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Are Your Active Serums Too Active For You?

Tuesday December 11, 2018

Many people I speak to have a common skin complaint of breakouts, reactive/sensitivity and dehydrated skin. A percentage of those people said it has recently happened, that they used to have normal skin and all of a sudden it started reacting in a negative way.

While we focus on anti-ageing and preserving our skin, we can tend to focus on serums that have the highest level of active ingredients, hoping that the more active the serum is, the more anti ageing it will be.

Unfortunately, this is false.

My Scenario

About a year ago, a new anti-ageing product was developed. It was a high strength retinol with hybrid technology, containing vitamin C and hyaluronic acid and designed to be tolerated by sensitive skins. It was the Rolls Royce of Vitamin A serums. I was eager to try this despite knowing my skin has a tendency to be reactive. As I was approaching my mid 40’s this product would be perfect, or so I thought.

The first week my skin plumped up and was looking great. In the second week my skin started to show signs of sensitivity but then the breakouts appeared. It was then I realised that I was overfeeding my skin with actives and it was not at the stage where I needed this type of product. Even though it is amazing for the more sun damaged and mature skins it was not right for me.

My Client's Scenario

My client, a lovely lady who loves to research products and ingredients, and looks to use the most powerful ingredients to maintain good skin health. I see her occasionally but on her recent visit, she told me her skin has started breaking out on her cheek area. When I looked at her skin under the magnifying lamp, her skin showed a thin epidermis on the cheek area. She could not understand why her skin had become problematic. Then she mentioned that she has been using a pure concentrated Kakadu Plum product on her skin. It was fine at first, then the skin became sensitive and then the breakouts started. Kakadu Plum is a natural source of vitamin C but fifty times more concentrated than an orange. So, you see the similar pattern to my issue. Even though the ingredient Kakadu Plum gives amazing results it maybe better in a smaller concentrate of a blended product.

How to ensure your skin can tolerate Active Skincare?

If you are new to cosmeceuticals, start off with lower concentrations, ie. do not run before you can walk.

I believe the three most important points are:

A) Make sure the skin is hydrated so it functions properly. Look at products that contain hyaluronic acid such as Aspect Hydrating Serum which has a small amount of Vitamin C and B plus Hyaluronic Acid.

B) Address any inflammation by using anti-inflammatory products that strengthen the skin. Our top favourites are Centella Hungary Royal Water with Centella For Face Serum, Synergie DeStress Oil and Medik8 Ultimate Recovery Intense.

C) Ensure the barrier of your skin is strong and not impaired. Use sunscreen and a good moisturiser with no nasty ingredients daily. A recommended sunscreen is Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF30.

What actives should you start with?

I tend to recommend actives in the following order:

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide to strengthen the skin).

I love SpaCeuticals Phyto B3 and Synergie Vitamin B Serum as a starting point.

Vitamin A (Retinol)

After 2 weeks progress onto Vitamin A (Retinol) serums, being a regulating serum, it can address many skin concerns such as anti-ageing, hyperpigmentation, acne and oily skin.

The perfect Vitamin A for your skin is one that can be tolerated by your skin every night. It is recommended that you introduce Retinol in the following way, every 3rd night for 10 days, then alternate nights for one week, progressing onto nightly use. Being a photosensitive product, you must only use Retinol at night.

Perfect starting serums would be Medik8 Retinol 3TR Intense, Cosmedix Serum 16 or Cosmedix Define, Organic Nation Superactive7, Aspect Retinol Brulee, Rejuvaphyl Rejuvenating Complex LS (Low Strength) or Synergie Ultimate A.

Vitamin C

After 3-4 weeks once your skin is tolerating your Vitamin A and B serum, a Vitamin C serum can be introduced.
Perfect Vitamin C serums are Aspect Extreme C, Medik8 C Tetra + Intense, Synergie SupremaC and Organic Nation Skinfood 4.

After 6-12 Months

Once your skincare routine is established and your skin is tolerating the serums after 6-12 months of using them, you may feel it is time for your skin to except a higher percentage of active ingredients to give it a boost. I would recommend that you consult with your skin therapist or facialist first or feel free to contact us.

To sum it up, you would not start a high-level exercise class if you have never exercised. You would start at the beginner’s class and progress slowly. To get the highest benefit of your skincare serums I would recommend to start slowly and work your way up as your skin needs it.

Not all of us need the most active serum to see results.



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©2021 Time Out Beauty Pty Ltd
ABN 93 168 108 825