Ever wondered what some of those fancy sounding ingredients in your skincare actually do? We asked Fiona Tuck, Skin and Nutritional Medicine Expert, MD from Skinstitut to explain a few of them for us:
What is Retinol?
An active form of the vitamin A molecule. Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient capable of normalizing cell function. Retinol helps with the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, making skin more supple and smooth. Using retinol can improve the firmness of skin, reverse signs of sun and environmental damage, treat acne and reduce hyperpigmentation, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s no wonder retinol has long been touted as a skincare miracle!
Try: Skinstitut Retinol, RRP $45.00, www.skinstitut.com
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that works to protect the lipid rich cell membrane from cell damage. A weakened cell membrane leads to premature ageing and skin discolouration. Vitamin E works with vitamin C so has an active role in protecting the skin from environmental stress, wrinkles and loss of firmness. It also helps skin healing and repair which is why it is often used on scars to assist with skin rejuvenation.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, helping to keep the skin firm and wrinkle free. It also works as a powerful antioxidant protecting the cells from damage, skin discolouration and pigmentation. The capillaries also need vitamin C to keep them healthy so a lack of vitamin C can often show as weakened or dilated capillaries in the face.
Try: Skinstitut Vitamin C 100%, RRP $45.00, www.skinstitut.com
What are Peptides?
Peptides are segments of active proteins that communicate with cells and instruct them to behave in certain ways. In the skin, peptides work in many different ways such as signalling collagen and elastin production. The peptides used in anti-aging products enter skin cells and instruct them to do certain things such as (surprise, surprise) produce collagen, alleviate redness or signal muscles to relax, thereby minimizing wrinkles. There are other peptides that don’t directly stimulate your skin to do anything, but because they are so small can penetrate deep into the layers and act as a delivery mechanism for other ingredients. Copper peptides, for example, bring molecules of copper deep into the skin where it can improve wound healing from the inside out.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
A naturally occurring substance in the human body that regulates cell renewal, lubricates connective tissue and maintains skin’s moisture and elasticity. When used topically, hyaluronic acid creates a moisture barrier on the skin, helping to make it smoother and softer. This ingredient is able to hold up to 1000x its own weight in water, thus producing amazing benefits for dehydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid helps support the lower layers of the skin, providing support and structure. Hylauronic Acid diminishes with age hence the skin loses firmness and moisture.
What is Ceramide?
Lipid molecules that are found in high concentrations within cell membranes. In the top layer of the skin, ceramides hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and retains moisture. (Think of skin cells as the bricks and ceramides as the mortar). In skincare products, ceramides are used to replenish the natural lipids that are lost from exposure to harsh environmental factors, use of drying products, and during in the aging process. They restore moisture, fortify the skin’s natural barrier and help protect it against harm from foreign elements. Ceramides are also particularly effective in treating eczema
Try: Skinstitut Repair Balm, RRP $45.00 www.skinstitut.com
What is Copper?
Copper is a trace metal found in the body’s cells, it attracts peptides and binds with them, forming substances known as copper peptides. In essence, copper acts as a courier, carrying nourishing protein to damaged skin. The main skincare benefit comes in skin regeneration, making copper highly effective in the wound healing process of the skin. Copper also has anti-inflammatory qualities, allowing it to treat a wide range of skin sensitivities and irritations. Because of its ability to assist the formation of collagen and elastin, copper helps the skin stay soft, hydrated and flexible, thereby resulting in a more youthful appearance. Healthy collagen production helps plump fine lines and wrinkles, while the elastin and glycosaminoglycan stimulation maintains the integrity of the skin and minimises the loss of skin firmness that often leads to wrinkles.
Try: Skinstitut Rejuvenate 15 Serum, RRP $45.00 www.skinstitut.com