SKINCARE 101: Decoding the Ingredient List

SKINCARE 101: Decoding the Ingredient List

Just as we review the nutrition facts on the backs of our favorite foods, it’s important to take heed of ingredients found in your personal skin care products. Many of these products contain chemicals that can harm your skin, despite claims that they will turn your acne-prone complexion into clear perfection. However, reading ingredient labels can be complicated and written in scientific language that can be confusing.

You should first be aware that the ingredients are listed in descending order. For example, the first ingredient that is listed in the formula is more prevalent than the second ingredient listed, and so on. However, you cannot determine the actual amount of each ingredient this way. Let’s say that the first ingredient is water: one brand may consist of 85 percent water, whereas another might only contain 60 percent. The ingredients can be identical, but the formulation may not be.

The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) is a system of names for waxes, oils, pigments, chemicals and other ingredients found in soaps and cosmetics based on scientific names and other Latin and English words. The INCI makes it difficult to identify natural ingredients. For instance, the term for vitamin E is known as tocopherol and the INCI name for shea butter is butyrospermum parkii butter. Most cosmetic companies abide by this naming. This forces the consumer to remember that L-ascorbic acid is Vitamin C as well as an antioxidant.

The following definitions briefly explain popular descriptions of ingredients:

  • Chirally Correct €” Can be derived from natural or synthetic ingredients. It causes the least amount of irritation and lessens the chance of an adverse reaction. Chirally correct products are always recognizable by the skin's receptors.
  • Natural/Organic €” Created by nature. Contrary to popular belief, natural ingredients can cause irritation much like a synthetic ingredient.  The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the term natural, so keep in mind that any and every company can claim its products are just that. All products that claim to be organic must undergo rgirous vetting and are regulated by government agencies.
  • Artificial €” May contain artificial fragrance and colors; may look or smell similar to natural ingredients but is not recognizable by the skin or body.

Keep in mind you cannot tell how good a product is from the ingredients list alone. It’s impossible to determine if the product is worth its high price tag just by reading the ingredient list. While it is important to know what’s in every product, the formula is what counts the most. The list of ingredients does not tell you how labor intensive the product is to make€”whether or not it was cold processed or cooked by an automatic cooker; mixed by hand or in a 500 gallon vat; or made fresh to order or pre-made and stored in drums. Bottom line: If a product is very inexpensive, then its quality might be low. It costs a lot to make an exceptional product.”

So the next time you turn over the back of your facial cleanser and squint to read the list of ingredients, understand that skin care is a complicated science if it's going to produce the best results. Being an educated consumer is the best kind of consumer. Your skin would agree.

Save Your Skin From Free Radical Damage With This Ingredient

antioxidants

While it seems the term antioxidant is used to promote everything from vitamin supplements to dark chocolate, few people understand what makes this unique property so beneficial. As the body’s first line of defense against oxidation €” a chemical response that can produce cell-damaging free radicals €” antioxidants inhibit potentially destructive reactions before they have a chance to snowball out of control.

The human body produces antioxidants naturally and acquires them through dietary sources. However, environmental factors and lifestyle choices greatly increase free radical production and can quickly use up the body’s natural levels of antioxidants. When environmental threats (i.e. UV rays and pollution) and lifestyle choices (i.e. smoking, excessive drinking and poor diet) overwhelm the body with free radicals and exhaust its antioxidant reserves, it often leads to a condition known as oxidative stress. This plays a major role in the loss of firmness, smoothness and luminosity in the skin.

Many skin care products allegedly have antioxidant properties that constantly rebuild the body’s antioxidant supply. The type €” not the quantity €” of antioxidant is what truly makes a difference. Glutathione is a tripeptide that is produced in the liver and consumed in leafy greens such as spinach and purslane. Glutathione works in conjunction with other antioxidants to effectively rid the body of excess free radicals. By maintaining a healthy supply of glutathione in the body, the threat of oxidative stress and free radical damage is greatly diminished, creating a healthier internal environment and keeping skin from aging before its time.

L-Glutathione

COSMEDIX has rendered this essential ingredient even more effective in many COSMEDIX products.

Benefit Balance | ANTIOXIDANT PREP
A powerful antioxidant and environmental protection solution, Benefit Balance boosts the skin’s free radical defenses to prevent the signs of premature aging. Suitable for all skin types, this preventive formula refreshes and tones the skin, while chirally correct L-glutathione mops up excess free radicals to keep it safe, healthy and radiant.

