A new haul of brawny skin prod­ucts claims to plump up and smooth out com­plex­ions, but can they even come close to mim­ick­ing the ef­fects of a trip to the der­ma­tol­o­gist’s of­fice? Remy Rip­pon in­ves­ti­gates.

VOGUE Australia - - Contents -

Can the new haul of brawny skin prod­ucts mim­ick the ef­fects of a trip to a der­ma­tol­o­gist’s of­fice?

Pain is a very pow­er­ful de­ter­rent. One friend of mine in her early 40s, who re­cently booked in for a par­tic­u­larly ag­o­nis­ing fa­cial ul­tra­sound treat­ment, found her­self in a pool of tears mo­ments after the de­vice made con­tact with her skin. “I tried it again a sec­ond time, think­ing I was just be­ing overly sen­si­tive, but again I couldn’t do it. My pain thresh­old must be par­tic­u­larly low, or that pro­ce­dure is be­yond painful,” she says. “But I re­ally want the ben­e­fits of the treat­ment.”

Whether it’s the squirm fac­tor, fear of the side ef­fects, or a con­scious de­ci­sion to avoid the now some­what or­di­nary path of non-sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures – Bo­tox, der­mal fillers, chem­i­cal peels – many women are look­ing to their at-home skin­care reg­i­mens to pick up the slack. But can dili­gent serums and tar­geted creams go so far as to mimic the re­sults of an in-clinic treat­ment? And when it comes to a more youth­ful com­plex­ion, does it have to be no pain, no gain?

“Med­i­cal skin­care is the foun­da­tion of healthy skin for life,” says Vic­to­ria-based plas­tic and cos­metic sur­geon Dr Ian Holten. “Just about the only thing skin­care can­not do is re­place lost vol­ume in the cheeks and lips, and I take a very con­ser­va­tive ap­proach here us­ing ra­dio fre­quency, fillers and fat trans­fer. But skin­care al­ways comes first.”

Thank­fully, the new­est haul of skin­care prod­ucts to hit the mar­ket takes its ‘first re­sponse’ role se­ri­ously and has upped the ante when it comes to ef­fi­cacy. La Prairie has launched


Skin Caviar Ab­so­lute Filler, which for­goes needle­work by tar­get­ing loss of firm­ness and vol­ume from the epi­der­mis down. Its sig­na­ture caviar-spiked for­mu­la­tion aims to strengthen the skin’s ma­trix by boost­ing col­la­gen and elastin all while re­quir­ing “no down time, ap­point­ments or dis­com­fort”, says Belinda Be­sant, La Prairie’s re­gional train­ing and events man­ager. “Women are look­ing to put off hav­ing an in­va­sive pro­ce­dure, so prod­ucts such as this of­fer an al­ter­na­tive by pro­duc­ing re­sults over time.” It cer­tainly won’t match filler by in­flat­ing wrin­kles like a birth­day bal­loon, but it does smooth over fine lines re­sult­ing in a plumper and smoother tex­ture.

While the ef­fi­ciency of cos­metic so­lu­tions can’t be over­looked, Aus­tralian der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr In­grid Bas­sett says even if her pa­tients opt for cos­metic pro­ce­dures, skin­care’s pre­ven­ta­tive ben­e­fits are tan­ta­mount. “Fillers and mus­cle re­lax­ants on sun-dam­aged skin can look ap­palling,” she says. “And I en­sure every laser and cos­metic pa­tient is pro­tect­ing their skin from the sun daily, oth­er­wise all our good work will be un­done.” Dr Holten agrees that, par­tic­u­larly when sun dam­age is con­cerned, his rule of thumb is mar­ry­ing ef­fec­tive skin­care with cos­metic prac­tices: “Sci­en­tific skin­care that pro­tects the skin from the sun and re­pairs sun dam­age bridges the gap be­tween cos­metic and med­i­cal skin con­di­tions, in­clud­ing pre­ma­ture age­ing and skin can­cer. This is my non-ne­go­tiable first step in man­ag­ing all of my re­con­struc­tive and cos­metic pa­tients.”

Long con­sid­ered skin­care’s most hard-work­ing in­gre­di­ent – and the most dif­fi­cult to in­cor­po­rate into your reg­i­men, given its in­sta­bil­ity – retinol is like a step­ping-stone in­gre­di­ent be­tween slather-and-go skin­care and more brawny pro­ce­dures. “Even if some­one still chose to go down a more in­va­sive path with surgery, or just lasers or in­jecta­bles, pre­con­di­tion­ing the skin with retinol would al­low for a bet­ter sup­port­ing skin struc­ture and ul­ti­mately a bet­ter re­sult long term for any treat­ment,” says Tracey Beeby, global ed­u­ca­tion am­bas­sador at Ul­traceu­ti­cals. The brand has most re­cently launched Ul­tra A Skin Per­fect­ing Range (a mild and reg­u­lar serum, and a con­cen­trate for pre­con­di­tioned retinol users), which ad­min­is­ters the star in­gre­di­ent via teeny-tiny mi­cropar­ti­cles with a “higher retinol load ca­pac­ity” to en­sure it ac­tu­ally reaches the epi­der­mis to pump up fine lines, wrin­kles and brighten over­all skin tone.

Mean­while, skin­care that ef­fec­tively tar­gets a cer­tain area – be it crow’s-feet or laugh lines – re­mains a key part of any ef­fi­ca­cious reg­i­men in lieu of in­jecta­bles. Shi­seido has re­launched Fu­ture So­lu­tion LX with not only trusty sta­ples like a cleanser, day and night cream, but also with the high-per­for­mance Eye and Lip Con­tour Re­gen­er­at­ing Cream. It’s a su­per­charged repar­a­tive cream – on ap­pli­ca­tion it feels more hearty than an all-over al­ter­na­tive – pro­mot­ing col­la­gen pro­duc­tion in the ar­eas that need it most. “It’s an in­ten­sive treat­ment that helps the del­i­cate skin to thrive, and re­duces signs of age­ing and fa­tigue,” says Shi­seido’s na­tional train­ing di­rec­tor Nancy Woo, not­ing the eyes and mouth are gen­er­ally the first spots to show signs of age­ing. “The skin around th­ese two ar­eas weak­ens eas­ily due to fa­cial move­ments.”

Prov­ing that it’s quite pos­si­ble to bring the doc­tor’s of­fice home with you, Neu­tro­gena has man­aged to em­u­late – al­beit on a slightly smaller, more user-friendly scale – the ben­e­fits of in-clinic light ther­apy. The Vis­i­bly Clear Light Ther­apy Acne Mask treats the skin with vis­i­ble red light (for in­flam­ma­tion) and blue light (for bac­te­ria) to nix acne at the source. In a clin­i­cal test by John­son & John­son, sub­jects who wore the mask for 10 min­utes daily showed 80 per cent fewer break­outs within a week and three-quar­ters felt their skin was softer and smoother. A word of warning though: the mask wouldn’t look out of place at a Daft Punk con­cert, so avoid an­swer­ing the door dur­ing treat­ment.

Choos­ing a tar­geted at-home treat­ment to fix con­cerns is the first point of call, but for cases that re­quire heavy lift­ing, a der­ma­tol­o­gist’s ap­point­ment can ul­ti­mately reach a su­pe­rior re­sult in a frac­tion of the time, says Bas­sett. “For a 35-year-old with mod­er­ate sun ex­po­sure, med­i­cal skin­care may be enough,” she says. “But a life­time spent in the sun re­quires more se­ri­ous mea­sures, such as laser and peels.”





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