Ultimate skin health

Chemist and cosmeceutical expert; president and CEO of Pharma Management Corporation. Lewis oversees the management of five skincare companies, including Priori and Priori MD.

What is the most important breakthrough as you see it in skincare advances for 2014?

Most of us know that SPF is needed daily to protect against the damaging effects of the sun and that it is the most important step for anti-ageing protection. We also know that SPF is not enough; it’s like protecting your skin with Swiss cheese – it’s got holes in it. SPF does not provide protection against free radicals that constantly attack our skin from oxidative stress caused by ozone pollution, cigarette smoke, stress and diet; only antioxidants can do that.

However, no SPF or antioxidant is 100 per cent efficient, so damage to our cells still occurs, which can lead to premature skin ageing. That is why we now also have products with DNA repair enzymes, which act like a backstop to mop up any existing damage and also protect against new damage. DNA repair products are the third line of defence. Imagine one product that provides triple action protection – SPF plus antioxidants, plus DNA repair enzymes.

We all know about SPF, but why are antioxidants so important in anti-ageing skincare therapy? 

Antioxidants are still the wave of the future in skincare anti-ageing therapy. Damage accumulation from oxidative stress is the fundamental cause of ageing (together with genetics), and antioxidants are our defence against oxidative stress. A wrinkle is born as a result of oxidative stress. Like it or not, we are slowly oxidising; in fact, you’re not ageing – you’re simply oxidising.

We revolutionised the skincare industry when we launched Idebenone Complex, which has been shown to correct oxidative stress on a cellular level, helping to block multiple pathways of cellular free-radical mediated damage, thereby allowing the cell the time for cell repair and rejuvenation. Idebenone Complex works differently to any other anti-ageing technology, Idebenone is a respiratory chain antioxidant, and thus targets ageing at its cellular source – the mitochondria. Idebenone provides a whole new level of skin rejuvenation not attainable with traditional cosmeceutical therapies such as AHA, vitamin A, vitamin C, peptides and so on.

Imagine if you had a “super Idebenone Complex” that not only protects mitochondria, but also helps promote healthy spontaneous growth of new mitochondria in ageing cells by stimulating genes that govern mitochondrial reproduction, protection, and repair? That to me would be groundbreaking.

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Face foward

A few decades ago, the beauty industry promised much but delivered little. Increasingly, today’s cosmetics brands are making good on their promise of radiant and rejuvenated skin, with sophisticated formulations and advanced science and technology that produces discernible results. We chart the new and upcoming beauty launches that are making waves.


It may seem unusual to talk about peptides as ingredients in future beauty products, since they’ve been grabbing headlines for years. But leading cosmetics ranges still can’t get enough of them for their multiple benefits. Peptides are a chemical compound that contains two or more amino acids that are coupled by a peptide bond – according to a recent media interview with Australian cosmetic chemist Ray Townsend, they create specific communication messages within the cellular system and can benefit everything from hydration to healing and collagen production.

Priori Skincare is due to launch an exciting new arm, the Priori MD division, which will deal with physician-only products and treatments. One of their first products will be Clinical Recovery Serum ($220,, 1800 808 993), which has been created with the belief that sunscreen alone is not enough to protect the skin from sun damage.

According to Priori MD, only 45 to 55 per cent of free radicals generated by UVA radiation are stopped by sunscreen use. Free radicals have the ability to damage DNA, lipids, proteins and cellular structures within the skin, leading to premature skin ageing. The company’s response is the new Serum which contains Tx-DNA Complex™, a reparative blend of antioxidants and the highest concentration of DNA repair enzymes available to reduce and repair this damage. The Serum ingredients have been shown to significantly reduce UV damage in independent studies.

Peptides have long been the driving force behind potent anti-ageing range HydroPeptide. The company’s latest launches contain a cocktail of these wonder ingredients, chosen for their soothing and contouring properties.

HydroPeptide Soothing Serum ($190,, 1800 808 993), is packed with calming peptides such as Telangyn to reduce redness, Diffuporine to boost hydration and Neutrazen to neutralise common reaction sensations such as heat.

Those suffering from skin sensitivity are commonly forced to use gentle formulations over results-driven skincare, so it’s refreshing to see the Serum also contains a selection of peptides known to boost collagen.

Another new product, HydroPeptide Uplift ($120), is a lifting and comforting eye gel that visibly and actively corrects. It contains Eyeseryl, an “anti-bag” peptide that increases drainage and decongestion of the under-eye area, Dermapep A350, a topical line filler that also improves luminosity, and other ingredients to hydrate and smooth crepey skin.

Joyce Blok’s new Super Serum contains a combination of three next-generation peptides. Its key ingredients are a biomimetic peptide that encourages collagen synthesis and skin firmness, a neuropeptide which has a relaxing natural Botox-like effect, and a hexapeptide that preserves hydration levels and protects the skin’s barrier function.

The serum claims to boost the skin’s radiance and is Joyce Blok’s most high-performance product created so far ($120,

Blurred lines

Get ready for a new beauty buzzword – Blur. These instantly correcting products sit halfway between skincare and make-up, and contain anti-ageing ingredients plus optical correctors that confuse the eye and blur imperfections such as uneven tone and texture, wrinkles and oily skin.

Blur products can be worn alone or as a primer, and first hit the market a couple of years ago as a way of physically airbrushing the skin in response to high  definition cameras, which can highlight imperfections.

This year sees a reinvigoration of the category, lead by Lancôme’s new Visionnaire [1 Minute Blur] Smoothing Skincare Instant Perfection ($60). The product utilises “photo smooth technology”, which disperses light so that it doesn’t shadow in open pores, lines and wrinkles. The skin feels smoothed, looks more even, and has a matte finish yet cleverly remains radiant and dewy to touch.

