Skin care

What Runs Inside a Skin Care Artist’s Head

I must admit, I go through phases. In this world of skin care, I’ll study other products and theorize over what someone else might be doing with their formulation. It’s exciting because, for those formulators that are not copy-cats, it is interesting to see what their take might be on a product. The more you know about skin care ingredients, the more you see what they might be thinking. Then again, you really don’t know the formula, so it’s just a guess.

Other times, I’ll retreat to my own corner of the world and just start putting things together and see what happens. For days, I have been opening up this natural Cocoa Butter and just loving the smell. I realize that cocoa butter has seen its days, but I don’t care. Today was the day. My thought was to make a super cocoa lotion for my wife. The final result of this lotion did not smell like the undiluted butter – which made me want to eat it. In this lotion, the cocoa was understated, and I even embellished the percentage because I couldn’t help myself. My wife tells me that this butter has an earthy smell to it and (she thinks) high society ladies would not wear it. No doubt, it’s a mood scent that you have to embrace. I can’t think of anything better than a woman with a chocolaty smell. Is it just me??
So does making a cocoa butter lotion make me behind the times? I have no idea. Don’t much care, either. To me, skin care is an art. Most artists don’t think much about which way the wind is blowing and I’m thankfully in that category. Even though this lotion was simplistic in its quest, now I have an idea that I love (can’t tell you now) and it’s going to proudly display cocoa butter. Life’s too short to not go with your impulses (you know which impulses I’m talking about!).

Long live cocoa butter!

I’ve been formulating all day long. The choice of skin care ingredients that I have to work with is never ending. On one hand, it’s very exciting. On the other, what to choose? Which combination should I go with for my newest cream? Fortunately for me, the skin care industry tells me that you and I have much in common.
I like change things around. I like to switch out ingredients to see what will happen. What kind of feel will this combination get me? Out of this playtime comes many ideas for products. Apparently that falls right in line with your buying habits. The percentage of people that change their skin care products “just because” is somewhere around 78%. Wow. You guys really get bored, don’t you? And I don’t blame you? Who wants to eat the same food every day? That said, you should always use your skin care products as suggested by the manufacturer – especially if they are cosmeceuticals.

Remember that tests performed to consider the efficacy of skin care products range around 60 days. There are usually markers along the way to tell you the efficacy after 30 days, as well. This is generalizing, of course, but the point is to stick with the product after you purchase so you’ll give it a chance to work.

Remember, if you are going to take the route of anti-aging products instead of plastic surgery or Botox, understand that topical anti-aging products are, for the most part, a process (and a regimen) that needs to be adhered to if you want to see results. I know that prevention is a boring topic, but this is where so much of the skin care R&D research is going to. If you pay more attention to prevention, you will come out ahead of your peers.

I only ask because there is only so much time in the day. If I am going to be making skin care, what should I be focusing on. I know, I can read the skin care trade magazines and get a sense of where the market is going, but I get the feeling that those numbers are a little misrepresented. People have a way of pushing their agendas.

So we all want safer skin care products. I think that is a given, but is it the issue. In my conversations with clients, my impression is that anti-aging is the most important factor. So if it’s anti-aging you want, then how much do you care if the ingredients in the products are organic? My experience tells me you don’t – that all you really care about is does the product actually work.

Why else would Botox injections be up for the year if people really cared about organic or green. So am I wrong? Today I was reading about new organic standards. These are not FDA regulated, so what is the point? If you want organic products, Google that phrase and find someone that fits your skin care needs. There are plenty of great companies that are flying the natural/organic flag proudly. Let me know, though, because I don’t think the need for organic is as loud on the retail side as it is on the manufacturing side.

There are plenty of great skin care products that are very thoughtful yet not organic. Look for oils and butters and herbal extract. These are companies that generally care about the products in a “natural” way. They’ll still have the preservative like Germall Plus or Optiphen, but they are slanted towards natural.

So what should I do? Work on products to have more efficacy or should I take a break and paint my house green?
Vitamin C is known to be effective in collagen stimulation. It is also a very effective antioxidant (along with Vitamin E) against free radicals incurred by the photo damage (the big bad sun) and pollution. Ascorbic Acid is the name you’ll often see for Vitamin C.

One problem: Ascorbic Acid oxidizes very quickly and thus is very unstable in cosmetic formulations. So if you are label reading and see Ascorbic Acid, make sure to contact them and get the full story on the product. How are they incorporating Ascorbic Acid in their product and keep it stabilized?

