It seems to me that the word anti-ageing sounds a little scary, especially for younger women and men who are introduced to the skincare world. Because every other product claims it’s anti-ageing and from this they conclude that it is not suitable for them because they are too young to use serums, anti-ageing creams or eye creams. In this post, I’m going to explain how to get started with anti-ageing skincare routine, when it’s time to get started and how to get it right.

When do we start ageing?

One scary fact is that our body ages since we are born. In our body, both regenerative (building) and degenerative (degradation) processes take place. At one point, simply degenerative processes outweigh the regenerative ones. Ageing is a genetically conditioned process. There are two types of ageing: chronological ageing and photoageing. Chronological ageing is a process that cannot be stopped and is conditioned by internal factors. Photoaging, however, is a process that is conditioned by external factors and can accelerate the process of chronological ageing. At this point, I have to add that after the age of 20, the amount of collagen in the skin begins to decline and drops by 1.5% every year.

If I start anti-ageing skincare in my twenties, does that mean that no product will work when I’m in my fifties?

This myth is rooted in our minds, which is why we believe that we can only begin with anti-ageing skincare at the age of 50. Skin is not an organ that gets used to products and then they miraculously stops working.

What no one tells you is that it is better to work on prevention than on curation. Existing injuries and resulting wrinkles are much harder to repair than you think. Working on prevention, however, can prevent the formation of deep wrinkles and reduce the chance of skin damage. Of course, chronological ageing cannot be avoided, but photoageing is one that can be prevented.

Which are these external factors that accelerate ageing? The main culprit is certainly unprotected sun exposure, including smoking, the use of aggressive cosmetics (containing a lot of fragrances, alcohols) and more.

The greatest benefit is to make sure that you are properly nourishing your skin in your twenties.

Does anti-ageing care have to be one big complication that takes us 1 hour a day?

The golden rule of anti-ageing skincare, as I mentioned above, is prevention. It is essential that we use products that prevent skin damage and adequately protect us from outside factors. I am aware that many people think that anti-ageing skincare is too complicated. But it’s not really any big deal, you can only complicate matters by yourself. Anti-ageing does not mean that you have to add 20 products and active ingredients to your skincare. You can choose three quality products that will represent your prevention against photoageing and that is absolutely enough.

Now that I’ve told you how simple anti-ageing skincare can be, what do you really need?

The most important step begins with proper skin cleansing. Cleansing should be your ritual and overture to all following skincare. Cleansing removes impurities from the surface of the skin. If the skin is not properly cleansed, impurities will accumulate in the pores and cause them to become clogged. If the skin is not properly cleansed, you can also apply the 100 € cream, but it will not have the desired effect. All cleansers must be rinsed well from the skin, including micellar water.

3 Most Important Products In Anti-Ageing skincare …

Now on to skincare. As the three most important products or ingredients in preventative anti-ageing skincare, I would point out humectants (moisturizing ingredients), antioxidants and UV filters for sun protection. Well, let’s just go in order.

How does moisturizing benefit in anti-ageing care?

Everyone urgently needs either a good moisturizing serum or a good moisturizer in their skincare routine. A dot, amen. In our epidermis, the percentage of moisture ranges from 12-13%. If the percentage of moisture in the skin decreases, the skin is more susceptible to the influence of external factors, wrinkles more intensively and more rapidly, and is also more sensitive to external factors, which can be manifested as redness, tightening and bruising. Make sure that your moisturizing serum or cream contains at least one of these moisturizers: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, amino acids, urea.

Antioxidants protect against skin damage

Another ingredient that is crucial in anti-ageing care are antioxidants. Antioxidants are ingredients that are able to capture and counteract the harmful effects of radicals that form in the skin after exposure to UV radiation. Radicals cleave the bonds between proteins, cause lipid peroxidation, and break the bonds on the DNA molecule. In the long run, this is reflected as damage of the extracellular matrix (damage to collagen and elastin), which is a support to our skin, causing the skin to sag.

Due to the influence of radicals, mutations in the molecules of melanin (the molecule that gives our skin pigment) can also occur, causing its overproduction and hyperpigmentation. By using antioxidants, the harmful effects of radicals in the skin are neutralized to prevent skin damage. Vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, superoxide dismutase are among the most effective antioxidants.

We are not doing anti-ageing skincare rotuine without this step

We are already at the last step. I told you it’s not as complicated as it may seem. But if you neglect this last step, it doesn’t make sense to take anti-ageing skincare at all, because there will be no results. To prevent photoageing, you should use a high SPF (SPF30 or SPF50) sunscreen daily. This does not mean that a foundation or BB cream with an SPF 15 protection factor will be sufficient because it is not applied in sufficient quantity to make it even relevant for skin protection.

Sunscreen is a product that absorbs or repels UV rays, preventing them from penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin. If UV radiation penetrates the deeper layers of the skin, radicals will form there, damaging our tissues. Sunscreen should not only be the product you buy just before you go out to sea but should be part of your daily morning care.

However, it is imperative that you use the right amount of sunscreen for adequate protection, half a teaspoon full of face.

Sources:

  1. Zhang, S., & Duan, E. (2018). Fighting against Skin Aging: The Way from Bench to Bedside. Cell transplantation27(5), 729–738. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963689717725755
  2. Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-endocrinology4(3), 308–319. https://doi.org/10.4161/derm.22804
  3. Puizina-Ivić N. (2008). Skin aging. Acta Dermatoven APA 17 (2), 47-54.
  4. Masaki, H. (2010). Role of antioxidants in the skin: Anti-aging effects. Journal of Dermatological Science, 58(2), 85–90. doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2010.03.003
  5. Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P, et al. Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin AgingA Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:781–790. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-158-11-201306040-00002
  6. Randhawa M., Wang S., Leyden J., Cula G., et al. (2016). Daily Use of a Facial Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Over One-Year Significantly Improves Clinical Evaluation of Photoaging. Dermatologic Surgery. 42(12):1354–1361. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000879

Sometimes we come to the point where we find that with a properly tailored skincare routine, we can no longer change anything, or the condition we are at is the best we can achieve with home skincare. That’s when we start thinking about cosmetic and dermatological treatments. One of the dermatological procedures that can be used for various indications is the laser.

Is the laser suitable for most skin indications?

The laser is practically versatile, as with changing wavelength we can achieve different effects. The laser can help eliminate unwanted hair, but it can also be used on the face, to reduce wrinkles, to treat acne, to lighten hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, to remove marks, to remove spider veins.

There are several types of lasers, and we need to know that we can use several different lasers for the same skin indication. We roughly separate ablative and non-ablative lasers. Non-ablative lasers can be divided into 3 main groups:

  • mid-infrared dermis-targeting lasers
  • visible lasers, such as a pulsed color laser (PDL) and a pulsed phosphate (KTP) laser, alone or in combination with an Nd: YAG laser
  • Intense Pulse Light (IPL)

For ablative lasers, we know the CO2 laser and the Er: YAG laser.

Ablative lasers

With ablative lasers, dermatologists are getting drastic numbers of the transformation of photodamaged skin, scars and wrinkles. With precise mechanisms of interest to scientists, we make sure that the CO2 lasers induce collagen shrinkage, which serves as the basis for the formation of new collagen tissues.

With an Er-YAG laser, energy is converted to heat, which ends up in the form of steam, reducing the thermal damage to the surrounding tissue without visible contraction of the dermal collagen fibers. Compared to a CO2 laser, the Er: YAG laser is more suitable for mild to moderate photodamage.

