Do you remember when your first pimple appeared back in your teenage years? It was, of course, the end of the world and you probably spent hours in front of the mirror trying to cover it up (or pop it).
But beauty concerns don’t stop when you reach adulthood.
Dry skin, brittle hair, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and even adult acne are all issues millions of women of all ages face every day. Lucky for us, the scientific types at the world’s leading beauty brands are constantly coming up with solutions to make our daily struggle that little bit easier.
The signs of ageing are some of the biggest beauty concerns among women so it’s no surprise there are countless lotions and potions on the shelves that all promise to eradicate wrinkles forever.
The scientists at Christian Dior have developed a complex in their Capture Totale range that targets adult stem cells in the deepest layers of the skin to encourage healthy cell reproduction growth.
“The role of stem cells is to replenish tissue by renewing themselves and producing daughter cells, which in turn generate new cells,” explains Dior’s guiding dermatologist Professor Carlo Pincelli.
“The ingredients [in the Capture Totale range] help to uphold this physiological process over time and bring stem cell regenerative functions back to their normal levels before degeneration.” The result is restructured and plumper skin.
Improved cell regeneration is also the aim of the Sublimage range by Chanel, where scientists have looked to nature for the secret to youthful-looking skin. Vanilla flowers sourced from the north-east coast of Madagascar and grown in a controlled environment in the region are processed immediately after picking. An essence extracted from the flower (it takes 14,000 fresh flowers to produce 1kg) is then used to create a complex known as Enriched Planifolia PFA – the basis of Chanel’s Sublimage La Creme, $440 and the new La Creme Yeux, $220.
Dry, flaky skin can quickly become red and irritated if not cared for properly. It could also be a sign of more serious problems including psoriasis or eczema. But the good news is, treating dryness is as simple as applying a natural, rich and targeted cream regularly.
“Some of the common aggressors of problem skin can be added colours, fragrance, fillers and chemical preservatives,” explains Tamara Eacott from local brand Eminence. “Take these ingredients out of the equation and you are more likely to achieve an exceptional result with problem skin.”
Eminence’s star product in this category is Linden Calendula Treatment Cream, $107. “Calendula is truly the miracle worker of the skin and can be used to treat everything from lumps or bumps to scabs that won’t heal, eczema, athlete’s foot, acne or nappy rash,” says Eacott.
After tackling those fine lines, correcting an uneven skin tone is the number two to-do on many women’s skincare hit-lists.“Pigmentation causes change from person to person, but some of the main causes are created within the skin due to hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, sun damage, irritations on the skin, some types of medication and even the misuse of harsh products,” explains Sofi Lewis from Priori.
One of Priori’s hero ranges is its CoffeeBerry line, which includes the Brightening Facial Complex, $160. “The potent polyphenol compounds found in the CoffeeBerry fruit have excellent brightening properties on pigmentation marks, evening the overall complexion,” says Lewis.
Australian company Jurlique has also borrowed from nature for its Purely White range, including the new Skin Brightening Spot Treatment, $50, to target pigmentation. The kakadu plum is a key ingredient thanks to extremely high levels of vitamin C, known to help reduce the appearance of skin discolourations and to even skin tone. Jurlique has also used citrus unshiu peel extract – a Japanese fruit extract, rich in tyramine. Tyramine has been shown to inhibit melanin sythesis, which can cause the appearance of dark spots.
At Estée Lauder, botanical ingredients are also the basis of their CyberWhite HD range, including the new Advanced Spot Correcting Essence, $140, and Moisture Lotion, $75, which hit shelves in March. The root of an anti-inflammatory botanical called scutellaria baicalensis forms the basis of the 90 per cent active Baicalin complex developed by Estée Lauder’s scientific team to target dark spots.
Known for its soothing and brightening properties, this concentrated extract is highly pure and helps neutralise irritation from pollution and UV, which helps minimise spot formation.
If you’re battling breakouts well past your teens, take heart in knowing you’re not alone.
“There are many people who had minimal breakouts in their teens that develop more blemishes later in life and there are also many people that have persistent blemishes throughout their whole life,” says Clinique’s executive director of biological research, Dr Tom Mammone.
There are many causes of adult breakouts but regardless, Dr Mammone says any treatment should be a “multi-prong approach”.
“There is no one dermatological treatment or ingredient that treats the dead surface cells that clog pores, increased oil production and the build-up of impurities and irritation – all the factors that contribute to blemishes,” says Dr Mammone.
“For example, retinoic acid will reduce oil but not impurities and salicylic acid will exfoliate but not control excess oil.”
The answer is to use a regimen of products, such as Clinique’s Anti Blemish 3-Step System, from $36, regularly to treat blemish-prone skin.
“The cleanser focuses on preventing blemishes, the clarifying lotion focuses on exfoliation and excess oil control, and the moisturiser focuses on reducing irritation and oil control,” he explains.
It’s not just skin issues that top our list of beauty concerns. Damaged hair can be caused by over-styling, heated hair tools, harmful chemicals used in bleaches and hair dyes, and exposure to harsh weather conditions.
“Consistent rough treatment to your locks will dry the hair out and the naturally smooth cuticle layer will become rough,” says Duncan Richards, Joico’s national education manager.
Look for products that contain keratin – a naturally occurring protein that helps restructure damaged strands.
Joico has just released an update to its popular K-Pak range, from $27.95, comprising everything from shampoo and conditioner to styling products
“In 2011, we introduced a keratin peptide in K-Pak Revitaluxe to target the exact peptide chain missing in damaged hair. We’ve now taken it to the next level with the bio-advanced peptide complex that can penetrate deep into the hair cortex to anchor deeply and reconstruct from within,” he explains