Radiance | AGE MANAGEMENT SERUM
Containing a unique blend of collagen stimulators, Trehalose and supportive remodeling ingredients, this nourishing repair serum is the ideal choice for mature and/or damaged skin. Fortified with L-Glutathione, Radiance offers superior protection against free radicals and aging, while stimulating collagen and elastin production to restore the skin’s youthful glow.

Affirm | ANTIOXIDANT FIRMING SERUM
This antioxidant superserum is packed with more than ten skin-specific antioxidants, including L-glutathione. A perennial bestseller, Affirm is ideal for preventing and correcting the appearance of photodamage€”the no. 1 cause of premature aging.

 

 

Face Masks Dermatologists Swear By

COSMEDIX Face Masks Dermatologists Swear By

Forget the image of gentle, pampering treatments with cucumber-covered eyes. Whether you're fighting blemishes or calming irritated skin, masks can expedite results. But, beware, not any mask will do. Look for concentrated solutions containing powerful, highly-purified ingredients with corrective problem-solvers. (Cucumbers optional.)

Concern: Blemishes and Breakouts
Solution:
Clear Mask by COSMEDIX

For those battling acne-prone, oily and combination skin, every day is a struggle to maintain balance. Most problem skin regimens focus on keeping skin clean and pores clear of dirt and impurities. Exfoliation is a key part of this process sloughing away dead skin cells and other things that can clog pores and trigger breakouts. Clear by COSMEDIX targets pore-clogging debris and clarifies skin with a concentrated blend of salicylic acid €” a known blemish-fighting beta hydroxy acid €” purifying sulfur and highly absorbent minerals. Used weekly (more frequently for excessively oily skin), this detoxifying mask can augment your daily clarifying regimen for more dramatic results in less time.

Concern: Dull Skin
Solution:
Pure Enzymes By COSMEDIX

It can take up to 28 days for your skin to turn over. That number increases with age. As dead skin cells accumulate, it can leave your complexion looking dull. Regular exfoliation can help reestablish its youthful vibrancy. Pure Enzymes uses natural cranberry enzymes and lactic acid to gently melt away dead skin and enhance turnover for a younger-looking radiance. Used alone or as a complement to other exfoliating treatments, this plant-based mask is ideal for all skin types, particularly those with signs of premature aging or with congested skin.

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Concern: Clogged Pores
Solution:
Blue Agave Mask by PÃœR

Sometimes what is aggravating your skin isn't coming from the inside out. It's coming from the outside in. Daily pollution and environmental factors are settling into your pores and affecting your complexion, making it look dull, dry and damaged. Blue Agave Mask's Energy Complex jumpstarts your skin's natural metabolism with green tea, ginseng and Vitamin B for the look of plumper, hydrated and refreshed skin.

Concern: Irritation
Solution:
Beauty Parfait by Aloette

We all know that popping some probiotics helps balance gut bacteria – but did you know it can also bring balance to your skin? The Beauty Parfait is a probiotic yogurt treatment that restores balance to your skin in two ways.  First, probiotics help soothe irritation, so say bye bye to redness. Second, the yogurt, lactic acid and papaya extracts help exfoliate the skin and curb bacterial overgrowth that can stimulate acne. A few Beauty Parfait treatments will have your skin looking calmer, hydrated and smoother without the calories.

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Vitamin C is a Must-Have for Healthy Skin

Vitamin C is a Must-Have for Healthy Skin

Most of us are aware of vitamin C‘s role in the body as an essential part of tissue growth and repair, maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth, strengthening of the immune system and assisting in wound healing. There are other side effects such as improving macular degeneration and reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, its lesser-known salutary effects on the skin are just as dramatic and well-documented.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is central to the production of collagen€”the main protein in the body’s connective tissue and the source of skin’s firmness and definition. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked a higher intake of vitamin C to a generally better skin-aging appearance for women between the ages of 40 and 74, marked by fewer, less pronounced wrinkles and increased hydration.

Because vitamin C nurtures the cells on the inside and outside €” and because it is water-soluble and is not produced by the body€”it is important to include this superior nutrient in both your diet and your skin care regimen. As we age, our natural collagen production rate diminishes, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. When applied topically as a skin treatment, ascorbic acid helps promote collagen synthesis and supplement the skin’s natural deficit, improving skin texture and composition. Vitamin C is an integral part of the chemical strategy for healthy skin€”an indispensable active ingredient that addresses a multitude of skin concerns and conditions. Accordingly, COSMEDIX incorporates chirally correct L-ascorbic acid, found in Pure C,  into many professional and home-care products, from peels and exfoliating masks to skin-rejuvenating serums.