When discovered, the CO2 laser was crowned the gold standard for rejuvenation as it achieved excellent rejuvenation results. However, shortly after use, it was found that repeated use of the CO2 laser poses a risk of thermal damage to the surrounding tissue, which prolongs the recovery time.

Long-term swelling and erythema, skin dyspigmentation and increased risk of skin infections, eczema and scars were reported as side effects. On the other hand, repeated use of the Er: YAG laser has not shown such frequent side effects and is therefore a significantly safer method.

Non-ablative lasers

For patients who want a more moderate improvement without the possible side effects of ablative lasers, non-ablative lasers are often the ideal choice. Non-ablative lasers leave the epidermis intact, yet show rejuvenating effects on the skin. Non-ablative laser treatments can reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, and treat hyperpigmentation, depending on the technology used. Compared to ablative lasers, the treatment modality is gentler, but as a result they show very few side effects.

Non-ablative unfractionated lasers came on the market in the late 1990s, primarily for the purpose of skin renewal. This class of lasers causes mild effects on the skin and causes controlled damage to the tissue in the dermis, thereby promoting dermal transformation and collagen production. The results of non-ablative lasers are mild compared to ablative lasers, but patients seeking a gradual improvement in their skin often choose this laser class because of its minimal recovery and side-effect profile.

Laser Nd: YAG for acne treatment

Since I am attending laser treatments myself at the Medilase Dermatology Center, I would like to introduce you to the laser with which the treatments are performed and how this particular laser works in acne skin.

Laser Nd: YAG works to avoid damage to the epidermis, while targeting the dermal layers to promote the growth of new collagen tissues. The Nd: YAG laser is known to be safe and effective in treating acne because it shrinks the sebaceous glands, minimizing sebum production, preventing the formation of new acne lesions.

Fotona offers a laser acne treatment protocol that provides a comprehensive solution to the acne problem. Fotona’s closely controlled Nd: YAG laser light penetrates the skin safely to effectively target overactive sebaceous glands and reduce the risk of new inflammatory acne by destroying overactive glands. The Nd: YAG laser can create near-infrared light that penetrates deep into the skin and is easily absorbed by hemoglobin and melanin chromophores. By creating a variable long pulse, deep skin tissues can be significantly warmed.

In addition to its thermal penetration effects, Nd: YAG laser acne treatment also accelerates the healing process and promotes collagen remodelling, an important step in the long-term treatment of acne. By heating the subcutaneous skin (non-ablative), it promotes neocollagenesis, which improves the appearance of facial wrinkles.

Sources:

  1. Alexiades-Armenakas, M. R., Dover, J. S., & Arndt, K. A. (2008). The spectrum of laser skin resurfacing: Nonablative, fractional, and ablative laser resurfacing. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 58(5), 719–737.
  2. Lipozenčić, J., & Mokos, Z. B. (2013). Will nonablative rejuvenation replace ablative lasers? Facts and controversies. Clinics in Dermatology, 31(6), 718–724.
  3. Patil, U. A., & Dhami, L. D. (2008). Overview of lasers. Indian journal of plastic surgery : official publication of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India41(Suppl), S101–S113.

Undereye circles have been a common aesthetic problem that we face since we are teenagers. Most deal with problems such as dark colouring around the eyes, bags, wrinkles or swelling around the eyes. Often the undereye circles make us look more tired. Undereye circles can be of different origin and therefore all types cannot be treated in the same way.

The skin around the eyes is most susceptible to changes due to ageing

One of the first places where visible signs of ageing begin to appear is around the eyes. The delicate skin in this area is extremely thin and contains little subcutaneous adipose tissue. During ageing, skin cells divide more slowly and the inner layer, called the dermis, begins to thin. Elastic and collagen fibers are loosening. The skin loses elasticity, has less moisture retention capacity, sebaceous glands are less active, and skin lesions heal for a longer time. All of these causes cause wrinkles.

Undereye cirlces are a common aesthetic problem

Although eye circles are such a common aesthetic problem, there are still not many scientific explanations for their emergence and there is also no detailed classification to divide them by origin and by structural differences. We roughly distinguish the following types of undereye circles: dark staining and swelling.

Dark colors and puffiness around the eyes can have several causes. The following factors are responsible for the onset: allergies, photosensitivity, vascular fragility, poor circulation under the eyes, lymphatic congestion, or breakdown of fat pads.

In the next part of the post, we will take a closer look at the factors responsible for the formation of undereye circles and how to treat different types of undereye circles.

Dark circles under the eyes

Dark coloration under the eyes can be due to several causes, such as allergies, photodamage and poor circulation. We are not even favored by the fact that the skin around the eyes is very thin and even slightly transparent. We know that there is already a web of blood vessels under the skin, so transparent skin provides only a little camouflage for the visibility of the underlying soft tissue. This results in a darkened skin.

Dark coloration under the eyes as a result of a systemic cause

Dark coloration around the eyes can occur as a result of an internal cause, it can be allergies, atopy or flu. All these internal causes can cause the fluid to accumulate in the soft tissue area, contributing to a darkened appearance and swollen skin in the area around the eyes. If your dark circles are caused by a systemic cause, you need to look for an internal cause, as in this case, no eye care cosmetic product will help you reduce the color. In particular, treatment of the systemic cause with anti-allergy drugs and eye rinsing and nasal cleansing are needed.

Undereye circles as a result of poor circulation

Dark circles can also be caused by poor circulation around the eye area. Undereye circles that result in poor circulation are blue or purple in colour and are not accompanied by puffiness. Poor blood flow causes less oxygen in the blood that enters the eye area, causing a bluish appearance. The appearance of the dark circles caused by poor circulation can be alleviated by a gentle massage around the eyes that will stimulate circulation. Careful eye care products with caffeine added are also effective for this type of eye area. Caffeine exhibits antioxidant properties and promotes blood circulation.

Dark circles as a result of photodamage

Typically, individuals with darker skin tendencies, or IV-VI phototypes, tend to be predisposed to the dark circles because of photodamage. Individuals with lighter complexion can also get photodamage around their eyes. Namely, the breakdown products of hemoglobin contribute to visible changes in pigmentation in the skin. Dark circles due to photodamage are one of the easier to treat because you can greatly benefit from cosmetics that contain active lightening ingredients. Photodamage can be eliminated by the use of lightening agents such as retinoids, vitamin C, hydroquinone and regular use of sunscreen, which will prevent any new photodamage.

Undereye circles as a result of the fragility of the vascular wall

We have already mentioned that the skin around the eyes is extremely thin, so any changes can be seen very quickly. Another cause of dark colouration is the fragility of the vascular wall. If the blood vessels around the eyes become brittle, they can be easily damaged. The injury results in the leakage of hemoglobin into the surrounding skin. When hemoglobin degrades, pigmented degradation products form and accumulate in the dermis and epidermis. This can cause a dark discoloration around the eyes. Also, this type of dark circles can be relieved quite easily by the use of cosmetics. However, we must be careful that they contain ingredients that strengthen the vascular wall. The ingredients that strengthen the vascular wall are: diosmin, hesperedin, wild chestnut extract, common ivy extract, ginkgo biloba.

Swelling around the eyes

The swellings are usually not the cause of the formation of the dark circles themselves and only accompany the dark colouring. The swelling is mainly due to lymphatic retention or an allergic cause of fluid retention in the surrounding area of ​​the eye.

