Top skincare wonders of 2010

You want to know more: the science behind products and what they can achieve for you. To woo smart, beautiful women like us, skin and hair care brands are working overtime to come up with products with newer research and ingredients every day. We went to beauty labs and selected the top six skincare innovations of 2010 that will make you younger and more beautiful in days!

The innovation: Gold micro-particlesTop products for your skin

What is it:
 Gold as an active is not exactly new in the Indian beauty tradition, considering people ingested gold powder in the old days to improve immunity and give their skin a glow. What's new, however, is that scientists have now found benefits of the minerals in (colloidal) gold. The minerals in gold go under the skin and repair sun damage, and have strong antibacterial properties.

How it works: Pure gold particles in skin can actually reverse the damage caused by free radicals and slow down the oxidation process of cells, thus repairing skin damage. Gold particles also improve the lymphatic drainage of skin, helping remove toxins from the skin and body, thereby improving the skin's natural healing process. According to Dr Pushkar Sona, head of R&D at the Pond's Institute, Shanghai, real gold micro-particles infuse skin with vital nourishment and stimulate its natural regenerative processes. "We spent two years developing a potent new combination of the world's best anti-ageing ingredients in combination with real gold micro-particles to restore youthful radiance over time," he adds.

How best to use it: 
Since gold particles help reverse skin's oxidation process and fight sun damage, it is best to wear a gold-infused serum on your skin under your regular moisturiser before heading out during the day.

Where to find it: Pond's Gold Radiance Precious Youth Serum with Real Gold Micro-particles and Shahnaz Husain Nature's Gold Beautifying Mask.

The innovation: Pro xylane
What is it: It is a sugar-protein hybrid made from xylose, a sugar extract found in beech trees that defends skin against moisture loss, and strengthens the skin matrix. Xylose is known to stimulate the production of glycoaminoglycans, the molecules responsible for defending skin against water loss. Pro Xylane, a patented ingredient, was first discovered and developed by LancĂ´me from the L'Oreal group.

How it works: As we age, our skin's cellular matrix becomes loose, thereby reducing its capacity to produce the skin tightening collagen. Pro Xylane provides the extra dose of protein helping boost skin structure. Explaining this active's impact, Richa Singh, marketing head, Garnier, says, "Pro Xylane stimulates the production of skin's natural matrix, made up of protein and sugar, that supports cell structure, and also pulls in more moisture, thus improving skin elasticity."

How best to use it: Pro Xylane helps improve skin texture within seven days of application. Since most of our skin rejuvenation takes place at night, a Pro Xylane-based cream is best used before going to bed.
Where to find it: L'Oreal Paris Derma Genesis Intensive Night Cream, Garnier Age Lift Triactive Triple Action Anti-ageing Cream.

The innovation: Pomegranate, the whole fruit

What is it: It is a common enough fruit and its juices are known to have the most potent anti-oxidants. "However, our research has shown that it is not just the juice but the whole fruit, including the skin and seeds that help slow the skin's ageing process," says Sophie Gasperment, CEO, The Body Shop.

How it works:
 Pomegranate is known to be a great anti-oxidant. Its juice helps trickfight premature ageing of skin. However, the R&D team at The Body Shop has found that other parts of the fruit such as the skin also have superior moisturising qualities. Aqua porins extracted from the pulp are moisture-boosting molecules that encourage skin cells to retain more water. Pomegranate seed oil is rich in anti-oxidants known to protect against free radicals. The peel has an active ingredient that works like the Vitamin A derivative retinol, known for its skin-revitalising properties.

How best to use it: 
The serum with pomegranate extracts from the The Body Shop Natrulift Anti-Ageing Range delivers intense results. According to clinical trials by The Body Shop, this is known to give effective results to women with more pronounced signs of ageing within 15 days of usage.

Where to find it:
 The Body Shop Natrulift Firming Serum.

The innovation: Helioplex

What is it: Developed by Johnson & Johnson-owned Neutrogena, Helioplex is a unique blend of sun protection actives avobenzone and oxybenzone, that offer broad spectrum UV ray protection. Interestingly, this new technology came through when scientists at Neutrogena were working with the two ingredients to provide stability to their sunscreen product.

How it works: It is known that oxybenzone offers UVB protection while avobenzone blocks UVA rays. Helioplex brings the two together to offer complete protection. The properties in the compounds absorb both types of UV rays, altering harmful rays into safe ones. According to Yujin Saito, associate director, Beauty R&D, Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson, "While the earlier version of the sunscreen protected skin from UVB rays, it was found that UVA rays were the more harmful ones causing photodamage. So a blend of the two chemicals were created to offer long-term and sustained sun protection."

How best to use it:
 Like all sunscreens, this also offers best results when applied 20 minutes before stepping out in the sun. Though Helioplex offers protection for a longer time, re-apply in case you are out for long hours in the sun.

Where to find it:
 Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch with Helioplex.

The innovation: Q10plus
What is it: Developed by the Nivea Skincare laboratories in Germany, the Q10plus Anti-Wrinkle System is an improved formulation with an optimised UVA filter system, for advanced wrinkle prevention and protection against skin damage.

How it works: The key ingredient, Q10 is a co-enzyme found naturally within skin cells that plays a dual role as both an energiser and an anti-oxidant. In most women over 30, levels of Q10 dip drastically. As an essential energy provider within the skin cells, the Q10plus formula helps supports cellular metabolism, stimulating processes like skin cell protection and regeneration. Q10plus literally increases what your skin has lost over time with the body's natural anti-ageing defence Q10. The Q10 ingredient penetrates into your skin and acts to increase the energy levels for cell regeneration, leading to smoother skin. The optimised UVA filter system in the Nivea Visage Q10plus range, in addition to SPF 15, also improves anti-wrinkle effects, says Marion Detert of Nivea product development.

How best to use it: Regular use of the day cream, preferably 15 minutes before stepping out in the sun, visibly reduces wrinkles within two weeks of application. Follow it up by massaging the night cream in upward circles on a regular basis before bed-time.

Where to find it:
 Nivea Visage Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Skincare Collection.

The Innovation: MAP(Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate)

What is it: Vitamin C in the form of ascorbyl acid is a well-known skin rejuvenator that brightens skin and increases its hydration levels. However, it is not a very stable ingredient and the efficacy of Vitamin C-based products erodes faster than others. This is where MAP comes in. Developed by Dermalogica, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate or MAP is a stable version of Vitamin C that gets absorbed directly by the skin and improves its clarity.

How it works:
 We have developed a powder-to-emulsion formula with MAP which retains its efficacy and makes the Vitamin C derivative more stable. MAP works with a blend of white tea, algae, hyaluronic acid, helping stimulate the skins natural collagen production, says Avni Amlani of Dermalogica India.

How best to use it: MAP can be used as a spot treatment to deal with specific problems or as an all-over treatment to get an even tone and smoother skin. The innovative powder-to-emulsion texture can be applied directly to skin for regular use throughout the day.