Cultivating an effective and nourishing skincare routine is the least invasive aesthetic option out there that is available to all of us. But with so many products, including a multitude of chemicals, compounds and molecules that we are told are brilliant for our skin, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to pick the right ones for you.
Knowing a bit more about what the common components of these products actually does to look after your skin can help you to understand what products might help you with your skincare concerns. It also helps you to get an idea of the type of personalised skincare regime you might be prescribed after your consultation with our Trikwan doctors, Dr Zoya Diwan and Dr Sanjay Trikha at our Harley Street and Mayfair clinics. In this blog, we will take you through some of our favourite ingredients from the variety of Obagi skincare systems we prescribe in-clinic, and why these ingredients work so well.
You may have seen a lot of talk about AHAs and BHAs over the last few years, and for good reason, but do you know what they are and the benefits they bring to your skin? AHAs or alpha-hydroxy-acids, are a group of synthetic and natural acids which, when formulated correctly, are very good at exfoliating the top-most layers of your skin. There are a six or seven AHA’s commonly used in skincare treatments, but of these, glycolic and lactic acid are the gold standard when it comes to producing effective results.
These acids penetrate down through the epidermis to the dermal layer of the skin, acting on both layers to produce impressive results. Glycolic acid is the best at doing this quickly and effectively, with lactic acid coming in at a close second, being a little larger that GA, it takes a little more time to penetrate down through the skin’s layers. AHAs promote the exfoliation of the dead skin cells at the surface of your epidermis by weakening the ‘cellular glue’ that sticks them together, revealing the healthier skin hidden beneath. In other words, these brilliant acids help to increase the process of cellular turnover that we mentioned in our previous blog. They also are naturally hydrating and effectively ‘teach’ our skin to retain its moisture better than it currently does. Finally, these little molecules work at the dermal layer to improve the firmness of the skin while softening the effects of photodamage. This multitude of benefits are why you are likely to see AHAs included in your personalised Obagi skincare regime should you attend our Harley Street or Mayfair clinics.
While there are several different AHAs that are useful to us in cosmetics, there is only one beta-hydroxy-acid that we use and love in skincare, and its name is Salicylic acid. While this BHA works in much the same way as AHAs do to exfoliate the skin, clearing away dead skin cells to promote cellular turnover, BHAs are generally better suited to those troubled by acne. This is because BHAs, contrary to AHAs, are oil soluble and therefore are better suited to those with oily skin types. This means the salicylic acid is able to penetrate deep into the skin’s pores, unclogging them, reducing sebum levels and blockage of follicles that often leads to the formation of acne. This is why we find an abundance of salicylic acid in Obagi’s CLENZIderm ( skincare system that is specially formulated to target acne and transform your complexion.
Hydroquinone and Arbutin
Hydroquinone and Arbutin are the best friends of any client who is struggling with hyperpigmentation of their skin. Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent and Arbutin is a natural derivative of hydroquinone for those looking for a non-synthetic alternative. Both of these compounds work in the same way to inhibit an enzyme called tyrosinase which is required for the formation of melanin. In those with hyperpigmentation, there is an over-production of melanin by melanocytes which can be brought back under control by using hydroquinone. This leads to more even distribution of melanin throughout the skin, evening out your overall skin tone. Obagi’s Nu-Derm and -C Systems both incorporate these ingredients into their regimes to help tackle hyperpigmentation, including melasma and scarring.
Vitamin A: Tretinoin and Retinol
Tretinoin and Retinol are both classed as retinoids, which are compounds derived from Vitamin A. They are some of our most powerful tools in our skincare toolbox, able to tackle hard-to-clear stubborn acne and work as anti-ageing agents. They work by increasing cellular turnover, clearing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to open up pores and release trapped bacteria and irritants. In this way, they also act to accelerate healing and refine the appearance of skin texture and tone, which means these compounds also combat acne scarring. Tretinoin itself also helps to repair and regulate damaged keratinocytes, therefore aiding in restoring your skin’s radiance. Prescription strength versions of these treatment serums can be paired alongside Obagi’s skincare systems to help boost their effectiveness depending on your individual skin-type. Our Trikwan Doctors will explain all of this to you when they provide you with your personalised skincare regime during your consultation at our clinics.
Vitamin C: L-ascorbic acid
L-ascorbic acid is the most stable and effective form of Vitamin C that is used in skincare. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce damage to our cells by neutralizing molecules called free radicals, that are produced by sun and pollution exposure and prematurely age the skin. Alongside its antioxidant activity, the acidic nature of this form of Vitamin C, means it accelerates the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis, which as we mentioned in our previous blog are damaged and reduced in unhealthy skin. As if that weren’t enough, this ingredient also helps to brighten the skin tone and therefore can be used alongside hydroquinone to help tackle hyperpigmentation of the skin. Obagi’s -C and Professional C skincare systems use L-ascorbic acid’s properties to provide superior antioxidant protection and promote radiance and brightening of the skin.
It’s very important to understand how to combine these ingredients so that they will be fully effective and not cause any harm to your skin, and our Doctors are trained to the highest standards in order to know exactly which products and ingredients will work well together. The Obagi skincare systems that we prescribe in-clinic help us in achieving this as the products in each system are specially formulated to gain the maximum benefit from the combination of all of their ingredients. Our Obagi trained doctors Sanjay Trikha and Zoya Diwan can advise you on which system will work best for you and your skin concerns during your one to one consultation at our Harley Street or Mayfair clinics.
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