The tissues of the lower eyelids show an increased tendency to accumulate fluid due to local processes such as atopy. Edema on the eyelids as a manifestation of fluid accumulation often worsens after a salty meal or in the morning. This liquid often gets a purple colour. For the treatment of swelling resulting from lymphatic congestion, cosmetic products containing swelling-reducing and anti-fluid components in the intracellular space can be partially assisted. Lymphatic retention can be reduced by regular lymphatic drainage and by finding the cause of lymphatic congestion (usually allergy, atopy).

Fat pads or bags

Although the swelling around the eyes itself can act look like a bag, the main culprit for the formation of bags under the eye are fat pads.

Bags occur due to many complex mechanisms, the most common anatomical reason being the breakdown of fat. As the tissues age around the eye, they gradually weaken and decay. Loss of elasticity of the skin allows the fat to fall into the area of ​​the lower eyelid, which makes it look puffy and swollen. However, fat pads may not necessarily be age related. Namely, our eyes are cushioned with fat and in some people these fat pads are naturally more seen, from a young age. Fat pads become visible when collagen and elastin begin to break down. Thus, there is no longer any elastic tissue that holds the fat in place, so it starts to sag and crack.

Undereye bags resulting from the breakdown of fat pads cannot be treated with cosmetics. This type of dark skin requires surgery or hyaluronic fillers.

Sources:

  1. Huang, Y.-L., Chang, S.-L., Ma, L., Lee, M.-C., & Hu, S. (2013). Clinical analysis and classification of dark eye circle. International Journal of Dermatology, 53(2), 164–170.
  2. Vrcek, I., Ozgur, O., & Nakra, T. (2016). Infraorbital Dark Circles: A Review of the Pathogenesis, Evaluation and Treatment. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery9(2), 65–72.
  3. Ahmadraji, F., & Shatalebi, M. A. (2015). Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base. Advanced biomedical research4, 10.
  4. Freitag, F. M., & Cestari, T. F. (2007). What causes dark circles under the eyes? Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 6(3), 211–215.
  5. Sarkar, R., Ranjan, R., Garg, S., Garg, V. K., Sonthalia, S., & Bansal, S. (2016). Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Comprehensive Review. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology9(1), 49–55.
  6. Friedmann, D. P., & Goldman, M. P. (2015). Dark Circles. Clinics in Plastic Surgery, 42(1), 33–50.
  7. Goel, A., & Sethi, P. (2019). Concealing of under eye orbital fat pads with hyaluronic acid filler: A case report. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

With the entry into December, we can almost officially confirm the arrival of winter. Outside temperatures have dropped, cold winds are blowing all the time, and at home, we have radiators open to maximum. All these external factors can affect the condition, appearance and behaviour of our skin. The skin is much drier especially in the winter months, looks paler, can peel off and shows signs of hypersensitivity such as tightening, itching, redness. Many people wander in thedark because they do not know how to properly nourish the skin. Nourishing your skin in winter months may seem complicated, but it’s not.

The biggest enemy of our skin is central heating

Yes, it’s a hell, because we can’t just stop heating, but we have to solve the problem in a different way. Heating the rooms causes dehumidification of the air. In rooms where we heat, the air is quite dry. This causes water to evaporate from our skin into the surrounding area. Let’s refresh some high school knowledge of chemistry and biology and remember diffusion. Diffusion works by passing molecules from a higher concentration region to a lower concentration region. Water from our skin works similarly. When the humidity is high enough in the surroundings, the water flows into the skin. However, when the relative humidity of the environment is lower than that of the skin, we begin to lose water from the skin. The result is dehydrated skin that looks pale but may also show signs of hypersensitivity.

How to prevent skin dehydration?

First of all, care must be taken to bring some moisture into the environment in which we live. The easiest way to do this is to buy a diffuser or place water tanks on the radiators. It is very necessary to ensure a high enough fluid intake. If we don’t drink enough liquids, the skin cannot get new supplies of water out of nowhere. If we have ticked off enough fluid intake and moisturizing the rooms, we can go to proper facial care. Many people make a big mistake in the winter, applying only large amounts of oil to their face or body, while their skin remains dehydrated.

How should I properly nourish my skin during the winter months?

In the winter, we have to pay special attention to the ingredients in our cosmetics, as some of them can have a drying effect, which of course we do not want.

Also in winter the skin needs to be properly cleansed, and it is desirable to use very gentle cleansers. I highly recommend using cleansing gels as the foams can dry out the skin due to the addition of foaming agents. Cleansing gels should contain gentle surfactants. It is desirable to avoid all cleansing products containing soaps and alcohols. Soaps are formed by alkalizing the bases, usually using KOH, which has a very high pH. Prolonged use of soaps in face cleansing can lead to a rise in pH on the skin, resulting in impaired barrier function and increased loss of water from the skin. Alcohols should be avoided as they completely degrease the skin, making it even drier.

Perhaps a toner is not the best choice in winter skincare

The purpose of toners is to act astringently. Adstríngent (also adstríngens) or contractile is a substance that reduces the permeability of the mucosal or skin surface and capillaries. In simpler terms, it causes the pores to close after cleansing and restore the pH on the surface of the skin. In winter, however, the function of the sebaceous glands weakens. The sebaceous glands contract and consequently the pores shrink. For this reason, a small amount of sebum is excreted on the skin surface. Reduced amounts of sebum may be associated with the appearance of dry skin and impaired skin barrier function, because it is precisely the lipids in sebum that allow the skin not to lose excessive amounts of water. The use of toners in the winter can further reduce pores and thus reduce the excretion of sebum on the skin surface.

Moisture, moisture, moisture

Space heating causes water to be lost from the skin. The lost water must be replaced somehow and you will not do it by drowning in oil. You can only immerse yourself in the oil after applying a moisturizer. The skin is most easily moisturized using water-based serums. Moisturizing serums should contain good moisturizers such as urea, amino acids, glycerol or hyaluronic acid. Of all the moisturizers in the winter, I recommend glycerol the most, for one reason. Most humidifiers, at low relative humidity, bind moisture from the skin and release it to the environment instead of binding moisture to themselves and giving it to the skin. Glycerol is a golden exception that, even at very low relative humidity, binds moisture from the environment and gives it to the skin.

Winter time means actives time

It is only after moisturizing the skin that the following nourishing products are applied, but it is necessary to apply the products as soon as possible to lock the moisture into the skin. Namely, as water evaporates from our skin, so do the moisturizers applied to the surface of our water. If they evaporate, it means that they have virtually no effect.

Even in the winter months, it is necessary to protect the skin with antioxidant active ingredients, as cold and wind can also cause the formation of radicals in the skin. The activity of the radicals is neutralized by the use of vitamins C, E, blueberry/acai berry extracts. Due to the lower UV index, stronger active ingredients such as retinoids or hydroxy acids can be used during the winter months. Apply these ingredients after moisturizing the skin, then continue applying the cream.

Only after moisturizing apply the oils

Most people tend to reach for heavier creams in the winter because they feel like each product is ” not enough ”. This feeling is often attributed only to lack of moisture, so before reaching for heavier cream than usual, first check if you moisturize the skin properly. During the winter months, I am especially careful that my cream contains ingredients that are needed to restore the barrier, as less sebum is excreted on the surface of the skin, which implies a lower barrier protection. Skin lipids can also be damaged due to low temperatures.

