Cosmeceutical skincare – we’ve been here many times before. By now, we should already understand that a prescribed regime – as in a customised collection of products that are specifically suited to your particular skin condition, needs and goals – is the way to truly see results.
Dr. Ben Johnson MD, founder and formulator of Osmosis, says: “it turns out that by age 50, we have 25 percent less circulation in the skin, which coincides with 25 percent fewer growth factors, 25 percent less collagen, 25 percent more imperfections and discoloration, 25 percent closer turnover and much more. This all increases by 1 percent a year.”
From understanding these statistics, it’s vital that we effectively increase the circulation within our skin in order for it to operate at its optimal and youthful state. However, when you’re delving into the world of scientific skincare, it’s not only incredibly confusing but it’s also difficult to figure out how they differ from each other and what delivery systems they use. Every brand has its own delivery system to ensure the ingredients housed in their serums are penetrating to the targeted layer of skin. In this issue, we’re going to explore six well-known brands that are used nationwide in New Zealand – Environ, Ultraceuticals, asap, Aspect Dr., Osmosis and Dermaviduals – to understand their philosophies and get a little technical on how they work on our skin.
Dr Hans Lautenschlager
Formulator & Creator of Dermaviduals
1. How was Dermaviduals founded and why? Dermaviduals was founded in 1994. The idea behind the brand was to offer dermatologic skincare that could be individualised for each and every client, a truly tailored approach that adapts to the needs of the individual with its bespoke concept.
2. What does the human skin mean to Dermaviduals and what are its beliefs and processes when approaching skin health? What makes it different from other brands? Dermaviduals focuses on the niche between cosmetics and dermatological products. Our brand and product offerings are able to solve simple right through to severe skin problems. The Dermaviduals difference is the fact that the brand and products do not serve the short-dated hypes of mainstream marketeering, but convert users and therapists with facts and is based on results-based evidence. At the core of Dermaviduals is corneotherapy – a principle coined by Professor Albert M. Kligman in the 1990s – which is the science of maintaining and restoring healthy skin. By treating the skin from the outside-in, with a superior delivery system and purely skin-identical ingredients, we improve the function of the skin and overall skin health. By arming our skin with physiological ingredients that work to strengthen it, we are giving the skin added protection from the environment and other external aggravating factors that only work to impair the skin.
3. What type of products do you produce and why? [We use] formulations without detrimental components such as preservatives, perfume, mineral oils, silicones, emulsifiers, dyes, amines and many others according to the I.A.C. lecture 2018 “Current Stage of Corneotherapy Formulations”. Correspondingly, there is a retail, professional, modular, specialised and ‘deco’ make up range. Pretty bottles and beautiful smelling creams may be appealing in some senses, but are foreign to our skin, and detract from healthy, functioning cells. Dermaviduals does not incorporate these ingredients that simply appeal to consumerism, because there is enough stress on the skin with environment, genetics and lifestyle without us adding to the impacts that foreign substances can have.
4. How do they work in terms of delivery system? The delivery systems consist of the derma membrane structure (DMS®), liposomes, nanoparticles and oleogels. This system fuses and strengthens the bilayers of the skin, enabling effective penetration of the pure and active ingredients. Once released from the delivery system, these agents permeate through the skin barrier, which is why it is so important to incorporate no preservatives, fragrances, colours and emulsifiers. This delivery system ensures an ethical and optimal delivery to the cells that keep the skin in optimal condition. Liposomes are not new in skincare, however, like anything, the quality needs to be checked. Many other liposomal delivery systems are synthetic, however, Dermaviduals only encapsulates their delivery system in a skin-identical ingredient that is harnessed for liposomal transport deeper into the skin: phosphatidylcholine.
5. What results can we expect from using your brand? The combination of an expert skin analysis from a skin treatment therapist, coupled with the selective application of Dermaviduals’ bespoke products, guarantees excellent results on nearly all cosmetic skin problems and medicinal indications. The delivery system releases active ingredients beyond the first barrier of defence where they are needed most, to produce a result that will not only change the skin, but can change lives for those that are particularly afflicted with skin health issues. By repairing the skin barrier, we can ensure external environmental factors are held at bay, and the integrity of the dermis is assured for long-term protection and results.
