Anti Aging Skin Care Info

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Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs or ‘fruit acids’)

Filed under: AHAs (inc. chemical peels) by admin

The American Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA) note products containing AHAs are used in anti aging skin care cosmetics because they cause exfoliation of surface skin. The effect depends on the concentration of AHAs in the products in combination with the effects of other ingredients (1).

It Does what It Says On The Tin. What does that do for mature skin?

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AHAs work in the pores once absorbed and begin to cause the skin to shed the topmost layer of dead skin cells. This assists in accelerating cell ‘turnover’. As the dead cells at the ‘top’ of skin are removed, healthy new cells from deeper layers come to the surface. This aims to:

  • Enhance the skin’s texture
  • Enhance the skin’s colour (‘glow’)
  • Unclog pores
  • Increase penetration by moisturising products (2).

The concentration of AHAs within the products is important. Low concentrations (say 5-10%) are usually the staple of the (heavily marketed) over the counter creams and commonly contain glycolic acid, one of the 5 types of AHAs.

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Professional Treatments

Higher concentrations may be used  a procedure using much higher concentrations of AHAs, dubbed ‘the chemical peel’. The British Association of Cosmetic Doctors advise this should be a strictly professionally administered treatment. It states the treatment can definitely help rejuvenate skin, but will still not give a 50 year old the skin of a 25 year old.   The treatment produces temporary redness and can have side effects such as cold-sore flare-ups (3).

Controversy

The FDA notes that there is a lack of robust research into the long-term effects of AHAs on the skin from everyday consumer products containing them (4).

Giselle Mir goes one step further with criticism of the mechanism of AHAs on the skin. Mir states she qualified as Cosmetic Scientist before founding her own cosmetic company, having become “disillusioned” with misleading cosmetic industry product claims. She has stated to the press she believes the creams actions simply irritate the skin, resulting eventually in moisture loss from the top layer and premature aging (5).

Here’s some further advice from Paula Begouin, seen earlier extoling the virtues of AHAS – this time she explains the damaging effects of irritation on any skin – clearly she isn’t lumping AHAs into this category but its makes for thought provoking material…

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: NONE of the above advice can be a substitute for medical or professional skin care advice – please only consult qualified general medical and/ or dermatology physicians for serious skin complaints. The information here may reflect manufacturer’s claims and this site cannot be held responsible for such claims made.

RS Brown

References:

1. American Food and Drug Administration. (2009). Alpha Hydroxy Acids in Cosmetics. [online] Washington: Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/SelectedCosmeticIngredients/ucm107940.htm

2. Begoiun, P. (2004). The Complete Beauty Bible: The Ultimate Guide To Smart Beauty. Rodale. P.99.

3. British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (2009). Chemical peels (Glycolic peels). [online]. BACD. Available at:

http://www.cosmeticdoctors.co.uk/chemical_peels.asp

4. American Food and Drug Administration. (2009). The Office of Women’s Health Scientific Research Program: Abstracts. [online] Washington: Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:

http://www.fda.gov/ScienceResearch/SpecialTopics/WomensHealthResearch/ucm134677.htm

5. Mir, G. Anti Ageing and Sun Care. [online] Hertfordshire, UK: Mir. Available at:

http://www.mirskincare.com/anti_ageing_and_sun_care.html

Photo Credits

1. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Egahen

2. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jdurham123

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Retinol creams

Filed under: Retinol creams by admin

‘Retinol’ is a term used widely in manufacturer’s names and promotions for anti ageing skin care creams. Such creams most commonly contain retinyl palmitate. This should undergo a catalytic process of enzyme reactions once applied to the skin, to convert into the skin’s active form of vitamin A, trans-retinoic acid (1). Let’s just say Retinol is marketed as a miricale product:

Rough and ready guide to skin smoothing mechanism

The deeper layers of the dermis (skin) contain collagen, a substance which allows the skin to maintain its shape and elastin, which allows skin its degrees of quite literally, elasticity. Production of elastin stops after puberty, hence some of the effects of ‘age’ on the skin. When the creams are applied, the skin reacts by producing more cells and more collagen, meaning cells seem fuller and rounder. The new cell production moves older cells to the outer layers of the skin where they are exfoliated. This creates the much vaunted effects of the creams, to make skin seem smoo9ther and more radiant (as new cells are less pigmented by UV rays).

Interestingly enough, the concentration of retinol in the creams seems to influence their effect. A fascinating sample by national UK newspaper The Daily Mirror in 2007 (2) found that many manufacturers were shy to disclose exactly how much was in their product, or in what form.

Remember, the mechanism at work is the conversion of the product’s active ingredient to a retinoic acid. Creams which contain retinoic acid itself are classed as pharmaceuticals, because they have significant, demonstrable effects on the skin – effectively making them a medicine. So retinoic acid creams are only allowed to be prescribed – meaning the beauty industry can’t use them in its creams.

Instead, forms such as retinyl palmatate are used instead which convert to much smaller amounts of retinoic acid in the skin.  This has advantages and disadvantages for the consumer. Whilst the effect is less potent than prescribed creams, the products are likely to be better tolerated. The prescribed creams can sometimes lead to adverse reactions such as dry, red & flaky skin in susceptible individuals.

Photosentivity increased & those with sentitive skin:

Retinol over the counter creams leave skin more sensitive to sunlight (3), so sunscreens should always be used even in climates where the sun may seem weak or non-existent some days! Those with sensitive skin are probably best advised to consult a professional before trying it. Pharmaceutical chain Boot’s suggest using their retinol creams by building up the number of times they are used first (2). Always consult a professional qualified doctor for health concerns.

Controversy

Giselle Mir states she qualified as Cosmetic Scientist before founding her own cosmetic company having become disillusioned with misleading cosmetic industry product claims. Mir has publicly stated creams containing retinol essentially irritate the skin, leading to moisture loss from the top layer and premature aging (4).

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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: NONE of the above advice can be a substitute for medical or professional skin care advice – please only consult qualified general medical and/ or dermatology physicians for serious skin complaints. The information is not sponsored by manufacturers here but may reflect their claims and this site cannot be held responsible for such claims made.

RS Brown

References:

1. Draelos, Z.D.D. (2006). Cosmetic Formulation of Skincare Products: 30 (Cosmetic Science and Technology). Informa Healthcare.

2. Daily Mirror Retinol (2007).Retinol: Is It Really A Miracle Cream?. [online]. Daily Mirror. Available at:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/celebs-on-sunday/2007/06/10/retinol–is-it-really-a-miracle-cream–98487-19248887/

3. Food and Drug Administration. (2008)  Photocytotoxicity of Retinol and Retinyl Acetate. [online]. FDA. Available at:

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/ScienceForums/forum03/J-11.htm

4. Mir, G. [undated]. Anti ageing and sun care. [online] Mir. Available at:

http://www.coolessentials.com/anti_ageing_and_sun_care.html

Photo Credits

1. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Egahen

2. http://www.loosha.nl

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