Our skin Ageing has two categories which is intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. For centuries, humans have been searching for the exact formulation of ingredients that will erase the signs of ageing from their faces. Today, that pursuit has hit record proportions, with British people spending lot of money on anti-ageing skincare products alone) Yet, ask these individuals if they’re happy with the results they’re getting from these products and you’re certain to get a lukewarm response. In fact, of those who use anti-ageing products, only 3 percent claim to have used them because they found them effective?
This statistic comes as no surprise to me. Throughout my nearly twenty years in practice as a plastic and cosmetic surgeon, countless patients—both women and men—have told me stories of spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on products that promised to deliver a youthful appearance but did little more than smell good. Despite this, the number one question I’m asked remains, “What product do you recommend I use to remove wrinkles?’ As consumers, we continue to hold out hope that the fountain of youth really can be found in a jar.
Motivated by a consumer willingness to spend dollar after dollar on skincare that promises to turn back the hands of time, cosmetic companies have sent their product development teams into overdrive. The result: Thousands of products are launched each year featuring “revolutionary” new ingredients or “miracle” formulations and accompanied by marketing campaigns that feature scientific claims and flawless models. Who can blame people for being convinced?
When my patients tell me about the disappointing products they’ve used, they inevitably defend their purchase by referring to the science that backed the products’ claims. You know what they’re talking about: “clinically proven to reduce wrinkles in seven days,” or “after four weeks, 90 percent reported that fine lines had faded away.” While many companies do cite justifiable, independent research to back product ingredients, of concern are the organizations that tout biased findings. We need to be certain that the claims are founded on “good science’ and are, thus, valid.
While commonly accepted myths are prevalent in many consumer industries, they run particularly rampant in the skincare category. Given the emotion that accompanies the desire to improve one’s appearance, marketers have been able to convince consumers of many factors that, at face value, don’t make much sense. It’s as though the trendy product design and incredible before and after photos erode one’s better judgment.
Some of my favorite skincare myths are outlined below. You’ll also find the facts that debunk them.
PRODUCTS CONTAINING COLLAGEN AND/OR ELASTIN CAN REJUVENATE SKIN CELLS
Countless advertisements in recent years exclaim a product’s use of collagen and/or elastin. These are major structural proteins in our skin that are often advertised to have magical qualities when applied topically. However, the reality is that, when added to a product, collagen or elastin has absolutely no benefit to the skin whatsoever. At most, they may make the product consistency “feel” more silky and smooth.
Collagen and elastin are proteins found in our skin and in that of all animals. These proteins comprise the structure of the dermal layer of the skin. However, collagen and elastin cannot be absorbed into the skin because their moleculer size is too large, a step that would be essential if they were to do any good whatsoever. What’s more, if you take them out of a human or animal source, the proteins are dead. Therefore, even if the skin could absorb them, they’re completely inactive and would not provide any benefit. The only collagen or elastin our bodies can use is that created by our own cells and tissues. That from another human or animal source is completely useless.
Say for a moment, however, that collagen and elastin did have some beneficial properties when applied topically to the skin. It would then be important to note the type of collagen or elastin that is used. Most collagen and elastin found on ingredient lists is referred to as “soluble collagen” or “hydrolyzed elastin.” This means the manufacturer has actually cut the molecule into tiny pieces. Therefore, even if they were beneficial, you aren’t getting true collagen or elastin in these products—only pieces of these proteins.
The only benefit of using collagen and elastin in skincare products is the improvement it brings to the consistency of the product. In other words, they make the product feel nice on skin.
PRODUCTS CONTAINING OXYGEN ENSURE YOUTHFUL-LOOKING SKIN
Given that oxygen is essential to life, its usage on our skin must be beneficial, right? Wrong.
Simply put, we need approximately 23% oxygen in the air we breathe to live. Anything more than that may be converted into 03, otherwise known as oxidants or free radicals. This fact alone demonstrates that oxygen in skincare products isn’t beneficial. However, let’s go a step further and look at a few additional realities. First, humans cannot absorb oxygen through the skin; it is only absorbed through the lungs. From an evolutionary standpoint, if our skin could absorb oxygen, our lungs wouldn’t have developed.
Second —and here’s the real catch—oxygen cannot even be put into a skincare product because it’s a gas. It simply won’t mix with the product’s other added ingredients. Even if it could be contained in a product formulation, it would release into the atmosphere rather than penetrate the skin when applied, due to its gaseous state. Therefore, any marketing that claims a product contains pure oxygen is little more than false advertising.
FACIAL SKLN REQUIRES MULTIPLE MOISTURIZERS
It is a common misconception that skin needs numerous, separate moisturizers for different areas of the face. The skin does need a good moisturizer, the type of which is dependent upon skin type. For instance, oily skin requires a moisturizer with less oil-based humectants, while very dry skin needs a moisturizer with heavier humectants. However, there is no absolute need to buy separate moisturizers for different parts of your face.
