By Edeline Anne Goh
Simply ask yourself this question – during the course of your life, what amount of cosmetic products do you think you apply on your body, from head to toe?
Take a wild guess…Two kg? 30 kg? Or 50 fifty kg?
Well, research estimates that a woman applies at least 100 kg of body cosmetic products in her lifetime and for those bordering on ‘obsessive’, this number can reach a staggering 300 kg!
Yes, this are indeed worrying statistics as conventional cosmetics contain high amounts of chemicals which — believe it or not — can actually be one of the causes of wrinkles when applied on your skin.
Cyrille Telinge, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Novexpert, a skincare brand which focuses on using only natural ingredients through biotechnology, explains how chemicals affect your skin and the secret to staying young without having to go under the knife.
“The latest technology in skincare is biotechnology which stresses the use of natural ingredients and this includes non-genetically modified organisms and alcohol free products. Biotechnology also ensures in-depth research and processing methods that are safe to the environment,” says Telinge, adding that bio means ‘live’ in Greek.
“There are two types of skin care products in the market – one with artificial composition and the other, which uses natural technology”, he says.
The good news is that many cosmeceutical companies have switched to the biotechnology path due to consumer demand for products that use natural yet effective ingredients.
Telinge explains that one of the most popular natural ingredients is hyaluronic acid, a gel substance that is naturally found under your skin. Often extracted from chicken combs or from laboratory-processed bacteria, hyaluronic acid is not new in the medical industry. Besides being incorporated into cosmoceutical products, it is injected into the joints of osteoarthritis patients or sometimes used as fillers in plastic surgery.
So, why do skincare products contain hyaluronic acid?
Over the years, the percentage of natural hyaluronic acid in your skin decreases due to ageing. This process speeds up if your skin is exposed to environmental factors such as chemicals and pollution. “When you lose hyaluronic acid, you get wrinkles,” warns Telinge.
He further explains that you need to be cautious with your cosmetic choices because your skin absorbs everything that is applied on it. However, after absorption, does your skin digest every molecule of the substance that has penetrated it?
“Research shows that each day, you have most likely applied 500 different kinds of molecules on your skin — both chemical substances as well as natural extracts,” says Telinge. He goes on to say that any substance applied on your skin and which is recognised by your immune system will be accepted and this generally applies to substances that are natural. However, if the molecule of an ingredient (mainly from chemicals) is foreign to your immune system, it will attempt to restrict digestion of the ingredient, hence overusing your metabolism which speeds up your ageing process.
Plus studies have shown that chemicals and preservatives which have been applied on the skin remains there for days, weeks and sometimes even months! In such cases, imagine the level of metabolism your body requires to fight against these foreign molecules?
It’s a well-known fact that most conventional cosmetic products contain harmful chemicals. What you may not realise though is that some of these chemicals exist commonly around you. For instance, bisphenol, which is extensively found in plastic bottles, is not a foreign ingredient in conventional cosmetic products. Other artificial harmful ingredients include pesticides, preservatives, heavy metal and solvents.
Telinge advises that to ensure the hypodermis layer of your skin does not contain tough and foreign molecules you need to be certain that the product you are using is biodegradable. Consider this – if your facial cream requires an extremely long time to decompose naturally, imagine the time it requires for it to be absorbed and disposed as waste from your body?
So, before purchasing that new anti-ageing mask you’ve had your eye on, there are a few items to look out for on the label:
Insert: Use square check box instead of bullets
- Does it contain pesticides?
- Does it contain preservatives?
- Does it contain heavy metals?
- Does it contain natural ingredients?
- Is it comedogenic?
Tip: If you are uncertain about a product, do a quick internet search on cosmetic products that label themselves as using purely natural ingredients. You will find Novexpert prides itself as being ‘safe to eat’ because it consists of purely natural ingredients.
In the Kitchen…
Aside from artificial chemicals, Telinge warns that your diet plays a very important role in keeping your skin healthy and protected from wrinkles as well. “One of the biggest ‘no-nos’ is sugar,” he says. Be it white or brown, sugar promotes wrinkles and is in fact a form of carcinogen.
“Sugar — the main ingredient for many much- loved but unhealthy foods such as desserts, fizzy soda as well as ice-cream — should be avoided at all times,” he advises.
Your First Wrinkle
Do you remember the first time you spotted a wrinkle? Do you know how long it takes for a wrinkle to become visible?
The good news is wrinkles do not appear overnight. “It takes about 5 to 7 years for a wrinkle to develop,” says Telinge. On average, the ageing process begins in your 20s. If you’re in that age group and you happen to place your cells under a microscope, you may spot some cells, which have already aged.
Ageing is natural. However, your lifestyle determines the speed of in the ageing process. According to Telinge, the most common misconception of anti-ageing skincare is that it is for those in the older age group.
“Anti-ageing skincare should be used as a preventive measure and not a corrective one.” Ideally, you should start using skincare products, with specific anti-ageing abilities, as early as during your 20s. However, this does not mean that if you are in the more mature age group of 40s or 50s, anti-ageing skincare is not appropriate. “It is never too late as it still helps to avoid further wrinkles,” he says.
Telinge also clarifies that some people believe that all you need is a good skincare regime to achieve healthy skin but this is not the case. “People have to be clever with their lifestyle choices. Healthy skin is a long term habit and it starts from the inside out,” he says. “Smoking, too much sun, air conditioning and unhealthy food affects your skin’s health.”
Also, do not cleanse your face aggressively as it may trigger skin irritation.
So, Telinge’s take home message is:
- Natural skincare ingredients are essential
- Do not overuse cosmetic products as it may produce negative effects
- Make sure your foaming cleanser contains ingredients that are not harsh on your skin
- Avoid a sugar-rich diet
- Anti-ageing skincare is not a miracle, it helps to prevent not correct wrinkles