Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C: Avène A-Oxitive

Avene A-Oxitive

This post is sponsored by Avène. I’ve been really happy to see more vitamin C products hit the marketplace recently. Vitamin C is one of my favourite skincare ingredients – it’s a powerful antioxidant that’s fantastic for soaking up free radical damage, which makes it great for evening out skin tone and reducing fine lines. As someone who’s very prone to …

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Why do we still use whitening products?

cosrx whitening power

I’ve been mulling over this topic ever since Buzzfeed’s “Are You Unwittingly Buying Whitening Products?” and Vox’s “Why the Market for Skin Whitening Is Growing” videos came out in late 2017/early 2018, but didn’t really feel like I had a good enough grasp on the topic to write about it until recently. Hopefully this won’t be interpreted as hopping on …

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Tranexamic acid: a newer skincare ingredient for pigmentation

Tranexamic acid products

What is tranexamic acid? Tranexamic acid (TXA for short) is a relatively new ingredient in skincare. It’s a synthetic derivative of the amino acid lysine: You can take tranexamic acid orally as a tablet, apply it topically on your skin as a cream or serum, or have it injected into the lower layers of your skin (the dermis). Oral tranexamic …

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Video: My Routine for Fading Acne Marks (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)

Video: My Routine for Fading Acne Marks (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)

New video! I’ve had a lot of questions about how to fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (aka PIH). I’m of East Asian heritage so I’m naturally pigmentation-prone, plus genetically I’m screwed – my dad’s face is basically one giant freckle. Sun, acne, scratches… all of these will leave pigmented dark marks that last for weeks. While I’ve done a post on pigment …

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Mythbusting: Are Vitamin C Serums Bad for You?

Mythbusting: Are Vitamin C Serums Bad for You?

I’ve been asked a lot for my opinion on a recent article on whether vitamin C serums are bad for your skin. In the article, Wendy explains why Oumere will never have a vitamin C serum in their line. She outlines that vitamin C can:

  • Act as a pro-oxidant when it reacts with iron in the air (or iron and copper in cosmetics) via the Fenton reaction, leading to irritation, collagen and elastin breakdown and acne
  • Lead to desensitisation (tachyphylaxis) so if you start using it too young, your skin won’t respond later on

Let’s take a look at both of these arguments.

Is Vitamin C Pro-oxidant?

While in some circumstances vitamin C can act as a pro-oxidant after it reacts with metals and potentially lead to collagen destruction, vitamin C is also known to have effects that are the exact opposite:

  • Vitamin C on its own is a potent antioxidant that soaks up free radicals and prevents the oxidative damage that results from UV light and other environmental stressors, as well as normal biological processes
  • Vitamin C is an essential cofactor that’s required for enzymes that crosslink and stabilise collagen (prolyl and lysyl hydroxylase)

Mythbusting: Are Vitamin C Serums Bad for You?

So how do we tell which of these actions, pro-oxidant or antioxidant, wins out? Science, of course! More specifically, we have quite a lot of clinical trials on vitamin C where vitamin C serums are applied to actual human skin, and its effect is measured. Vitamin C is one of THE best researched skincare ingredients.

None of the clinical trials on topical vitamin C (that’s vitamin C applied to the skin) found a decrease in collagen. In fact, a whole bunch of studies found that vitamin C increased collagen. In these studies, the volunteers were also exposed to air pollution and other cosmetic products, which were proposed to be the sources of metals that would cause a pro-oxidant effect in the article. Clearly the antioxidant effect is winning.

Related Post: Antioxidants in Skincare: What Do They Do?

Studies where vitamin C increased collagen:

Most studies on vitamin C measure its effect on photodamage. These studies generally measure the effect of vitamin C on wrinkles. While this isn’t a direct measure of collagen, lack of collagen causes deeper wrinkles, so if vitamin C was having a pro-oxidant effect you’d see a worsening of photodamage (which is actually caused partially by increased oxidation). In these studies, vitamin C improved photodamage:

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Elucent Skincare Review

Elucent Skincare Review

Recently I had the opportunity to try out an Elucent skincare regime for a month. Elucent is a skincare range that’s produced by Ego Pharmaceuticals, the company behind brands like SunSense, QV and Azclear. I’ve always been a fan of their scientific, evidence-based approach.

