Skin Secrets

The Skin Health and Beauty Pyramid is something that will allow us all to find the path for great skin, no matter what the brand is, as it covers the ultimate ingredients for skin health, protection, transformation and optimisation.

Like any pyramid, it starts with a solid base. Ingredients in the base category include those that provide total skin protection and are essential for skin health – sunscreen provides SPF, antioxidants provide protection against free radicals, and DNA repair enzymes provide correction to damage. These are “non-negotiable” ingredients that are our must-haves for everyday skin health and protection.

Sunscreen, our first line of cellular defence, is simply not enough. Sunscreen agents scatter, reflect, block or absorb UV radiation before it causes toxic free-radical formation in the skin. But no sunscreen is 100 per cent effective, so this shield “leaks” UV radiation into the skin. In addition, sunscreen agents are not antioxidant free radical scavengers and are useless against other environmental insults such as pollution and smoke.

Unlike sunscreen agents, antioxidants scavenge toxic free-radicals before these harmful molecules cause damage to cells; but no antioxidant is 100 per cent efficient, so some free-radicals penetrate the antioxidant shield and cause damage to DNA by forming toxic cross links that prevent normal DNA function. This is our second line of cellular defense.

No SPF or antioxidant is 100 per cent efficient, so DNA repair enzymes are essential as a backstop. DNA repair enzymes “undo” damage to the DNA strand caused by toxic free-radicals. These are the skin’s “repair mechanisms” that maintain DNA in its healthy unaltered state.

The middle base of the pyramid stands for skin transformation with AHAs and retinoids that are considered vital. Retinoids provide cell turnover and optimal skin metabolism, and AHAs provide moisturisation and dead cell layer exfoliation. There is nothing that comes close to the benefits of these two groundbreaking molecules. AHAs are able to both exfoliate and hydrate when used in a correct formula. The vitamin A molecule, namely retinol, is an amazing skin ingredient that has the ability to increase the amount of healthy new cells that are stimulated to the surface of our skin.

Finally, the top of the Skin Health and Beauty Pyramid stands for skin optimisation, while the first two segments should be included in your daily skincare regime. Peptides and Growth Factors, via complex cell signalling pathways, provide cell communication and stimulation to enhance production of essential compounds and increase cell proliferation to take your skin to the next level. Rely on the elements found within the Skin Health and Beauty Pyramid and great skin will be yours.

Tracy is the International Director of Education & Business Development for PRIORI Skincare.

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.