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A look at some of the leading skin care trends

Studies reveal that consumer habits have changed in the wake of the pandemic, and emerging trends in the beauty space point to a shift in how we care for our skin. Here, Founder and Medical Director of Skin Renewal, and general practitioner with a special interest in aesthetic and integrative anti-ageing medicine and procedures, Dr Maureen weighs in.

COVID-19 hasn’t only been disruptive economically and xxx but there’s also a shift in how we relate to each other which has had a direct impact on how we show up. Dr Maureen notes that connecting with friends and colleagues is more virtual than ever, “many of my patients have experienced “Zoom and gloom”, that feeling of despair you get after turning on the camera of your device and realising that the tired-looking face staring back at you is your own,” she says. The enhanced focus on our faces means we are more self-conscious than ever before, “when you smile, you notice your crow's feet around your eyes, when you don't, you see the hollows or rings under your eyes - not a win-win at all,” says Dr Maureen. Below she shares everything you need to know about the latest skin care trends so you can make an informed decision about your own skin care regime.

Glamour: What are people focusing on most this year?

Dr Maureen Allem: This year is all about eyes - “treatment to contour the eye area, as well as topical eye creams to enhance the complexion and radiance of the eye area. While eye rejuvenation encompasses various treatments to correct concerns such as crow's feet, under eye bags, dark under-eye circles, and thinning skin around the eyes, the more recent trend is to use those same correction techniques and treatments to reshape the eye area in order to achieve, The Almond or Oval Eye (Also known as the upturned eye), The Fox Eye or The Cat Eye.

Glamour: In the wake of the pandemic, how have shopping habits shifted with regard to beauty products?

Dr Maureen Allem: We found that since most people had to tighten their budget, they are looking for ‘all-in-one’ products. One or two products that can target an array of concerns or serve multiple functions, such as a day cream that already contains an SPF or a night cream and serum combined. On the other hand, we also have seen clients wanting to buy more products (those that could afford it), so that they can do treatments at home such as home exfoliators/peels and masks, since they could not come in as often as they would like. This also led to an increase in online demand via our Online Skin Store.

Glamour: What are some of the stay-at-home routines that have developed?

Dr Maureen Allem: Since patients could not come in as often for their skin care treatments, they opt for a home facial done by themselves. These routines would normally include cleansing, using a home exfoliator or home peeling system and then the application of a mask, the home treatment would then be ended off with a serum and moisturizer.

Glamour: Have you noticed any specific brands gaining popularity this year, and what does this speak to?

Dr Maureen Allem: Neostrata have really gained popularity this year, and this is mainly due to their patented AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). The effects of AHA’s on the skin include an increase in cellular turnover rate improving textural irregularities and discolourations and an increased collagen production that will improve fine lines and wrinkles. This all-round ingredient is suited for all skin types and all concerns will benefit from it. The fact that AHA’s exfoliate the skin gently between clinic treatments, give professional treatments a more effective result. We have also seen an increase in popularity of MD Lash Factor Eyelash Conditioner. It is an award-winning formula for thin and short lashes. It combines the latest in skin care science and safe ingredients to result in longer, fuller and thicker looking lashes. Firstly, it contains Cytokines which stimulates follicles to develop fuller, thicker and longer-looking lashes. It also contains Thiotaine, a powerful peptide and antioxidant to protect and nourish your lashes to develop their fullest potential. Panthenol is a provitamin of B5 and is responsible for moisturising your lashes. Furthermore, it also contains Biotin to support cell health. Lastly, milk protein encourages healthy cell growth.

Glamour: What type of skin care ingredients should consumers be gravitating towards, and why?

Dr Maureen Allem: This will depend on the consumer’s main concern. Ingredients such as Antioxidants (Vit C, Phloretin, Ferulic) are always non-negotiable if you are serious about skin care. Other ingredients such as growth factors, peptides and Retinols (Vit A) are also vital if you aim to fight the signs of ageing.

  • SPF that contains HEV and Infra-red protection as well as SPF against UVA and UVB. SPF that actually allows VIT D which is a vital hormone to penetrate. will send you info on the above.
  • .Another one is that SPF that also starts repairing the DNA damage.
  • Also, probiotics in skin care, also incorporated anti-inflammatory products.
  • We have most of the above in Heliocare AK MD 100 spf and it contains Sulforaphane etc as well as SPF for UVA and B and HEV and Infra-red A.

Glamour: There's also a shift towards sustainability in the beauty space, what are the benefits of using natural and organic ingredients?

Dr Maureen Allem: Like with all ingredients, natural or synthetic, the effect of the ingredient will depend greatly on their ability to penetrate. Scientific skin care ingredients are created with carriers or nanospheres that enhance their penetration in the skin, so that it can work deeper and give more effect. There is however fewer skin reactions present when using natural ingredients which are very beneficial for sensitive skin types

Glamour: What's the importance of having and maintaining a skin care routine?

Dr Maureen Allem: Like with most things, prevention is better than cure, we encourage clients to have a proper skin care routine as early as in their teens. Creating good habits and understanding the importance of skin care from a young age will prevent, or minimize, intensive intervention at a later stage. A home care routine also compliments in-clinic-treatments, to ensure that the results we achieve with clinic treatments are prolonged at home.

