The pyramid of skincare

The plethora of skincare options available today is enough to perplex the most informed of beauty enthusiasts. With beauty buzzwords emerging on a regular basis and products promising to smooth this and correct that, it’s becoming harder to decipher what works, what doesn’t. What ingredients do we need to include in our beauty regimen to see real results? Joe Lewis, the scientist behind some of beauty’s leading anti-ageing products, teamed up with Elizabeth Arden PRO to create a simple, yet scientific, approach that consumers and professionals could use to make educated decisions with skincare.

The Skin Health and Beauty Pyramid aims to take the guesswork out of purchasing the ideal products for your skin concerns, using scientifically proven ingredients that work. Breaking down the pyramid Essential ingredients that we should be incorporating into our daily beauty routine to protect and repair skin create the Pyramid Base. Without ingredients to protect skin against sun and environmental exposure, every other step taken to improve skin health would be undermined.

The pyramid highlights the importance of using SPF daily to reduce the risk of sunburn, skin cancer and the signs of ageing. Although sunscreen plays an important role in skin health, SPF is unable to block all UV radiation and cannot block pollution or cigarette smoke, which is where antioxidants come into play. Depending on their concentration and type, antioxidants are able to reduce DNA and cellular damage and provide beauty benefits including enhancing collagen, reducing the signs of ageing and improving radiance.

The third foundation ingredient, DNA enzymes, has been scientifically proven to play a critical role in providing skin cells protection against oxidative stress from UV exposure and other environmental stressors. The elements in the Pyramid Core are vital in transforming skin. To combat the changes that come with ageing and UV exposure, retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are essential. Lactic and glycolic acid both have moisturising and exfoliating benefits. While other ingredients that proclaim to nourish and moisturise often just provide skin with a barrier to decrease water loss, AHAs have been clinically proven to activate moisture retention within the skin. Retinoids, such as vitamin A and its derivatives, are able to kickstart cellular metabolism and boost production of collagen. When AHAs are paired with retinoids, the two become a transformative powerhouse essential for serious skin change.

The Top of the Pyramid– peptides and growth factors – is the icing on the cake. Both stimulate the process that signals cells to make proteins, boosting skin renewal. “These ingredients promise impressive results, but are not ‘stand alone’ to deliver the kind of results we see with AHAs and retinoids,” says Lewis.

Ahead of the pack

Mandy Gray’s philosophy is simple. “I want to offer clients the very best of the best in the various categories of skincare,” she says, and her approach clearly resonates with Australian and New Zealand markets.

Beginning her career in sales and marketing more than three decades ago, today Gray is behind one of the most visionary beauty companies Down Under: True Solutions International, known for representing trendsetting superceutical and cosmeceutical brands with a focus on scientifically proven results in anti-ageing.

“Clinical proof and hard data on the results of a product excites me,” says Gray, explaining how she chooses brands to work with.

“Reviews and information on ingredients are not enough and can be misleading 
 I’m passionate about products that deliver results that I can see: an older skin looking younger; teenage problem skin looking clearer; dry skin looking softer and more hydrated; reddened, sensitive skin looking less angry.

“I love results and the confidence it ‹gives people.

“The greatest success stories in skincare have been cosmeceuticals, or cosmetics from pharmaceutical backgrounds. These products transform skin from the inside, similar to the effects of pharmaceutical drugs.”

Having travelled the world researching products and industry trends, Gray says, “Australians are ahead of the skincare game with products and services. Our needs are greater due to more sun exposure – dermatologists agree that more than 80 per cent of skin ageing is triggered by sun damage.”

But how do you choose what to use? It comes back to education, says Gray. She points to staff in professional outlets as integral when it comes to offering a depth of unbiased advice, not to mention decoding and simplifying products in an industry that can offer vast choice.
“Consumers overwhelmed by the offerings will continue to be overwhelmed as more and more brands spend more and more on marketing,” says Gray. “My best advice is to get good advice by finding a beauty therapist or dermal clinician that you trust.

“Double check by trying your selected products in a facial or peel treatment, and wait a day or so to see the initial results. Then use a collection of three or four recommended skincare products for a minimum of three weeks. Now you are in a position to add to your skincare collection to amplify the results. Beware of therapists ‹who don’t have sufficient advanced training in ‹products – look for recent training certificates as product technology rapidly updates.”