The Science of Cosmetics
Do over the counter creams really help in the battle against age? Unlikely. Despite their alluring packages and dreamy promises, over the counter cosmetics do not affect the inner structure or function of the skin so they just work in a temporary or superficial way. They may create the illusion of less lines or smoother skin but they certainly don't help reverse the effects of time or have any long-term function. For years cosmetic companies have convinced women through pseudoscience that their skin will look ‘younger', ‘smoother' and ‘softer' but in reality they don't deliver.
Cosmeceuticals however are a new generation of products that represent a marriage between cosmetics and pharmaceutics. They describe a group of products that have a known biologic action on the skin that are driven by science and results. They reduce wrinkles rather than merely disguising them. These kinds of products are available for purchase in medical skin clinics rather than over the counter but are often at comparable prices. So if you have lost faith in the cosmetics game and are fed up of the commercial giants who promise younger, healthier skin but never deliver, then why not try some advanced skin care that actually works? Seeing your Cosmetic Doctor would be the best place to start. They can assess your skin type and recommend a programme of active skin care that would best suit you.
Cosmeceuticals can roughly be divided into 4 main groups: those that neutralise free radicals in the skin; those that regenerate components of the dermis; those that relax the tiny muscles of the face and those that coax senescent cells from retirement. Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid helps fight free radicals, protects against UV induced cell damage and is vital in stimulating fibroblasts to produce healthy collagen fibres. Retinoic acid - not a cosmetic but a drug - has been proven to reverse the signs of skin aging and stimulate collagen production and hyaluronic acid levels, both vital for youthful and healthy looking skin. Retinoic is anti-aging's best kept secret and is the most potent anti-aging medicine available. So if you are serious about anti-aging then why not try some cosmeceutical skin care products that are scientifically proven and really work.
Dr Johanna Ward Medical Director at The Skin Clinic Sevenoaks. www.theskinclinic.org.uk