Once upon a time, pale skin was a sign of affluence, and maintaining milky skin was an important part of a beauty regimen. From the 1920s onward, this trend changed thanks to French designer Coco Chanel, who popularized tanning as a symbol of health, well-being, and an upscale social status. It also did not help that World War II veterans were returning home from combat in warmer climates sporting golden tans and a vigorous appearance. From that moment on, the golden tan gained popularity and became aesthetically pleasing, despite its detrimental effects on the skin. As such, many individuals suffered from sunburns, pigmentation disorders, and even skin cancer. Additionally, an increasing number of consumers erroneously believed they could achieve a tanned look without the side effects of sun exposure by using tanning beds. The result was overexposure to the sun and a population battling hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, as well as various skin cancers. History repeats itself as flawless, porcelain-looking skin is now extremely in demand.
The Quest for Healthy Skin
Today, the quest for prolonged skin health and radiance has become a more standard mindset, with consumers displaying an unending desire to reveal a flawless skin tone. More popular than ever are anti-aging products with the capacity to counteract both photo-aging and chrono-aging, as well as to effectively treat hyperpigmentation in order to deliver a more even skin texture with a brighter and lighter skin tone. Even though skin color depends on a combination of genetically determined elements, the cells directly in charge of skin pigmentation are located at the bottom of the epidermis. These cells, called melanocytes, are primarily responsible for skin protection against damage from solar UV rays. Another primary function is the formation of pigment that is so intricately connected to a person's race through hereditary factors, thereby defining skin color. Lastly, melanocytes are less commonly known for their "dark" side of causing melanoma cancer. Pigmentation occurs simply because of multiple cascading chemical reactions that occur within melanocytes, involving an enzyme (biological agent) called tyrosinase that causes the oxidation of an amino acid called tyrosine. The result is the formation of pigment called melanin. Depending on the genetically predetermined pathway followed, reddish or brown melanin can be produced. The biological regulation of pigmentation depends on many factors, such as age, hormones, sun exposure, photo-sensitizing ingredients, skin inflammation, skin trauma and more. The presence of these factors, either singly or combined, can make the treatment and management of discolorations complicated. Regrettably, skin therapists often focus on a single hyperpigmentation cause and do not address the multiple factors responsible. This often leads to a resurgence of hyperpigmentation or to an unsatisfied client due to the lack of visible and long-term results.
In the U.S., where the overall population includes a strong Asian demographic, brightening services are constantly in high demand. It is well known that Asians are one of the primary consumers of brightening products and that their culture's quest for a lighter, brighter complexion can be historically tracked to ancient beliefs and traditions. For most cultures throughout the centuries, lighter skin has symbolized an elitist social status that helped differentiate the rich from the poor. Those who were not privy to a lighter complexion sought to obtain one by applying dyes and fine powders. This practice came at the cost of degraded skin health and the development of visible discolorations, since many products used were lead-derived or contained other poisonous substances that lead to illness and even death.
Treating Body Hyperpigmentation
Exposed body skin will be the primary target of damage both from aging and pigmentation. Besides the face, the areas mostly affected by UV rays are the back of neck, back, arms, décolleté, legs and feet. These areas need to be examined closely for growths, dilated capillaries, accumulations of pigment, lines and wrinkles, and anything suspicious not commonly found on healthy skin. If in doubt, a courtesy referral (recommendation) to visit a physician is the right thing to do. In any case, the best way to deal with hyperpigmentation is to establish a clear plan of action. When dealing with mature guests, always consider a hormonal imbalance as a likely cause, in which case you should suggest a visit to an endocrinologist. Once the hormonal issues are addressed, the skin therapist can focus on a series of professional lightening treatments. In most cases, gentle body exfoliation can accomplish an important improvement in skin brightening and texture smoothing; aside from this and to assure effectiveness, high performing ingredients with advanced delivery systems are a must.
