New and novel skin care treatments have created a buzz since the dawn of time. You might have recently read about nightingale droppings being used in high-end brightening facials, nibbling carp that exfoliate dry skin during pedicures or even heard about leeches applied to skin for health and wellbeing back in the days of yore. While some of these treatments were rumored to have been beneficial, generally unproven protocols tend to be risky or simply ineffective. Before you go off the deep-end testing the wild and wacky, hoping to generate some buzz for your own practice, know that nothing speaks louder than real results.
For that reason, we’ve gotten right down to the basics this issue and ranked the top 10 buzz-worthy (and for good reason!) ingredients that you can trust will help your clients ring in 2009 in fresh, glowing style. They range from high-tech to organic, from homegrown to exotic, and from brand-new to new-and-improved. And the best part? No droppings, nibbling or blood-sucking in sight.
1. argan oil
the buzz: The argan tree, indigenous to dry, southwestern Morocco, and with a lifespan of 200 years, produces a fruit whose seeds can be pressed for the oil that has been used for cooking, medicine and cosmetics by the local Berber people for generations. Because the argan tree is found only in a small region, its supply is limited and cost can be high. But it’s worth the price as skin care companies the world over are discovering that the age-old benefits stack up to even the most modern skin care developments.
the benefits: Rich in linoleic acid, essential fatty acids and vitamin E, the all-natural oil’s properties renew, firm and moisturize skin. It’s particularly effective on dry, damaged or aging skin.
the biz: Aveda’s Green Science line, formulated with organic argan oil sustainably harvested by Moroccan women, is offered at Aveda salons and spas around the world.
the buzz: With all the things you put on your skin everyday, you might not think about the water in your shower. But tap water may contain heavy metals such as lead, iron and copper that build up on skin—causing irritation and inflammation, leading to conditions like acne, rosacea and aging. Even calcium, which seems harmless, can actually cause “hard water” that results in dull, dry skin and hair. Other chemicals, such as chlorine and pollutants, further degrade the water and harm skin. To the rescue? Chelators, or organic compounds added to water that neutralize heavy metals while absorbing the minerals that keep skin healthy.
the benefits: Purified water that nourishes and protects skin and hair, while increasing the efficacy of other beauty products.
the biz: MD Skincare’s Detox Duo comprises Purifying Bath Crystals with chelators that detoxify, and Antioxidant Enzyme Buff for subsequent exfoliation and renewal.
3. kakadu plum
the buzz: The kakadu plum has been both food and medicine to Australian Aborigines for centuries. And for good reason: The kakadu has the highest concentration of vitamin C than any other food source on the planet—about 50 times more than a typical orange. Vitamin C is a key antioxidant for skin, as it aids in the growth and repair of tissues, helps generate collagen and blocks damage by free radicals. Due to its incredibly high nutritional content, kakadu may take the title of “superfruit” from the goji berry in 2009. But supplies should remain steady: The kakadu is sustainably harvested from a flowering bush native to Australia, just outside Kakadu National Park.
the benefits: The antioxidant punch protects and refreshes skin, improving cellular turnover for a brighter complexion. It’s particularly suitable for aging, dull or photodamaged skin.
the biz: Glow Skin Spa in New York City offers a 75-minute Kakadu Plum Skin Brightening Anti-Aging Facial for $150 that incorporates Plantogen’s Skin Brightening Complex containing kakadu plum. The treatment promises to balance uneven skin tone, improve hydration and promote radiant skin.
4. mushroom extract
the buzz: Since ancient times, Eastern cultures have benefited from the healing properties mushrooms offer. Though many types of mushrooms are salubrious, including oyster and enoki, the shiitake mushroom has played an integral role in Asian medicinal treatments. This prehistoric fungi has proven in very recent studies that it can boost immunity response, lower cholesterol and even fight breast cancer cells. The mushroom can also turn back the clock on your skin by encouraging cell renewal, blocking aging proteins and evening skin tone. Perhaps that’s why mushroom extract is now being implemented in everything from specialized serums to daily moisturizers and cellulite treatments.
the benefits: Mushroom extract contains kojic acid, a natural lightening alternative to hydroquinone, which makes it ideal for those with acne scars or sun damage. However, anyone with a mushroom allergy should avoid these products.
the biz: Actifirm Mushroom Mask is a gentle, healing post-op treatment designed to calm irritated or inflamed skin. It can also be used after dermabrasion or a chemical peel.
