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Avoiding the Unavoidable

By: Sara Mason
Posted: August 31, 2010, from the September 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Antioxidants, whether plant-based or synthetic, therefore, play a key role in the prevention of sun damage, as well as in its repair. “Research shows that the skin can actually repair itself with the aid of antioxidants and other naturally occurring substances,” said Sharon Gnatt Epel, CEO/founder, La Ishá, Inc. “These nutrients are found in food and can prevent or slow down the oxidative damage to our body, which in turn may help prevent and reverse the signs of photoaging.”

Different antioxidants have different mechanisms of action, and target various sun damage symptoms, so these are ideally used in combination.

La Ishá imports organic essential oils, herbs and vitamin-rich natural substances known for their restorative and healing properties. Organic pomegranate seed oil—which is rich in antioxidants, conjugated fatty acids, gentle phytoestrogens and various nutrients—is a key ingredient in many of the company’s formulations because it strengthens and promotes the regeneration of the epidermis, which may help minimize fine lines and wrinkles; is exceptionally helpful in fading age spots and skin discolorations; and because it is an adaptogen, helping cells adapt to and resist physical, environmental and chemical stressors. It is also highly emollient and contains both ellagitannin and punicic acids—substances that lab studies have shown to be helpful in preventing the growth of certain cancerous cells.

“Knowing that selected antioxidants can actually protect skin’s stem cells is a breakthrough in the cosmetic industry,” says Amelie Fortier-Cyr, marketing director, Vichy Laboratoires. “Sun-induced free radicals may lead to oxidative stress in the skin’s cells, which include skin’s stem cells.” The structural damage causes these cells to diminish their protection performance. Active ingredients can protect the skin’s stem cell’s environment and, therefore, regenerate fresh, rejuvenated skin. In the brand’s Aqualia Antiox Serum, Fluid and Eye Stick, launched in spring 2010, Vichy features the active ingredient citrus polyphenol, or Di-hydrochalcone Neohesperidin (DHC), a polyphenol with a very broad-spectrum anti-free radical potential. It acts at the heart of the cell to protect against free radical damage and assist in boosting the regenerative power of skin’s stem cells to improve skin radiance, complexion and texture. “Contrary to the majority of anti-free radicals for which action is more targeted, it acts on three cellular targets: the membrane, the nucleus and the cytoplasm,” explained Fortier-Cyr. Vichy also uses vitamins C + E for its broad-spectrum anti-free radical properties, which have proven efficacy on skin’s stem cells, to protect them from UVA rays.

Natura Bissé International, Inc. also incorporates ingredients designed to prevent and repair oxidative damage on the cell level, thereby increasing the longevity and life of the skin cell. For example, its SPF 50 Luminous Shield utilizes beta glucans to reinforce the skin’s natural defense system to effectively protect the skin against damage caused by UV radiation. And, in the brand’s Cure Collection, a peptide was used called SIRT-AP that activates the sirtuin production to enhance the skin’s natural ability to repair, hydrate and detoxify itself. Cure Sheer Cream was the most recent addition to this line, and it provides UVA/UVB protection in combination with self-adapting pigments that help to neutralize skin imperfections. The brand is following the trend for products that have an immediately perceptible difference from their very first application, but also support long-term results.