In addition to fostering skin elasticity, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and an effective Tyrosinase (controls the production of melanin) inhibitor, working overtime to thwart the attempts of UV-induced free radicals which can catalyze melanin production and lead to photodamage and hyperpigmentation. When added to sunscreens and anti-aging formulas, vitamin C acts as a performance enhancement component, boosting protective and reparative properties to prevent cellular DNA damage and reduce inflammation.

Pure C is 100% pure L-ascorbic acid. The only form of fresh vitamin C readily absorbed by the skin, these tiny yet powerful crystals make an invigorating skin care cocktail, designed to be mixed with any cosmetic product to promote protein building, brighten the complexion and help put a stop to signs of premature aging.


 

Brighter Ideas: Plant-Based Brighteners That Are Better Than Hydroquinone

Brighter Ideas: Plant-Based Brighteners That Are Better Than Hydroquinone

Dark spots, age spots and other discoloration is a reality for millions of women and men. However, the concept and practice of brightening the skin is far from new. For decades, skin care professionals have sought to minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Some worked – others delivered mixed results. Many, however, carried risks that far exceeded their benefits.

An admittedly effective solution once widely used has proven to be a controversial one. Hydroquinone is a powerful compound that inhibits the Tyrosinase enzyme €” the enzyme responsible for melanin overproduction and helps reduce the appearance of discoloration. Many countries have banned the use of Hydroquinone because of possible toxicity to carcinogenic behavior. Brightening products in the U.S. may still use over the counter concentrations up to two percent and at higher doses from professional sources.

Instead, COSMEDIX uses plant-based brighteners with proven results. Our Simply Brilliant serum, for example, targets melanin overproduction with ten plant-based ingredients, including Waltheria and White Daisy extracts. It also includes exfoliating lactic acid to increase turnover of discolored areas to help the skin repair itself. With all brightening treatment, proper sun protection is required. Nevertheless, brighter days are ahead.

7 Tips For Great Skin

Your lifestyle plays a major factor on the health of your skin. COSMEDIX believes in a holistic approach to skin so these few simple tips will help improve your skin from the inside and the outside.

1. CATCH SOME ZZZ

Getting a good night’s sleep will refresh your mind and body, but what about your skin? Sleep is necessary for our bodies to build up energy reserves and regenerate body cells and tissues. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night also helps the body to metabolize free radicals.

2. DIET FOR BETTER SKIN

Healthy skin starts with a healthy diet of protein, vegetables and fruits. Try foods high in skin-strengthening Omega-3 fatty acids such as sardines, chia seeds, flaxseed and walnuts. Vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production so try adding bell peppers, strawberries, kale, broccoli and, of course, citrus fruits, to your diet. Antioxidants are great for your skin whether applied topically or eaten in antioxidant-rich foods like vitamins A and E charged almond butter, wheat germ, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots and melons such as cantaloupe. Some of our favorite ways to incorporate these foods into our diets are through juicing, smoothies and constant inspiration from health and food bloggers.

3. DRINK MORE WATER

There is simply no substitute for water. The majority of the human body, including 85 percent of the brain, is comprised of water. Maintain your skin’s radiant glow and improve its texture by drinking plenty of water. Believe it or not, water is one of the best method for keeping your skin healthy and supple.

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4. GO NATURAL

Purify and refresh your skin by incorporating a weekly, at-home or spa facial treatment like a face mask €” an important step that is often overlooked in a skin care regimen. Also, choose a mask that contains exfoliating ingredients that will not only keep your skin cleansed and nourished but will also keep your skin looking fresh and radiant.

5. PROTECT! PROTECT! PROTECT!

Although it’s common only to think about sun protection during the summer months, you should still use a product with an SPF during the winter season. Even in colder weather, the sun can cause damage to the skin. Prevent premature aging and the formation of lines and wrinkles by using skin care products with sunscreen that will protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

6. MOISTURIZE

Using a product that’s packed with moisturizing properties will keep your skin looking youthful and healthy all year long. Using a daily moisturizer will keep skin supple. In winter, switch out your lightweight version for something a little thicker for intense moisture replenishment.

