In the field of UVA protection, its labeling on sunscreens is rather inconsistent. Each country has its own way of labeling and testing protection against UVA light. Non-uniform labeling leads to consumer confusion and, consequently, a greater chance of manufacturers misleading consumers with incorrect indications on their sunscreens. What exactly are the differences between testing and labeling standards for UVA protection? Can we achieve 100% protection against UVA rays?

If you follow the cosmetic scene, you probably know that us bloggers fight a lot and constantly emphasize how important daily sun protection is. Of course, it is no surprise that our campaign intensifies before summer, as we want to reach as many people as possible with our messages. And if we cannot convince people not to expose themselves to the sun, we want to at least convince them to protect themselves with sunscreen while being exposed. It is only in the last few years that we have actually begun to realize what effects UVA rays can have on the skin.

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.

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.

We live in an age where the cosmetics industry is evolving at lightening speed. Almost no longer is a person using only face cream. Most of us use at least 3 products or more at a time. This is called cosmetic layering. The layering method has many advocates, but more and more opponents are also found.

Layering is a skin care technique that comes from Asia. This technique consists of applying various cosmetic products to the face in a certain order. We often think that this technique is popular only among Asians. Layering is a technique that is used by more and more people who dedicate more to their skin than just face cream.

How bad is layering cosmetic products really?

So, the opponents of layering accuse this method of applying amount of preservatives that exceeds the maximum concentration on the skin. Manufacturers rarely use the maximum amount of preservatives allowed. Maximum allowable concentrations are set so that even the most sensitive skin does not develop a reaction. Another thing to know here is that concentrations do NOT add up! Just as SPF does not add up, so do concentrations.

If you have 100 ml of tonic containing 0.1% phenoxyethanol and 250 ml serum containing 0.15% phenoxyethanol this is not 0.35% phenoxyethanol. Unfortunately, the calculation is not so easy. While you need to know that you cannot calculate the concentration of two different preservatives. The calculation is only possible for the same ingredient.

The calculation shows that the total concentration is 0.13%, which means that the concentration increase is minimal. Such deviations would only cause problems for people with really sensitive skin. So if you want, you still use face tonic as these preservatives will not “eat away” your face because of one coat anymore.

About the layering of several different preservatives, have you ever wondered that even in many cosmetics, many different preservatives are used to maximize product protection? If there is no scare on that product, then we don’t need to scold it here either.

How to layer Cosmetic Products Properly?

In the case of layering, there is one simple rule: always apply the least viscous product first. Then we continue with more viscous products. The skin care process is always started with water-based products, ie tonic, moisturizing serum, serum with active ingredients based on water. Water-based products make it easier to cross the skin and therefore need to be applied first.

Why would water-based products cross your skin?

We should think of the skin as a structure containing large molecules such as squalene, fatty acids, waxes, esters and triglycerides. These molecules are huge compared to water, but they are not clustered together like bricks, but there is some space between them. Because of this space between the larger molecules, water can flow from the skin (transepidermal water loss) and into the skin!

The most viscous products such as creams, oils or butter should be applied at the end. For the most part, these ingredients act emolliently and occlusively. Occlusive action means that these products form a water-tight film on the surface of the skin. So it is a good idea to apply a water-based serum before the cream or oil, as moisture will lock into the skin. Namely, the problems with applying oil first and then water-based serum are more problematic.

• The active ingredient in the serum would not reach the skin – water and oil were repelled, so the water-based serum would remain on the surface of the oil

• A drop of serum that would be on the surface of the oil would evaporate over time

So it’s a shame to throw serum away. However, we should be aware that no product forms an occlusive layer on the skin for a very long time. Also, occlusive creams that are designed to prevent moisture loss and other substances from penetrating the skin are not exactly flowering in the performance of their function.

Particular attention should be paid to the active ingredients

Some cosmetically active ingredients are very effective, but they are known to have poor skin penetration. An example of such an active ingredient is vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which crosses the skin barrier very poorly. Therefore, such ingredients should be used in the first stages of care so that they are as close as possible to the skin and thus have a greater chance of reaching the desired site.

What is the correct order of product layering?