6. Due to the potent nature of the products, is there anything we should avoid during the application process? The products are biologically degradable and physiological. I foresee the property ‘physiological’ will be more important in the future than the question of ‘synthetic or natural’. That’s why no special prerequisites are necessary before, during or after treatment procedures. However, due to the potent nature of the products, and the particularly effective delivery system, we do recommend Dermaviduals is used exclusively and not mixed with other brands.
Cosmetic Chemist and the Managing Director of asap
1. How was asap founded and why? The asap brand was originally founded and developed to handle Australia’s particularly harsh climate, universally recognised as the toughest on Earth.
2. What does the human skin mean to asap and what are its beliefs and processes when approaching skin health? What makes it different from other brands? asap Skin Products is an innovative, Australian-owned company providing the highest quality of simple, effective and affordable cosmeceutical skincare for busy people of all skin types for almost two decades.
Scientifically formulated to provide visible results for difficult skin concerns – including sun-damaged, ageing and acne-prone skin – the range draws on active ingredients including AHAs, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and antioxidants to promote younger, fresher and healthier looking skin. By encouraging cell renewal and providing protection from environmental damage, asap skin products help reduce the build-up of dead skin cells, assist in clearing blocked pores and stimulate the production of new collagen.
3. What type of products do you produce and why? As a professional cosmeceutical range, asap products are only supplied to qualified skincare professionals who are expertly trained in analysing skin and offering expert recommendations. Our skincare professionals offer professional in-salon treatments and peels, including asap’s Microplus+ microdermabrasion and sonophoresis treatments. Finally, asap pure mineral makeup was the first mineral makeup to include cosmeceutical ingredients to benefit the skin. The range includes a cosmeceutical liquid mineral foundation, which offers beautiful coverage while helping to protect the skin from the damages of daily pollution, the signs of ageing and assists in reducing the appearance of enlarged pores.
4. How do they work in terms of its delivery system? Each asap product has been designed to optimise the delivery of the actives it contains to ensure it reaches the intended targeted areas within the skin efficiently. For example, the asap super C serum contains vitamin C as a fine powder, microencapsulated in a non-water- soluble base, which provides a slow release effect allowing the vitamin C to gradually diffuse into the skin. This slow release method is very effective and efficient, and allows the vitamin C to be delivered over a period of time, providing enhanced penetration and less chance of product reactions. Other areas for consideration to ensure efficacy is the percentage of each active ingredient used, the pH level of the product, its viscosity, whether the product is an oil in water or water in oil formulation and if the product requires a slow release system, so that the active ingredients are absorbed into the skin over a period of time, to ensure optimal skin benefits.
5. What results can we expect from using asap? This is dependent on the individual’s skin concern. Whilst the products have been proven to treat acne, rosacea, sun damage, skin ageing etc., they will also help improve skin texture, hydration and the overall appearance of all skin types.
asap skincare provides results in three stages:
Instant – increased hydration, smoothness and skin glow and radiance is improved.
After 28 days – a single skin renewal cycle has taken place, revealing a fresh layer of skin that has been positively affected by the active ingredients.
After six months – with daily use, overall skin function is improved, resulting in a healthier, clearer, younger and more radiant-looking skin.
asap skin products offer outstanding results, due to the range including high levels of clinically active ingredients, such as retinol (vitamin A), L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) niacinamide (vitamin B3), peptides, resveratrol, idebenone, pycnogenol, crosslinked hyaluromic acid, telomere technology, and AHA/BHAs from glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids – just to name a few.
AHA/BHAs have been the backbone of the range due to the importance of exfoliation. As we age, skin cell turnover slows down, which can result in a dull, lifeless complexion. By exfoliating daily, dead skin cells are removed, allowing for better penetration of products containing active ingredients and resulting in a smoother, clearer and more translucent complexion.
The beneficial effects of AHA use, after as little as three months, increases:
Dermal and epidermal glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content
Dermal type I collagen MRNA
Normalises skin damaged by ultraviolet light
6. Due to the highly active nature of the products, is there anything we should avoid during the application process? It’s always best to follow the recommendations of a skincare professional to ensure the correct application of each product. Due to the highly active ingredients, some products may need to be gradually introduced, to allow the skin to adapt to the activity occurring within the skin. Also, some products are intended for day use and others for night use. For example, we do not recommend applying Super A+ Serum (retinol) or Radiance Serum (AHA/BHAs), during the day.