The ingredients I want in my cream include ceramides, phospholipids, cholesterol, squalane. If your current cream is ”not enough” for your winter care, you can elegantly handle this by adding oil. Usually, a drop or two of oil in the cream meets our skin’s lipid needs. Especially for winter care, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, borage oil and evening primerose oil are suitable because they have the correct fatty acid ratios and thus provide the skin with support and protection.

This time in Slovenian Cosmetics category, we will get acquainted with the dietary supplement Gaia Naturelle Collagen Shot. It is a dietary supplement containing collagen, MSM, hyaluronic acid, vitamins and zinc. Why is it even desirable to consume collagen supplements and what makes Collagen Shot so special?

First of all, something about ageing and why the body needs collagen!

Ok, you don’t always have to adress the fact that we’re getting older. Because I think we can slow the ageing process with the right lifestyle, I will again emphasize what types of aging we know. You read that right, there are several types of aging. Ageing that no one escapes is chronological ageing. It is a natural process that takes place quite slowly. Changes become more apparent  after the age of 50 but slowly develop earlier.

There is, however, another type of ageing called photoageing. Photoageing is caused by environmental factors such as UV light (unprotected sun exposure), smoking, wind, nutrition (sugar). When exposed to these external factors, an increased amount of free oxygen radicals are formed in the body, causing cell damage.

The presence of radicals in the body is unfavorable, since the radical molecule can multiply indefinitely. In doing so, it can cleave the ligaments and, as a result, may also break down collagen tissue. Even when inflammation is present in the skin, radicals, that promote the breakdown of collagen, are generated.

Why is the dietary supplement Gaia Naturelle Collagen shot so special?

Collagen Shot is not only a dietary supplement containing collagen, but it also contains other ingredients that support collagen function and have positive effects on the body.

Type I hydrolyzed fish collagen

Collagen is the most represented protein in our body, accounting for 25% of all proteins in the body. Collagen is found in the tendons of the muscles, bones, teeth, cartilage and skin, as well as in the walls of all body organs. We can distinguish between 16 types of collagen, but 80-90% of the collagen in the body is represented by types I, II and III. Type I collagen is the most represented in the body.

What does it mean that collagen is hydrolyzed?

Collagen is a huge molecule that, due to its size, is more difficult to break down into basic particles and, consequently, more difficult to absorb. The hydrolysis process breaks down the collagen into smaller basic building blocks called peptides. Peptides are more easily degraded in the gastrointestinal tract to their basic building blocks – amino acids and consequently easier to absorb.

In Gaia Naturelle Collagen shot we find hydrolyzed fish collagen type I. We explained why it is desirable that the dietary supplement contains type I collagen and we explained why it is desirable that collagen be hydrolyzed.

What about the fact that collagen is of marine origin?

Marine collagen is similar to human collagen in amino acid composition. Marine collagen, however, does not contain the amino acid cysteine ​​and contains less hydroxyproline. However, it is comparable to mammalian collagen based on the content of other important amino acids. Marine collagen is capable of forming a helical structure and is also very stable.

MSM

MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is a molecule containing more than 30% of sulfur in organic form. Organic sulfur plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen and hyaluronic acid. Much of collagen is represented by sulfur-rich amino acids such as methionine and cysteine. Organic sulfur is used to build new collagen fibres. MSM also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Hyaluronic acid

As we age, our cells lose the ability to build hyaluronic acid. Smaller amount of hyaluronic acid in the skin, is reflected in skin ageing, skin dryness and the appearance of wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid is capable of binding vast amounts of water since it is capable of binding thousands of times more water than its own mass.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a necessary element that the body needs to create new collagen tissues. The body needs vitamin C to synthesize hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, which are two major amino acids in collagen.

Collagen Shot also contains Vitamin B6, Biotin, Zinc and Vitamin E.

What are the effects of collagen on the body?

Many people think that the Gaia Naturelle Collagen Shot dietary supplement only affects skin ageing. The effect of collagen on skin elasticity is only one of the positive effects. Taking dietary supplements containing collagen not only has an effect on skin elasticity but also increases skin moisture. Collagen stimulates cellular regeneration and helps build new tissue, which in particular has a beneficial effect on acne prone skin. It also reduces inflammation in the skin and prevents oxidative stress.

Collagen Shot does not only affect the skin but also the condition of the nails. The use of collagen for months has shown in many studies a significant improvement in nails, an increase in nail growth and a significant reduction in the incidence of broken nails. Like nails, it also affects hair growth and density.

Collagen also has a positive effect on joint health. There has been a wealth of clinical studies on the impact of collagen on the joints, most of which have examined osteoarthritis patients. Oral administration of 7-10 g of collagen hydrolyzate daily (3 months) has been shown to result in improved joint function, e.g. reducing pain and improving leg strength.

What effects did I notice after taking Gaia Naturelle Collagen Shot?

From the age of 20, the amount of collagen in the skin decreases by 1% every year! If you eat improperly, you are exposed to the sun unprotected, the amount of collagen in your skin can drop by more than 1% each year. I myself thought optimistically that at 21, you definitely have at least 95% collagen in your skin. At one of the college exercises, we measured the skin’s elasticity with a device called the Cutometer. The group of same aged girls obtained the following results of elasticity: 86%, 72%, 76%. Have you noticed that one measurement stands out as it is much closer to 100%? Well, that was me. I believe that something depends on genetics, but at the end of the measurements I realized that I was the only one consuming a dietary supplement with collagen – Gaia Naturelle Collagen shot.

But aren’t we getting enough collagen from our food?

The absorption of hydrolyzed collagen from the dietary supplement is approximately 90%, while the absorption of collagen from food is less than 30%. They also found that hydrolyzed collagen from dietary supplements stimulates fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen) to produce more collagen.

The publication was created in collaboration with Gaia Naturelle.

Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic-pharmaceutical hybrids commonly used to improve hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is generally difficult to treat because the older the hyperpigmentation, the harder it is to remove it. For lightening hyperpigmentation, it is necessary to use skin lightening agents. The active lightening ingredients selectively act on the hyperactive cells that produce melanin (melanocytes) and inhibit key steps in melanin synthesis.

The active lightening ingredients act on different stages of melanin synthesis. The lightening ingredients can affect melanin before melanin synthesis, during melanin synthesis and after the synthesis itself.

Ways how active lightening ingredients can work in treating hyperpigmentation. Source: Briganti, S., Camera, E., & Picardo, M. (2003). Chemical and Instrumental Approaches to Treat Hyperpigmentation. Pigment Cell Research, 16(2), 101–110.

Lightening ingredients that directly affect melanin synthesis

Some lightening ingredients act directly on melanin synthesis by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme. This enzyme represents a major step in melanin synthesis. By inhibiting this enzyme, it prevents melanin from being synthesized, which is advantageous especially in hyperpigmentations where melanin content is already so high.

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is considered the gold standard for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. It works by inhibiting melanin synthesis by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme. In melanin-producing cells, it inhibits DNA synthesis and causes changes in the production of these cells. It causes selective damage, meaning that it only works in hyperactive sites (hyperpigmentation).

