How do I find out my skin type?

There is no standardised guidelines or skin type but to prescribe products or treatments, most skin care professionals will want to know whether your skin tends to be Sensitive (whether you frequently experience pain or discomfort in your skin when applying a skin care product), Dry (tends to be flaky and rough), Oily (quick to become shiny and slick) or it’s Combination/Normal (Oily in the T zone and normal or dry on the rest of the face). If it’s non of those, it’s probably Normal. If you have a skin condition, like Rosacea, Eczema or Psoriasis they will want to know that too. Take our Skin Quiz to discover what evidence-based ingredients are right for you!

When should I start using anti-aging products?

Cumulative Exposure to the sun is responsible for the majority (estimated at 80%) of premature aging so you’re never too young to start using a broad spectrum sunscreen (protects from UVA – aging and UVB – burning radiation) every day of the year. And while there have not been any studies on the effects of starting to use evidence based anti-aging actives before the signs of aging appear, (so we can’t say for sure), it seems anecdotally that starting to use cosmeceuticals before the signs of aging appear (like in your 20’s), does delay and reduce the signs of premature aging.

Is it more effective to use products from one skincare brand than to mix different brands?

It shouldn’t be but it probably is. Most skin care companies formulate products to work in combination with others in their range knowing that some ingredients can work well together (eg. Glycolic acid makes Vitamin A more effective) and some work badly together (Glycolic acid and Vitamin A together, are more irritating than alone, so dosing is important and Copper Peptide is believed to render Vitamin C ineffective or potentially pro-aging). Now there aren’t too many of these interactions, so normally you will be fine…But do you know (or have the time and energy to work out) which combinations aren’t OK?

Which do I put on my face first, sunscreen of moisturiser?

We have not found any evidence on this, so all we have is opinion. When our sunscreen products are tested, they are applied to the skin and then tested – ie. whether or not a product has been applied before, there is no product which is applied after the sunscreen. And it’s under those conditions that we know that the sunscreen works. So while there is no evidence for what is better, we would suggest applying sunscreen after you have applied moisturiser (or serum).

What’s the best way to handle sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin usually refers to a reaction to common household products or a general discomfort in the skin and while it is a term we often use, it is not a defined dermatological condition. Dermatologically, we look for a reaction involving bumps of some type, very dry skin (which doesn’t have properly protected nerve endings) or skin that flushes. The most common causes of sensitive skin are 1) a skin condition (eg. Eczema, Rosacea or Contact Dermatitis), 2) very dry skin or 3) exposure to excessive environmental conditions (eg. Heat, cold or wind). When trying new products, patch testing can help identify whether you will react to them. Areas that can be used are (in order) the neck, behind the ear and then on the skin alongside an eye. Use a zinc based sunscreen every day is recommended, because they are in general well tolerated and also to reduce the risk of sun damage further increasing sensitivity of the skin.

How do I know if a product is right for me?

Option 1:
There are a number of things to consider including your skin type, specific concerns that you have and specific outcomes that you would like to achieve. We have developed a quiz which helps answer these questions for you and includes some information on your skin, do’s and dont’s as well as evidence based ingredients relevant to you. {link to quiz} or you can read our blog here {insert link to new blog}

Option 2:
Skin care products contain different actives, have varying levels of moisturising or occlusive ingredients, excipients (non-core but necessary ingredients like preservatives and emulsifiers) and are formulated at different pH’s. All of these factors should be taken into account when choosing a product. And for that we would need much more space than we can give in this answer. But here are some guidelines that can be used to choose the right evidence based active ingredients for your skin.

A – Retinal (Vitamin A); B3 – Niacinamide (Vitamin B3); C – L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C); HA – Salicylic, Glycolic and Lactic acid (Hydroxy acids)

Take our Skin Quiz to discover what evidence-based ingredients are right for you!

(Note: Vitamin C (LAscorbic acid) is unstable meaning that formulations using it will either be oily or result in possible irritation so where it is in grey in the chart, you might just have to try it to see if it works for you)

How can I prevent aging skin?

There are two causes of skin aging. The first is caused by pollution and results in premature skin aging (80% of which is estimated to come from exposure to the sun’s UV rays – particularly UVA). Use of broad spectrum sunscreen everyday is the best form of prevention for this type of aging. Evidence based active ingredients like Retinal (Vitamin A), L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Glycolic and Lactic Acid (Hydroxy acids) can also reverse and delay pollution based premature aging. The second type of skin aging is chronological aging. There is no evidence for any interventions which prevent this form of aging.

How can I fix an uneven skin tone?

Uneven skin tone (or hyperpigmentation) has several possible causes, the two most common are from repeated exposure to the sun and from a condition called Melasma. Hyperpigmentation from one of these causes can be treated by skin care or treatments like dermabrasion, peels and laser. But it can be difficult to treat and results are not guaranteed. While you may choose a clinical treatment, a daily skin care regime will be important in getting and maintaining best results. The first step in the skin care regime will be a broad spectrum sunscreen. The second will be to use a few different ingredients. There are 4 different pathways through which pigmentation can be targeted and the evidence is that best results are achieved by targeting multiple pathways. Ingredients that target each of the different pathways are Vitamins A, B3 and C and 4-n-butylresorcinol.

What are the most important parts of a skincare routine?