Dr Des Fernandes
Founder of Environ
1. How was Environ founded and why? When I started to make Environ skincare products and pioneered the use of vitamin A in these products, I did so because I wanted my patients to get the best product available that incorporated all our modern scientific knowledge about skincare. I knew that the cosmeceutical of the future had to contain adequate amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and other antioxidants in order to protect skin from the ravages of increasing UV irradiation and the onslaught of free radicals. I designed Environ to correct the chronic deficiency of vitamin A and antioxidants that everyone in the world suffers from in the exposed areas of skin.
2. What does the human skin mean to Environ and what are its beliefs and processes when approaching skin health? What makes it different from other brands? The Environ philosophy is that we should all be able to enjoy beautiful skin for a lifetime, where the cells of the skin produce healthy, highly specialised new cells, membranes, collagen and elastin, and the all-important ‘glue’, together with the inter-cellular connections, that ensure a resilient and flexible skin.
The brand is designed to help your skin to improve as it ages, not the other way around. Ageing is merely damage to the cells caused by a deficiency of vitamins through exposure to UV rays and, in some cases, neglect.
3. What type of products do you produce and why? Environ skincare products are intended for use on all skin types, on people of all ages. The products are only manufactured from the highest-quality ingredients and fresh, active vitamins. They are hypo-allergenic and free from colourants. The revolutionary philosophy of Environ is to protect and help to strengthen and improve the skin’s density, making it healthier, rather than removing it. Environ’s formulations and procedures do not destroy the horny layer of the skin; they are developed and formulated to achieve maximum penetration of vitamins and antioxidants without damage to the outer layer of skin.
4. How do they work in terms of its delivery system? The foundation is vitamin A, along with vitamins C and E, antioxidants and peptides. No one in the world can afford not to replenish their vitamin A and antioxidants in their skin each and every day. Environ pioneered the use of effective doses of vitamin A and antioxidants. Many creams also contain these types of vitamin A, however Environ utilises them in different forms and high concentrations that compare with the highest strengths of retinoic acid.
5. What results can we expect from using Environ? Skin that is healthier and stronger and holds its age. Our loyal client following is a testimony in itself that lines and wrinkles should not be a natural side effect of the ageing process. Once cells behave as ‘happy’, healthy cells producing healthy proteins, lipids and sugars, the skin appearance gets a particular character. It becomes smooth, firm, evenly toned with tight pores and has dynamic blood and lymph circulations, with healthy new cells, membranes, collagen and elastin.
6. Due to the potent nature of the products, is there anything we should avoid during the application process? The sun and environment has a lot to answer for in damaging and ultimately ageing the skin, so avoiding the sun as much as possible, especially at peak times is advised. However we do need a certain amount of sun to manufacture vitamin D. Any anti-ageing skincare routine should always be followed by a sunscreen that includes antioxidants. This enhances the products by protecting your skin rather than negating the effects of active skincare.
Ultraceuticals’ Global Education Ambassador
1. How was Ultraceuticals founded and why? Ultraceuticals was founded in 1998 by Dr Geoffrey Heber who owned one of the very first cosmetic skin clinics in Australia. The reason for its discovery was because Dr Heber had become disillusioned with results clients had on their skin in between their in-clinic visits. So, following a cosmetic conference in the United States, Dr Heber was introduced to skincare containing higher levels of active ingredients such as AHAs and bought a full suitcase of products home to test on his clients’ skin. This was where his passion for skincare really began, as he recognised the benefit of clients using good skincare at home, in-between their clinic visits.
2. What does the human skin mean to Ultraceuticals and what are its beliefs and processes when approaching skin health? What makes it different from other brands? The core of our brand philosophy is that we create skincare that can truly change people’s lives by changing their skin. Our products contain high levels of active cosmeceutical ingredients designed to produce real visible changes in the skin. In order to test this, each one of our active treatment products undergoes rigorous testing on human participants to ensure they do what we are claiming, as well as showing substantiated documentation of efficacy in peer‑reviewed journals. The testing of each product’s end formulation is not a common practice with skincare companies, but it is vital to show that what we are claiming is possible when used as prescribed.
