Dr. Diane Howard

How does the Dermalogica range reflect your knowledge of biochemistry?

My specialty is plant biochemistry. We don’t use any synthetic fragrances in Dermalogica products, only essential oil blends.

Our first choice is to use phytochemicals (plant extracts) and plant-based actives in Dermalogica products to affect the structure and function of the skin, however, I do believe the best solution is a combination of plant-based actives and synthetic actives, to get the best results.

You were among the first to recognise the astounding antioxidant benefits of rooibos tea. How has this discovery affected your work?

As scientists increasingly recognise the need to quench free radicals to prevent premature ageing and disease, the search is ongoing to find newer and better antioxidants.

Rooibos tea was a new source of antioxidants that we incorporated into Dermalogica products about five years ago. With the discovery that polyphenols from white tea are even stronger antioxidants, we incorporated white tea polyphenols into almost all our new products.

You also recognise the regenerative properties of protein peptides. How do they work?

Peptides that are synthesised in the laboratory have been shown to act as cellular communicators that trigger processes in the fibroblast of the dermis. Topical peptides stimulate new collagen synthesis in the skin, which helps fight ageing.

As we age, we lose collagen from the dermis, which contributes to the signs of ageing, including wrinkles. From the age of 30, we lose 1 per cent of collagen each year. The application of peptides can help offset this loss.

What’s your advice about how to age well?

The most important thing is to protect your skin with sunscreen. Use an SPF of at least 30 and apply it 365 days a year. Sunscreen protection is not for summer only – any daylight exposure means you’re triggering the signs of ageing. Ninety-nine per cent of the signs of ageing can be attributed to exposure to UV radiation, even on a cloudy day.

What has been Dermalogica’s biggest breakthrough?

Recognising that skin ageing can be attributed to three biochemical reactions in the skin. Once we narrowed it down to (1) the formation of reactive oxygen species, (2) the activation of matrix metalloproteinase enzymes, and (3) the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), we could develop products to combat these triggers. That’s the foundation of the new AGE Smart line.

For more information visit the Dermologica website.

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