March 01, 2022
One of the main focus of our blog is to provide sound, scientific-based skincare knowledge to our customers, so that there is less chance of you falling for mere gimmicks and advertising. Today, we’ve asked our founder Wendy to address another few skincare misconceptions.
Wendy: The answer is a resounding no. Does your body get used to say, fruits and vegetables, or water? No, right? Skincare products are the same. If you are using the right products with ingredients that work for your skin and your particular skin concerns, they will keep working for you, as they are providing the essential nutrients that your skin needs to function optimally.
Also, skincare ingredients take time to show results. Not seeing visible results does not mean the ingredients are not working hard within the skin——human’s skin has an extremely complex structure, thus it simply takes time for skincare products to biologically and scientifically induce visible differences. So give your new skincare product at least 3 months (best to use at least 2 bottles), use it consistently, and seriously, don’t expect miracles. If you keep switching up products, you are not giving enough time for the ingredients to work. I have talked about how long it takes for different ingredients to actually show results realistically. You can check it out here.
The Pure Wonder Active Serum <- Click to shop
Wendy: One of the main reasons is, you have not been using the product with ingredients that actually provide what the skin needs to target your specific skin concerns. Let’s say you are prone to getting pigmentation, so you start using an acid-based product with AHA or PHA, a vitamin C serum, or a retinol product, which you have never used before. These can improve the condition of your skin quickly, as the base line is low. What then happens is that once these type of products have brightened the skin and faded those pigmentation, you will not see huge improvements from then on, because what you are seeing now is the new normal, and you have forgotten what the skin looks like previously. Plus, no matter how strong of a brightening product you use, there's always a limit——you won’t see the skin turning as light as a caucasian, because your skin can only get as light as determined by your genetics.
If you keep using these products that have obviously provided improvements, they will keep your skin at this new optimal level, and prevent dullness and new pigmentation from forming in the future. Now, if you then decide to stop using these hyperpigmentation-targeting products, and say focus on hydration, your pigmentation problem could easily come back, as your baseline has returned to the previous lowered state. So after a while, you start using products with these ingredients again, perhaps from another brand, you might again see improvements, but that is because your baseline level has dropped.
You get what I mean?
Let me illustrate it this way. Your bones ache easily, so you start taking calcium, which we know is good for bones. After a while, the aching stops, then you forget how your bones ache before, as painless bones is your new normal. Does that mean the calcium supplement is not working anymore? No, because they are keeping your bones strong and healthy. If you then get lazy and stop taking it, your bones will start aching easily again because your body now lacks calcium, again. Once you restart on your calcium supplementation, perhaps from another brand, you will again feel the results quickly, but that is because your condition has deteriorated as your body lacks calcium. What if you didn’t stop taking it? Well, you wouldn’t have gone through that cycle of pain, your bones will stay strong and healthy, but no matter how much calcium you take, they would never turn as strong as steel.
Brilliant Light Multi-Correction Repair Serum <- Click to shop
Wendy: So with actives, like retinol and acids, you are always recommended to slowly increase usage frequency to build up skin tolerance. Once that particular concentration is tolerated by the skin, you can then move on to the next level. That however does not mean the previous concentration is not working anymore. It merely means your skin can now handle a stronger dose of the actives, so more powerful results can be achieved. In other words, you can continue to use the same product at the same concentration, and it will keep your skin condition at this new normal we previously discussed. Only when you want to push through and get even better results should you slowly move on to a higher concentration. Note that it does not mean your skin will like this new, higher concentration of actives though.
Let me use chilli to illustrate this. Everyone's tolerance level of spiciness is different. Say you usually eat 3x spiciness, and you're happy with it. One day, you feel like you want something more, like 5x. Does that mean 3x is not spicy anymore? No. Does that mean you can handle 5x spiciness? That's a no too.
One other thing to note, higher concentration does not mean more effectiveness. In fact, once past a certain level, it can very well damage your skin. You can find out all about concentration here.
Stellar Restoration Corrective Complex <- Click to shop
Wendy: Well, let’s say you are using skincare products from brand A, and they have been working for you. If they don’t say you need to change up, how does brand B get you to try their products and make money?
