There comes a time when you’re ready to do more for your skin that swipe on a moisturiser and hope for the best. The facials and skincare ingredients of the future are about understanding what’s happening both on the surface, and under your skin, so a treatment can be specifically tailored to your needs and get real results. Rescu. Founder and Editor Bahar Etminan talks to skincare experts Suzi Hoitink, founder of Clear Complexions and Tracy May, International Director of Education for Elizabth Arden PRO, to uncover the latest treatments you’ll want to add into your skincare routine now.
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Suzie Hoitink, registered nurse and founder of Clear Complexions
Rescu: What is Omnilux?
Suzie Hoitink: Omnilux is LED technology, it has been around for quite some time, but people often confuse it with laser, it’s not a laser. It doesn’t work on the normal pathways as lasers do where they injure the skin in order to get a wound healing response. It works by illuminating the energy centres of the cells, which are called mitochondria. When you stimulate those cells, you stimulate the production of whichever particular cell you’re targeting. There are three different wavelengths, the first is a red wavelength called Omnilux Revive, it stimulates collagen by stimulating cells called fibroblasts. This creates collagen and also hyaluronic acid. Another wavelength is the blue wavelength, it causes the P. acnes bacteria, which is a bacteria that causes the infection in breakouts, to die. So it has a completely different function to the red wavelength. Then there is an infrared wavelength that penetrates a lot deeper into the skin. This stimulates the cells involved in the inflammatory process, so we use it a lot when we’re trying to heal the skin for things like post wound healing or following surgery; it’s exceptional for that.
Rescu: How often would you have to have an Omnilux treatment to see a result?
Suzie Hoitink: Most clients do a course of ten treatments spaced over five weeks initially, and then they will come religiously every month. It’s one of those treatments that clients just don’t want to miss, there’s no downtime so it’s the perfect way to keep your skin healthy for the future. It’s not a quick fix treatment, it’s not one that you notice a difference straight away, but it’s something that you can keep continuously doing like regular exercise and making sure you’re eating really well.
Rescu: A lot of people offer Omnilux with a peel and today you suggested that I have a Rationale peel, why would you have a peel with an Omnilux treatment?
Suzie Hoitink: The reason we combine these two is because when you have a peel you are shedding a lot of the dead skin cells that sit below the surface, and your also re-solidifying the surface of the skin so you get a fantastic penetration of light. You’re getting more out of both of these treatments by putting them together, and we’re big fans of looking at conjunctive therapies. We have so many different technologies to offer it’s rare that our clients have only one technology, they often have two or three things combined and that’s how we can get the best results.
Rescu: In terms of peels, why would you have a peel and how often would you recommend a peel going into the summer months?
Suzie Hoitink: The majority of our clients who we’ve just introduced to skin health will have a peel once a month. A lot of our clients are having peels because they’ve got breakouts, so they’ll have them every fortnight, and sometimes even weekly.
Rescu: From an anti-aging perspective do you have a peel that you like to recommend to people who have never tried a peel before?
Suzie Hoitink: We usually start off with the Rationale peel, because we can combine salicylic, lactic and pyruvic.
Salicylic helps to clear out the pores, so it’s very good when people have got an oily t-zone or breakouts. Lactic acid is more about just chipping away at the surface and re-acidifying the surface of the skin. And pyruvic acid is about the health of your skin, so it’s a more unusual peeling agent. It’s absolutely fantastic but not so much for acne prone skin but for people who are trying to keep their skin as healthy as possible.
Rescu: In terms of post-Omnilux or post-peel treatment at home, what do you recommend?
There are a few things, like vitamin A, we get you to stop using for a couple of days post treatment. Other than that you can keep using your vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B3. Usually with Omnilux or a peel you can continue to use the Rationale range. We also do brightening peels and Azyme peels which are very strong vitamin A peels.
Rescu: If you were going to start your journey into having professional skin care, what would you ask the clinic or the practitioner to do for you?
