woman applying skin care products

Sometimes the best way to target a specific skin concern is a two-step approach. By combining powerful anti-aging ingredients such as Matrixyl 3000, copper peptides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C either with each other or with LED light therapy or Ultrasound, you can double their effectiveness and achieve results in a shorter amount of time.

Treat Problem Skin/Acne

Combine: Salicylic Acid + Blue LED

Salicylic acid is considered to have aspirin-like, anti-inflammatory properties and is a popular ingredient in acne treatment formulas. Salicylic acid is one of several beta hydroxy acids, and works as a keratolytic by exfoliating the skin, "causing the cells of the epidermis to shed more readily, preventing pores from clogging up, and allowing room for new cell growth" (source). It is considered especially effective because of its ability to penetrate the follicle, clearing the pores of debris at a deeper level and reducing blockage and in turn, acne flare-ups and breakouts (source). It is also well documented that salicylic acid can improve skin thickness, barrier functions, and collagen production.

Blue LED light wavelengths pass to the skin and produce singlet oxygen that can destroy acne-causing bacteria. These targeted bacteria that produce the inflammation associated with acne are known as propionibacterium acne's, or "P. acne's". P. acne's releases porphyrins, which are naturally occurring molecules in the body. When porphyrins are exposed to certain wavelengths of light, free radical damage is produced, which destroys the bacteria.

Products to try:

Skinfinite Purify Facial Cleanse ($30 in the shop)

ClarityMD Skin Clarifying Acne Treatment Pads ($25 in the shop)

• Arcona Raspberry Resurfacing Peel ($68)

Truth Renew Ultrasonic & LED Anti-Aging System ($109 in the shop)

Firm Sagging Skin

Combine: Ultrasound + Matrixyl 3000

Ultrasound (ultrasonic ) is high frequency sound waves, between 800,000 Hz and 2,000,000 Hz. As the ultrasound waves pass from the treatment head to the skin they cause a vibration of the surrounding tissues, particularly those that contain collagen. You will not actually feel vibrations on the surface of the skin and the device will not feel hot against the skin. The vibration massages the surrounding tissue, which then increases oxygen to the cells and aids in the removal of waste.

The antioxidant matrixyl 3000 is made by combining two peptides, palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapepide-7. It outperforms vitamin C (and unlike some of the Cs, it doesn't irritate) by stimulating the matrix molecules — collagens 1,3, 4 and fibronectin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. According to clinical trials, matrixyl 3000 led to a 33% decrease in wrinkle density, a 23% decrease in the volume of wrinkles and a 20% decrease in the depth of wrinkles.

Products to try:

Your Best Face Correct (eye cream) ($150 in the shop)

Arcona Peptide Hydrating Complex ($75)

Osmotics Eye Surgery Under Eye Rejuvenator ($68)

Truth Renew Ultrasonic & LED Anti-Aging System ($99 in the shop)

Repair Deep Wrinkles

Combine: Copper Peptides + Hyaluronic Acid

Copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production, and also acts as an antioxidant. It also promotes production of glycosaminoglycans. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue because they activate the skin’s system responsible for those functions.

The effect of hyaluronic acid on the skin is at the level of promoting the formation of collagen, the fibers that firm the skin. Hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen fibers, is produced by free radicals and UV radiation. This breakdown of collagen fibers can cause premature wrinkles and sagging of the skin. Therefore, reducing the free radicals is a major key to reducing the Hyaluronidase enzyme and promoting normal levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin (source). Hyaluronic acid also exhibits water-binding and water-attracting attributes fill up the spaces between the connective fibers collagen and elastin in the dermis. This allows skin to say supple and prevents wrinkles from forming in dry skin.

Products to try: 

• Skin Nutrition Cell CPR ($170)

Bénir Beauty BV-9 Platinum Review ($136 in the shop)

• Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Firming Elasticity Repair ($85/1.7 oz)

• Hyalogic Episilk Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($59.95)

Sciote Super Moist Hyaluronic Serum ($75 in the shop)

• Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Skin Rehydration Solution ($68)

Soothe Redness/Rosacea

Combine: Red LED light + Teprenone / Renovage

Red LED light is for plumping the skin and is a great help against rosacea as well. LED light helps against inflammation. TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor) stimulates many of the cytokines and enzymes involved in the inflammatory process and in the tissue destruction caused by rosacea. Therefore, decreasing TNF-a levels should theoretically help. Studies have demonstrated that low-level light therapy (LED) reduces levels of TNF-a. Red LED is a must to help retain or jump-start collagen production, stimulating the body’s tissues to convert the light energy into cellular energy.

Telomeres were popularized — and legitimized — by a Nobel Prize winning team of scientists. Research on telomeres and aging has led to an ingredient called teprenone (sometimes marketed under the name of Renovage) cropping up in anti-aging products, potions and lotions. This is a complex science, but in a nutshell, telomeres allow cells to distinguish chromosome ends from broken DNA and they shorten every time a cell divides. When they become very short, they trigger cell crisis and cell death. Anti-aging ingredients such as teprenone try to address this by stabilizing the telomeres.

Products to try:

Osmotics Anti-Radical Age Defense Moisture Complex ($111)

Your Best Face Boost (day cream) ($65 in the shop)

Medik8 Red Alert ($60 in the shop)

Truth Renew Ultrasonic & LED Anti-Aging System ($99 in the shop)

Brighten Dark Spots

Combine: Green LED + Vitamin C

Green LED light helps with skin discoloration. There isn't as much independent research behind green LED as there is for well-documented red light, but theoretically, green light targets melanocytes, melanin-producing cells located in the bottom layer of the skin's epidermis. According to Sirius, it inhibits the production of excess melanin, prevents it from traveling to the skin’s surface, and breaks up melanin clusters to diminish existing discoloration.

Vitamin C is a tricky ingredient that can be unstable and drying. Get it right, though, and it repairs DNA damage and fades hyperpigmentation. Studies have shown that it has an inhibitory effect on melanogenesis. There have been improvements made in vitamin C formulas and there are new derivatives that are stable and potent. Read more on how to choose the right vitamin C.

Products to try:

• Eslor Brightening Activator Serum ($110)

suki intensive nourishing cream with brightening complex ($60.95 in the shop)

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Active Moisture Serum ($68 in the shop)

Truth Renew Ultrasonic & LED Anti-Aging System ($99 in the shop)