We first start with a tonic to restore the skin’s natural pH. We continue with a water-based serum designed to moisturize the skin (hyaluronic acid, glycerol, ..) or a serum containing active ingredients (acids, vitamin C, vitamin B, peptides). The last step, as mentioned above, is to apply a cream or oil that locks all previously applied ingredients into the skin. During the day, make sure to apply sun cream!

Excessive use of the active ingredients can irritate the skin!

There is nothing wrong with layering cosmetics. As long as you layer products that mostly provide moisture, there are few things that could go wrong. However, the same does not apply to active ingredients. Using too many active ingredients increases the potential for them to “fight” with each other. This can cause skin irritation or incomplete passage into the skin. Incomplete passage causes the ingredient to remain on the skin, which can clog pores and subsequently cause pimples.

Because ingredients are more active and effective than ever before, they can also irritate the skin if you overdo them or use them in combinations that are not suitable for your skin type. One of the common mistakes with which we overload the skin is to combine products containing glycolic or salicylic acid with retinoids at the same time – so that we use both in the evening.

The stronger the product, the more conservative we are about the amount of application and the frequency of use.

What is your opinion on the layering of cosmetics?

We regularly protect our body with sunscreen, as today’s society is becoming more aware of the harmful effects of UV radiation. The only area on the body that we do not protect is hair. However, UV radiation can also affect the properties and appearance of hair. What happens to hair when the unprotected are exposed to the sun and what products can protect them?

Like other tissues, hair is made up mostly of proteins. Hair consists of 85% keratin, 1-3% lipids, trace metal ions (aluminum, chromium, calcium, magnesium), water and pigments. UV rays have a high protein breakdown ability, so it’s no surprise that summer can be a difficult period for the hair.

UV hair protection is important

Many people are unaware that their hair is also affected by UV radiation. In the scientific literature, hair damage from UV radiation is associated with dryness, increased breakage and split tips, lower shine, and increased roughness of the hair surface. Not all of these changes occur immediately or all in the same place.

UVB radiation affects the hair approximately 5 μm below the surface. For healthy hair, it is primarily the outer layer. In the case of hair that has already been severely damaged by intensive bleaching and heat treatments, the outer layer may be absent. In this case, UVB radiation is exposed to the cortex of the hair. UVA radiation is less intense, but it can penetrate deeper and may affect the entire cortex.

All The Ordinary and NIOD products can be purchased at Beautyology.eu.

To some extent, hair can protect itself

Melanin is a pigment that is responsible for skin and hair color and protection against the harmful effects of sunlight. An interesting fact is that blacks are rarely burned by the sun, as their melanin is significantly more active than ours and therefore protects them from burns. The same goes for hair. Eumelanin, which is present in individuals with darker shades of hair, is more photostable than pheomelanin, which is predominant in redheads and those with lighter hair. Therefore, darker hair is more protected than lighter hair.

Melanin works by disabling the free radicals that form when exposed to UV radiation. This prevents free radicals from affecting keratin, the main protein in the hair. In the process, damage to the melanin molecule occurs, which turns light. This is the reason we have lighter hair at sea than we usually do.

Why does hair get grey and why isn’t it protected?

Hair turns gray when pigmentation stops. Pigments are secreted by stem cells that begin to die off. The stem cells in the upper layer of the skin develop into melanin-producing cells. Melanin-producing cells are called melanocytes. Melanocytes transfer the pigment to growing hair, making the hair a distinctive color. As we age, the stem cells start to die off and no longer develop into melanocytes, so the hair becomes gray.

When the hair ages, there are no more melanin-forming cells. So when melanin is gone, we no longer have a molecule to protect our hair from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Exposure to the sun can do more damage to such hair, as they are less resilient. A group of people with such hair needs the highest UV protection.

In what ways can the sun affect the properties of your hair?

  • Formation of free radical substances (ROS)
  • Discoloration
  • Disruption of disulfide bridges
  • Changes to the cuticle
  • Some amino acids absorb UV light and form free radicals that break the disulfide bonds.
  • In darker hair, melanin can be photooxidized, while in lighter hair, some amino acids are destroyed, causing discoloration.
  • Keratins in the hair are interconnected by disulfide bonds – bridges. Light breaks them down to form cysteic acid, which in turn makes hair less resilient and less elastic.
  • Melanin is found in the inner layer of the hair, but not in the outer layer, so it is not protected. After that, it is most exposed to UV radiation. The “roofers” that make up the cuticle are more open and lose weight.