Suzie Hoitink: If you’re looking for cosmeceutical or medical grade skin care, you won’t be able to purchase those anywhere other than medical skincare clinics, or at a dermatologist or a plastic surgery clinic. These clinics will do a full assessment on your skin, and that’s not just somebody saying, I think this is probably right for you, and spending a half an hour explaining that. But actually looking below the surface of the skin. There is often far more below the surface and it totally changes the way we think about how to treat the skin. Skincare’s exactly the same if you know what’s happening below the surface and what you’re trying to achieve, you can make the most enormous difference in someone’s skin. If you’re going to spend money on skincare (which we all are!) we may as well use something that actually works. But you do have to have that accountability, somebody that knows exactly what they’re talking about.
Rescu: What would your advice be to somebody, who again is going on this good skin journey and looking for the best possible result?
Suzie Hoitink: Well that it is a journey. It’s really easy for me to give a client a quick fix and for them to be really, really happy and walk out the door, for a short period of time. A quick fix is something that you can get at any laser clinic chain and it’s pretty easy to do. Something I think everyone should be looking for, is a place that understands I have to be thinking five years in advance. I want to make sure when you look in the mirror in five years, two years or a year, you know your skins is as healthy as it is because you’ve started looking after it and you’ve received the right advice. It means that I have to plan out a journey and I also have to access all the different categories of technologies that are available now, so I can offer that to you. If you go into a laser place that only has only one or two pieces of technology, that’s all you’re going to get offered. Whereas with the clinics, I think it’s so important that we have access to all different technologies so I can make sure you get the treatment that’s right for you, not just the one I happen to have.
If I was a consumer, I would look at their consultation process, their credentials and I’d also make sure I look at what technologies they offer, how broad is that range, and obviously their qualifications.
Rescu: Speaking of qualifications and credentials, is there a governing body, a place where a consumer can know that this is a high quality clinic?
Suzie Hoitink: No, not at the moment, and it’s mind boggling that there isn’t registration or accreditation that can offer clients that level of reassurance that they are going to get a treatment in a reputable place. That doesn’t exist at the moment, but what I would look for is to make sure you’re in a medical center skincare clinic, that you go there and they do a proper consultation. The accreditation is coming, we’re certainly pushing for it and for licensing. Arpansa (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) are testing all of the submissions to have a look at licensing, certainly for lasers. And that’s going to be a really big move, I hope it comes in because I think it’s necessary because it’s an absolute minefield out there. And the sad thing is that the consumer only has price to differentiate one place from another. It’s such a poor place to come from when you’re thinking about your skin, your face, and you’re talking about lasers and injectables. You just can’t use price as your indicator of where to go.
Tracy May-Harriott, International Director & Brand Ambassador for Elizabeth Arden PRO
Rescu: Tracy May can you tell us about enzyme technology versus peptide technology when it comes to brightening and inhibiting melanin production?
Tracy May-Harriott: There is one key enzyme called tyrosinase, which will stimulate melanin. Everybody’s skin has melanin and every skin needs melanin because melanin is your inbuilt sunscreen. But the challenge comes when you produce it unevenly. You can produce it unevenly through hormones, sun damage, a scratch in the skin or an inflammatory response. If you can stop the signal and then slow down the enzyme, you will then pull back the development of uneven melanin.
Rescu: So you can slow down the development of melanin?
Tracy May-Harriott: Yes slow it down so that the tyrosinase will no longer over stimulate melanin. You’ll have a nice evening of melanin in the skin and have what we would call your facultative colour, the colour you’re born with, as opposed to your environmental colour, which is obviously from damage.
Rescu: What ingredients block melanin production and help to peel back the damage you’ve already done?
Tracy May-Harriott: You need tyrosinase inhibitors. And some such as the gold standard of hydroquinone from our industry will actually destroy melanocytes. You need melanocytes to make melanin, you don’t want them destroyed you just want them under control like a dog on a lead.
Rescu: So what are the ingredients you should look for in a brightening formula?
