Outsmarting yourself

Outsmarting yourself

The trickiest thing about the battle for beautiful skin is that we can be one of our own worst enemies. Quite literally. Take, for instance, premature ageing. 90 per cent of the saggy, crepey and patchy marks of time can be blamed on the sun (looking for the best age-fighter on earth? Get religious about SPF30+), but it seems our own biochemistry is sneakily undermining us too.

Bh got talking to Emma Hobson, education manager at the International Dermal Institute, about it today and, at first, I’ve got to say it looked plain depressing…

The first biochemical anti-beauty operative Emma revealed wasn’t a surprise, but it was still disheartening. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), or free radicals, are the marauding damaged molecules that ruthlessly attack any skin structure they can, causing pigmentation problems, leaky capillaries, inflammation and lines. Set off by UV rays, smoking and, annoyingly, even breathing, these nasty numbers can leave the skin’s natural defences completely outgunned if you don’t devote yourself to antioxidants.

Especially when they are working tag team with MMPs (or matrix metalloproteinases if you want to get techie). These are the enzymes the body unleashes to break down and sweep away crucial skin-supporting collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid (our natural hydration hose), which all deplete with age naturally anyway. I’m sure our bodies have a good reason for it, but talk about hitting self-destruct!

Then there are AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products), the evil offspring of the attraction between sugars and skin proteins. The trickiest of all biochemical ageing agents to control, these not only take the bouncy stretch out of skin-plumping proteins, they send even more free radicals on the rampage in the process.

I told you it all sounds depressing.

But there is a bright spot. The Dermalogica lab coats have formulated a plan to fight these biological sources of skin-ageing. It’s a line of skincare staples called AGE Smart, and it features antioxidants and intelligent ingredients that claim to arrest ROS, slow up MMPs while boosting hydration and, by cleverly disguising proteins so sugars won’t latch on, prevent the formation of AGEs. With the punch of peptides, acids and antioxidants plus buzz ingredient magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, it’s what I call skincare for beauty geeks (there’s no shame. I’m a card-carrier).

The only glitch is AGE Smart isn’t on shelves until April (don’t worry, I’ll make a calendar date to remind you).

Until then at least we know what we’re up against, huh? Cryogenic beauty sleep ’til April anyone?

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