What is your skincare philosophy?
Logic – a company should tell me why I need a product, how to use it, what and what not to use it with, how long to use it, and what to expect.
Efficacy – high potency, logic-driven formulations with high-quality ingredients selected to attain a clear, realistic objective.
Aesthetic – a strong visual identity, solid container, no-frills packaging, recyclable.
Sourcing – available online with relative ease, ideally in-store to first experience the product.
What do you think of x ingredient?
I believe in the use of parabens as no conclusive evidence has proven their harm in skincare. Much the same may be said for preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Retinoids are incredible for fine lines, lack of firmness, scaring, and blemishes; acne sufferers should seek a prescription. Glycolic acid thins the epidermis while thickening the dermis; this restores volume to aging skin. Lactic acid excels at eliminating texture from the skin, and is relatively easy on skin. Salicylic acid is a band-aid fix for blemishes, often only working temporarily in my experience. Benzoyl peroxide and azelaic acid are great options to consider for bacteria-caused or inflammatory acne. Essential oils and fragrance should be avoided if you are sensitive to fragrance; there is no evidence to conclude they are dangerous. Carrier oils are brilliant at hydrating, plumping, and soothing the skin. Hyaluronic acid draws water content deep into the skin, plumping and creating an aqueous environment for collagen production; supplement it with an occlusive agent such as a carrier oil to prevent further water loss. Sulfates should be avoided, as should soaps, as they create an alkaline environment which compromises the skin’s natural barrier functions.
Are natural skincare products better than synthetic?
Allergy – anyone can be allergic or sensitive to anything; more people are sensitive to naturally-derived ingredients than synthetics.
Health – warnings over the use of synthetics in skincare are grossly inflated. Most studies show that yes, if you apply an unfathomable concentration of a pure synthetic ingredient you may see a negative reaction. But that is not how these ingredients are used, and often these ‘synthetic’ ingredients are actually derivatives or extracts of plants.
Economy – supporting a local farmer is one thing, but realistically you are supporting a business and the livelihood of people no matter where you spend your money.
Environment – if a natural product is made on a farm, from fully organic plants, in a biodegradable formulation, using energy-conscious production methods, packaged in sustainable containers; awesome. But realistically, most ‘green’ brands are not doing this.
Efficacy – results can be found on both sides of the argument, with no study conclusively concluding otherwise.
Verbiage – the phrases ‘non-toxic’ and ‘chemical-free’ are popular in the marketing of natural skincare. The issue is that no product on the market is ‘toxic’—it would not be on the market if it were—and everything at its base is a chemical; air, water, earth. The marketing is nonsensical and contributes to paranoia.
Do I need anti-aging skincare products?
Yes. We subject our bodies to immensely damaging forces such as airborne pollution, UV radiation, stress, unbalanced and inadequate diets, irregular exercise and sleep patterns, and the application of cosmetics. These aggressors have only strengthened as society has progressed, and all have negative—and lasting—effects on the skin. Dullness, unevenness of tone, textural irregularities, loss of firmness and elasticity, blemishes, sensitivity; all are possibly effects. Consider anti-aging as repairing and protecting the skin; and start early.
What are some of your favourite skincare brands?
La Roche-Posay, Alpha-H, Perricone, DECIEM, Drunk Elephant, Clinique, Lancer, NeoStrata, Glossier, Paula’s Choice, PHACE BIOACTIVE.