Elucent is their higher-end skincare range, which contains products specifically designed for anti-ageing and whitening. The Anti-Ageing range is based around alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and vitamins while the Whitening range contains a range of brightening ingredients including safflower seed, niacinamide, vitamin C and antioxidants (but no hydroquinone). Elucent’s products are dermatologically tested, made in Australia, manufactured to pharmaceutical standards and not tested on animals. There are lots of actives in these products. Since my main skincare concern is hyperpigmentation, I was matched with a bunch of their whitening products, and their anti-ageing cleanser.

Elucent Skincare Review

Elucent Anti-Ageing Gentle Cleanser

Elucent Anti-Ageing Gentle Cleanser ($29.99 for 95 mL) is a standard foaming gel cleanser that comes in a convenient pump container. It has gentle surfactants and lots of glycerin to reduce dehydration. I really liked that it doesn’t feel stripping, but still takes my make-up off efficiently. The cleanser also contains 1% lactic acid and 1% glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acids that are great for exfoliating, anti-ageing and evening out skin tone. I don’t usually look for actives in my cleansers, but they’re a nice bonus. The pH is a skin-friendly 4. My only complaint about this product is that the fragrance isn’t my favourite – it smells very mildly acidic on top of a generic floral scent.

Related post: Video: The Science Behind My Favourite Skincare Acids

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My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

Ultraceuticals is an Australian cosmeceutical skincare brand with a strong focus on scientifically-backed, effective products. I was invited to take part in their RVR90 program where I had to commit to using their products and treatments for 3 months (fellow beauty bloggers will know how crazy this is). I’m excited to share my results with you today!

Ultraceuticals was founded in 1998 by Dr Geoffrey Heber, a cosmetic physician was the first to bring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to Australia. As well as take-home products, they offer in-clinic treatments at a variety of spas and salons around Australia.

RVR90, which stands for Real Visible Results in 90 Days, involves 3 steps. First, you discuss your skin concerns with a skin technician and decide what you want to work on. Next, you receive an RVR90 starter pack for your skin type, containing cleanser, lotion and sunscreen, plus an appropriate serum ($199). Finally, you’re prescribed a treatment and homecare plan to address your specific concerns. Ultraceuticals believes that 70% of results are achieved through homecare while 30% is from in-clinic treatments, so if you don’t like in-clinic treatments you can still get most of the benefits.

I decided to target my hyperpigmentation, since I have some pigmentation happening on my cheeks (yay Asian genes), and the treatment would also help with congestion and acne as well. I was prescribed the Oily/Normal pack (surprise!), and was given the Ultra Brightening Serum to start with, then the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Serum a bit later on.

My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

I was given three 30 minute Radiance Plus+ in-clinic treatments over the 90 days by Tracey Beeby, the Head of Global Training at Ultraceuticals. This consisted of:

  • Double cleansing with the Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser and Pre Peel Skin Preparation, using the UltraSonophoresis machine
  • 15 min mask using the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Concentrate and Ultra Brightening Accelerator Mask, which contain 8 skin brightening agents that act on hyperpigmentation, dark spots and blotchiness
  • After removal of the mask, application of Ultra Protective Antioxidant Complex and sunscreen

I was initially a bit skeptical that I’d see much of a difference in 90 days since my skin was already pretty good and the treatments were pretty painless (slight prickling and heat but nothing close to burning), but when I saw my before-and-after photos and skin analysis I was very impressed.

Here are the photos, with Day 0 on the left and Day 86 on the right (I couldn’t make it in on Day 90). I look a bit like I’m going into surgery with the hair net…

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