Peptides are messengers of skin restructuration and repair so can address concerns associated with aging damaged skin. As messenger molecules, peptides are capable of regulating cell activities. They activate the new synthesis of the extracellular matrix (inter-cellular cement) providing a smoothing and anti-wrinkle effect. A peptide is a molecule formed by joining two or more amino acids. They have the same peptide bonds as those in proteins, but are shorter in length. Peptides are named based on the number of amino acids in the chain: dipeptides (2), tripeptides (3), tetrapeptides (4), pentapeptides (5). Growth factors are defined as polypeptides (many) and stimulate cell proliferation. When the number of amino acids is less than 50 these molecules are named peptides while larger sequences are referred to as proteins.
Peptides in skin care are widely known for their anti-aging benefits. Peptides act in synergy with each other to restore collagen production by stimulating fibroblasts to reduce the appearance of wrinkles; some can prevent the formation of expression wrinkles by inhibiting muscle movement; others are known for improving the extrinsic signs of aging and promoting healing.
Common peptides found in skincare are:
RestoreSKN - Promotes growth factor (peptide) production. Actively promotes the production of collagen, elastin to rejuvenate and restructure aging skin and strengthen barrier function
Making the decision as to which peptide products are right for your spa and clientele requires research. Learn and understand what the various peptides do and align those with a skin care line that can provide the results you are seeking. Peptides, proteins and growth factors (polypeptides) are all messaging molecules that tell the skin cells what to do. The best choices are products that combine all these technologies for the best results. Growth factors generated by the body through activation of the wound response and repair process (i.e. peels, microdermabrasion, laser, micro-needling) yield the highest level of peptides.
Marketing peptide-based treatments and retail products starts with comprehensive and thorough education from your vendor. To market and sell products, your entire team (estheticians, front desk and managers) needs to understand the technology to comfortably articulate the concept to the customer. Vendor supported events, demos and social media marketing are all necessary for exposing the great peptide products you carry.
Consumers are now aware that the anti-aging properties of Retin-A, a prescription topical treatment for acne, also decreased the appearance of wrinkles and smoothed skin, in addition to a reducing acne symptoms. It is now the sought-after medical treatment for correcting aging skin symptoms, which is considered a cosmetic usage. It is very effective, however requires a trip to the physician and a prescription. Most health insurance plans will not cover Retin-A or tretinoin for the cosmetic purposes of treating aging skin, so can be very costly.
The active ingredient in Retin-A and tretinoin (both vitamin A derivatives) is retinoic acid. These are the only topicals, to date, to receive FDA approval for anti-aging and correcting sun damage properties. Research shows that retinoids are effective in preventing and treating collagen loss caused by photodamage, and aid in expelling embedded pigment from photo-aged skin. UV exposure decreases collagen types I and III resulting in loss of firmness and elasticity. Treatment of the skin with retinoids (retinol, Retin-A, tretinoin, retinoic acid) prevents the loss of these types of collagen. In addition, studies demonstrated that application of tretinoin or retinol inhibits the induction of matrix metalloproteinase (MMPS) which are in part, responsible for collagen degradation.
Side effects of retinoids can include irritation, desquamation, redness and flakey skin. It is notable that patients with sensitive skin should use lower concentrations of Retin-A and tretinoin (0.025% rather than 0.1%) or, alternatively, lower concentrations of retinol. Accordingly, retinol should be present in concentrations of at least 0.5% to 1.1%, formulated and packaged properly (to minimize irritation and oxidation) to be optimally effective. Those with sensitive skin not only need to use lower concentrations, but also need to start slowly. To begin a regime of retinol at 0.5% every other night will allow to skin to gradually adjust to the use of retinol. Clients should be advised to not stop the usage, but to use it less frequently to become tolerant.
