Over the last few years we have seen some tremendous advancements in skincare technology, both from the point of view of homecare skin products and equipment used in treatments. The global skin care industry, and in particular the anti-ageing aspect, is huge business. There is a phenomenal amount of money and scientific brainpower dedicated to research and development, and we are learning more each year about how the skin works and how to slow down the signs of ageing. There are even some really powerful techniques to reverse the signs of ageing, Wrinkle Relaxing Injections being an obvious, simple example. Products and treatments are also becoming increasingly sophisticated at targeting the critical functions of skin health, for example the production and maintenance of collagen and elastin, the building blocks of healthy skin. We can now safely speed up the skin renewal process without undue dryness and irritation. Products are coming onto the market which will mimic DNA functions of healthy skin and which can repair skin damage right down to the level of individual skin cells. Many products successfully harness the healing power of anti-oxidants, which play a very important role in preventing the ageing effects on skin cells caused by free radicals in the body.
One of the most important developments in skincare technology has been the development of high quality AHA based products. AHAs are Alpha Hydroxy Acids, naturally occurring compounds which are wonderful for restoring and correcting skin. AHA’s gently exfoliate your skin in a natural way, sloughing off the outer layer of dead skin cells to reveal smoother, healthy layers below. This process also speeds up the cell renewal cycle, stimulating the production of healthy new skin cells. As well as helping to return damaged or aging skin to a healthy, natural looking condition, they are great for long term skin health and anti ageing. Whilst associated in the past with causing irritation and dryness for some clients, there are products now in the market which are suitable for sensitive skin and which actually improve moisture levels. AHA’s were developed in the States by Joe Lewis, the bio-scientist behind the Priori brand, and first introduced to salons and spas by leading US dermatologist Dr Howard Murad.
3-step skin care regime
Generally speaking we recommend that all clients should adopt a 3-step skin care regime. The first step is to cleanse (and tone); the second step is to correct; the third step is to hydrate and protect your skin for the day.
Personally I like to use a cleanser which I can take into the shower with me and foam up. The Priori Advanced AHA cleanser is gentle and a great anti-ageing cleanser. It’s a treatment in itself. Then you should use a corrector, that is, a product which will work on making gentle changes to your skin throughout the day or night. The correct cleanser should be prescribed based on your own skin condition and skin type, as well as what objectives you are trying to achieve. For example I am currently using the Murad Resurgence Age-Diffusing Serum, which is the most amazing anti-ageing product, but when I come back from holiday I will probably switch to the Coffeeberry Brightening Serum from Priori as I might be more concerned about sun damage and uneven skin tone.
The third step is to hydrate and protect your skin. The moisturiser does what it says on the bottle, but ask for a good one: for example all the Murad moisturisers contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ingredients as well. If your moisturiser does not contain an SPF of at least 30, you absolutely must apply an SPF on top of your moisturiser. This is essential every day of the year, especially if you want to prevent early ageing. Even when it’s not sunny, a good spf will filter out the ageing effects of many polluting influences, especially the highly ageing UVA which surrounds us all the time.
I would recommend getting good advice from a skincare specialist on your own skin care needs. It’s best to do this in a professional salon or skin clinic environment, rather than relying on the product knowledge of sales assistant in a department store. If you can it is also worth getting your skin scanned for digital complexion analysis, in order to get really customised recommendations. This is available at Zen Lifestyle and at some dermatology clinics.