For years, hydroquinone occupied the highest respectable seat among skin brighteners for medical and non-medical use. However, extensive research of skin problems due to hydroquinone side effects led to its global demise and opened up new doors for safer, more revolutionary ingredients.
As a result, naturally derived arbutin, lactic acid, and mulberry extract were considered suitable alternatives for lightening agents, especially when used in combination with other pigment-reducing ingredients. Lately, this has changed with the arrival of newer ingredients and technologies.
The Latest Buzz in Brightening
The latest in-demand brightening ingredients, which are clinically proven to deliver highly effective, brightening benefits, are diacetyl boldine andoligopeptide-68. Diacetyl boldine is an extract from the bark of the Chilean boldo tree. This powerful ingredient works at the tyrosinase-level to reduce and control pigmentation and is clinically proven effective at improving the skin after only 10 minutes of application, increasing complexion evenness and luminosity by 10 percent. Cumulative results with diacetyl boldine were also impressive within a consumer trial, which documented that 80 percent of participants reported a 33 percent lightening effect on their skin tone during a 56-day trial.
As a highlight, diacetyl boldine is encapsulated into microliposomes to make it even more effective at reaching its target in the skin, more resistant to degradation, and more consistent in its results.
Due to its biomimetic liposomic time-release peptide delivery system, identical to the skin's own structure and composition, oligopeptide-68 is capable of rapidly equalizing skin tone and reducing unwanted hyperpigmentation. Combined with diacetyl boldine, oligopeptide-68 can elicit powerful results to satisfy the most demanding of guests with immediate, visible results.
Recently, another addition to the very effective options to target not only hyperpigmentation, but also skin aging reveal a new form of vitamin C known as Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. This type of stable vitamin C is particularly efficient for fast penetration into skin layers given its high liposolubility, making it an undisputable compatible contender for body skin applications to deliver lightening, anti-free-radicals, and collagen stimulating benefits. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is therefore an ideal ingredient to consider in body skin lightening and brightening formulations.
Healthy, Brighter Body Skin
Brightening the skin can only get better if the skin is treated comprehensively. Proper exfoliation, hydration, reparation and protection are fundamental pillars in skin care for both face and body. Ideal body products that seek to brighten the skin should also focus on maintaining skin wellness through homeostasis; the skin can show remarkable improvement when its delicate balance is kept in equilibrium. To accomplish these goals, hydrating and nourishing ingredients are a must, but as the skin ages it may require of supplementary actives that can bring forth a youthful appearance more expeditiously. Such actives include, but are not limited to, Sorghum (a natural cereal extract capable of interacting with epidermal keratinocytes to create a tightening film on the skin for increased firmness) and Kombucha (an extract from fermented black tea culture which possesses enzymatic and microcirculatory benefits). These ingredients improve the wellness of the skin and not only support the brightening action of lightening ingredients, but also enhance the skin's healthier feel and look.
In addition, to widen the range of benefits, these ingredients should also be considered in high performing formulations: compatible peptides of collagen and elastin; polyphenols (antioxidants), hyaluronic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and last but not least, plant oils for extra nourishing action.
Dr. Christian Jurist is a physician that specializes in aesthetic medicine. He received his medical diploma from Venezuela's "UCV," in 1995; and his post-graduate diploma from the International Union of Esthetic Medicine (U.I.M.E.) headquartered in Paris, France in 1998. Jurist has belonged to several International aesthetic medicine professional associations and his long-term experience has comprised multiple face and body therapies, years of teaching experience, published author of professional articles, numerous educational seminars, professional trade show conferences, school classes, and special events throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Since joining Pevonia and Medicalia International as medical director of global education, Jurist has been working side-by-side with renowned biochemist and founder of Pevonia Botanica, Mme. Sylvie Hennessy, to direct and develop new and effective superior educational programs to provide skin professionals with an easy-yet-scientific approach to clinical skin care, and the medical aesthetics practice.