The basics are the most important and include: Soap free cleansing, Broadspectrum sun-protection every day and moisturising. These will help protect your skin both from environmental damage and associated premature aging. But if you want to improve your skin, we need to look at evidence based active ingredients and the first to look for is a Vitamin A night cream. Vitamin A has some of the best evidence for anti-aging, acne management and management of Rosacea. But not all Vitamin A is the same and many forms can be drying and irritating. Retinal is a highly effective form with very low rates of irritation. Vitamin A is closely followed by Vitamin C, particularly for sun damaged skin and then Vitamin B3 which is a fantastic all rounder (anti-aging, acne, Rosacea, Eczema, pigmentation)

What causes acne?

When our skin is not turning over in a regular fashion, it can shed dead skin cells in clumps. If our skin is producing excess oil which combines with the dead skin cells to block the pores that blockage can become infected. If our body responds to the infection with inflammation – that is acne.

What’s the best way to exfoliate if I have acne?

A gentle hydroxy (Saliylic, Glycolic or Lactic ) acid based chemical exfoliation is recommended for acne prone skin. But acne prone skin can be sensitive, and additional inflammation can result in more acne. It is for that reason that physical exfoliation is never recommended for acne

I have oily skin. Do I really need to moisturize?

You probably hate having it, but know that oily skin is likely to age better than dry skin. And while the skin’s natural oil can act as an emollient even occlusive (two types of moisturising ingredients), that will help your skin retain moisture, but won’t actually add moisture to your skin, which can often be dry under the oil slick. So using a light, non occlusive moisture, particularly one with Vitamin B3, which helps reduce excess oil production is recommended for oil skin.

What is a serum?

A serum is a runny skin care product…. No really that’s what makes it a serum. In general, Serums have higher oil content and lower water content than creams, but that is absolutely not a rule and that is often just interesting from a formulation perspective and may have some practical implications. But there is nothing inherent in a cream or serum that makes it better at delivering active ingredients to the skin or performing some other special skin care function.

How many forms of Vitamin C are there?

Actually there is only one and it’s called L-Ascorbic Acid. And while it is a great ingredient with very good evidence, it does have some drawbacks. It can be irritating and it is unstable. It also dissolves in water, so has to be formulated at a low pH (potentially irritating) in order for it to be able to penetrate the skin. In an effort to manage some of these drawbacks, Ascorbic Acid is often bonded to other chemicals (like Suphur, or Magnesium and Phosphorus – we’ve counted 12 different types, but there are probably more). And while most products that call themselves Vitamin C actually used these new compounds, there is no evidence that any of them work.

How can you tell the difference between pure form and derivative form of Vitamin C?

The product ingredient list will have the answer. L-Ascorbic Acid is the pure form of Vitamin C and an ingredient with good evidence for anti-aging properties. Derivative forms of vitamin C (without any evidence) are the ingredients with either “ascorbate” or “ascorbyl” in the name.

What makes Vitamin C in ESK products different?

We use L-Ascorbic Acid, which is the purest form of Vitamin C. Vitamin C was one of the main reasons we started it all. ESK’s Vitamin C serums contain Ascorbic Acid at 10% concentration, the most common concentration in the studies found to improve skin. We also formulate it in a way that ensures that it can be absorbed by the skin and being in an airless container, it has a good shelf life

Is it normal to get acne after the age of 30?

Consult with your dermatologist. It could be acne because 35% of women over the age of 30 are estimated to have it. There’s also a pretty good chance it could be Rosacea, which is common in fair-skinned women between the ages of 30 and 50 often at the onset of menopause.

How can I treat acne?

There are a few different areas where you can do things to manage acne
Lifestyle activities which reduce acne include eating healthy foods (no highly processed carbs), lower dairy consumption (especially skim milk), avoiding irritation to the skin (including sun burn and physical exfoliation), getting enough sleep, avoiding industrial pollution and keeping stress at bay all help reduce acne. Most of that is easier said than done… Then there is skin care, which will form a part of all management strategies and recommended steps include; Soap Free cleansing, Vitamin B3 moisturiser , daily sunscreen (Zinc oxide is usually recommended) leave on hydroxy acid exfoliation, and use of a Vitamin A cream at night. If you need something more head to your doctor, where prescription Vitamin A or oral contraception may be offered. Other options include laser and light therapy, and finally if all else fails, oral Vitamin A from your dermatologist may be what you need.

What kind of ingredients proven to work on acne skin?

Vitamin A is the frontline treatment for acne. Vitamin B3 and Hydroxy acids also have good evidence for managing acne. You will find all of these in ESK products.

What can Vitamin B3 do to my skin?

Also known as niacinamide, Vitamin B3 can help to treat acne, aging, dry skin, eczema, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, Rosacea, sun-damaged skin, and even reduce the risk of skin cancer!

Does it mean a higher concentration of Vitamin B3 is better?

In the mistaken belief that “more is more”, we’ve seen concentrations as high as 10%, but that “rule” is almost always wrong. The scientific studies demonstrating Vitamin B’s efficacy have used concentrations between 2.5% and 5%.

Which ESK products contain Vitamin B3?

All our products containing Vitamin B3 are of 4%-5% concentration. We have two moisturisers- B Quenched and B Calm (both 5% concentration), two anti-aging night creams- Ultimate A and Ultimate A+ (both 4% concentration) and the Enlighten cream (5% concentration).