SEPARATE EYE CREAM IS ESSENTIAL
The skin around the eyes is thinner and has fewer oil glands. Therefore, it does require extra care. However, use of a hydrating moisturizer works just fine if carefully applied around the eyes. Skin is skin, so what works on the rest of your face works in this area, as well. If trying, specifically, to improve the appearance of fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles, then a separate eye product such as a serum or gel-formulated product with extra emollients may be considered.
THE CONCEPT OF “GENTLE EXFOLIATION,”
There is no such thing as “gentle exfoliation.” By its nature, exfoliation requires force or strong acid to remove dead and damaged skin cells. Only by being aggressive with exfoliation will it give the desired effect of collagen stimulation and dermal rejuvenation. Although rubbing the skin with “granules” or “microspheres” may give a temporary polished feel to the skin, it will not provide the necessary force to slough dead skin cells and boost collagen production.
PRODUCTS THAT ARE “DERMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED” OR “DERMATOLOGIST TESTED” ARE PROVEN TO WORK
Phrases like “dermatologist recommended” or “dermatologist tested” simply mean that as few as one dermatologist has tried the product or used it on a patient with no negative results. It is in no way valid proof of a product’s performance.
MEN AND WOMEN REQUIRE DIFFERENT SKINCARE PRODUCTS
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of skincare products formulated specifically for men. Remember the tenant that “skin is skin?” The same rule applies here. Of course, individuals have different concerns and, thus, require differing approaches to skincare. But these differences cannot simply be divided down gender lines.
Given the recent growth of the male personal care market, it’s no wonder that companies are putting out skincare lines targeted specifically to this audience. However, the only difference between these products and other skincare lines is the fragrance and the look of the bottles. After all, few men want a “cute” bottle on their bathroom shelf!
EXPENSIVE SKENCARE PRODUCTS FROM ESTABLISHED BRANDS ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE
This is exactly the marketers of these products wants you to think. In reality, this statement is far from true. These brands, most of which invest far more in marketing than in product research and development, gain their “well known” reputation through aggressive advertising campaigns.
WATER-BASED SKI–WARE PRODUCTS KEEP YOUR SKIN HYDRATED
This is, in my opinion, one of the biggest myths within the skincare industry. Water-based skincare products don’t hydrate because the skin cannot absorb water. The presence of water simply dilutes the active ingredients that are contained within the product.
Motivated by my patients’ obvious frustration and confusion about skincare, in 1996 I embarked on a yearlong quest to find the best skincare line. I wanted to give my patients a strong recommendation when they asked what products to use pre- and post-procedure and for ongoing maintenance of their skin.
My background certainly was helpful in this endeavor. A significant part of my surgical training was spent working with burns and exploring elements that impact wound healing. In fact, I conducted research on the growth factors involved in skin repair at a cellular level. Additionally, I was aided by an expert knowledge of organic chemistry, biology, and pharmacology.
Given that my surgical mentor, Dr. Martin Robson, past chair of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, was recognized worldwide for his research on the benefits of aloe in healing, I was influenced to utilize high-grade aloe in my surgical practice. After all, I saw firsthand how the application of aloe to skin flaps in surgery has a remarkable ability to prevent tissue damage and accelerate healing. Robson’s work encouraged me to pursue my own research into potential applications for aloe within a clinical environment and, thus, I’ve authored numerous studies proving its benefits in conditions ranging from frostbite and burns to diabetes.
These experiences, including the results I’ve seen in my own practice, have continually convinced me that aloe vera is a powerhouse ingredient for use in sensible skincare. Aloe vera has immense and manifold benefits to the skin, and its effectiveness has been proven not only in the laboratory but in human studies, as well. Because of this, I became particularly interested in developing a line of skincare products that could properly use aloe’s valuable properties.
The research project was eye opening, at minimum. I was surprised to find that nearly every skincare brand I encountered—whether physician-dispensed or over-the-counter, drugstore or department store, organic or conventional—utilized a base of water. When aloe was utilized, it was in minute quantities and of inadequate quality to generate results. I began to realize that product formulations were often more marketing than science.
Most formulations I reviewed had little hope of ever accomplishing the results for which they were intended, and I was left feeling disenchanted. In good faith, I couldn’t recommend any single brand to my patients. What’s more, I realized it was essential that consumers become educated about the basic needs of their skin to prevent the continued frustration they were encountering. With that, I’ve spent the past ten years providing this knowledge to each of my patients, and it’s that knowledge that I share with you.
While I now formulate skincare products utilizing a base of pharmaceutical-grade aloe and ingredients proven by unbiased science to benefit the skin, it is important I note that, beyond my brand, many good skincare products do exist. However, rather than blindly trusting a single brand, buying a bundled regimen, or placing hope in a product that makes big promises, it’s important to review each formulation independently to determine if it will work for your skin. Through the pages of this book, I will give you the skills you need to become an empowered consumer of skincare.