Much like the fairer sex, men want their skin to look good and feel healthy and thanks to testosterone, male skin is different from that of a female. While every skin type is different, male skin, in general, tends to be thicker, by as much as 20-percent and contains more collagen which keeps it looking firmer for longer. Men also have more oil-producing glands as well as pores, which are typically larger. This means male skin is generally oilier which results in a lower pH that makes it more prone to acne. There is an upside to all the oil, however, it means men are less prone to dryness as they get older. Oily-skinned men won’t do well with thick, ultra-creamy formulations so you need to find lighter-textured skincare products that include collagen-encouraging ingredients like retinol, vitamins C and E. One of the major contributing factors to premature ageing in men is the same one that affects women and that’s unprotected sun exposure. Typically, more men than women don’t practice daily sun protection. Wear a high protection broad spectrum sunscreen, preferably SPF 50, every single day.

Glamour: Please also share your top tips for readers who are conscious of trends but also looking for something that will work for their skin type? - which ingredients should be avoided?

Dr Maureen Allem: Many beauty trends out there focus too much on uncontrolled resurfacing, which would be harmful to the skin. It is always important to seek advice from a medical professional before you use medical skin care products or devices at home. Avoid products that contain alcohol, this will cause the skin natural barrier to be destroyed and you will end up with an array of problems such as dehydration, sensitivity and even breakouts.

Glamour: What should we keep in mind with regard to skin care during the winter months?

Dr Maureen Allem: Since we all crank up the heater in winter, our focus should be on the skin barrier. All skins tend to become dry and dehydrated in the winter months, and this is due to the phospholipid bilayer of the skin (This barrier is situated in the upper layers of the epidermis) that becomes disrupted. Once this occurs, your skin has no ability to hold on to water and you end up with trans epidermal water loss. This will cause the skin to become sensitive, red and extremely dehydrated. Ensure that you use a day/night cream that contains barrier restoring ingredients such as peptides, ceramides and lipids.

Glamour: Please share your top tips for achieving a healthy glow?

Dr Maureen Allem: I would recommend two things to achieve the ultimate glow, the first is exfoliation, we have to ensure we get the skin into the correct skin cell turnover cycle. If you have a thick layer of dead skin, natural light cannot reflect properly, and you are left with dull, shallow looking skin. The next will be, Vit C. Vit C has been known to increase radiance in the skin as well as target pigmentation. This super antioxidant will fight off free radicals caused by pollution, smoking and inflammation. If your skin is looking and feeling tired, stressed, dull, drained, or lifeless, "Bring Your Skin Back to Life" with the new HydraTouch Facial! This unique, advanced all-in-one solution restores the skin's radiance and glow while giving you fresh and rejuvenated-looking skin.

Glamour: For people who are spending more time at home, what are the benefits of increased rest and drinking water?

Dr Maureen Allem: Getting enough sleep is very important, or your skin will suffer. During sleep your body releases growth hormone which stimulates cell turnover. Hydrate your skin from within. If you want to look younger you need to make sure drinking water is an essential part of your anti-ageing regimen. Skin cells need water, or they will dehydrate and essential anti-ageing nutrients cannot be delivered to your system.

Glamour: In your opinion, what's the future of skin care?

Dr Maureen Allem: More innovative sunscreen - Unprotected sun exposure is the primary cause of premature ageing, not to mention skin cancer. As we become more aware of its damaging effects, we’re going to see more innovations in sunscreen. As it is, the sale of sunscreen containing potent antioxidants that can protect us from Blue Light are surging. Blue light is the light emitted by the screens of electronics like our cell phones and laptop. It’s been proven to generate damaging free radicals that can be neutralised by antioxidants as well as high concentrations of iron oxide and zinc oxide. In the next few years, we’ll probably start seeing more “intuitive” sunscreen formulations such as those that protect you from the sun’s harmful rays while still allowing your body to synthesise vitamin D. After sun will become more exciting too and focus on things like DNA-repairing technology as opposed to merely providing more moisture along with a cooling sensation.

More awareness of inflammaging - Chronic, low-grade inflammation caused by lifestyle factors like unmanaged stress, unhealthy eating, pollution and smoking can cause our skin to age more rapidly. This is referred to as “inflammaging”, a process that can break down the collagen and elastin that keeps our skin looking taught and plump. As more people become aware of the condition, they’re likely to pay more attention to how their lifestyle can affect their skin. They’ll want to get a handle on inflammaging triggers as well as invest more in collagen-encouraging treatments to counteract the effects. These include micro-needling and laser treatments such as Titan.

Microbiome-friendly skincare - At Skin Renewal, we’ve always known there’s a big connection to gut health and glowing skin. This is why, when patients come to us with inflammatory skin conditions like acne, we’ll first take a look at their gut and attempt to balance its microbiome. Interestingly, a link has recently been found between isotretinoin – and acne medication – in that it helps improve acne because it also balances the skin’s microbiome. While we’ve been aware of the importance of maintaining your gut’s fauna and flora, there’s a growing trend towards skincare products that include probiotics to enhance your skin’s microbiome. Skin Essence by Lamelle, for example, is a priming liquid that contains probiotic lysate that can make the skin less reactive to irritants and boost radiance while improving firmness and texture.

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