Tracy May-Harriott: You want key tyrosinase inhibitors that work together, the ones that we love to use are chlorogenic acidics from nature, it’s from a wakame leaf or from coffee berry. We actually use PQQ, which is a kissing cousin of adivinone which will actually inhibit tyrosinase as well. We use a fat soluble vitamin C, because vitamin C oxidises fast. Then we use herbal extracts like grapefruit and liquorice. To help stop the signalling of tyrosinase we use a chinese herbal extract. So if you think of a cascade of pigmentation, it’s like Christmas tree lights, you take one bulb out and it will slow down the whole cascade and that’s what we want. We want to treat the top with retinoids and AHA’s to exfoliate, and below the skin you want to pull back the development of melanocytes which produce melanin.
Rescu: How long typically would a normal person need to use a topical product to see a change in their skin?
Tracy May-Harriott: You could use a product and see changes in the clarity of your skin within a couple of days, to a couple of weeks.
Rescu: A lot of people do want to treat their pigmentation less invasively and avoid laser, so this is good news that you can do something this strong without going for any kind of procedure.
Tracy May-Harriott: We’ve also got brightening peel pads so clients can take their peel home with them and do their own mini professional treatment. But there is no point having dermal treatments if it’s not a dermal problem. If you’ve got pigmentation that’s from deep sun damage you’ve got to work on a different level to somebody that’s just scratched their skin and they’ve got acne pigment. So you’ve got to assess why they’ve got the pigmentation, and then that would determine how long it’s going to take to treat. Or is it because you’ve gone on a new type of medication and all the time you’re taking that medication you’re more sun sensitive. We could be trying to treat the surface problem but the pigmentation could still be being created.
Rescu: Lets talk about protecting your skin barrier, I know that Joe Lewis who’s an expert in our book Rescu. Me!, and who’s also a world renowned expert on skin health is really excited about educating women about the concept of protecting their skin barrier. What’s that all about?
Tracy May-Harriott: The surface of your skin is full of ceramides, cholesterol and essential fatty acids which is what gives you the barrier to the environment and control over temperature and environment. It gives you a waterproof barrier. So we’ve produced a couple of products that are going to maintain that barrier function of the skin. If you’ve got a very healthy skin it will be a hydrated skin, if you think of a dehydrated skin that will hold onto toxins. You need water in the skin to move through, you need ceramides, essential fatty acids, and cholesterol to act as a waterproof barrier. When they get attacked by free radicals you can imagine that sort of lovely protective barrier becoming a teabag and everything good gets out and everything bad is getting in.
Rescu: There was a bit of concern that over-exfoliation and overtreatment can damage the barriers, is that true?
Tracy May-Harriott: If you have something that is the very wrong PH for your skin and you over peel the skin with certain concentrations. Or maybe you’re having a dermal peel when you’ve actually only got an epidermal problem, then yes, you can do too much to the skin. But what we believe in is getting it back to normal and keeping intact your stratum conium to protect itself and your barrier function. Your barrier function will protect you, and help to prevent trans-epidermal water loss, that’s important for the ageing process.
Rescu: Can you explain trans-epidermal water loss?
Tracy May-Harriott: Trans-epidermal water loss is when your skin will no longer hold onto essential water, it’s part of the ageing process, your cellular water needs to stay intact. We need things such as hyaluronic acid to increase glycemic glycans, a water holding molecule. So as much as some of these ingredients sound sexy, it literally is as simple as keeping good water in and preventing prevent water loss.
Tracy May-Harriott: It’s so simple. The urban dust pollution study is generic clinical testing (so it’s nothing to do with Elizabeth Arden or Joe Lewis), they collected pollution from Washington DC over a period of 12 months and they analysed the particulate matter that is in the atmosphere that is destroying skin. This is what we need to protect our skin against, this is what leads to extrinsic ageing which is the artificial ageing. So we said to our scientists go out and find the five best antioxidants for neutralising particulate matter on skin. Then we popped them into the hydrating anti-oxidant spray. And it’s literally your anti-pollution veil for the skin when you step outside. Of course its got hyaluronic acid, it’s got all your nice hydrators, it’s PH neutral (it’s only a PH of five where your skin wants to be), a nice cucumber fragrance, but most importantly it has five key antioxidants and amino acids that are designed to fight pollution shown in the particulate matter that’s in our atmosphere that destroys the skin.