We’re currently spending a lot of money on skincare. Here, award winning Professor and scientific director of the Cancer & Ageing Research Program at Queensland University of Technology Derek Richard shares why the technology behind this Ellus & Krue serum is game changing (and worth the $).
It’s safe to say the skincare market is oversaturated and hard to navigate. Understanding the back of labels is one thing, while buying into trends, deciphering myths and skincare misconceptions is another.
From the clean beauty category, to not washing your face with tap water (apparently it’s not great for your skin) and hacking your routine with a workout timer there’s always something new to learn, try or spend cash on.
And it seems like we’ve been buying and trying more than ever. The pandemic, isolation and high levels of stress mean we’ve been turning to self-care – and skincare especially in order to find ways to make ourselves feel a bit better. There’s even a term for it – Zoe Foster Blake dubbed it the Lipstick Indicator in a Instagram post overnight, whereas US beauty based podcast Fat Mascara call it the Serum Index , it’s when consumers turn to beauty products as an affordable indulgence during uncertain financial times.
So while you’re on the hunt for a complexion-boosting concoction to blow your socks off, let me introduce you to a new serum that may do just that. But first, a little 101 on ageing.
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Why do we age?
When it comes to understanding the science and ageing of skin, Professor Derek Richard knows his stuff. The scientific director of the Cancer & Ageing Research Program at Queensland University of Technology, his work includes understanding the biological processes that cause us to age.
“Ageing is caused by a deterioration in your genetic code,” he says. “As we get older errors occur in this code and make our cells less fit. Our skin protects us from the harsh environment we live in – from bacteria, viruses, free radicals and sunlight. Unfortunately, in the process of protecting us it suffers a lot of damage to the genetic code. This damage makes the skin cells less fit, [causing it to] produce less collagen and elastin as a response. The cells may become very stressed and set off the process of inflammation.”
What accelerates ageing?
Some people age faster than others, some are genetically blessed. However, there’s some ageing accelerators you have control over, which means you can help yourself slow the effects of wrinkles, pigmentation and age spots.
“Without a doubt in Australia, the single biggest driver of skin ageing is the sun. Ultraviolet light penetrates the skin cells and directly damages our genetic code. If you have fair skin this is particularly a problem,” explains Professor Richard.
“Another real danger to the skin is through smoking. Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that damage the genetic code. These chemicals pass through the lungs and into the blood and are distributed to every cell in the body, including skin. Smokers in general look older than non-smokers. That’s because biologically they are older. Their genetic code has been damaged more than it should be for their age.”
The last factor to really cause damage to the skin cells genetic code is free radicals. “These chemicals exist throughout the environment. The best way to reduce this type of damage is to have a reductant (antioxidant) in your skincare,” explains Professor Richard.
How does skincare come in to play?
“Skin is the barrier to a very harsh environment. The air surrounding us contains pollutants, free radicals, ultraviolet radiation, and even temperature. The skin has an answer for all of these, but as we get older it’s ability to respond and adapt decreases, so we need an intervention that restores it’s vitality,” he explains.
Professor Richard’s skincare philosophy is to tackle multiple causes of ageing, using natural ingredients at the correct doses. He believes a good skincare routine is important, but the products and ingredients have to measure up. And the younger you start looking after your complexion, the better.
“We can never undo the damage caused by mutation to the genetic code, but we can suppress the outcome of how cells respond to damage. Taken early enough, good skin care will work to protect the skin cells from genetic damage,” he says.
The EPI-gN technology
Every so often some exciting skincare technology peeks my interest. There was Deciem’s copper peptides late last year, then there was the ‘phygital’ revolution at the start of 2020.
Now it’s this serum. Formulated and developed in Australia and made from a combination of science and plant based ingredients including niacinamide, curcumin, hyaluronic acid and peptides, it took over a year to formulate.
EPI-gN Serum ($248, at Ellus & Krue)
“EPI-gN is a unique and I believe game changing technology. Many skin care products tackle individual drivers of ageing skin but with this product we sought to tackle all of them at the same time,” explains Professor Richard.
“In the serum for example we have potent anti-oxidants that mop up free radicals, ingredients that stimulate collagen and elastin production, antibacterial ingredients, ingredients that are designed to reduce redness and ingredients that stimulate cell growth. Importantly, the serum contains the correct amount of these ingredients to actually work. We haven’t skimped on them to save money,” he adds.
Designed to be used for all skin types and concerns, with results varying from a few day to four weeks. “This is usually in the form of the dead, dry skin flaking away as the younger cells push upwards. The serum penetrates deep into the skin impacting how the skin regenerates and drives away those fine lines,” he says.
“If you have unhealthy skin this product will change your life. For younger consumers it will preserve your skin for longer, protecting your skins DNA and keeping those cells healthy and productive.”
It’s expensive. And granted not everyone can afford it, so here’s a few other serums that also target multiple signs of ageing and work for all skin types.
The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% ($48, at Adore Beauty)
Said to help with a number of ageing skin factors, while helping to support skin health.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Serum Crystal Elixir ($100, at Charlotte Tilbury)
One of the most hyped products of the year, this serum once had an 8000 person waitlist.
Andalou Naturals Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize Serum ($17.99, at Nourished Life)
A complex of antioxidants, resveratrol and co-enzyme Q10 help to boost collagen production while soothing skin.
100% Pure Multi-Vitamin PM Serum ($59.95, at Nourished Life)
A combination of vitamin C, retinol and CoQ10 is blended with plant based oils to help restore a youthful complexion.