Are UV protection products the hair solution?

For the protection of hair we use various products to which manufacturers add UVA and UVB filters as classic sunscreens that we use to protect the skin. The main problem with these products is that they cannot be applied evenly over the entire surface of the hair, which means that some parts of the hair are not protected. Another challenge is to create a sun protection formulation that will adhere to the hair shaft. In addition, it is almost impossible to apply a uniform thickness of sunscreen to all your hair without looking greasy.

How do UV hair protection products work?

Some shampoos for colored hair contain UV filters, as this should prolong the color lifespan (prevent fading). However, the problem again arises with shampoos as these products need to be completely rinsed off the surface of the hair and thus some UV filters can also be flushed. As a result, the ability to protect hair is limited.

A better approach to UV hair protection is to use balms that form a film on the surface of the hair that is not rinsed between 15-30 minutes. As a result, UV filters can adhere better to hair and offer more effective protection.

Hair styling products are probably the most effective in providing photoprotection. These products include non-rinse balms, gels and hair sprays.

If you massage balms that do not need to be rinsed, they will act as a heat protection agent and UV protection just before drying, as they remain on the hair.

The most effective products that protect against UV radiation are hair dyes

Non-pigmented hair (white, gray) is more prone to UV damage than pigmented hair. This means that molecules of hair dye trapped inside the hair provide some protection against UV damage. Although hair dyes damage the hair tissue, this way the hair is protected from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Hair coloring causes damage to the hair fibers, but when the hair is exposed to prolonged periods of UV radiation, the antioxidant effect of the dye that binds inside the hair outweighs the initial detrimental effect of dyeing. Hair dyes act as antioxidants that prevent the disulfide bonds in keratin from breaking.

What do UV hair protection products contain?

First of all, it should be emphasized that the regulations in the field of hair protection are not as strict as in the field of skin protection. We cannot determine the exact SPF protection factor for hair products. However, there is a Hair Protection Factor (HPF) based on the change in mechanical properties between protected and unprotected hair. There is also a Radical Hair Protection Factor (RHF) that differentiates products based on their ability to prevent ROS from UV radiation.

The products contain UV filters, silicones that form a hair film and antioxidants. In addition, hair protection products also contain moisturizers, emollients, antistatic agents as well as thermal hair protection substances. Natural extracts that protect the hair include walnut, beech, aloe vera, green tea, chamomile, lotus and oils such as monoi.

All The Ordinary products have been donated to create this post by Beautyology.eu.

Since the use of sunscreens has been on the rise, they have gained many advocates as well as many opponents. Opponents of sunscreens claim that they block the synthesis of vitamin D, which is essential for our health. There are also extreme opponents who claim that using sunscreens is more harmful than unprotected sun exposure. However, is it true that sunscreens block vitamin D synthesis?

Basic information on vitamin D

Vitamin D acts as a hormone in the body and is synthetized by UV light. Vitamin D comes in two forms (D₂, D₃). Vitamin D₂ is obtained from plant nutrition and oral supplements. Vitamin D₃ is mainly obtained by exposing the skin to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation in sunlight and consuming foods such as oily fish. Vitamin D₂ and D₃ are metabolised in the liver and kidney to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or calcitriol, which is a biologically active form. Calcitriol plays an important role in regulating the metabolism of calcium, phosphate for maintaining metabolic functions and for skeletal health.

How can one get vitamin D?

Vitamin D is also found in mushrooms, wheat germ oil, egg yolk, liver and fish oil. Vitamin D content in most foods ranges from 50 to 200 units per serving. Therefore, food cannot provide enough vitamin D, which is why most people synthetize it after sun exposure. Sun-induced vitamin D synthesis is strongly influenced by season, time of day, latitude, altitude, air pollution, skin pigmentation, use of sunscreens, passage through glass and plastic, and age.

Interesting fact: Even when older people are regularly exposed to sunlight, they produce 75% less vitamin D3 than young people.

Inadequate vitamin D intake can lead to postmenopausal osteoporosis and reduced bone density. Low vitamin D intake is also associated with heart and vascular diseases, depression, dementia and other conditions.

