What are Peptides?

Peptides are synthetically created chemicals with the ability to penetrate the Dermis. The many different types of Peptides function as cellular communicating ingredients,  theoretically they have the ability to tell a skin cell how to look, act and behave better. The first and probably most well known peptide to gain popularity in skincare was Matrixyl, also known as Palmitoyl Pentapeptide 3. Overall studies show that Peptides make a significant improvement to fine lines and wrinkles, age spots and skin firmness without irritation or compromising the skin’s natural lipid barrier.

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Hyaluronic Acid – The Elixir Of Life?

Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid is an important ingredient in skincare products, and a favourite of mine. It is also known as HA or Sodium Hyaluronate on an ingredients list, and is part of what is know as our “Glycosaminogylcans (GAGs)”. HA is natures own moisturiser and makes up a proportion of the extracellular fluid in the Dermis. It helps keep the dermal tissues highly hydrated and is a gel-like substance in which the fibrous proteins of Collagen and Elastin are embedded – this keeps them supple and flexible and gives skin turgor and bounce.

HA is natural to the body, where it has a crucial role of lubricating us internally, mainly our skin and  joints where it acts as a shock absorber. It has a very clever ability to attract and bind moisture to itself (Humectant) – and can hold up to 1000 times it’s weight in water and is known as natures sponge.

Research has shown that HA can help with wound healing and can reduce scarring on the skin. It is unlike most topical compounds as it can penetrate the epidermis to a deeper level and hydrate skin tissue and plump out fine lines. It gives skin a smoother appearance and banishes fine dehydration lines, it really is a superior moisturising ingredient.

Bill Sardi – author of “How to live to 100 without growing old” writes – “HA is a revolutionary natural molecule that stops or even reverses ageing. HA is the modern day Fountain of Youth“, he goes on to say “HA helps to erase facial ageing, lines and wrinkles and can product wound healing without scarring”. (HA taken internally as a supplement)

HA is the main ingredient used in Restylane Filler (injections) – this is an FDA approved ingredient (animal & non animal), which testifies to its safety. The main source is rooster combs, but I am sure you will be glad to know the non-animal form comes from Soy-Beans, this is the type used in most topical products.

Our Hyaluronic Acid in our skin starts to diminish once we get to around 40 years old. This is what adds to an aged appearance as we lose some of the volume in the dermis. Topical products will not replace this, but HA is still an important hydrating ingredient that’s not to be sniffed at! It has shown that if our skin is dehydrated, then some enzyme functions do not happen. Even an oily skin can benefit from HA, and there are some wonderful hydrating products to choose from, here are my favourites that have high levels of HA in the ingredient list.
Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster – This is a super saturated fluid that helps hydrate, smooth and miminize fine dehydration lines. This easily absorbed fluid restores moisture (without oil) and helps restore the skin’s barrier layer. This has good levels of HA and all skin types can use, either apply neat of mix into your moisturiser.
O2 Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Hydration Gel – This really is a favourite of mine. The whole Intraceuticals range is formulated with a patented form of HA and you can see the difference in your skin once applied. This is a concentrated, silky, moisture rich gel that counteracts skin dehydration, also has high levels of stable Vitamin C. A favourite with oily skin that is concerned with ageing, as you can use this on it’s own if most creams are too heavy.

a Antioxidant Hydramist
– This is an amazing hydrating mist, packed with peptides, Vitamin C and White Tea, it really helps protect and hydrate the skin with high levels of HA. It is a refreshing spritz with the beautiful scent of Rose, you can use before moisturising or use during the day to counteract dehydrating atmospheres.

Taking HA internally in the form of a supplement has shown to have skin hydrating and plumping results, not to mention the benefits to your joints. Restoring HA plumps skin cells and restores moisture in all the tissues of the body – well worth it I think.

Viridian do excellent HA supplements as well as PURE-XP HA Elite. Jan Marini’s C-ESTAMINS also contain high levels of Hyaluronic Acid, alonside every vitamin and mineral you need for youthful skin and vitality.

The Truth About Parabens

The preservatives used in cosmetic and skincare products have come under an intense attack in the last few years. The media have  published some very scary stories and headlines, like “Toxic Toiletries”! and “Killer Cosmetics”. This scaremongering is fundamentally wrong and creates panic,fear and confusion!

The family of preservatives in question is“Parabens”and many of you will be fearful of the name without really knowing why? I know lots of people who will only buy Paraben Free products, but when asked why they either don’t know or say that they cause breast cancer! Also when we start to see “Paraben Free” on lots of things, then ultimately we think it’s a bad ingredient.

Parabens are widely used as a preservative in cosmetics, foods, pharmaceuticals and household products. They stop products from deteriorating by protecting them from harmful micro-organisms during storage and while the product is opened and used.

This adverse publicity has stemmed from a flawed and very much misinterpreted scientific research paper that was published (then the media twisted it). The Paraben family are actually naturally occuring chemicals, found in fruits, vegetables and other plants as well as being man-made, despite what has been written, parabens are not especially Oestrogenic ( not as much as Apples, and far less than Soya products). The study in question which was widely publicised claimed to find traces of Parabens in breast cancer tissue samples, but extraordinaraly  traces of parabens where also found in the blank control samples – which should have been just blank! Dr Philippa Darbe, the researcher on this confirmed that traces of parabens came from the laboratory glassware, most likely from the cleaning agents, so it is entirely possible that the parabens found in the breast tissue sample were  actually present only due to the contamination of the laboratory glassware. No other studies since have found any parabens whatsoever in breast cancer tissue. Unfortunately the media has focused it’s attention on this and now regards paraben free skincare as much better for us, which is absolute nonsense, it has only given rise to many more so called “Organic/natural” brands being sold as Paraben free, as if it is a much better option! You will find that lots of big brands have started to remove Parabens, this is due to the scaremongering and people avoiding products with parabens.

Parabens are approved for use as a preservative in the European Cosmetics Directive  and are the most widely used in skincare products, they have been used and tested since the 1930’s and shown to be very safe for us and the environment.

Products need to be safe, especially skincare that has a mix of oil and water and used around our mouth and eyes! This  means using an adequately preserved product! Bugs love to grow especially in an emollient formulation that comes into contact with fingers. Using a product that is not properly preserved or has inferior preservatives may be potentially  harmful and you can risk skin infections.

For more facts on Parabens go to – www.thefactsabout.co.uk which is a very credible source of information run by the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, it’s the first place I go when I hear a scare story!