ASCP Skin Deep

MARCH | APRIL 2016

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30 march/april 2016 expertadvice INGREDIENTS A Winning Formula Products can only be effective with the right combination of ingredients by Susanne Schmaling In the last issue, we explored delivery systems used in skin care formulations. Before moving into specific active ingredients such as stem cells and peptides, let's take a look at the components of a formulation. WHAT IS A FORMULATION? A formulation is a combination of ingredients used together to provide a specific function. Formulations can be broken down into two groups: essential products and performance products. Essential Products Products used to maintain healthy skin as part of a simple skin care program are called essential products. At a minimum, this category of products should be available to your clients: • Cleansers that remove debris, dirt, and dead skin cells. • Toners that hydrate and rebalance pH. • Lotions, creams, and oils that help prevent moisture loss. • Sunscreens that protect against UV radiation. Performance Products Products designed to treat skin conditions and aid in the effectiveness of other products are known as performance products. These include: • Masks for cleansing, clarifying, lightening, or moisturizing the stratum corneum. • Serums that add much-needed nutrients to the skin. • Treatment creams formulated to perform multiple actions such as a vehicle to deliver an active ingredient and also protect the skin. INGREDIENT CATEGORIES In order for a product to work effectively, it should contain ingredients that are active, functional, and skin conditioning. The ingredient deck, known as the label, is usually the place an esthetician starts when trying to decide if a product will work or not. We have been told to always read the order of ingredients on the label to determine effectiveness, but we may not understand the formulation as a whole, which is more important when trying to decipher how the product works on the skin. To understand this better, let's take a look at the different categories of ingredients. Active/Performance Ingredients Active/performance ingredients are designed to treat specific skin conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles. They can be very unstable and need a delivery system to reach their intended targets within the skin. Examples of performance ingredients are peptides, retinol, stem cells, and vitamin C. Formulation percentages are generally low with active ingredients due to the potential for irritation and instability. However, the ingredient deck does not always list

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