7. EXFOLIATE EVERYWHERE!

It is important to exfoliate to keep skin fresh and revitalized. Exfoliating both your face and your body on a weekly basis will remove dead skin cells, dirt and debris and will help your serums and treatments penetrate the skin and deliver nourishment faster. Purity Detox Scrub combines poppy, jojoba and date seeds with salicylic acid for a multilayer cleanse that clarifies pores and smoothes skin for full-body exfoliation.

 

 

The Bright Stuff

Hyperpigmentation occurs when there is an excess of melanin that creates skin that appears visibly darker. If you've been struggling with hyperpigmentation, splotchy skin or just too many freckles, you have undoubtedly come across products that promise to brighten, balance and clarify your complexion in little to no time at all. But just how effective are such products? Is it really possible to visibly brighten the skin for safe, lasting results? The answer is yes.

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Three Steps to Brilliant Skin
COSMEDIX offers a simple three-step program with proven, lasting results. Designed to brighten, enhance and protect, this quick and easy regimen is the ideal solution.

Step 1: Brighten
The most effective brightening ingredients come from marine algae, tropical plants like Waltheria Indica, and more commonplace botanicals such as the white daisy and even licorice. Simply Brilliant features over ten skin-specific, plant-based brightening ingredients. This one-of-a-kind formula targets the appearance of age spots and uneven skin while preventing new problem areas from emerging all without harsh chemical brighteners like hydroquinone and arbutin that can aggravate the skin.

Step 2: Enhance
Vitamin C can help enhance brilliance and firm the skin's appearance. Pure C contains 100 percent pure L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in crystal form and mixes easily with serums like Simply Brilliant to deliver a visibly radiant boost and enhance effectiveness.

Step 3: Protect
Proper sun protection is vital for achieving long-lasting results. UV exposure can unleash harmful free radicals with the power to damage the skin's appearance and worsen the look of discoloration and other concerns. Reflect offers broad spectrum SPF 30 protection in a unique spray-on formula for easy application. Nonirritating and oil-free, it provides an effective solution for even the most sensitive skin types. Also, Peptide-Rich Defense is a nourishing moisturizer with SPF 50 that provides optimal skin protection. It utilizes the power of two €˜designer' peptides and a unique blend of Moringa Oil and Trehalose to improve the look of skin by addressing firmness, tone, and texture while also providing protection against future damage.

Clear Skin 101: Learn the basics for clearer skin

Be Disciplined.
Getting your skin in balance requires time, consistency and discipline. Establish a regimen of cleaning and treating your skin twice a day to eliminate pore-clogging excess oil and cellular debris. Using an exfoliating cleanser, like Purity Clean from COSMEDIX, is an important first step toward clarifying the appearance of problem skin. As lactic acid gently removes dead skin, soothing botanicals including aloe vera, peppermint and lavender  €“  help to calm visible irritation and redness. This powerful formula also preps the skin for additional correctives such as COSMEDIX's blemish-fighting Clarity Serum. While most acne sufferers will see a difference in the first couple weeks of their skin care program, it can take up to 28 days for your skin cells to turn over.

Don't Pick.
Scratching, pinching and squeezing might feel like the right thing to do, but avoid giving into the temptation. Popping blemishes can lead to permanent scarring, increased irritation and redness. Additionally, avoid touching your skin. Dirt and bacteria from unclean fingers can find their way into pores making matters worse. A detoxifying facial mask, like Clear, can keep pores clean and help create a more comfortable complexion. Packed with problem-solving salicylic acid, sulfur and willowherb, a 10-minute application in the morning can absorb excess oil and put you in the fast lane to clearer looking skin.

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Keep Clean.
To minimize the spread of bacteria and other impurities, be sure to wash all pillowcases, towels and makeup brushes weekly. If your skin is particularly sensitive, look for a detergent that's free of irritating dyes and fragrances. These common additives can rob skin of vital moisture, prompting it to produce more sebum natural oil that conditions the skin than normal, increasing the risk of clogged pores and breakouts.

Don't Sweat It.
After exercise, be sure to use a mild cleanser such as Benefit Clean to wash away sweat that can attract pore-clogging impurities and lead to body acne. For persistent blemishing, turn to Purity Clean. In addition to lactic acid, it also features tea tree oil which acts as a natural astringent. Also, exfoliating Purity Detox Scrub sloughs away potentially pore-clogging dead skin and debris.

