Harnessing The Power Of Topical Ingredients

As people reach the age where the physical wear and tear is beginning to show on their faces, many take to the internet to research the most recent developments in the skin care industry, in search of a solution. Fillers providing instant plumping and filling in of bothersome lines, and neurotoxin injections to smooth the skin, have become the go-to procedure for those looking for non-invasive cosmetic surgery. According to plasticsurgey.org over 6 million Botox and over 2 million Soft Tissue Filler procedures were performed in 2014. But even with such staggering numbers, many aging clients are looking for an even less invasive way to treat their wrinkled, pigmented or sagging skins. Even Plastic Surgeons are recommending topical skin care as an essential and integral part of performing face lifts, to ensure optimal results. So what are our options, when Face Lifts and Fillers are not? Pharmaceutical Grade Skin Care should be at the top of that age-management list. Even without surgery and medical cosmetic procedures, the results offered by some cosmetic ingredients can be staggering. An internet search can easily bombard you with so much information. But, buyer beware! Not all information was created equal, and one needs to wade between the lines and really fish out what is fact and what is marketing.

The A-Z of ingredients Vitamin A

Vitamin A is probably one of the most researched and proven skin care ingredients — in the world! In the 1950s researchers proved that we lose significant levels of vitamin A in our skin and blood every time we are exposed to sunlight. Our bodies take days to replenish these levels through diet, but may not be able to keep up with the daily depletion, hence we may become Vitamin A deficient. Over time, this may develop into what experts consider “photodamage” and leads to premature aging. Many skin cancers are associated with low levels of vitamin A. Fortunately, daily topical application can undo untoward effects of sun exposure, by replenishing this all important ingredient that actually controls over 1000 genes in the skin’s DNA. Vitamin A, known as “The Skin Normalizer” has been shown to regulate oil production, cell turnover, increase the skin’s ability to heal, increase internal moisture in the skin, reverse established damage, increase collagen and elastin, improve tone and texture, the list goes on and on. There is not a single concern that you have that Vitamin A will not address.

Not all vitamin A are created equal

Well, technically speaking, in terms of results, they are. Regardless of which form of vitamin A you choose, the results will be the same: A healthier epidermis with an increase in volume in the dermis, i.e. collagen synthesis. The key is to choose the form that is not irritating to the skin when topically applied, and can be used day and night because it is not going to make your skin sensitive to the sun. Research has shown that retinyl palmitate, an ester form of the traditional, medical and well known Retinoic Acid (brand name of Retin A), is as effective at satisfying our need for results, but without any of the irritating side effects of the acid or alcohol (retinol) forms that are traditionally used.

Vitamin B

What good is a plump, line free appearance, that is thwart with unsightly uneven skin tone? Some of those collagen boosting ingredients are no match for an upset melanocyte (the cell responsible for creating the colour of skin) Hell has no fury like a damaged melanocyte! Our previous heroic ingredient will go a long way, not only in feeding the skin to produce more collagen, but will help regulate and undo the damage done to our skin’s color cells. But the addition and conscription of lightening ingredients will go a long way to improving the overall appearance of the skin, bringing it into a more radiant state. Niacinimide, an anti-inflammatory (a contributing factor in the aging process), helps even out uneven skin tone and up-regulates cell turn over.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been a staple in many Cosmetic Chemists’ arsenals. It feeds the skin to boost collagen, filling in fine lines and wrinkles, and creates a radiant glow, as it improves uneven skin tone. But, as a cosmetic ingredient, it has had its fair share of trials and tribulations, as the traditional form that most cosmetic houses use, L-Ascorbic Acid, is inherently unstable. Even in the best-case-scenarios, the acid form of C has a limited shelf life. Beyond 3 months from the date of manufacture, the efficacy of this ingredient is greatly reduced due to oxidation which breaks down the molecules rendering them ineffective. Think about cutting open an apple and watching it turn brown - that’s what happens to the vitamin c in the acid form. All vitamin C starts out as clear, white or see through when formulated into a gel or cream. Over time the oxidation process will change it to a deep orange or brown color, showing the progressive loss of efficacy. Many companies will opt for stable preparations. One way gives the consumer the opportunity of mixing the vitamin C, supplied as a packet of acid powder which is then mixed with a catalyst, ensuring the freshest L-Ascorbic Acid available. OR another form is an encapsulated vitamin C. The encapsulated C, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, has the benefit of having a very long shelf life, and the ability, as an ester C, of being absorbed into the skin at a rate of 10 x that of the acid form. Therefore it provides greater antioxidant activity, greater natural sunscreen protection, increased skin luminosity and better collagen deposition.

Growth Factors

When our skin is young and frisky, it naturally releases growth factors. These can dictate how well the skin functions. Our skin cells are BIG communicators, talking to each other all the time about the status of the skin, UV, pH, immune responses, etc. Our skin is utterly reliant on this ability to communicate in order to ensure optimum functionality. As we age, these growth factors, as with most critical functionality in our skin, start to diminish. So topical application of growth factors can go a long way in improving many aspects of how the skin works, and one of those is collagen produc- tion. Growth Factors like TGF B3, is a key regulator of collagen synthesis, and supplying your skin with a topical gel, such as colostrum, will increase the TGF B3 levels in the skin, thereby signaling the deposition of more collagen. Colostrum also has far more benefits to the skin than just erasing lines, including calming, soothing and reducing redness.


Peptides are the newest players in our skin care ingredient arena, and they deserve their place on the starting line up. They act like keys that can turn on certain activity within the skin. Matrixyl 3000, Matrixyl Synthe 6, and Trylagen all rev up collagen production. In combination, studies have shown the 3 can put you on a fast track to a more youthful appearance as they promote smoother looking skin and improve the appearance of sun damaged skin tone, create a visibly smoother, plumper and lifted skin appearance, and restore a firmer look that is characterized by youthful-looking skin.


Although sunscreens may not be as exciting as a new scientific formulation of power peptides to erase the years of sun abuse (we know what you did — iodine and sun reflecting sheets to get that golden glow you now wish you had not), they are a very important step in a complete regimen. Physical blockers such as Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide should be in every formulation of sunscreen you purchase. No chemicals, no perfumes, just a clean antioxidant enriched sunblock of at least SPF 25. It is a must to apply and reapply every morning after your moisturizer and under your make up. No exceptions!!The best laid plans of cleanse-tone-treat-repeat, will be undone when exposed to the damaging effect of the sun.

Candace Noonan LE Aug 2015