How is vitamin D synthesized after sun exposure?

Vitamin D3 can be produced in the skin when exposed to ultraviolet radiation B (UVB), so it is possible to increase vitamin D3 levels by exposure to UVB rays. During exposure to sunlight, radiation with a wavelength of 290–315 nm penetrates the skin. Most of this UVB radiation is absorbed in the epidermis, so when exposed to sunlight, most of the vitamin D3 is produced in the skin, in the living cells of the epidermis.

A quick recap on UV radiation

As we already know, exposure to UV radiation is not safe. Namely, we divide the UV spectrum into ozone-retained UVC rays, UVB rays that cause sunburns, UVA rays that cause photoaging. Unnecessarily prolonged exposure to UV light without protection can lead to skin cancer. For a reason, sunscreens have been developed to protect us from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Sun creams are designed to absorb and partially repel UVB radiation.

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If sunscreen blocks UVB rays does it block vitamin D synthesis as well?

Well, here we are. Where scientists from different disciplines are arguing with each other. Last time, I heard from a colleague that one dermatologist claimed that reduced vitamin D synthesis from sunscreens is more harmful than unprotected sun exposure. To put it mildly, I was almost hit by a stroke, but let’s go down the line. Sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 absorbs approximately 96% of UVB radiation. So, by adding 2 + 2, topical application of sunscreen with SPF 30 reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D3 by the same amount, ie 96%.

In principle, we calculated that only 4% of UVB radiation can access our skin with SPF 30, which is a very low chance for vitamin D synthesis, right? But this is where  you need to ask yourself how much sunscreen you really apply to your skin. In order to achieve the protection stated on the packaging – so in our case SPF 30 we need to apply 2mg / cm2 of skin. For the whole face, this means two full fingers of the cream.

A short calculation to back up my claims

The average surface area of ​​all skin in an adult is 1.5-2.0 m². So if we need to apply 2mg / cm² the calculation is as follows.

The result is 32 g per coat. Therefore, 1/3 of the entire 100 ml tube of sunscreen should be used to properly protect the entire body. Of course, we did not take into account that the sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours.

Let’s be real, we apply such a small amount of sunscreen to the body that the question is if we have an SPF protection factor of 5. So with SPF 5, we are about 70% protected against UVB radiation. This may sound like a lot, but this time it can pass as much as 30% of UVB radiation to the skin! Not to mention some body parts that are not usually protected at all. Or maybe we are in the shade and don’t put sunscreen on because the UVB rays can’t reach us. All of these unprotected parts allow 100% passage of UVB radiation and thus synthesis of Vitamin D, but also increased chances of skin cancer.

UVA protection is beneficial for Vitamin D

A number of studies investigating the influence of sunscreen on vitamin D synthesis have found that the use of sunscreen is likely to have minimal impact on vitamin D. UVA rays have no effect on vitamin D synthesis, although one in vitro study showed that UVA2 (315–340 nm) can cause vitamin D to break down, in which case protection against UVA may be beneficial for vitamin D production.

Controlled field studies with true sun exposure are the best way to determine the effect of sunscreen on vitamin D synthesis. The results of such studies report that no change in serum 25 (OH) D3 vitamin concentration occurs despite the use of sunscreen.

In fact, most studies published to date have shown no association between the use of sunscreens and vitamin D deficiency, nor with regular use of SPF> 15. In general, other protective methods (eg, shading, wearing protective clothing and long sleeves) ) affect vitamin D status more than using sunscreens.

UV radiation is more dangerous than sunscreens

Daily skin protection is recommended for all skin phototypes. This includes staying in the shade, wearing headgear and clothing, wearing sunglasses, and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen. These strategies will help prevent sunburn and skin cancer. The use of sunscreen for daily sun protection does not compromise the synthesis of skin vitamin D synthesis, even when the sunscreen is used in the predicted amounts (2mg / cm2). Increasing UVA-PF in sunscreens, however, even improves vitamin D3 production.

In case of reduced vitamin D level, this should be replaced. Oral supplementation is easy and does not pose significant risks. The risk-benefit calculation shows that, instead of sunbathing, it is better to take nutritional supplements with this vitamin to increase vitamin D3 levels.