The effectiveness of retinol is related to the proven-effectiveness of tretinoin. Retinol is classified as a cosmetic rather than a drug because it must first be converted to retinoic acid within the skin to be effective. It does not require a prescription so is the preferred anti-aging treatment by estheticians. In general, retinol is considered to be about 10 times less potent than Retin-A, and thus higher concentrations of retinol are needed to achieve similar efficacy to retinoic acid. Although retinol needs to be present in higher quantities than tretinoin or Retin-A to be effective, patients typically experience lower levels of irritation using retinol products. Similarly, retinyl palmitate is a combination of retinol and palmitic acid and so it must be converted to retinaldehyde and then to retinol, then to retinoic acid within the skin in order to be effective. Because of the multiple conversions, retinyl palmitate tends to be milder, but also, far less effective.
Retinoids are thereby considered to be excellent prevention and treatment against the signs of aging caused by UV exposure.
Although sunlight is essential for human life, daily exposure to the sun over a lifetime is a major cause of skin damage, including wrinkling and skin cancer. The process is characterized by clinical, histological and biochemical changes that differ from changes in chronologically aged skin. While chronologically aging skin changes “gracefully”, photo damaged skin will age much faster and “ungracefully” displaying tough, leathery, dry, rough skin, among a few of the visible signs. Many of the skin changes attributed to aging are, in fact, signs of sun-induced skin damage. Sunscreens work by scattering, absorbing or reflecting UV rays. Sun blocks are opaque substances, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, work on top of the surface to deflect UV rays away from the skin. Chemical Sunscreens work by changing UV rays into heat, and release heat from the skin. Sunlight exposes people to two kinds of UV light: UVA and UVB. Virtually all sunscreens provide some level of protection against UVA and UVB rays.
The solar spectrum is divided into the following key regions:
Visible Light (400-760nm)
SPF sunscreen numbers only indicate the amount of time one can stay in the sun without burning. The application of an SPF 15 sunscreen should provide protection about 15 times longer than no sunscreen at all. SPF protection does not increase proportionally with SPF number. SPF 30, for example, absorbs 97% of sun burning rays, while an SPF of 15 indicates 93% absorption. SPF numbers lower than 15 probably won't offer enough protection, while those higher than 30 may not offer any additional benefits.
While there is no defined cure for sensitive skin, and no one is born with sensitive skin, it is apparent that the skin can become intolerant from the use of products with perfumes, dyes and additives that make it reactive, even sometimes, to products designed to soothe and improve the health and quality of the skin. While we can successfully treat symptoms—redness, irritation, itching, and blotchiness—deviating from a healthy skin plan can bring the issues right back. Improving the overall quality of skin however, is a great way to reduce the reactive nature of sensitive skin. A good treatment for sensitive skin is a program of skincare products that include retinol to strengthen skin and enable it to renew itself. Retinol is an active ingredient used in sophisticated cosmetic skin care. It is the most effective substance for the care of aging and UV-damaged skin. Retinol accelerates mitosis, increases enzyme activity, and normalizes keratinization, which improves, strengthens and normalizes the cell renewal process. With the use of retinol, the epidermis and dermis grow thicker, and the skin becomes firmer, elastic and fortified. Additionally, this reduces wrinkles and lines in number, area, length and width. Retinol improves skin texture and tolerance. A skin-strengthening product such as retinol is a step toward resolving sensitive skin issues. Retinol increases cell turnover which forces the damaged surface cells to slough off, allowing the new healthy cells to emerge. Using retinol, a natural form of Vitamin A, replaces what the skin has lost over time (the ability to stimulate the retinoid-receptor found on every cell) and takes the skin to a new healthier, stronger state, which is important in the treatment of sensitive skin. Retinol improves cell formation and often reduces the appearance of blotchy reactive skin that can be easily over stimulated. Beyond treating skin sensitivity, retinol is also considered the most important and effective anti-aging topical that can produce results for everyone that uses it. It smoothes and plumps the skin, and evens skin tone. The use of retinol, in some cases, can increase skin redness, so choosing a retinol product that is blended with high-levels of anti-inflammatory ingredients is a factor in balancing sensitive skin issues. It is recommended to use retinol only one night a week, to start. This will gradually increase skin tolerance, minimize sensitivity, and will prepare the skin, so that the treatment can be used more often. Layering moisturizers containing peptides, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients will help the skin adjust to retinol and provide maximum skin health benefits. Long term regular use of retinol will provide the skin with the vital nutrient, (vitamin A) it needs to be healthier and less reactive to the environment. Using products containing mandelic acid is a great add to minimize bacteria and to provide anti-inflammatory support to the skin. Of course, the careful use of a mild cleanser and a full spectrum sun block is important for safe and effective retinol use.
