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Anti-aging Skin Care--Essential Ingredients

By Rob and Carol S. Trow
Posted: April 21, 2008, from the October 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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       Glycolic vs. lactic acid. Lately, there’s a new sheriff in Hydroxyville. Many experts, including the authors, are taking a second look at the use of glycolic acid for exfoliating peels. More and more skin care experts are advocating the use of lactic acid instead. When administered properly, lactic acid peels are gentle, but highly effective. A comparison of glycolic and lactic acids will tell the story: Glycolic acid has smaller molecules than lactic acid. A good thing? Not really.
       Because of this small molecular size, glycolic acid penetrates more quickly than lactic acid, making it more difficult to control. Lactic acid lays on the skin’s surface for a longer period of time, allowing it to work more extensively on the epidermis, which allows the skin’s responses to be gentler. A slower response allows more effective neutralization, producing less damage. The skin is a natural protection against environmental damage and it is crucial to be extremely careful about how it is exfoliated—less is more.
       Lactic acid’s longer activity on the epidermis allows for enhanced softening of the surface skin and less damage to the dermis. It can be used on a wider range of Fitzpatrick Skin Types, with lower incidences of stinging and hyperpigmentation. The overall and anti-aging results of treatment series by lactic and glycolic acid are similar. For that reason, lactic acid should be considered for use during resurfacing treatments.

Peptides
       Peptides are one of the newest ingredient groups to hit the anti-aging skin care scene and are stimulating many studies that have shown significant results. They are highly respected for their ability to penetrate the skin and activate their target, increasing the production of collagen and elastin. Although long-chain proteins cannot penetrate the epidermis due to molecular size, peptides can. They are proteins that are synthesized to their most useable form in order to affect the dermal layer. Peptides are molecules that have been built up from smaller protein molecules—amino acids—by binding one amino acid to another, forming a short, penetrable chain. In this form, they are highly efficient in stimulating the healing process and triggering the rebuilding of the dermal matrix.
       They turn on the fibroblasts responsible for these activities, acting as keys to the biochemical pathways. This starts the chain reaction for building and repairing the dermis—the basic requirements for anti-aging success.

       Recommending peptides. Ideal skin is healthy and strong, and its dermal matrix quickly responds to treatment and healing. Peptides support these activities by stimulating the matrix materials, and following is the ideal recommendation for pre- and post-series and -surgical care.
       For ideal pre-care, the regimen should be started a minimum of four to six weeks before the treatment or start of the series. During a series, peptides support the goals of the treatments. After the series, treatment or surgical care, it is best to continue peptides indefinitely in order to support a healthy matrix. But peptides are not only for dermal support. More and more purposes are being defined, with many new ones being synthesized as you are reading this. The good thing is that most are supported by clinical studies, and their uses take esthetic-level care out of the realm of wishing and into actuality. The importance of peptides is right up there with vitamins A, C and E.
       A natural problem with peptides is that, although their results are obvious, they are accumulative in treatment and take time, which poses a problem for the client who wants instant gratification. It is important to fully educate this client, and to take before pictures, as well as follow-up pictures at the 90-day mark and later. She will, of course, be hearing comments from her friends, but it’s best that she see the changes and acknowledge them in your presence.

Growth factors
       Growth factors are proven to enhance epidermal growth and keratinization; they directly stimulate the proliferation of epidermal cells through a response by receptors on the cell membrane. This initiates activities that eventually progress to cell division and proliferation. The problem for women is that epidermal growth factors (EGF) are androgen-dependent, and the low level of androgen
in females results in a lack of EGF, potentially allowing skin to age more quickly. Concurrently, EGF acts as a
super-antioxidant, and also resolves inflammation, making it an important tool in the esthetician’s toolbox of product ingredients.

Results-oriented rejuvenation
       These ingredients are the must-haves in a results-oriented anti-aging product line, and are the tried and true basics to successful rejuvenation. Those who choose product lines must take care to not be swayed by the hottest, newest ingredients that hit the market and leave these behind. Watch them, look for studies and proof, then try them. You can look back at those that were popular last year or the year before, noting that they are off the hot list now. Instead, know that reliability is the key, scientific studies are of utmost importance, and formulation and packaging are the answers. The anti-aging attack is focused on a team of reliable and stable formulations of established and trusted ingredients in a well-designed treatment plan. Those mentioned are synergistic components in the battle, and their effectiveness has a long history of study and proof on which to rely.
       More and more estheticians are being confronted with clients requesting information on the newest ingredients and the products that contain them. That ingredient may be relatively unproven in its benefits or inappropriate for their skin, but once advertisers have implanted the seeds of desire, the consumer seeks it out. Estheticians not only must know the contents of the products they sell, but also must at least learn a bit about other options, and be able to share why they have chosen not to jump on an ingredient bandwagon, just as they must support the benefits of those products they recommend.
     Success in rejuvenation is the result of well-chosen professional and home care products that work through needs-based plans with very important synergy. They march clients’ skin toward visible rebuilding and repair through the carefully orchestrated activities of anti-aging ingredients designed into highly results-oriented and well-formulated products.