When it comes to choosing the right skincare for you, where to start can often be a confusing task. With many companies claiming their products to be revolutionary, who do we choose, and why? Soraya Hendesi, founder of New Zealand anti-ageing skincare brand Snowberry, who are the official skincare partner for the Good Sustainable Style Show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018, says we ought to start with the fundamentals – understanding how our skin works.
“If you truly care about your skin, and if you really do want to avoid premature ageing, then you must understand how your skin works. Because if you don’t, you risk damaging your skin every single day, and paying for the privilege of doing so.” – Soraya Hendesi
Soraya Hendesi, the founder of the New Zealand anti-ageing skincare brand, Snowberry has been passionate about skin for as long as she can remember. Even as a child in Tehran, the capital of Iran, Hendesi ‘formulated’ skin potions from the flowers and buds of the plants in her family’s garden, to give to her beloved mother and grandmother.
“Of course, they pretended that these potions were the most wonderful they had ever seen. But that was just harmless, childish fun. Now, though, I am still surprised at how many women will say, ‘I don’t think I believe what skincare companies are telling me. I just have to trust them…’”
So, how should we choose skincare products, and how is Snowberry different? It begins, Soraya says, with that understanding of how our skin works. In simple terms, we should think of it like this. The skin that we see in the mirror, is the skin’s natural barrier. It is called the Epidermis, and it is made up of three very important parts. First, there are the keratinocytes, which are the tough, dead cells that are like the bricks in a brick wall. Between these ‘bricks’ is the lipid layer, comprising a blend of oils that act very like the mortar in a brick wall. And finally, covering the ‘bricks and mortar,’ is an invisible film called the acid mantle, which is a blend of the sebum and sweat produced by glands in the skin. Providing that we don’t remove the lipids or the acid mantle, our skin’s natural barrier is highly effective and does exactly what it ought to do – protect us against harmful micro-organisms, allergens and irritants.
Unfortunately, many of us are damaging the natural barrier every single day, and the moment we do, we are causing what is called ‘premature ageing of skin,’ or making the skin appear older than it really is. It also means that the healthy glow or radiance we associate with youthful skin, is degraded.
The second part of skin that we must understand, is the cellular matrix. This is the dense ‘mesh’ of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin that form the underlying dermis. When we are young, the cellular matrix, which also contains glycans – or moisture retaining proteins such as sodium hyaluronate – is plump and wrinkle-free. However, as we age and most particularly, from the age of thirty, the cellular matrix thins, and the skin begins to sag, with lines and wrinkles becoming increasingly evident.
Now, imagine that from age sixteen, you have been using a cleanser or toner that strips the epidermis of lipids and the acid mantle, every single time you use it. Unfortunately, says Soraya, that’s what millions of women are doing, quite unknowingly. Studies show that many of us will spend much more on serums or creams, but we want a cheap cleanser. And that cheap cleanser may be the root cause of redness, discolouration, acne and increasing skin sensitivity. The first and most important of Snowberry’s ‘Rules for More Radiant Skin,’ is to choose and use only cleansers, make-up removers and toners, that will not damage the natural barrier. And that means that you must avoid products containing aggressive foaming surfactants such as Sodium lauryl sulphate, or volatile alcohols like Isopropyl alcohol. It is for this reason, says Soraya, that Snowberry’s scientist, Dr Travis Badenhorst, ensures that Snowberry cleansers will not harm the epidermis or alter the skin’s natural pH in any way. It does mean that Snowberry’s cleansers are not cheap, but Snowberry recommends that cleansing should be regarded as perhaps the single-most important investment in more radiant skin, any of us can make, at any age.
Now that we’ve taken care of the skin’s natural barrier, we need to think about the ageing cellular matrix. Dr Badenhorst explains that the naturally occurring peptides in our skin, which are responsible for ensuring we produce more collagen and glycans for example, begin to reduce as we age and consequently, the cellular matrix gradually loses its youthful appearance. And obviously, we simply cannot rely on ‘magical potions’ from the garden, no matter the love that has gone into their creation. Says Dr Badenhorst, formulating anti-ageing serums that can help to boost the skin’s cellular matrix is extraordinarily challenging and it cannot be done with simple natural formulations. Snowberry’s philosophy, he says, is to combine the very best of nature, with the best skin science. It is for this reason that Snowberry worked at the University of Auckland for five years, to produce world-first peptide-transfer from a serum into the dermal cells where they can do their very important work.
Snowberry describes its anti-ageing skincare system as ‘Protect & Refresh.’ Protect the natural barrier with properly formulated cleansers, and then Refresh the cellular matrix with a serum proven by gold standard clinical trial, to boost the production of collagen, elastin and glycans.
Some skincare brands support their anti-ageing claims with statements such as ‘8 out of 10 women noticed a difference,’ or the more scientific-sounding but equally deceptive, ‘increases collagen by 65% (by in vitro trial).’ Says Dr Badenhorst, who is also president of the NZ Society of Cosmetic Chemists, “there is just one proof that is acceptable to dermatologists, and that is the gold standard clinical trial. And to the best of our knowledge, the only skincare brand that proves its serums by gold standard, is Snowberry.”
Snowberry’s ‘Protect & Refresh,’ is a two-step strategy to help us to choose skin care that is truly safe and that will help us to achieve more radiant skin.
For more on Snowberry and it’s incredible line of skincare, visit snowberry.co.nz