MOLEC­U­LAR BEAUTY

Ground­break­ing for­mu­las that give your skin that lit-from-within ra­di­ance.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

There’s revo­lu­tion in the beauty world. Driven by science, the pros are pi­o­neer­ing new for­mu­las that are caus­ing real (even amaz­ing) changes to your com­plex­ion at the molec­u­lar level. These break­throughs – from a next-level vi­ta­min C to mi­croen­cap­su­lated par­ti­cles that re­lease in­side your skin – are shield­ing your cells from what ages them, suc­cess­fully nour­ish­ing and hy­drat­ing the epi­der­mis, and pro­mot­ing the col­la­gen pro­duc­tion you need to look smoother and firmer. Here are the in­gre­di­ents to know, and how to take full ad­van­tage of their power.

The al­pha vi­ta­min

Vi­ta­min C is one of only two mol­e­cules (vi­ta­min A is the other) to make it past your skin’s up­per lay­ers and get in­side col­la­gen-mak­ing cells. “Your cells are nat­u­rally equipped with vi­ta­min C, so their trans­porters recog­nise it and ac­tu­ally draw it in to­wards the nu­cleus, which is re­ally stun­ning,” says Ben Fuchs, a cos­metic chemist.

Vi­ta­min C’s ef­fect on the skin is pretty stun­ning, too: “When this vi­ta­min gets into these cells, the pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen – which is what makes skin firm – in­creases up to eight­fold,” says Dr Neal Schultz, a der­ma­tol­o­gist. “It also re­duces the for­ma­tion of melanin, the pig­ment that pro­duces age spots, and pro­tects against free rad­i­cal dam­age.”

The thing is, reg­u­lar vi­ta­min C is wa­ter­sol­u­ble and no­to­ri­ously un­sta­ble. It stops work­ing be­fore it en­ters the cell. A new form, called tetra­hexylde­cyl ascor­bate, is more sta­ble and oil-sol­u­ble, so it’s much eas­ier for the skin to ab­sorb. You’ll find it in Truth Treat­ment Sys­tems Truth Balm (US$179 or $249, truthtreat­ments.com).

Pow­er­house botan­i­cals

Nat­u­ral ex­tracts (from plants, herbs and flow­ers) have cen­turies worth of proof that they work as po­tent an­tiox­i­dants and hy­dra­tors – but a new in­no­va­tion makes them even more ef­fec­tive. “A process called mi­croen­cap­su­la­tion wraps each botan­i­cal par­ti­cle in a pro­tec­tive shell, which helps pro­tect the in­gre­di­ent from de­grad­ing, and con­trols its re­lease un­til it has made its way into your skin,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Dendy En­gel­man. Think of them as teeny, tiny pills in­side your serum or cream. Get the tech­nol­ogy in Phi­los­o­phy Time in a Bot­tle 100% In-con­trol ($115, Sephora).

Of course, you don’t want all your skin­care to sink into skin. On the sur­face, humec­tants help to stop wa­ter from es­cap­ing, while an­tiox­i­dants can fight off en­vi­ron­men­tal ag­gres­sors. Royal jelly, from honey bees, is both. Find it in Burt’s Bees Skin Nour­ish­ment Day Lo­tion (US$15.30 or $21.25, www.ama­zon.com).

Mois­ture mag­net

When hyaluronic acid (of­ten re­ferred to as HA) comes into con­tact with your skin, it ab­sorbs 1,000 times its own weight in wa­ter, do­ing won­ders for hy­dra­tion. That’s crit­i­cal. But more fas­ci­nat­ing is that when HA lev­els in­crease, the col­la­gen in our skin thrives, says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Sherry In­gra­ham. She adds that HA nour­ishes the col­la­gen and elastin fi­bres that plump and firm our skin, and that pump­ing be­comes more im­por­tant as we age.

In our 20s, our bod­ies be­gin to pro­duce less HA, and the de­cline ac­cel­er­ates in our 40s, Dr In­gra­ham says. An­noy­ingly, the level of an en­zyme that breaks down HA stays the same, while in­flam­ma­tion and UV dam­age are caus­ing it to de­grade. You can in­ject HA into the skin (that’s what fillers like Juve­d­erm are made of) or ap­ply it top­i­cally with Neu­tro­gena Hy­dro Boost Hy­drat­ing Serum ($24.90, Guardian).

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