3. What type of products do you produce and why? We produce products, each with a specific purpose to treat skin concerns such as ageing, hyperpigmentation, dryness/dehydration, acne, coarse texture/open pores or redness. These products have each been tested on numerous panelists presenting with specific skin concerns over a three-month period, to see if it delivers effective results. If a tested product does not deliver an effective result on our panelists, it does not go to market… simple.
4. How do they work in terms of its delivery system? Our skin is designed to keep things out, so the research and development team at Ultraceuticals work tirelessly to ensure ingredient and product stability.
An example of an effective delivery system is our Ultra-Reti(™) particles within our Ultra A range of products. Ultra-Reti(™) is a trademarked name for our particles of retinol that have been protected in a soft wax medium to ensure the molecule is protected from air, light and heat. If not protected, the molecule very quickly becomes biologically inactive, therefore ineffective. To aid in delivery, these particles of retinol are formulated incredibly small, then with added penetration enhancers, all active ingredients within the formulation are able to penetrate to the areas in the skin producing outstanding visible results.
Within our Ultra C range, microfine particles of ascorbic acid are used, combined in two varying delivery systems to suit different skin types. One formulation utilises the microfine particles in an anhydrous formula, the other in an aqueous-stable environment enhanced with effective proprietary delivery systems producing outstanding results for our clients.
5. What results can we expect from using Ultraceuticals? Results vary according to each individual and include things like skin type, lifestyle, product usage and history (such as regular use of sunscreen), areas of concern to be targeted and the length of time the concern has been present. Generally, results will be seen in 90 days, however, the mentioned variants can alter result times.
6. Due to the potent nature of the products, is there anything we should avoid during the application process? Ultraceuticals products should always be professionally prescribed, so ensuring a thorough consultation has been performed before commencing use is important. We have a group of products called ‘baseline essentials’ that focus on barrier repair and maintenance where the skincare journey begins, then added ‘treat’ products would be introduced gradually into the individual’s prescription. It is important that each active ingredient is introduced on alternate days for one month, gradually increasing to daily use in the second month. This allows the skin to tolerate the active ingredients, minimising the possibility for skin irritation occurring.
Dr Ben Johnson
founder of osmosis
1. How was your brand founded and why? What does the human skin mean to Osmosis and what are its beliefs and processes when approaching skin health? What makes it different from other brands? I founded this company 10 years ago with the specific intention of creating permanent results. I had found no other line had/has that goal even though the marketing implied(s) the results were(are) long term. Wounding and plumping the skin does not result in long-term results, they disappear when the product or service is stopped. I could not accept the status quo, so I spent years researching the causes of skin conditions including the bottlenecks in ageing and found the most effective solutions for those challenges. What makes us different is that my discoveries led to Osmosis, a line that permanently treats ageing skin and treats most skin conditions by targeting the internal source and empowering the skin.
2. What type of products do you produce and why? My passion is in our serums because they create such a healthy environment in the skin that it functions at its highest capacity. Fortunately, once it has all the tools it needs, the skin will actually thicken its dermis, repair its barrier and heal old wounds. We also make nice moisturisers and masks, but I encourage everyone to invest most of their skincare budget on the products that make permanent changes.
3. How do they work in terms of its delivery system? The delivery system is one of the secrets to our success. We use a pharmaceutical-grade liposomal delivery system that has been shown to increase penetration six times more than skincare without one. Virtually all the damage in our skin is in the deep epidermis and dermis, and so it is critical to get our patented ingredients to the target in order to empower change.
4. What results can we expect from using your brand? Restored turnover rates, accelerated wound healing and collagen/elastin manufacturing, permanent texture/pore and age spot correction.
5. Due to the potent nature of the products, is there anything we should avoid during the application process? Not really. Someone who has a history of hormonal breakouts may want to start with a combined approach of trying to treat the internal source of the acne. Someone with compromised skin should work their way up slowly to the strongest serums. When it comes to combining brands, peptide plumping serums are fine. What you want to avoid is adding in things that damage the skin like retin A, alpha hydroxy acids, Hydroquinone and steroids, all of which hurt the repair-ability of the skin.