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.