Proof is in the Peels

For COSMEDIX, proof is easy to come by. For those looking to correct superficial flaws and revitalize the skin, COSMEDIX offers a gentle, no-downtime alternative to harsh chemical peels. Instead of forcing the skin to repair itself with damaging chemicals, COSMEDIX works with the skin's own chemistry to encourage healthy exfoliation and renewal. Using chirally correct ingredients ingredients purified at the molecular level for maximum potency with minimal irritation risk COSMEDIX peels are powerful enough to dramatically diminish the appearance of fine lines, dark spots, oily and acne-prone skin.

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Blueberry Smoothie
Combining antioxidant Blueberry Extract with stimulating L-Lactic Acid and Blue Corn Meal, Blueberry Smoothie is a powerful yet gentle exfoliating treatment. This COSMEDIX treatment effectively corrects an assortment of superficial skin concerns from sun damage to multiple degrees of discoloration. Blueberry Smoothie is so impressive it's among COSMEDIX's top-selling professional treatments.

Pomegranate Treatment
Pomegranate Treatment infuses the skin with powerful antioxidants while helping to stimulate collagen to smooth over rough skin and correct uneven texture and tone. Combining L-Lactic Acid with some of nature's most effective free radical fighters including Resveratrol from red wine, Pomegranate Seed Oil and Astaxanthin a marine antioxidant 500 times more potent than vitamin E Pomegranate Peel is a remarkably gentle catalyst for change.

Benefit Peel
Benefit Peel truly is a peel for all skin types. Utilizing encapsulated Retinol, this stimulating antioxidant peel is especially effective at neutralizing hyperpigmented, problem and prematurely aged skin types.

Purity Peel
A unique blend of chirally correct acids, Purity Peel is the answer to oily and acne-prone skin. Made with encapsulated retinol and salicylic, pyruvic, tartaric and mandelic acids, this maximum strength clarifying peel effectively exfoliates problem skin, helps to unclog pores and eliminate toxins and impurities with amazing results.

Consult a professional if you are ready to upgrade your peel experience and try a COSMEDIX ELITE peel.

The Truth About SPF

SPF, or sun protection factor, is a standard measurement of a sunscreen's ability to protect the skin against sun rays. Dermatologists and medical professionals recommend a minimum SPF of 15. When applied on a daily basis it will properly shield skin from potentially harmful solar radiation.

The lighter a person's skin, the more sun protection they need. An SPF of 30 is recommended for fair skin. Having a deeper skin tone, however, does not exempt you from wearing sunscreen. There is no such thing as a safe tan. Even those with deeper skin tones need protection, as the melanin in dark skin creates only an SPF of 4€”not nearly high enough to block UV rays.

It is also important to realize that SPFs are not mathematically linear. In other words, applying SPF 10 on top of SPF 20 is not the same as applying SPF 30. Similarly, SPF 30 does not have twice the amount of protection as SPF 15. In reality, SPF 30 blocks only four to five percent more UV rays than SPF 15. The solution to this complex equation? During periods of prolonged exposure, apply two layers of sunscreen to ensure complete coverage, and reapply throughout the day.

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Shield Your Skin from Aging
Ninety percent of what we associate with aging is a result of overexposure to UV rays. Just compare the sun-exposed skin on your arms and legs with the areas on your body that are generally covered; the difference in skin tone and texture is evidence enough. Here are a few ways that prolonged, unprotected sun exposure can take its toll with visible effects:

  • Skin Pigmentation €” UV rays induce melanin production that stimulate hyperpigmentation, otherwise known as sun spots and discolorations.
  • Collagen Production €” Solar radiation injures fibroblasts, the connective tissues that secrete skin-rejuvenating collagen and elastin, causing deep lines and wrinkles.
  • Moisture Levels €” UV light impairs the skin's barrier function and reparative abilities which leads to dehydration and a leathery appearance.
  • Cellular Damage €” Excessive and repeated sun exposure can permanently damage skin cell DNA resulting in serious skin conditions.

 

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Choose the sunscreen that fits your needs.

Hydrate + with Broad Spectrum SPF 17
This daily moisturizing sunscreen incorporates soothing emollients, including jojoba, wheat germ oil and glycerin, to nourish and protect skin's natural moisture factor while a physical SPF helps to lessen damaging UV radiation.

Reflect with Broad Spectrum SPF 30
With a lightweight, physical SPF of 30, Reflect contains chirally correct L-glutathione, a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and is also oil-free.

Peptide-Rich Defense with Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Nourishing designer peptides help prevent visible signs of aging from glycation and protect from the harsh effects of the sun. It's the optimal skin protectant that penetrates the skin to firm, tone and improve texture.