“Photo Smooth Technology is the latest trend. Its aim is to create a perfect, smooth skin surface with invisible pores and no surface irregularities. By using a duo of optic agents, Visionnaire [1 Minute Blur] creates a ‘Photoshop like’ effect,” says Karen Barlow, national education manager for Lancôme.

In a similar vein, Dior’s new Capture Totale Dreamskin ($145), works on dark spots, lines,
pores, redness and radiance, with a combination
of anti-ageing ingredients and light diffusers for optical and biological correction.

Dior worked with a behavioural neuroscientist to discover that the human eye perceives optimum skin to have a unified texture and tone.

“The optical active ingredients work on the surface to visibly correct imperfections, while the biological active ingredients act deep down to target sources of imperfections and damage caused by ageing,” explains Edouard Mauvais-Jarvis, Dior’s director of scientific communications.

One-pot wonders

Whether you blame our time-poor schedules, increasingly short attention spans (thanks, Twitter), or the modern ability to get what we want when we want it via the internet, today’s beauty consumer demands products with multiple actions in one.

Thanks to our growing understanding of the daily
need for sunscreens, this sector of the market is becoming ever-sophisticated.

True Solutions’ new Total Age Protector SPF50+ ($60,, 1800 808 993) both shields and repairs the skin from sun damage.

This rich cream can be used in place of your normal moisturiser, and contains zinc oxide to protect against UVB rays that cause burning, and UVA rays that are linked with collagen damage and possibly skin cancers.

Uber antioxidant vitamin E is added to this, which scavenges free radicals created by UV exposure, and allantoin to soothe and smooth the skin.

BB creams are the ultimate one-pot beauty solution, and 2014 sees no slowing down in our thirst for these multi-taskers. Decléor’s Hydra Floral BB Cream 24 Hour Moisture Activator ($70,, 1800 808 993) ticks off five functions in one.

It contains SPF15 filters for UVB and UVA protection, mineral pigments to even and brighten skintone, and grapefruit essential oil to improve texture and correct imperfections, while providing 24-hour moisturisation and protection from urban pollution. The result is hydrated and glowing skin, with a natural-looking coverage finish.


Personalisation is becoming huge in the beauty industry; imagine a skin cream that adjusts to benefit every user, tailoring to their individual needs.

This is the future path of rejuvenating and protective beauty products, with advanced ingredients that target your skin’s own strengths and weaknesses.

Chanel’s new Le Lift line is based around a balancing act between microRNAs, fragments of RNA (a nucleaic acid) that modulate protein in our cells, and so-called “youth proteins”, which are responsible for things like elastin and collagen production.

After researching the mechanisms that control protein synthesis due to lifestyle factors such as stress, pollution, diet and emotional upheaval, Chanel discovered that our lifestyle can affect the ageing process, as the result of a decrease in these “youth proteins”.

Le Lift, which comes in three formulations – light, medium and rich creams ($179) – are designed to intuitively regulate your skin’s production of microRNAs as and when needed, resulting in a stimulated production of the “youth proteins”, and an increasingly smooth and toned face.

Superfood skincare

We aim to eat a balanced diet and increasingly the same theory is being applied to skincare. Just as you should aim for fresh produce in your kitchen, there is a growing trend towards bioactive ingredients in skincare.

Bioactives are constituents in foods that have a positive benefit to the body over and above their nutritional value – take, for example, the antioxidant quality of blueberries.

Decléor’s new Aroma White C+ products use an unlikely food ingredient to target melanin: peas. Mother always maintained they were good for you and it turns out she was right.

Decléor’s unique “Melano-lock system” helps to limit the expression of a protein that causes the darkening effect of melanin colouration and is based on an active component found in peas.

The range includes Intense Translucency Fluid ($80), and Anti-Dark Circle Multi-Brightening Eye Care ($70, launches this March,, 1800 808 993).

Estée Lauder’s new Nutritious collection contains highly potent Pomegranate Nectar Infusion and antioxidant-rich cranberries, blueberries and wolfberries.

The range comprises six products including an Essence Oil and a 2-Step Treatment geared towards promoting the skin’s natural antioxidant activity, helping it to detoxify irritants and neutralise free radicals, while infusing it with hydrating nutrients.

Estée Lauder has put the pomegranate through a special fermentation process that helps the skin to absorb it more easily, making its effect powerful ($40).

Meanwhile, Clinique’s new Superdefense SPF 20 Daily Defense Moisturizer and Superdefense SPF 20 Eye Cream contain a powerful combination of berry-derived antioxidants rich in vitamins C and E, and extracts from barley and wheatgerm, which intensely moisturise and strengthen the skin barrier function (from $50).

Facelift creams

Experts at the recent Cosmoprof Asia professional beauty convention spoke of a move away from the cosmetically frozen look and a trend to more natural lifting that allows for expression lines.

Appropriately, then, we are seeing the emergence of skincare products and treatments that promise the ability to increase skin tautness and facial contours.

Lancôme’s new Absolue Yeux Precious Cells Global Multi-Restorative Eye Concentrate focuses on the
general eye area from lower forehead to temples and top of cheekbones – a major target for surgical and non-surgical procedures.

While not a fauxtox product, Absolue Yeux focuses on expression lines and crow’s feet, drooping eyebrows and lids, dark circles and cheekbone volume ($200).

A recent study by Clarins into the hormonal changes experienced by women in their 50s discovered two genes that are affected by hormonal deficiencies, and as a result affect the form and structure of fibroblasts, leading to less supple and more wrinkle-prone skin.

The new Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream ($120) contains organic harungana extract (a tropical flowering tree), which according to Clarins has the ability to boost collagen synthesis and has proven to be more powerful than traditional anti-ageing molecules such as Retinol.

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