5. organic herbs
the buzz: With the green movement evolving into a daily lifestyle, concerned consumers are questioning what they put on their skin and frequently turning to natural and organic ingredients. Though organic natural ingredients may not provide the same dramatic results as a high-tech tool, the amount of effective, natural beauty enhancers found in nature is astounding—and more discoveries are being made each day. Witness the amazing array of organic fruits, teas, vegetables and herbs turning up in everything from pimple cream to foot lotion.
the benefits: Organic plants and herbs have properties that inhibit bacterial growth, hydrate, soothe, cleanse and protect. Organic harvesting practices help maintain a healthy environment, too.
the biz: Sothys’ Beauty Garden line has almost 100-percent natural ingredients, grown and harvested with organic methods from its own garden in France. The line’s moisturizing complex is derived from three plants (cherry trees, angelica and hawthorn) and combined with plant glycerin to help hydrate and improve the barrier function of the skin.
the buzz: Heralded by some as the new Restylane, FDA-approved Radiesse is an injectible dermal filler that adds volume and contour to aging faces. According to the manufacturer, BioForm Medical, Radiesse is formulated with substances that occur naturally in the body’s bones and teeth, which minimizes the risk of allergic reactions or unwanted side effects like other injectibles. It’s said to provide natural-looking results for large areas of the face, such as the cheek or chin.
the benefits: Results are immediately visible, with ongoing improvement over time as collagen production is stimulated around the injection site. Though priced slightly higher than Restylane at $650 to $800 a syringe, effects will last for up to and beyond one year.
the biz: Offered at dermatologists and plastic surgeons offices around the country.
7. red tea
the buzz: Loaded with antioxidants, tea has long been a buzzword for healthy skin care. In a topical application, it’s proven to be effective in the fight against acne, aging and even skin cancer (drinking it has plenty of benefits, too!). Green tea was the first to make the breakthrough in skin care products, while white tea soared in popularity a few years ago when Dr. Andrew Weil designed an entire skin care line around it. Now, red tea, one of the rarer teas thought to have the most potent antioxidants, is having its moment in the limelight.
the benefits: Antioxidants found in red tea help prevent sun damage and inflammation, while gently increasing the turnover rate of skin cells. They also help firm and refine skin, and soothe irritation caused by sensitivity or rosacea.
the biz: Repêchage’s Hydra Medic acne line has an anti-inflammatory tea complex with red, white and green teas.
the buzz: As a new competitor to the injectibles market, the recently FDA-approved Reloxin is very similar to Botox. It’s also a form of botulinum toxin Type A that can be injected into specific facial muscles to prevent contraction, thereby creating a smoother, uncreased appearance. Reloxin has no downtime, just like Botox, and lasts about just as long—anywhere from four to six months.
the benefits: The benefits here are all about the wallet:
A new product on the market means increased competition and ultimately, lower prices for both medical offices and their clients.
the biz: Still pending FDA approval, the product is expected to hit the market in 2009.
the buzz: Since ancient Rome, when bathers soaked in naturally-sulfurous hot springs, sulfur has been long recognized as a skin soother. Recently, sulfur has enjoyed a resurgence as an acne-fighter. This low-key element is found naturally in the keratin in our bodies (nails, skin and hair) as well as in the earth, surfacing in springs and volcanoes. With natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, it has been used throughout history to treat many skin conditions besides acne, such as dandruff, psoriasis and warts.
the benefits: Sulfur inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria, encourages the shedding of dead skin cells to unclog pores and loosen impactions, and helps heal existing blemishes.
the biz: Glymed Plus Serious Action Sulfur Masque has a 10-percent concentration of sulfur.
the buzz: Ready for bioengineered skin care? For those who can afford the price tag, products made with telomerase technology promise to reset the clock on aging skin. Telomeres exist in the DNA of our cells, and they gradually shorten as we age, triggering cell degradation and even cell death. Subsequently, shortened telomeres are directly correlated to age-related diseases and conditions, including wrinkles and loss of elasticity and volume. Scientists have even reported the rate at which telomeres shorten (which can also be influenced by heredity, lifestyle and other factors) ultimately determines how long we live. But have no fear: Today, skin care products with telomerase may help protect and lengthen the life of the telomere, slowing down the aging process and allowing cells to rebuild and repair themselves. It’s not a fountain of youth, but may help your skin look up to five years younger by some accounts.
the benefits: Get the skin you used to have, including better tone and texture, improved clarity and brightness, and diminished appearance of lines and wrinkles.
the biz: Jan Marini’s Age Intervention Regeneration Booster line is a six-week, take-home system.