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All About Aging Skin

Diana L. Howard, PhD, Annet King and Jane Wurwand February 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
woman looking at her skin in mirror

This article examines the topic of the future of aging from three points of view: branding and world marketing, ingredient formulation, and treatment and education. The opening of the third eye is also meaningful as a metaphor, meaning that one becomes awakened, which is the purpose of the ideas and insights shared in this article.

Branding and world marketing

Aging is one of the hottest topics on the skin care menu, and it’s not going away. According to IBIS WorldMarket Research, the anti-aging industry will generate $291.9 billion in sales worldwide by the year 2015, and $5 billion of that will be earned in the United States. The same researchers report that cosmeceutical products are on course for a 7.7% growth within the next year, while color cosmetics are expected to decline by 1.2% during the same period.

Even if your client is a no-nonsense, no-makeup, no-injectable filler lady who seems like she doesn’t care about the chronological record being kept on her skin—don’t believe it. She cares. And a huge part of your potential business now rests on presenting a targeted, age-smart skin care program as a viable aspect of personal actualization.

How do you do this? Start with adopting the philosophy that skin care is health care, not a binge of vanity. One increasingly common example is the incidence of adult acne, which may be triggered by perimenopause. Adult acne is on the rise and can morph from a cosmetic concern to a persistent health issue that actually requires the attention of a physician. The same is true of rosacea, which also becomes more common with age, according to the National Rosacea Society. Although less severe skin issues produce less severe results, it’s a fact that skin fitness improves quality of life, similar to every other form of fitness and health. Skin is one factor in the synergistic equation that allows people to be their maximum selves, long after the peachy-cheeked glow of youth is gone.

So, when marketing your message, throw out the old playbook. Forget terms such as luxury, pampering, treats, indulgence or well-deserved when reaching out to clients. There’s nothing frivolous about protecting your health, starting with the first line of defense—the skin.

Ingredient formulation

Ask any person what comes to mind when they think of aging skin and undoubtedly they will say “wrinkles.” This overwhelming consensus explains the multitude of products all promising to eliminate wrinkles and reverse the telltale signs of aging. But is it possible that a topically applied product can really eliminate wrinkles? Bottom line: Only a limited number of ingredients address the signs of aging, and, unfortunately, nothing short of cosmetic surgery can really eliminate a wrinkle. Studies on retinol (vitamin A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and various peptides such as palmitoyl pentapeptide, palmitoyl tripeptide and oligopeptides, all show positive effects in stimulating collagen to help smooth and retexture aging skin. But as far as eliminating wrinkles, that’s more wishful thinking than hard-core science.

A more realistic approach to the treatment of aging skin would be to optimize the skin’s health and condition by ensuring ample hydration of tissues while stimulating collagen formation in the dermis and eliminating the triggers that lead to aging skin. These include the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals, and advanced glycation end products (AGEs), as well as the stimulation of matrix metalloproteinase enzymes (MMPs) that break down collagen and elastin. When MMPs are activated, collagen production automatically shuts down. So if MMPs are turned off and a means of stimulating collagen formation is provided, one of the key triggers to aging skin can be countered. Likewise, providing antioxidants to the skin helps control ROS formation. Products with hyaluronic acid for hydration, specific collagen-stimulating actives, such as vitamins A and C, and specific peptides that stimulate collagen or control AGEs, such as ARG-LYS polypeptide, can all be recommended to help combat aging skin.

Treatment and education

Every client is a candidate for an intelligent healthy skin aging strategy because no one is getting any younger. The signs of age know no limits, and even clients with acne-prone, oily skin may have concerns about the lines around the eyes and feathering around the lips.

Therefore, both inside and outside of the treatment room, there is some serious work to do. Your professional role is to coach the client through the myriad of myths, product hype, confusing medical procedures and the “miracle lift” treatments that promise the impossible.

Although the fragile economy may mean that clients are booking fewer treatments, remember that they still need your skin analysis skills and no-nonsense advice about what products to use and how to use them. Be sure that you are current in terms of the latest education, and know your peptides from your panthenol and micro-amps from your masseter muscles. This might be a good time to take a class about aging skin.

The good news for clients who are not booking treatments is that, thanks to today’s advances in technology, they have access to a vast array of tools that generate visible results on the skin. Consider incorporating some of the following M’s into your age-fighting skin treatments.

  • Maximum-strength exfoliation with a blend of hydroxy acids, preferably in a lipid base that can be massaged onto the skin so that you can pay special attention to key problem areas and prep the skin for the penetration of other actives.

     

  • Microcurrent technology that helps energize and boost cell renewal, and re-educates important muscles, such as the corrugator and orbicularis oculi, coupled with the specific penetration of active ingredients.

     

  • Massage, including specialized energizing and tension-relieving techniques that boost circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells, and releasing tension in the muscles and connective tissues.

     

  • Masks, such as speciality-setting masks that have a vacuum effect on the skin to firm and aid in the penetration of serums and actives.

     

  • Mini treatments, or time-condensed, budget-friendly services that replace big ticket items with targeted, 20-minute treatments that cost approximately $20 and get right down to business. A specialized service of this kind may help tackle an age-related issue, such as renewing the eye area or providing a quick exfoliation. This bite-sized business booster may not only be what your business needs to see you through the current economic downturn, but also may be just what your clients are seeking, both in terms of age-related care and budget-saving options.

 

The best fit

By addressing treatment options, ingredient know-how and marketing strategy, you can help clients better understand what to expect from the various treatments out there and guide them to the option that is the best fit for them.

 

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