Mandelic acid is now becoming a more popular alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) in skin care due to its multifunctionality. The name, mandelic, is from the German word "Mandel" which means "almond" of which it is derived. Because of its anti-bacterial properties, this naturally-derived acid has a variety of medical, pharmacological and skin care uses.
As with other AHA’s, mandelic acid increases skin cell turnover by breaking the bonds that hold skin cells together, allowing dead cells on the surface of the skin to be sloughed off to reveal healthier cells beneath. This increased rate of sloughing thins the stratum corneum; a thinner stratum corneum reflects light, allowing skin to be translucent, smoother and more youthful. Mandelic acid improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin texture. Simultaneously, it helps lighten areas that have pigmented in response to sun exposure, stress and hormone activity. Mandelic acid can also help boost collagen production in the dermis, giving the skin support and firmness.
One of the most commonly used AHA’s in skin care for mature skin is glycolic acid. Studies show mandelic acid is as effective as glycolic acid for treating fine lines and wrinkles and other signs of aging. In fact, mandelic acid has advantages over glycolic acid as it causes significantly less redness and irritation.
People with deeply pigmented skin often have problems using AHA’s due to the irritation they cause, that may result in hyperpigmentation. This irritation (inflammation)triggers the release of tyrosinase, that stimulates the melanocytes to produce more melanin. Due to the anti-inflammatory nature of mandelic acid, it is less likely to cause pigment issues. Consequently, mandelic acid is a better choice for darker skin, as well those with sensitive skin, who may experience excessive irritation with other alpha hydroxy acids.
Mandelic acid is used to target other skin problems including blemishes. Its decongesting, anti-bacterial activity and capacity to increase sloughing of dead skin cells makes it a beneficial ingredient for acne sufferers. Mandelic acid possesses some of the characteristics of a beta hydroxy acid, as it can aid in minimizing sebum production. Some manufacturers combine lactic acid and salicylic acid with mandelic acid to create a superficial peel for the treatment of blemished skin. Acne sufferers can also get results at home using products that contain mandelic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid at lower concentrations daily.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, mandelic acid is one of the only AHA’s used for treating rosacea, an inflammatory skin condition marked by facial redness and acne-like bumps. Most alpha hydroxy acids are too harsh for people with rosacea, mandelic acid is better tolerated since it works superficially, is milder and therefore less irritating.
Mandelic acid is an amazing gentle treatment causing far fewer side effects than other alpha hydroxy acids. It is an excellent choice for treating aging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, pigment problems, rosacea, enlarged pores and refining skin texture in all skin types promoting a more healthy, youthful appearance.
Using this power duo to address signs of aging and pigmentation is part of a healthy skin fitness routine and will assist in achieving your desired results. Before committing to a product regimen we highly recommend booking an Introductory Level 1 Skin Fitness Consultation and Facial to get a personalized treatment plan for your individual needs.
Organisms age as cells accumulate free radical damage over time, a free radical is a molecule that has a single unpaired electron. Most biologically-relevant free radicals are highly reactive, for most biological structures, free radical damage is closely associated with oxidative damage.
Antioxidants are reducing agents, and limit oxidative damage to biological structures by neutralizing free radicals. Redox is the term short for reduction–oxidation reaction. This is a chemical reaction where the oxidation states of atoms are changed. It involves both a reduction process and a complementary oxidation process, the key concepts involved with electron transfer. Redox includes all chemical reactions where the oxidation state changes and involves the transfer of electrons between chemical species. When the electron is stripped it is said to be oxidized by free radicals, when the electron is added is said to be reduced by antioxidants.
Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule.
Reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state by a molecule.
Oxidative Stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them with antioxidants. It is known to contribute to skin aging and thought to be part of the development of auto-immune diseases as in Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Cancers. Oxidative stress also plays a role in cardiovascular disease where oxidation triggers the cause of atherosclerosis. Antioxidants, such as glutathione, help protect DNA from oxidative stress.
Glutathione is one of the most important cellular antioxidants to prevent damage caused by free radicals. It is naturally produced in the body and made from specialized amino acids for metabolic and biochemical reactions such as DNA synthesis and repair. Glutathione binds to tyrosinase and helps prevent the production of melanin. Its antioxidant properties eliminate free radicals and inactivate tyrosinase, minimizing the potential for hyperpigmentation. It helps prevent the activation of tyrosinase by reducing free radicals that activate and cause an increase in melanin production. Choosing topical skin care products containing tyrosinase inhibitors can minimize the potential for oxidative stress to the skin and premature aging.
A vitamin is any of a group of organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body…
Vitamins can be antioxidants:
Vitamin A: (retinol), is fat soluble and synthesized from beta-carotene
Vitamin C: (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble compound
Vitamin E: (tocotrienol and tocopherol) is fat soluble
In the winter, humidity levels plummet, the dry air dehydrates skin and strips it of lipids, which are part of its protective outer layer. Irritants enter more easily as the moisture barrier is compromised and causing inflammation, redness and flaking…
Think of the skin's surface like the paint job on a car. If the paint is cracked, the metal underneath is unprotected from the elements, it oxidizes and rusts. The same concept goes for the stratum corneum (the skin’s outer layer) - once its dry, brittle, or cracked, it’s lost its shield and is vulnerable to exposure from the outside, as water evaporates from the epidermis. Fissures on the skin, and infections can occur. When the barrier function is compromised for any reason; cold, wind, dry air, indoor heating or too many chemicals, bacteria enters the epidermis through the cracks on the surface. The stratum corneum contains approximately 30% water and lipids. Its water content is essential, even though it's made up of dead cells. If it dries out, it can't protect the layers of skin below. Like the shiny, beautiful coating on a car's exterior, applying moisturizer, not only makes the surface look attractive, it seals and protects what is beneath it.
Why are moisturizers important, especially in winter?
1. More wrinkles develop…Eliminating moisturizer from a daily routine can lead to deeper wrinkles long-term. When the skin barrier is compromised, the potential for low-grade chronic inflammation occurs. Low levels of inflammation lead to collagen breakdown and accelerated aging.
2. The existing lines will look worse… going without a moisturizer, especially in the winter, can exaggerate the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydrated skin shows all the lines, causing them to be more prominent. A moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid will draw moisture to the skin and aid in plumping out the lines and wrinkles. Xpertmoist, Rubixyl and RestoreSKN will maximize hydration.
3. Your skin will appear dull and flaky — especially if it's cold outside… In the winter, humidity levels drop, and dry air dehydrates skin and strip it of lipids, which are part of the protective outer layer. Irritants enter more easily causing inflammation, redness and flaking.
4. Your skin will itch like crazy… That tight feeling your skin has directly after cleansing can endure all day long without a moisturizer. By mid-day the skin is itchy and uncomfortable. Apply a moisturizer after cleansing…
5. You lose a layer of protection…Many of the most effective skin care ingredients like retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide can be drying. In the summer it may not cause a problem, however in the winter, it is important to apply a moisturizer to offset uncomfortable side effects like red, irritated, peeling skin. When this happens, most clients stop using powerful products regularly, so must deal with the side effects without reaping the benefits.
There are many reasons to use more moisturizers in the winter… be sure to look for those that contain hyaluronic acid, Xpertmoist, Rubixyl and RestoreSKN for maximum moisture benefits.