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Today we were asked for the third time this week about skincare, more specifically, ‘do I actually need all these products or can I just use one?’ Yes, absolutely you can, and you will get a great result with one concern.

If you go to the gym and do 100 sit ups every time you will get ripper abs, but you butt might still be saggy.  Hence, we know we need a full body routine to have a full body makeover.  Your skincare routine is exactly the same. If you give it vitamin C it will look brighter and your pigmentation might improve, but you may not see as much of a difference in the elasticity, wrinkles and broken capillaries that you would if you used something specific for that.  So, think of us as your skins personal trainer!! We will totally give you the quickest, easiest and cheapest route to achieve the best skin possible in the shortest timeframe possible.  That’s our job.

Just to drive the point home even further the skin needs a whopping 26 vitamins, 72 trace minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and 8 sugars just to function healthily.  Our skincare can help deliver some of these topically which is some cases is actually more efficient than trying to just everything we need in our diet, as our body often directs its nutritional vitamins and minerals to other more ‘important’ organs than our skin.

Lets take a look at our skincare main categories and the best ingredients to actually make biological changes in the cells.


We have over 20 different types of cleansers.  These are based on your skin type and condition (ie sensitivity), how much makeup you wear, feel and convenience (micellar waters or cleansers in shower).  They all have different ingredients of course, but the main thing is that they are PH balanced, so will not affect your skins barrier and microbiome.  Not all cheap cleansers are PH balanced and this is very important so you don’t irritate or dry out skin.


Arguably the most important category. Serums have smaller molecules, deeper delivery systems and generally a higher percentage of ingredients. They will usually make the biggest impact to skin, but they do need support of moisturisers to lock them in as they are quite light in nature and can leave the skin feeling tight if used on their own.  Some of our favourite serum ingredients are:

 Retinoids and Vitamin A:  We have a whole other blog dedicated to Retinoids but here is the shortened version. Nicknamed the ‘regulator’ because Vitamin A regulates anything dysfunctional in the cell and has up to 125 benefits.  EVERY cell needs Vitamin A for its survival but our body doesn’t make it and UV depletes it. It improves pigmentation, natural moisturising factor (NMF), prevents breakouts, strengthens outer layers, stimulates fibroblast activity, controls sebum for acne sufferers, supports skins immune system, improves fine lines, skin texture, tone and colour and hydration and is an antioxidant.   There are so many derivatives of Vitamin A and we wont go into each one, but the basic reason is that only one type of vitamin A (retinoic acid) can be used by the cells but it is extremely irritating. Other Vitamin As need to go through conversion processes to become retinoic acid.  The more steps of conversion, the less irritating but also less effective.  You don’t need to understand all that, but we do, and will choose the most appropriate for your skin. We have over 20 to choose from here.

Vitamin C-   Again this is another hero ingredient that has a whole blog also dedicated to it.  But short and sweet here is: it is a potent skin antioxidant so protects and fights free radicals, it is a powerful collagen stimulator, will even skin tone and slow down melanin production, minimise fine lines, scars and pigmentation and is anti inflammatory. It is found everywhere in body but highest in skin cells.  Skin cells are also the only cells to have two receptors so when we apply topically we get an amazing response. It enhances production of barrier lipids as it protects them against oxidation. Just like our retinoids, any ingredient that is this powerful is going to be irritating.  L-asborbic acid is the Vitamin C the cells love the most but due to its irritating effects and quick deterioration,  we have many other vitamins Cs to chose from.

 Proteins, peptides and amino acids – are essentially the same thing but different sizes. The easiest way to think of these are as:  amino are the letters, peptides are the words and proteins are the sentences.  A protein such as collagen is too big (1000 amino acids) to put into the skin directly but breaking down the pieces can get the job down. Peptides being the ‘words’, kind of give the basic instruction of what we want the skin to do and are the communicators or carriers, but must  be no bigger than 10 amino acids to penetrate.  They CAN actually penetrate the skin, and can increase production of elastin and collagen because they turn on the fibroblasts.  We have a huge range of peptides. All Ocosmedics serums have their exclusive peptide blend, V8 Peptide Complex which will protect cell structure, accelerate healing and rejuvenation and correct signs of ageing.  And both Medik8 and Ocosmedics have their own peptides which have muscle relaxants which are closest thing to a natural Botox.

Hyaluronic acid –holds an amazing 1000 times it weight in water!!  Vitamin C will assist in further penetration.  It is found everywhere in our body but sadly depletes with age.  One third is broken down and remade every day. It stimulates collagen production, assists in waste elimination, is an anti oxidant, has antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. Diet and smoking can affect levels.  HA will usually come in 3 molecular weights as each will penetrate to different layers of the skin.  Sodium hyaluronate will penetrate the furthest to the stratum germinativum, where the cells still have a nucleus and support internal hydration.  The larger molecule will sit on surface providing protective barrier.  Both will plump fine lines and wrinkles. Neither will ever have the same impact as a dermal filler because injecting will penetrate further than topical applications, however it will enhance the life of a filler.

