Skin Health Magazine Issue #10 / Winter 2019 - Page 7

perspiration, the acne process, minor inflamma- tory reactions and dandruff conditions.’ Yet it was the dermatologist, Albert Kligman, who really made cosmeceuticals famous and laid the groundwork for anti-aging. His academic research on skin ailments uncovered that the keratolytic action of Vitamin A (also known as Retinoic Acid) could be very useful in treating acne. After extensive clinical studies to prove that Retinoic Acid indeed improved acne, the ingredient was approved by the FDA in the US in 1971 and marketed under the name Retin-A. This in itself isn’t that revolutionary - modern science allowed for the investigation of many dermatological concerns. But here’s where it gets interesting: older patients using Retin-A reported that the product reduced the appear- ance of their wrinkles and improved their overall complexion. Kligman began clinical tests on older women to understand more and alongside additional research by the American Academy of Dermatology and Harvard Medical School, the dermatological community proved that the nightly use of Retin-A resulted in better tone, texture, firmness, and overall quality of the skin. Supplementary research on mechanism of action showed that the Retinoic Acid did more than stimulate cell turnover; it increased blood flow to the skin, while thickening and reorganising surface layers and increasing the production of collagen and elastin. As a result, the product improved the appearance of ageing skin, especially signs of photo-aging and sun damage. And just like that, Retinoic Acid became the first real cosmeceutical, shown to be efficiently absorbed by skin, to have a scientific mechanism of action, and be backed by peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-con- trolled, statistically-significant clinical trials to substantiate the claims. Suddenly there was proof behind a scientific promise to remove ‘tell-tale wrinkles’. Hooray! But, thankfully, our story doesn’t end there. I am sure these findings were not lost on one Dr Sheldon Pinnell, a collagen chemist and dermatologist at Duke University in the 1980s who was studying Vitamin C and its role in wound healing, skin ageing, and skin cancer prevention. Through diligent scientific research, he was the first to discover the param- eters to deliver pure Vitamin C effectively into the skin, to elucidate its mechanism of action as an antioxidant, and to substantiate it through peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled studies as to its efficacy in neutralising free radical damage, both alone and in synergy with other antioxidants. Importantly, his trials were done in-vivo, meaning proof was obtained using live skin cells instead of cell cultures to reflect real-life usage. Quite simply, Dr Pinnell was using the rigour of academic research and the methodology of Retinoic Acid and applying it to an expanded world of skin care. He helped to further the learnings on cosmeceuticals and establish the field of evidence-based skin care – so much so that for many physicians today, antioxidants are the cornerstone of healthy skin, alongside sunscreens and Retinoids. Fast forward to today and it makes sense why cosmeceutical brands are popular: we rely on technology for daily living, scientific advances point to solutions in diseases and global prob- lems, and as a society we are on the defence against fake news and big corporations. We want proven ingredients and proof of efficacy. SkinCeuticals is a brand that was built on the academic science of antioxidants but, more importantly, it was built on an obsession with proof, achieved through rigorous methodol- ogy in live skin rather than quick-to-market shortcuts. Over 30 years later, we still follow Dr Pinnell’s approach to proof, painstakingly testing for absorption and mechanism of action, alongside strictly-controlled clinical studies. This doesn’t always mean quick. In a fast-paced world, however, we believe that good science and good proof are more valuable than ever before, worth waiting for, and the best recipe for great skin. ISSUE #10 | 2019 | 7