Sales in the cosmetics industry (which includes all skincare) continue to rise and are expected to reach 500 billion annually by 2020 (Zion Market Research, 2018)! Many companies have made millions of dollars selling products that are unnecessary and unsubstantiated. So, with all of these skincare products on the market, how do you know which ones work and which ones you should be using? This simple guide will help you create a skin care regimen with scientifically proven skin products.
We’ve all been convinced of a product’s miraculous claims by a salesperson, only to take it home and be disappointed with what turns out to be yet another mediocre product. Over the years, my skincare graveyard (the cast aside products that didn’t live up to their claims) has become larger and increasingly more expensive, which prompted me to do a little digging into the science and research behind skincare. That was several years ago, and since then I’ve learned that there are several great products on the market that have strong scientific evidence behind them. I’ve also learned that there are even more products on the market that have no evidence whatsoever. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Cosmetics and skincare companies produce millions of products every year with almost no regulation or oversight (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2013). That’s right, the products that we smear all over our largest organ (the skin) have almost no one making sure that they’re safe or manufactured in a sanitary way, much less that there’s any proof behind their grandiose claims. The only time that a product has to offer scientific evidence to the FDA is if it is intended to be used for a medical purpose, such as eczema or acne. Turns out aging skin is not a problem that the FDA deems “medical,” so skincare companies can make up whatever claims they want about their products magically erasing wrinkles and pores and spots. And we’re buying into it. To the tune of 500 billion dollars!
Several skincare companies are now conducting their own research on products, and while I commend the effort to offer scientific evidence, you have to interpret their results carefully. A study conducted on only 15 people that were hand chosen by the skincare company themselves can’t necessarily be applied to the general public. You also have to consider who is funding the research, and how the results may be presented in a way that benefits that entity.
This doesn’t mean that all skin care is terrible and that all companies are lying and only out to make a buck. But it does mean that we as consumers have to become more savvy about the claims and ingredients in our skincare. If you’ve ever tried to read an ingredient label, you know that’s easier said than done. That’s why the team of skincare and medical professionals at JSpa Medical Spa hand selects each product that we carry based on the proven science behind the ingredients.
We’ve created a simple acronym, ERASER(S), to easily remember the products that should be a part of your skin care regimen. I like to think that using these products is like using an eraser to get rid of your skin problems!
Eye creams. There is no one miracle eye cream, but I add this to the top of the list to remember not to forget about eyes! So many women, especially those in the 20s and early 30s, forget about the eyes because they haven’t become problematic. Yet! But the delicate skin around your eyes is especially prone to wrinkling as we age, so don’t forget about an eye cream.
Retinoids. Whether you use a prescription tretinoin or an over the counter retinol, retinoids should be a part of your skin care routine. Retinoids, or Vitamin A derivatives, are the most scientifically proven anti-aging product on the market. Doctors started using it for acne in the 1970s, but they noticed that the skin’s texture also improved. Since then there have been countless studies that show over and over again that retinoids are the best product for anti-aging. They stimulate cell regeneration, rebuild collagen, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and fade age spots (Bhawan et al., 1991). They also exfoliate the skin to refine the texture, minimize pore size, and even skin tone. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post on the wonders of retinoids!
Antioxidants. These powerful ingredients repair and prevent free radical damage that damages skin. Free radicals are “free” (unpaired) electrons that can cause damage to your cells’ DNA. Free radicals usually come from some sort of environmental insult, like the sun, pollution, toxins, tobacco, and cortisol from stress. Antioxidants work by neutralizing those free electrons so that they can’t cause damage, and they also help repair existing damage that has already occurred. Vitamin C is the most well researched antioxidant in skin care and has been shown to help prevent sunburn, help prevent and reverse sun damage, improve fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots, and stimulate collagen production (Offord et al, 2002). These powerhouse ingredients should be a part of your daily skincare regimen! At JSpa Medical Spa, we carry multiple antioxidant serums that contain high percentages of antioxidants.
Sunscreen. Sun exposure is responsible for as much as 90% of skin aging, including sagging, discoloration, and wrinkles. Prevention is key, and everyone should wear sunscreen every single day. Let me repeat. Everyone should wear sunscreen. Every. Single. Day. Sunscreen is a must in every skin care regimen, and we carry several different products at JSpa Medical Spa to ensure you find the sunscreen that is right for you.
Exfoliants. Increasing cell turnover reveals more luminous skin and also stimulates the skin to make new cells. As you age, the rate of cell turnover slows down dramatically, and the dull dead cells on your skin’s surface hang around much longer. Exfoliating helps to encourage new cell growth below the surface, helps fade age spots by removing dead skin cells containing excessive pigment, unclogs pores, minimizes pore size and superficial scars, makes fine lines and wrinkles look less visible (because the newly exposed layer of skin reflects light better), and allows better absorption of other products. We carry several great products at JSpa Medical spa, including both chemical and physical exfoliants.
Restoring agents for skin. These are ingredients that help restore your skin barrier, which can break down due to sun exposure, over exfoliating, using harsh detergents or perfumes, or just being in a dry climate. These ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptides, growth factors, stem cells, and niacinamide, should be in your daily moisturizer.
(S)pecific products for your specific skin concerns. This category is in parentheses because it may not be necessary for everyone, as it depends on your individual skin concerns. There are many great products that have scientific evidence as well as long track records of success, that are targeted for specific skin concerns, such as skin lightening hydroquinone to reduce hyperpigmentation, skin soothing licorice and chamomile to calm rosacea and sensitized skin, and benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to treat acne. These may not make the list of products that should be in every regime because not everyone suffers from those conditions. But if you suffer from specific problems such as hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or acne then you can and should add specialized products into your regimen.
Are you using these scientifically proven skin products as part of your skin care regimen? Call JSpa Medical Spa to book a skincare consultation, and we’ll help you determine which products are right for you!
Bhawan, J., Gonzalez-Serva, A., Nehal, K., et al (1991). Effects of Tretinoin on Photodamaged Skin A Histologic Study. JAMA Dermatology, 127 (5), 666-672
Offord, A., Guatier, J., Avanti, O., et all (2002). Photoprotective potential of lycopene, β-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C and carnosic acid in UVA-irradiated human skin fibroblasts. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 32 (12), 1293-1303.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Authority Over Cosmetics: How Cosmetics Are Not FDA-Approved, but Are FDA-Regulated.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration , 3 Aug. 2013, www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/fda-authority-over-cosmetics-how-cosmetics-are-not-fda-approved-are-fda-regulated.
Zion Market Research. “Global Cosmetic Products Market Will Reach USD 863 Billion by 2024: Zion Market Research.” Global News Wire, 22 June 2018, www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/06/22/1528369/0/en/Global-Cosmetic-Products-Market-Will-Reach-USD-863-Billion-by-2024-Zion-Market-Research.html.