Your skin feels dull, slack and congested. It’s in need of the big guns: the sort of rigorous tending-to that only a skincare professional can provide. Though, that would require a whopper budget and a trip to the clinic, would it not? Ask some of the world’s leading skin experts, however, and you might be surprised to hear this isn’t the case any more.
Last year, The Future Laboratory reported that 2019 will see a rise in consumers looking for skincare that mimics the results of surgical/dermatological treatments and it appears the pros have been listening: “This is the closest I’ve come to providing clients with the treatments I would offer in the clinic, but at home,” says A-list dermatologist, Dr Dennis Gross, as we talk through his new PRO range, which bridges the gap between clinical grade products and day to day skincare. “It’s a new line designed specifically for people whose skin is already acclimated to active ingredients and are looking for the next step up,” he explains.
In an age where consumers are better-informed than ever, it’s little surprise we’re turning directly to the experts – doctors, facialists and aestheticians – as a frank and trusted source of skincare know-how. And, with many having established social channels to speak straight to consumers, several are launching their own skincare ranges steeped in decades of expertise, to hand over to their clients.
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“It’s clear that consumers are becoming much more knowledgable about ingredients, whilst also becoming more sceptical about what a product promises,” states leading dermatologist, Dr Sam Bunting. “Through the power of social media, men and women are discussing sophisticated issues like sunscreen filters and retinoids,” she says. And brands who fall short of our increasingly discerning standards? “Today’s consumer is quick to call bullshit on products that are overly expensive and make exaggerated claims,” says Bunting. In fact we’re requiring more in the way of innovation, active ingredients and high performance from our products than ever before. The growing number of “skintellectuals” (ultra savvy skincare consumers) searching for en-pointe skincare, has seen doctor and facialist brands sky-rocket on sites like Space NK and Net-A-Porter where these categories have seen an 80% and 60% uptick in sales over the last year, respectively.
But, if you’re wondering how these expert brands differ from what’s already available on the market, well, that comes from being in the trenches, they say. Having treated thousands of patients, the professionals are confident their homecare formulations offer solutions other brands simply don’t tick off. “I have a close understanding of my client’s requirements, likes and dislikes,” says top facialist, Sarah Chapman, (the woman behind Meghan Markle’s fresh, wedding day skin). Rather than being trend led, the products created by these frontline experts are “created to target real skin issues seen in the clinic,” says Chapman. Once they identify a problem, they can go about formulating the fix.
So, what gaps in the market have they spotted? Dr Bunting created her skincare line after recognising a missing link between anti-blemish products reaching adult women, whose skin naturally has different needs from teenagers. “The anti-ageing market pays little consideration to the 40% of grown-up women who are acne-prone, often formulating with ingredients that can trigger breakouts,” she says. Her range came off the back of patients regularly highlighting the lack of skincare addressing this issue.
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Likewise, Dr Yannis Alexandrides, founder of insider skincare brand, 111SKIN, has spent years reviewing the delivery systems of his products to bring them closer in line with his professional treatments after clients called for something they could use on themselves at home. His Meso Infusion Overnight Micro Mask uses cutting edge technology to administer active ingredients further into the skin in a process similar to professional mesotherapy (which involve injecting superfine needles containing potent actives into the top layers of the skin). “The ingredients are fused together at liquid temperatures and then, utilising computerised handling equipment, micro droplets are pulled apart to form hundreds of cones [which gently replicate the effects of the needles used in-clinic],” explains Dr Alexandrides. “When applied, the mask melts into the skin, infusing super potent line-plumping ingredients. It’s pioneering science that really works,” he says, and it was inspired by his background treating clients.
Tools, too, have had the pro treatment by those in-the-know. Face gadgets, like facial rollers – which encourage lymphatic drainage, improve circulation and enhance the absorption of your skincare – have becoming a booming industry thanks to the likes of facialists Teresa Tarmey, Nurse Jamie and Joanna Czech, all of whom have developed tools that mimic the treatments they offer professionally. “All of the beauty tools are based off of our most popular in-office treatments,” says Jamie Sherrill, founder of Nurse Jamie. “I wanted to make a line of beauty tools and products that are as user friendly as possible to truly replicate the spa experience from the comfort of your own home.”
But, with all this innovation, do we even need to visit the professionals any more? The consensus from the pros, is yes. “A visit to the clinic does of course have many advantages. Clients will benefit from the expertise of dermal therapists, who will analyse the skin and provide recommendations for treatments and products at home to ensure optimal results,” says Chapman. “Every facial treatment is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of each individual client, meaning no two facials are the same,” she adds. What's more, professional treatments provide access to the latest advanced technologies, such as micro-needling, IPL, and clinical-strength peels that simply can't be administered in the same way at home. “Professional treatments are of a higher strength, so need to be administered by qualified therapists,” explains top dermatologist, Dr Murad. In comparison, when creating at-home treatments, the experts have to ensure products are “as powerful as they can be, using the highest grade of ingredient available, while staying within the limits that permit them to be an over-the-counter product,” he adds.
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Realistically, though, we all lead very busy lives and it’s not always possible to squeeze in regular treatments. That’s where at-home ranges come in. They follow the same structure of professional treatments (albeit at a lower dosage), they offer convenience and, crucially, they afford you the ability to use them regularly. While professional treatments tend to occur monthly, their at-home counterparts can be applied daily, which, cumulatively can match what we receive in the clinic – think little and often, rather than intense and occasional – making them an ideal way to maintain skin condition. “If the at-home products are used as often prescribed, you can indeed achieve professional, in-office results,” says Dr Gross.