surprise then, that anti-pollution and damage repair are two big beauty buzzwords right now. Lancôme’s answer to this is the new Advanced Génifique Sensitive, a serum that works double-time to “extinguish” the inflammation by fighting oxidation, then soothing and strengthening the skin with a combination of probiotics.
Product to try: Lancôme Advanced Génifique Sensitive
#5 / Trust your gut
“Our gut is where 80 per cent of the immune system lies, where we metabolise hormones, where we make detoxifying enzymes and where we make nutrients. So much of what goes on in our digestive system can impact our skin,” says Carla Oates, founder and CEO of The Beauty Chef. So it makes sense that we should be treating our skin from the inside out. Oates was one of the trailblazers in the ingestible beauty category, after discovering the many benefits that consuming probiotics and prebiotics had on the skin. And, with studies also showing the link between gut health and softer, plumper skin (thanks to a better fatty acid profile), there’s no better reason to have a gut full.
Products to try: The Beauty Chef Glow Inner Beauty Powder
#6 / Pick ‘n’ mix your products
Just like customisation gives us better clothes and shoes, it also gives us better skin. As Emma Hobson, Education Manager at The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, says, “not every part of your facial skin has the same concerns, so having personalised skin care means you can patchwork and tailor it to match the changing ‘moods of your skin’ on a day-to-day basis.” So, ditch the one-size-fits-all routine, and instead start treating the parts of your skin with what they need. Hobson recommends using a combination of serums and lotions, such as hydrating boosters around the eyes and mouth to combat fine feather lines, combined with a spot treatment product on the chin or T-zone (if you’re susceptible to breakouts), and using soothing or calming products only on the areas prone to redness, such as the cheeks and nose.
#7 / Make your makeup work for it
Expecting more is part of our DNA these days, and it’s also definitely true of our makeup products. “Hybrid beauty products are still on the rise, and the most recent launch is serum foundations, which deliver coverage and the benefits of a hydrating serum in one,” says makeup expert Napoleon Perdis. He adds, “skin care is so important to ensure a flawless base, and I have carefully selected innovative ingredients which offer both short-term and long-term benefits to counteract skin concerns.” This includes quirky ingredients such as snail mucus in his BBB cream, added for its super-hydrating properties.
#8 / Brighten up
Hyperpigmentation is one of the biggest skin concerns in Australia. Because of this, loads of research is going into ingredients that lighten spots, such as soy and niacinamide, which Dr Tong says “not only have the ability to de-pigment dark spots, but soy also protects against UV-induced pigmentation”. Then, of course, there’s vitamin C, which is now being delivered in even more effective ways, like the Clinique Fresh Pressed range. Clinique’s National Education Manager, Melissa Elvin-Jensen explains, “the pure vitamin C in this product comes in a powder format and is activated using a soothing emulsion that makes pH levels of the skin just right for the acceptance of that magic ingredient.”
Products to try: Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-day System with Pure Vitamin C
Sarah Tarca is a former neat handwriting champion whose skills involve applying lipstick without a mirror and artfully disguising 8-month regrowth. For the last 15 years she’s worked for the likes of Cosmopolitan, Girlfriend and Marie Claire as features writer, editor and beauty director, before leaving Oz for a professional vagabond life (“digital nomad”) in permanent euro summer. A beauty, travel and wellness obsessive, she currently writes for a bunch of digital and print titles both in Australia and abroad, and sometimes even posts on her blog ciaoamica.com (that is, when she’s not posting extremely belated travel pics on her instagram @tarca).