Secondly, people likes new things. Period. No matter how much you love a certain bag, after a while, you always want a new, shiny one, don’t you?
With that said, our skin changes over time, as it is a living organ that gets affected by things like age, hormones, sleep, stress, pollution, weather, etc. So there are times when you do need to adjust your skincare products, because what your skin needs today may be different from what it needs tomorrow, or in 6 months.
In short, you should change up your skincare products according to what your skin needs, not because they say you have to change every now and then.
LILOU Radiant Hydra Balm <- Click to shop
Wendy: Food is natural, so people probably think it is the healthiest, non-toxic way to care for the skin. However, I wouldn’t recommend it at all. The only exception would be using Aloe Vera to soothe skin.
The reason they don’t work is because when you eat something, your saliva starts to break down the food, which then goes through your digestive system so the nutrients from the food can be distributed throughout the body where it is needed. The skin does not have anything that resembles a digestive system, meaning, it cannot break down the food you put on your face, and the nutrients cannot get into the skin. In other words, you are just wasting food, effort and time.
Furthermore, while many of the ingredients in your skincare products come from natural sources, such as plants, they are not exactly what you find in your kitchen. For instance, the most nutritious parts of the plants are the stems, seeds, and roots. These get extracted and processed in ways so that together with a robust delivery system within the product formula, they can actually penetrate the deepest skin layers. They also go through many testings so that the composition of the extracts and every constituent in them are known to ensure performances, safety and consistency.
Also, pH is another very important factor in skincare products——different products are at different pH levels for very specific reasons. For example, you may have heard milk contains lactic acids, and that you can use it in a mask or add it to your bath to exfoliate and smooth the skin. Sorry to burst your bubble, but not only is it not in an absorbable form that the skin can use, the pH of milk is 6.5. For any acids to break down the bond of dead skin cells and provide exfoliating actions, they have to be at a pH range of around 3.0 to 4.0. When the pH of the milk is even higher than your skin, what do you think will happen? Absolutely nothing.
acid(wash) Lactic Acid Brightening Cleanser <- Click to shop
Yes, indeed. Many DIY ingredients can actually hurt your skin if not used or measured properly. You might think the worst case scenario for a DIY mask is that it doesn’t work, but the truth is, it can potentially cause so much harm, like irritations, sensitivity, clogged pores, acne, inflammations, burns and so on.
For instance, lemon juice is a popular DIY ingredient for brightening as it contains AHA and vitamin C. However, vitamin C (which you don’t know the concentration of when using lemon juice) needs at least 3-12+ weeks to brighten, fade hyperpigmentation and boost collagen production, and lemon juice, at a highly acidic pH of 2, can easily cause skin irritation, hyperpigmentation and sensitivity to the sun, or worse, burn the skin, even after one single use. Yes, you can dilute it or mix it with other ingredients, but then you won’t know what chemical reactions you are inducing.
Imagine baking a cake. With the wrong measurements, your cake will not come out the way you want it to be as you have essentially created the wrong chemical reactions. Skincare products are much, much more complex than that.
Another example is essential oil. Those DIY articles always tell you to put like 5 drops of say jasmine oil, or rose oil, to a certain amount of something else. Well, first of all, drops is not a good measuring unit. Secondly, there are dermal limits for all essential oils. For instance, jasmine oil has a dermal limit of 0.7%, while rose oil stands at a mere 0.02%, and the total concentration of essential oil for any face products should not exceed 1%, otherwise you’d be risking irritation and sensitivity. You would also need to count the concentration of the individual constituents in the essential oils, which you as a consumer would not know, as you don’t have the safety data that break down all the components in any particular ingredient that skincare companies always get.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. People study cosmetic science and chemistry for a reason.
Remember, the skin is an organ, and a very big and complex one at that, which means skincare is an actual science, not a DIY project you know. You really do need actual expertise, knowledge and skills that Google can’t provide.
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Butter Balm <- Click to shop
January 03, 2023
Check out our top 10 tips to keep the skin healthy and supple this cold winter season!
November 15, 2022
Here are the top 10 questions about cleansing, as well as eczema and rosacea we got. Check them out!
Subscribe to get skincare knowledge delivered to your inbox!