Hydroquinone preparations are effective at concentrations between 2-4%. Clinical studies report excellent effects caused by 2% hydroquinone. Higher concentrations are more effective, but they can cause irritation. It can be safely combined with retinoids and steroids.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a ban on bleaching agents containing hydroquinone. The ban came as studies have shown that oral ingestion caused DNA damage. This carcinogenic effect has raised concerns about its use. However, it should be borne in mind that these studies were based on oral doses and there were no clinical studies or cases of skin cancer or internal malignancy associated with topical use.

Kojic acid

Kojic acid is a natural product that comes from some types of fungi. Itreduces hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase production and is also a powerful antioxidant. Kojic acid is used in concentrations of  1-4%.

It is rarely used as a standalone whitening ingredient. In the studies, kojic acid was combined with glycolic acid or with vitamin C. In both cases, it showed good whitening effects on melasma, but the product needed to be applied longer than hydroquinone to reach effects. It can cause side effects such as erythema, hypersensitivity and contact dermatitis.

Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase. It is one of the most selective active lightening ingredients, which means that it works exclusively on hyperpigmentation, but not on parts of the skin where there is no hyperpigmentation. It is effective in treating melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and lentigas. Topically applied azelaic acid is effective in concentrations between 15-20%. It is one of the active lightening agents that shows the least side effects, with the exception of mild transient erythema.

Arbutin

Arbutin is one of the most commonly prescribed means of lightening and eliminating pigmentation in the world. Arbutin, a derivative of hydroquinone, is a natural plant compound found in the dried leaves of various plant species. Arbutin inhibits tyrosinase activity and inhibits the maturation of melanosomes.

There are practically no clinical studies demonstrating the effectiveness of arbutin in eliminating hyperpigmentation. Several studies have shown that arbutin is less effective than kojic acid in eliminating hyperpigmentation.

Deoxyarbutin

Deoxyarbutin is a synthesized arbutin derivative used topically. Studies have shown that topically   applied deoxyarbutin shows effect on skin lightening, while being safer to use than hydroquinone.

Other ingredients that affect melanin during its synthesis: alloesin, ellagic acid, resveratrol, licorice extract, mulberry extract.

Lightening ingredients that have antioxidant properties

In our post about hyperpigmentation, we mentioned that UV radiation can make hyperpigmentation even worse. Namely, unprotected exposure to UV radiation causes a greater synthesis of melanin in the skin. As a result, more melanin is also synthesized in hyperpigmented sites, which make them look even darker.

Antioxidants work by preventing reactive oxygen compounds from contacting melanin and oxidizing it to a darker form.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is probably the most famous ingredient on the Cosmedoc.si blog. Ascorbic acid interferes with the various steps of melanin formation. Most importantly, it destroys free radicals to prevent their multiplication, while interacting with copper ions in the tyrosinase enzyme and reducing the intermediate stages of melanin synthesis. Ascorbic acid is already known to be very unstable and it penetrates the skin very poorly, so it is important to choose more stable vitamin C derivatives.

α-lipoic acid

Thioctic acid (a-lipoic acid) also has effects on the brightening of pigment spots. The most important effect of lipoic acid is that it acts photoprotective. This means that it prevents photo-damage (hyperpigmentation).

Lightening ingredients that reduce melanosome transmission

This group of brightening ingredients works to reduce the transmission of melanosomes. Melanosomes are organelles in which melanin travels to the active site. So the smaller the melanosome transmission, the less pigmentation will be. This group includes ingredients such as niacinamide, lecithin, soybean extract.

Compounds that indirectly affect the skin’s lightening by accelerating its regeneration

This group includes cosmetically active ingredients that do not directly affect any of the stages of melanin synthesis. These include ingredients that stimulate cell renewal and thus trigger the removal of skin cells that contain a lot of melanin. Cosmetically active ingredients that can diffuse melanin pigment or accelerate skin exfoliation that can cause skin lightening are the alpha and beta-hydroxy acids, retinoic acid (tretinoin), free fatty acids and retinoic acid.

The visible effects of lightening hyperpigmentation take time

Most of these active lightening agents take time to effect. Lightening pigment spots requires time and constant use of lightening agents. It is imperative that you constantly protect yourself from UV light, as you will be protected from the formation of new pigment spots.

Sources:

  • Sarkar, R., Arora, P., & Garg, Kv. (2013). Cosmeceuticals for hyperpigmentation: What is available? Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 6(1), 4.
  • Briganti, S., Camera, E., & Picardo, M. (2003). Chemical and Instrumental Approaches to Treat Hyperpigmentation. Pigment Cell Research, 16(2), 101–110.
  • Smit, N., Vicanova, J., & Pavel, S. (2009). The Hunt for Natural Skin Whitening Agents. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 10(12), 5326–5349.
  • Smit, N., Vicanova, J., & Pavel, S. (2009). The hunt for natural skin whitening agents. International journal of molecular sciences10(12), 5326–5349.
  • Desai S. R. (2014). Hyperpigmentation therapy: a review. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology7(8), 13–17.

Today, most people struggle with the appearance of hyperpigmentation on their face. Hyperpigmentation can occur either in the form of freckles, sun-induced freckles or in more severe forms such as melasma or lentiges. For the most part, hyperpigmentation is not a health risk, but it is an aesthetic problem. Why does our skin even have the color that it has? How does hyperpigmentation occur and what types of hyperpigmentation do we know?

Skin color depends on several factors

Pigmentation or skin colour is one of the most variable and most noticeable changes in humans. What colour our skin will look like depends on genetics, but it also depends a lot on where we live. General skin pigmentation patterns show a strong correlation with the location of stay and the intensity of ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

What determines the colour of our skin?

The skin colour is determined by several molecules, namely melanin, hemoglobin and carotenoids. But let’s just focus on melanin as it will almost be the main star of this post. Now things will get a little complicated, but only for a short time. All this complication will help you understand how certain active skin lightening ingredients work in the next post. Let’s start. Melanin in the epidermis is produced by highly specialized cells called melanocytes. Within melanocytes, melanin is synthesized in specific organelles called melanosomes.

The main enzyme involved in melanin synthesis is called tyrosinase. This enzyme is responsible for converting an amino acid called tyrosine to a molecule called DOPA. DOPA is later converted to DOPAquinone and this is how melanin matures. So now we have melanin, melanocytes and melanosomes, what can be even more complicated?

Did you know that there is not only one type of melanin in our skin?

Melanocytes produce two different types of melanin: brown-black eumelanin and yellow-red pheomelanin. The amount of both depends on the color of our skin. The brown-black eumelanin works photoprotective, preventing the penetration of UV rays into the deeper layers of the skin.

Now let’s take a look at what hyperpigmentation is

Hyperpigmentation occurs when more melanin is produced at one area in the skin than usual. This may make the resulting stains darker than the surrounding areas. Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that can affect people of all ages and skin types. Some forms of hyperpigmentation (sunspots, melasma) are more likely to affect areas of the skin exposed to the sun, including the face, arms and legs.