Antioxidants – all vitamins are also antioxidants and will neutralise free radicals which are the top cause in ageing damage. They are very active so can cause temporary erythema.  Free radicals are by products (waste) of normal cellular activity and also as a result of sun exposure, pollution and smoking.  They damage cell structure, collagen elastic and HA and contribute to many diseases and inflammation.  Antioxidants will break the chain triggered by free radicals.  Gluthathione is considered to be the body’s most powerful antioxidant.  Some antioxidants are more powerful when combined such as A and E.

Niacinimide- Vitamin b3 is exceptional in providing vascular support, decreasing redness, increasing ceramide production and reducing TEWL.  It is also anti-inflammatory so great for acne, rosacea and eczema and will block pathways of pigmentation production so great with a vitamin C program.  Taken internally, the body uses B3 to create two important coenzymes (NAD) and (NADP) which is needed for energy production and DNA repair. NAD also protects against telomere shortening thus cell longevity. Research published in New England journal of Medicine took 386 patients with skin cancers and gave them B3 for 12 months and their occurrence of new cancers reduced. It is great with retinol to reduce irritation but less effective with Vitamin C due to it preferring a lower PH.


A moisturiser will be at least one of three things and sometimes all. It may be emollient which gives the nice slip and feel, humectant which will attract water to itself or occlusive which locks the moisture in.  A moisturiser will still have many of the active ingredients listed above in the serums but will also include their own list of specific ingredients:

Humectants– water soluble agents that work by drawing water into the skin. Ingredients include glycerine, propylene  glycol,  Urea, AHA, BHA, shea butter, lactic acid.  In dry weather though the action can be reversed and they will suck the moisture the other way.  For this reason they work best with an occlusive.

Occlusives – lanolin, jojoba, mineral oil, petroleum, sun flower and olive oil and evening primrose that will prevent water from evaporating.

Emolients– glycerin, ceramides, parrafin, lanolin, mineral oils are a few ingredients.

Exfoliating (peeling) ingredients

 Sometimes the skin needs a little help to help with turnover and to maintain smoothness, brightness, texture and ideal thickness. Exfoliation can also create a controlled injury and induce a healing response and therefore create more collagen and elastin.  Over exfoliating however can have the reverse effect and result in prolonged inflammation and redness and skin looking older.  We know how much your skin needs and which one to get the best result.

 AHA- (also known as organic peeling ingredients) includes glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric.  They will create cellular turnover, boost hydration and provide nutrition to the skin.  They dissolve corneocyte cohesion (the glue that holds the cells together) on the skins surface as they cannot penetrate into skin layers like BHA can.  The effect is more subtle than BHA, which is a faster peel, and will help with fine lines, pigmentation and enlarged pores.  Side effects are mild irritation and sun sensitivity and should not be used 3 days either side of a peel.

Bha-Salicylic found in willow bark (also known as an aromatic ingredient) work by dissolving thestratum corneum from outside in because it penetrates into pores and hair follicles making it perfect for ingrown hairs and blemishes.  It will not create any cellular turnover or hydration but will have an immediate peeling effect.  It is numbing and great for spot treatment. Salicylic is a derivative of aspirin so those who are allergic can’t use BHA and pregnant women should avoid it.  It exfoliates and improves texture and colour of skin.  It less irritating than AHA.

Enzymes– the most common are Bromelian-pineapple and Papain-paw paw.  Both are enzymes naturally found in our intestines that catalyse food breakdown.  They will also break down the keratin bonds in skin much like a pineapple salsa does for a tough meat.  They are more gentle than AHA and BHA and are best suited for a sensitive skin.

Nutritional skincare

Omega 3 – EPA/DHA.  Another hero that also has its own blog. Omega 3 will lower blood sugars and improve blood flow so there is an increased supply of nutrients for the creation of healthy skin cells.  They are anti oxidant, anti inflammatory so great for skin conditions such as acne, excema and psoriastis.  They provide a healthy cell membrane so improve skins lipid layer. If diet is too high in sugar, alcohol or trans fats our enzyme levels are most likely too low to allow our system to convert the fatty acid into what the body needs. Smoking, stress and viral infections also affect conversion.


Prebiotics (fibre) found only in plants, remains unchanged in the digestive process to feed all microbiome from start to finish. The microbiome will create short chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) which promote healthy skin, liver, nervous system, lower blood sugar, increase satiety and weight loss, reduce oxidative stress, provide energy, boost immune system and improve metabolism.

Collagen powders –  There are 10 types of collagen and each are specific to a particular area of the body – like a lock a key.  At Dermal we have put alot of research into collagen powders and have found one that has the specific collagen ingredient (verisol) for skin.  Its like a lock and key.  Not every key (collagen) is going to unlock.  Collagen also needs to be bioavailable so broken down into small enough parts the body can use (refer back to what we mentioned before about peptides in serums).  This is why collagen is hard to get in our diet because it needs to be broken down to be utilised.  It may be one ingredient that can be better as a supplement than the real thing. Best thing about collagen powder is that it is not degraded in heat, so you can put in your coffee or cook with it.  When the smaller fragments are absorbed they reach the blood stream and mimic ‘fibroblast like’ growth factors which then turn on the fibroblasts to make collagen, Hylauronic Acid and Elastin. The growth factors also have the ability to inhibit MMPs which are enzyme that break down our existing collagen.

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