There are more stabilized forms of Vitamin C on the market. Ascorbyl Palmitate is one that you often see in formulations, but apparently it is not as potent as Ascorbic Acid for stimulating collagen. Look for new alternatives to Ascorbic Acid such as Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate – a more stable form of Vitamin C that is seemingly just as effective.

I’m going over the conversations that I had with clients this past week and one of the dominant themes was the sporadic and varying methods in which they apply their skin care products. I can’t believe I even have to mention this, but it bears repeating…

In order to get the results that you are looking for in a skin care product, you must use it on a regular basis. Just consider that you are paying for a product that is a topical Botox alternative. What’s the product doing? It is interrupting the neurotransmission and thus stops the muscles from contracting. You can’t apply this type of product once and then not use it again for a week. As an example, testing for the main ingredient for this product was done with applications twice a day.

Applying you anti-aging skin care products twice a day is the general rule of thumb. Look to your skin care provider for instructions for whatever product you get.

Disclaimer: Just because you throw the kitchen sink at something does not make it good. One of the most popular ingredients on the market is Argireline. There is one skin care company out there selling (or at least they say they are) a product with 25% Argireline. The company that makes it has a recommendation level of between 3-10%. That is what the manufacturer tested it at.

Now – this may just be me, but I’m not formulating a product beyond the mfg’s recommendations. Nope. Not going to do it. Not without testing, at least. But I’m not even going to test. Don’t have the R&D money for that. If I’m a consumer, I have no way of knowing the aforementioned information. How could you?

Products – good products are often the combination of ingredients that make the product. That said – the price of the product might (let me emphasize might) be a good indicator of whether or not the skin care company is putting a nice amount of the active ingredient – that is the ingredient that is the reason they are trying to sell the product in the first place.

Testing of skin care products will show you that a higher percentage of a main ingredient will have better results than a smaller percentage. What are you getting from your products? If you just got a steal off the internet on an anti-aging product, okay then. But you might not have much of a product there.

What to do? Again – ask questions of the skin care company. Test them. Make them sell you. Buyers beware. And don’t say no one ever told you.

This industry is loaded with great people with great anti-aging products. But you have to find each other. Keep searching for someone that you really trust and the experience will be worth it.

Ask yourself the questions when you’re on the phone with a skin care representative:

1) Do they really sound like they know what they are talking about or are they just reading soundbites? You generally have a gut feeling about those things.
2) Do they sound like they give a damn about me and what I am looking for? How can they help you if they don’t care?

One skin care product does not solve all skin care problems. It doesn’t work that way.

What do you expect from your anti-aging products? I would imagine that you expect them to work – right? How do you know they even have a fighting chance of working? The first thing you absolutely have to do is to use them regularly or you might as well not buy them. You have to use them as you would a prescription.

Did you know that just using a moisturizer is, by itself, an anti-aging cream. It’s true. Tests show that you will get some results just by using a regular lotion/cream that do not have “anti-aging” ingredients added to them. That said, having anti-aging ingredients dramatically improve results unless….what you’re buying isn’t worth a damn. Really – what do you know about your anti-aging products to where you can make an educated decision? Most of you don’t. It’s similar to going to the mechanic. You just throw your arms up and hope for the best. Now for the information you did not want to hear – maybe. There are people in the skin care industry that truly do not give a damn. Their products will boast of ingredients that are not in the product. They might be on the box, but not in the product.

Scary….and true. So how do you decide what to do? Easy. Make them sell you. Call them up and actually talk to someone and ask them to sell you on the product. If the salesperson can’t do it, that’s a bad sign, but it does not necessarily mean the product is a sham. Ask if there is someone in the building who can educate you about the products. If they can’t, move on. At the very least, their training is sub-par.

So what do you ask them? First, ask them about the key ingredients in their product that is going to help you and why. What does this product actually do? What’s the function of the ingredient?

ASIDE: I’m at the doctor today and he wants to prescribe me something. I asked him what this drug does. He gives me the answer equivalent to “It gets rid of wrinkles.” Okay – but how does it get rid of wrinkles. He tells me that he doesn’t actually know how to explain to me what the drug is doing but he is fine with prescribing it????? WHAT?

This is a doctor, mind you, and there are many more like them that do not take the time to learn what is going on with the medications they are recommending to their patients. Unbelievable.

The skin care industry is like any other industry. It has some really great people and some schmucks who only care about making money. They don’t care about the products or you. Pay attention. Only buy from someone that takes the time to help you. For this type of money, you’re in the deep end of the pool.

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