Hyperpigmentation can occur for one of the following reasons, depending on what type of hyperpigmentation occurs:

  1. More melanin is produced (freckles, melasma, melanosis)
  2. The number of cells that produce melanin is increased (lentigo, melanomas)

The most common hyperpigmentations

There are therefore several types of hyperpigmentation, the most common being melasma, sunspots and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

  • Melasma – although it can affect both men and women, melasma most commonly occurs in women and is said to be triggered by changes in hormone levels. Melasma occurs in 10–15 percent of pregnant women and 10–25 percent of women who take oral contraceptives. Areas of melasma can occur on any part of the body, but most commonly occur on the abdomen and face.
  • Sunspots – are associated with overexposure to the sun and appear as spots in the areas most commonly exposed to the sun (face, hands). They usually look like small, darkened islets on the skin that are light brown to black.
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – occurs as a result of injury or inflammation of the skin (acne, exfoliation)

Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can be exacerbated by additional sun exposure

Freckles, age spots and other types of hyperpigmentation can become darker when the skin is exposed to the sun. This is because melanin absorbs the energy of ultraviolet rays to protect the skin from overexposure. The usual result of this procedure is the browning of the skin. The skin is already browned in areas that are hyperpigmented, thus exacerbating the appearance of hyperpigmentation. For this reason, it is essential that you apply sunscreen daily. Wearing Sunscreen should be “broad spectrum” (i.e. blocking both UVA and UVB). A single day of excess sun can invalidate months of treatment.

This post may have been more complicated than the rest, but I promise that I have explained things so expertly for one reason only, that in the sequel to this post it will be easier for you to understand how active skin lightening ingredients work. Namely, the skin lightening ingredients block various steps in melanin synthesis.

Sources:

  • Nieuweboer-Krobotova, L. (2012). Hyperpigmentation: types, diagnostics and targeted treatment options. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 27, 2–4.
  • Vashi, N. A., & Kundu, R. V. (2013). Facial hyperpigmentation: causes and treatment. British Journal of Dermatology, 169, 41–56.
  • Bastonini, E., Kovacs, D., & Picardo, M. (2016). Skin Pigmentation and Pigmentary Disorders: Focus on Epidermal/Dermal Cross-Talk. Annals of dermatology28(3), 279–289.
  • A. Walters, M. S. Roberts,. Dermatologic, Cosmeceutic, and Cosmetic Development: Therapeutic and Novel Approaches.
  • Del Bino, S., Duval, C., & Bernerd, F. (2018). Clinical and Biological Characterization of Skin Pigmentation Diversity and Its Consequences on UV Impact. International journal of molecular sciences19(9), 2668.
  • Yamaguchi, Y., Brenner, M., & Hearing, V. J. (2007). The Regulation of Skin Pigmentation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 282(38), 27557–27561.

When I returned from a trip to Portugal, my skin was in catastrophic condition. I had problems with an outbreak of acne that, after proper care at home, partially subsided. Still, I had a lot of small closed comedones all over my cheeks and sides of my chin, and the texture of the skin was not exactly at its peak. For this reason, I decided to go for a deep-skincare treatment in a salon, which I have visited many times and always left satisfied. However, this time I left the salon with a burn on my cheek.

How did the skincare look?

This time, a new beautician took over my skincare. Already when cleansing makeup of my skin, she was rough. We proceeded with 10% BHA acid exfoliation, which was left on the face for about 10 min in order to open the pores. At the same time, beta hydroxy acids penetrate deeper into the skin and inside the pimples and open them. As always next step was the opening of pores with hot steam. In this way, the skin is softened, the pores are opened to make the pressing process easier.

We continued with squeezing pimples. I had the most problems in the area of ​​cheeks and chin. I’ve already had severe acne outbreaks in the same area of ​​my face, but the process has never hurt me as much as it did now. If you find the pain unrealistic or intolerable, something is wrong and you should tell your beautician to stop. It is also important not to visit a cosmetologist when you have acne, as acne should not be squeezed! Only closed comedones and blackheads can be squeezed, but not acne! If the beautician goes into acne compression, it is a sign that she is not aware of this fact and can cause serious problems.

A burn on the face due to improper use of a device that is supposed to actually benefit the skin?

The last step in the care process was high frequency therapy. High frequency therapy is used mainly because it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory effect to narrow the pores and speed up the healing process of the skin. Gauze is applied to the face and the device should not have direct skin contact. According to beauticians, the device should be kept moving at all times. You should not feel the treatment with this device, so if you are hurting or scaffolding, ask to stop the procedure. The problem with the procedure that the beautician performed on me was that the device was in contact with the gauze and, consequently, with the skin, and the fact that it was in one place for too long, causing the burn.

Did I know immediately that my beautician had damaged my skin?

When I left the salon, my skin looked normal, just like after every deep care. Minimal redness was present on the face. At the time, I thought that maybe I was just sensitive. Well, that’s what I thought until I got home after an hour and saw my skin in the mirror. Erythema was present on both left and right cheek, and they were very painful. They were so very painful that for two days I couldn’t sleep on either side of my face. After a few days, everything turned into a big burn in the middle of the cheek.

Fortunately, thanks to my education, I quickly found myself knowing how to remedy the problem, so that a few days after home care, the final version of the injury – a burn – appeared to me. The damaged area was very sensitive and did not tolerate the application of any products.

Visible eczema 3 hours after skin care in the salon on the left cheek

Significantly less visible eczema 3 hours after care on the right face

How did I repair my skin injury?

Of course, it is not necessary that damage to your skin can only be done by visiting the salon. Even home-based ‘butchering’ of pimples can quickly lead to eczema. Also, excessive use of acidic or regular scrubs can lead to burns or eczema. So that the chances of skin damage also exist at home. Firstly, it is important to eliminate inflammation and erythema / eczema, and then work on how to deal with the scar that results from this type of injury.

The scab was formed 4 days after home remediation began.

I cleansed the wound properly

The most important thing is proper skin cleansing to remove impurities from the wound. I cleaned my skin every night with a gentle water-based cleanser and rinsed it with lukewarm water as the skin did not tolerate hot water. When washing your face, only gently tap the affected areas with a towel, never drag the towel over your skin.

Disinfection of an open wound is a must!

If the wound is open, you must take extra care to properly disinfect the wound and to heal it up to the stage, when the scab is produced. Of course, we should be aware that disinfecting does not mean applying alcohol, because it can only make the skin more irritated.

I resorted to Betadine dermal solution for disinfection. It is an iodized povidone, which is also recommended after various skin surgeries. Betadine contains a complex of iodine and povidone. Povidone enables iodine transfer and water solubility. After contact with skin or mucous membranes, iodine is slowly released from the complex, which is an effective non-selective substance that destroys microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and primers) on the skin and mucous membranes or prevents their reproduction. I applied the Betadine in the morning and evening on a cotton pad and tapped the wound and allowed it to dry.

Skin healing

The next step in healing was soothing the inflammation. At the time the wound was opened and did not tolerate any cosmetic products. Anything I applied gave me an burning feeling on the wound. The only product that didn’t irritate skin was Paula’s Choice Calm Repairing Serum, which contains a combination of ceramides, amino acids and herbal extracts to soothe inflammation in the skin.

The last stage in skincare was the application of Bepanthen ointment. Bepanthen ointment promotes healing of wounds. It contains the active substance dexpanthenol (a precursor to vitamin B5) in the ointment base. After application, dexpanthenol transitions rapidly into the skin. In skin cells, it is converted to pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), which significantly affects the formation and renewal of skin epithelium, accelerates wound healing and suppresses inflammation. Bepanthen ointment is extremely oily and therefore prevents contact of the treated surface with water after application.

Due to the grease of Bepanthen Ointment, I used Skinfairytale AtopicCream or Protectbalm in the morning because it is a lighter formulation which, due to its ingredients, effectively prevents inflammation and protects the wound from external influences.

After a week of proper home care, only a small scar remained.

What to do or not to do with open wounds / burns?

