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The A, B, Cs of skincare

May 11,2017 | Posted by: Erin Docherty
beautiful woman applying skincare

Vitamins and minerals are important not only for your general health – they also play an essential role in skin correction and anti-ageing.

Skincare is no longer just about keeping your complexion superficially hydrated. Advances in technology mean that products packed with antioxidants, vitamins, natural acids and peptides can actively help rejuvenate and improve the function of your skin from the deeper dermal layers.

Professional skincare, also called cosmeceuticals, works in tandem with cosmetic procedures, maximising the results of cosmetic treatments. Quality skincare can help regulate skin cell function and improve circulation, enabling the skin to renew, repair damage and act as an effective barrier – promoting skin that responds better to surgery or laser skin rejuvenation and heals faster.

Many new skincare products contain active ingredients that occur naturally in the skin’s structure, encourage their production or counteract the negative effects of oxidation. Antioxidants (including Vitamins A, C and E) help protect skin by combating free radicals, which attack healthy skin cells and collagen. This attack of the skin’s vital structures can cause damage, mutations, cell death and inflammation, resulting in lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, sensitivity and even cancers.

While there are a myriad of active ingredients on the skincare scene, here are three ‘hero’ ingredients tried and tested to effect real change in the look and function of the skin.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is critical in the maintenance of healthy skin. Synthetic Vitamin A-like compounds, such as retinol, have been clinically shown to reduce many visible signs of skin ageing, especially fine lines and wrinkles. Research has also shown that the use of retinol on the skin can create new collagen deposition, and greater proliferation of new blood vessels.

Improvements have also been observed with regard to skin smoothness, evening of skin tone and overall skin rejuvenation. Retinol plays a prominent role in conditioning the skin prior to many cosmetic procedures such as facial surgery, CO2 laser resurfacing and chemical peels.

Retinol has also been proven to be a potent tool in treating acne by preventing the cells that line the follicular canal from sticking together and creating the solid impactions that block the follicle, thereby addressing the underlying mechanisms that contribute to acne.

Vitamin B

Typically used in serum form, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) can help improve acne, fade hyperpigmentation and improve the skin barrier functions, as well as help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It provides antioxidant properties for the skin and it has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and healing properties, as well as help reduce skin sensitivity.

Vitamin C

Also known by its chemical name ascorbic acid, topical Vitamin C acts as a free-radical fighting antioxidant and can thus help protect the skin from UV damage.

Another benefit of Vitamin C is its ability to enhance synthesis of collagen and elastin, which help skin maintain its plumpness and firmness. Research also suggests that Vitamin C may help to inhibit facial hair growth, acne and the formation of melanin build-up (pigmentation), which can cause dark spots on the skin.

Despite its ability to help protect against skin damage and reduce discolouration, Vitamin C products should still be used in conjunction with, not in place of, a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Active skincare is reliant on increasingly sophisticated delivery systems to stabilise otherwise volatile formulations (such as many topical vitamins) and ensure the key ingredients reach exactly where they are needed most. At the right doses and in the right delivery systems, cosmeceutical-grade skincare can noticeably improve skin tone and texture and minimise the appearance of fine lines. However, to ensure maximum results and peace of mind that you’re using superior products, always consult with a skin therapist who will recommend a skincare regimen specific to your individual needs.