Do not apply any powders or concealers to the skin at the time of such damage, as this will further introduce bacteria and irritate the skin. The wound needs to dry, so it is advisable not to stick patches or bandages over it.

Things to do or not to do with open wounds / burns:

  • Do not touch the wound with your fingers or if you touch it, make sure you have cleaned your hands beforehand
  • When the scab begins to peel, do not forcefully remove it, let it go off on its own
  • Do not apply any actives, especially acids, to accelerate the peeling process, as this only increases inflammation in the skin
  • Apply only the most essential products – that is, a disinfectant and a protection product
  • Do not expose the wound to the sun – I wanted to take advantage of the nice days and go for walks, but the skin on that part of the sun cream did not tolerate, so I applied a patch before the walk

Scar repair is a lengthy process and depends on the depth of skin damage

Once the wound has healed and the scab has peeled off, it is time to repair the scar. Whether it will remain very nasty or a very small scar depends on several factors. The first factor is how deep the injury was, so whether it is only a superficial injury or the injury already extends to the dermis. Another factor is how quickly your skin recovers, which of course depends on the ability of your skin barrier to repair the damage and on the collagen involved in repairing the skin damage. You will most effectively remove the scar with proper home care.

I myself began to repair the scar in a similar way I treated the burn. I still go for proper cleansing, I use anti-inflammatory ingredients, and I also added ingredients that enhance the skin’s barrier function and lighten scars and hyperpigmentation. After improving the condition of the burn, I added a niacinamide serum that enhances barrier function and has a luminous effect and Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator, which has a luminous effect and reduces the oxidative stress in the skin caused by the injury.

Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator is an extremely concentrated oil-based serum containing the most stable form of Vitamin C and many powerful natural antioxidants. The combination of all the ingredients improves the appearance of the skin, protects the skin from the harmful effects of radicals, thus slowing down the process of photoageing, brightens hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and generally improves skin texture.

A short recap on Vitamin C

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin that is a major antioxidant in the aquatic environment of the cell. Unlike plants and some animals, humans are unable to synthesize vitamin C alone due to the absence of a particular enzyme. Even if high levels of Vitamin C are introduced into the body through oral supplements, only a small portion of vitamin C will be biologically active in the skin. Therefore, the amount of vitamin C in the skin needs to be taken care of with topically applied cosmetic products.

Vitamin C is available in many active forms. Of all the forms, L-ascorbic acid is the most biologically active and well researched. However, L-ascorbic acid is a hydrophilic and highly unstable molecule. Due to its hydrophilicity it penetrates the skin very poorly. It forms an acidic solution in water, which can be very irritating to the skin.

Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate – a very stable and effective form of Vitamin C

The Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator contains a special form of vitamin C called tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a very stable derivative of vitamin C, which, unlike L-ascorbic acid, is soluble in oil. The solubility in the oil allows the compound to penetrate deeper into the skin. It has antioxidant properties and inhibits lipid peroxidation.

Is tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate really effective in the Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator?

Producer studies have shown that this form of vitamin C, at a concentration of 0.1%, reduces melanin synthesis by 80% and increases collagen synthesis by 50% in vitro. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate at 10% concentration removes age spots at 16 weeks and in vivo improves acne skin status in 80% of patients. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate increases collagen synthesis by two-fold compared to ascorbic acid. At the same time, it also better inhibits enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases that break down collagen and hyaluronic acid.

These are the effects that this vitamin C derivative exerts at stated concentrations. In the Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator, however, the concentration of this derivative is as high as 20%.

A miracle blend of the most powerful antioxidants known

Although tetrahexyl decyl ascorbate is a very powerful antioxidant, other antioxidants are added to support its action. The formulation also includes:

  • Coenzyme Q10 – an enzyme antioxidant that supports the body’s internal defense system and protects mitochondria. It prevents lipid peroxidation and effectively protects against UVA-induced oxidative stress.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid – an effective reactive oxygen scavenger, reducing melanin production and preventing photo-oxidative damage.
  • Tocopherols and Tocotrienols (Vitamin E) – a radical scavenger in lipophilic parts of the cell, topically applied Vitamin E protects the skin from UV damage and the carcinogenic effect of UV radiation.
  • Pomegranate seed and fruit extracts – extracts are rich in vitamin C and polyphenols, which provide a powerful antioxidant effect.
  • Pomegranate Seed Extract – contains some flavonoids and anthocyanidins and has an antioxidant effect that is three times greater than the antioxidant activity of green tea extract; provides effective protection against free radicals.

The main active substance carrier is squalane

The main star of Add Actives Tetraforce Activator is the squalane. Why? It delivers all the excellent ingredients to your skin and, due to its lipophilic nature, allows them to penetrate to deeper layers of the skin. Squalane is a dense, oil-like fluid. It is a derivative of squalene, which is a natural component of human sebum. When we are born, there is about 12% squalene in our skin, which decreases with age, resulting in dry skin.

We use squalane instead of squalene because the latter is very unstable. Squalane is  similar in structure to long hydrocarbon chains that exhibit occlusal effect. It has excellent emollient properties, prevents transepidermal water loss or moisture loss and improves skin suppleness.

How Functional is the Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator?

The Add Actives serum comes in a black package that prevents light from accessing the serum itself, since light could cause the light sensitive compounds to decay. The serum is oil-based and orange in color.

It comes in two sizes, 30ml and 10ml, with a shelf life of about 6 months from opening. Although the packaging comes with a pump, which prevents the product from opening and supplying air, nevertheless antioxidants have a certain life span that must be adhered to. 30 ml serum is quite a big stock for 6 months, unless you are sharing and using it daily.

What is my experience with Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator and when do I use it?

At this point I must first emphasize that I am really proud that such great products come from our little Slovenia. And this serum overcomes all serums with Vitamin C. Products with similar ingredients, but not as concentrated and not in such proportions in America, reach 2 or even 3 times higher prices.

Tetraforce exceeded my expectations, both in effect and texture. It is an oily serum, which does not grease the skin and is absorbed practically like a cream. A few minutes after application, there is no oily feeling on the skin.

I mix one serum pump in the cream every morning and apply it on my face. There are several reasons I use serum in the morning. The first is that I’m already using a lot of products in the evening and I don’t want to over do my routine. At the same time, I must point out that Tetraforce is not acid compatible, but you can layer it over retinoids. The second reason is that the antioxidant serum supports the action of the sunscreen, further protecting the skin from radicals. Of course, you can also use it in the evening.

Since I have been using it regularly, I have noticed a more unified complexion, both in texture and complexion. I have quite a few freckles myself that have been in certain places since I can remember and have never tried to actually get rid of them. After using the Tetraforce serum, I noticed that the freckles were brighter.

The biggest victory of this serum, however, is that it also helps to fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentations (these usually remain at the sites of acne and pimple healing). Whenever I had a pimple outbreak, I was left with a little sea of ​​PIH that I couldn’t get rid of. When I had an acne outbreak about a month ago, of course, I was expecting post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, but this time I don’t have one!

Is Tetraforce really worth buying?

I would say yes. The price is salty, but the quality of the ingredients in this product is at the highest possible level, and at the same time, as I mentioned, serums with such ingredients are much more expensive in America. The ingredients are carefully selected and added in very high concentrations for maximum effect. Some of the ingredients are also organic. Especially for beginners, when using the Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator, I advise you to start by applying it every 2 to 3 days to get your skin accustomed to being a strong asset. You can then increase the number of days you use the serum.

This post was created because of my own satisfaction with the product, but the Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator was donated for testing purposes by Beautybottled.si, where you can also buy it.

Sources:

  • Lotion Crafter. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. https://lotioncrafter.com/products/tetrahexyldecyl-ascorbate
  • Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients9(8), 866.
  • McDaniel, D. H., Waugh, J. M., Jiang, L. I., Stephens, T. J., Yaroshinsky, A., Mazur, C., Nelson, D. B. (2019). Evaluation of the Antioxidant Capacity and Protective Effects of a Comprehensive Topical Antioxidant Containing Water-soluble, Enzymatic, and Lipid-soluble Antioxidants. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology12(4), 46–53.
  • Lykkesfeldt, J., Michels, A. J., & Frei, B. (2014). Vitamin C. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)5(1), 16–18.
  • Al-Niaimi, F., & Chiang, N. (2017). Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology10(7), 14–17.
  • Lupo, M. P. (2001). Antioxidants and vitamins in cosmetics. Clinics in Dermatology, 19(4), 467–473.

In the post “How do I know if my skin barrier is damaged” we looked at how the skin barrier looks, how it works and what it means to have a barrier damaged. We also mentioned that the skin itself can repair moderate damage on its own. This time we will look at what repair mechanisms our skin uses, how to repair a damaged skin barrier, what ingredients are most effective and how to use them for optimal effect.

What repair mechanisms does our skin use?

As transepidermal water loss increases, several self-repair mechanisms get triggered within the stratum corneum. The repair mechanisms used by our skin:

  • Immediate release of lipid precursors (lipid preform) into the stratum corneum, which are immediately converted to physiological lipids (such as ceramides), providing approximately 20% restoration of total barrier function.
  • Increasing the synthesis of lipid precursors and converting them into suitable lipids. Lipids are mortar that fill the empty spaces through which water is lost.
  • Increased degradation of filaggrin protein into natural humidifying factor (NMF) components. NMF components, mainly amino acids, maintain a normal level of skin moisture and reduce transepidermal water loss.
  • Increased water loss triggers an inflammatory process in the skin. The inflammatory process promotes increased keratinocyte production. Keratinocyte production increases the thickness of the epidermis and consequently reduces water loss.

So how do you heal a damaged skin barrier?

When restoring the skin barrier, one has to look at one’s own repair mechanisms of the skin, as in this way we get information on what the skin actually needs to recover.

Proper cleansing is the first step in restoring the barrier function

First, it is necessary to properly cleanse the skin with cleansing agents that are adapted for sensitive skin. Cleansing agents should not contain aggressive surfactants such as sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate. Cleansing agents should have their pH adjusted to the skin’s natural pH (between 4.5-6). The skin should not be cleaned too often, as this can further damage the barrier. If you do not use heavy sun creams, double cleansing is not necessary as it can irritate the skin even more.

Increasing skin’s moisture

It is also recommended to use a tonic as it restores the skin’s pH after washing the face with water, while contributing to additional skin moisturizing.

Care must be taken to compensate for the moisture lost through excessive transepidermal water loss. We can look closely at the skin, which itself degrades certain proteins for the production of natural moisturizing factors (NMF). So can we apply serums containing NMF components. However, to know which product to choose, we first need to look at the composition of the NMF.

NMF consists primarily of amino acids, which make up as much as 40% of the total NMF. This is followed by lactate, pyrrolidone acid, sugars, peptides, urea and so on. Glycerol and hyaluronic acid account for the smallest proportion, ie about 0.5%. Therefore, the claim that moisturizing with hyaluronic acid is most effective is not completely true. The best way to increase moisture is to use serums that contain amino acids.

Soothing inflammation

Barrier damage is usually also accompanied by an inflammatory process. Inflammation in the skin can also lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. During a damaged barrier, it is necessary to soothe inflammation in the skin with anti-inflammatory agents. You mustn’t use any cosmetically active ingredients at the time when the barrier is damaged as these can further stimulate inflammation.

The only active substance you can use is niacinamide or vitamin B3. Niacinamide has been shown to increase the synthesis of ceramide precursors and free fatty acids in vitro. Topical administration of niacinamide in subjects with xerotic skin (excessively dry skin) has shown an increase in ceramides, which is directly related to a decrease in transepidermal water loss. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Use of emollients / occlusives

Even though you are adding moisture in the form of moisturizing serums, the loss of water is still high. You have to take care and lock the moisture into the skin by using emollients or occlusions. Often mineral oils or petroleum jelly are recommended for sensitive skin, as they are completely non-allergenic and effectively prevent water loss by locking it in the skin. However, except for non-allergenicity, they do not show drastic effects and also do not help to restore the barrier.

Just as the skin tends to produce more ceramides in the event of injury, people with a damaged barrier should also seek to use ceramides. Ceramides are substances that are a natural lipid component of the skin barrier and represent up to 40% of all lipids in the skin. Namely, they represent a mortar that maintains a healthy barrier function and therefore the replacement of ceramide components is essential for barrier restoration.

Plant oils for skin barrier restoration?

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2017 looked at various plant oils and their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial activity and effect on skin barrier restoration.

Plant oil can act as an occlusive by forming a protective layer on the skin. The formation of a protective layer allows the skin to retain moisture, reducing transepidermal water loss. The study found that sunflower, coconut, argan, soy, borage, jojoba, and oat oil could help to restore barrier skin function.

Sunflower oil: Linolenic acid in sunflower oil triggers a biological response at the alpha receptor, which increases lipid synthesis. This, in turn, increases the restoration of the barrier function.

Argan oil: It has also been shown that the daily topical use of argan oil improves skin elasticity and hydration by restoring barrier function and maintaining the ability to retain water.

Soybean oil: Topical use of soybean oil extracts has been shown to reduce transepidermal water loss. This property is related to the presence of phytosterols, which have shown a positive effect on the skin barrier restoration.

Borage oil: Linoleic acid in borage oil contributes to its therapeutic effect in patients with atopic dermatitis. Topically applied borage oil has been shown to normalize the function of skin barrier function in infants and children with seborrheic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis.

Protection against UV radiation

When the barrier function of the skin is weakened, the skin’s ability to protect us from the harmful effects of UV light is also impaired. Although our skin has its antioxidant mechanisms, it does not mean it works properly when the barrier is damaged. It is important to protect ourselves with sunscreen daily and to use products containing added antioxidants. The antioxidants protect the skin from the harmful effects of reactive oxygen radicals and counteract their negative effects (eg inflammation). The negative effects of radicals are present in the skin for at least 8 hours after the last exposure to UV radiation, so it is desirable that night creams also have added antioxidants.

Sources:

  • Rosso, J. D., Zeichner, J., Alexis, A., Cohen, D., & Berson, D. (2016). Understanding the Epidermal Barrier in Healthy and Compromised Skin: Clinically Relevant Information for the Dermatology Practitioner: Proceedings of an Expert Panel Roundtable Meeting. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 9(4 Suppl 1), S2–S8.
  • Lin, T. K., Zhong, L., & Santiago, J. L. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(1), 70.
  • Elias P. M. (2008). Skin barrier function. Current allergy and asthma reports, 8(4), 299–305.
  • Denda, M. (2002). New strategies to improve skin barrier homeostasis. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 54, S123–S130.