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Pigmentation Problems in Dermatology

Ep 5: On Pigmentation, Skincare Faux Pas and Stem Cell Research

Dermatology Weekly Flash Briefing – Is pigmentation problems a marker of skin aging? What is the number one skincare habit everyone should have? What is a big beauty faux pas? Join us in this episode as we tackle these common skincare questions. 

Dr. Teo Wan Lin, who was also featured in October 2020 as part of an international skin expert panel for Dior Digital Skin Talks, shares about the relevance of skin stem cells in the Helios Skin Research Institute’s work for Capture Totale Serum and how the science behind skin stem cells is playing a role in the development of cosmeceuticals.

Chelsea: Hi everyone! Welcome to the 5th episode of Dermatologist Talks: Science of Beauty. I’m Chelsea and today we’re chatting with Dr. Teo Wan Lin on the topic of pigmentation, good skincare habits to cultivate, and her number 1 beauty faux pas. We’re also going to touch on Dr. Teo’s appearance in Dior’s Digital Skin Talk, and learn about exciting new research on skin stem cell. 

Is there a difference between pigmentary diseases and our concerns with our skin tone? 

Dr. TWL: Yes. True disorders of pigmentation such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) that arises from chronic inflammation. For example, eczema, acne, melasma, solar lentigo (sun spots/age spots), pigmentation and freckles are conditions that should be treated separately, and not to be confused with altering one’s skin tone. 

From what I understand though, skin pigmentation problems is a marker of your skin aging as well. Can you share a little more about that? 

Dr. TWL: The current method that has prevailed in dermatology practice for assessing skin age is based on the Glogau photoaging scale. Increasingly, we are refining our methods of assessing skin age. I believe that this photoaging scale is very likely to be superseded by technologies created by deep learning methods. Such technologies enable accurate assessment of skin factors such as radiance, vitality, that previously could not be objectively assessed. 

Moving on, what do you think is a good skincare habit to cultivate? What would be a big beauty faux pas? 

Dr. TWL:What is extremely basic, yet often shockingly overlooked is the importance of cleansing. The fundamental principle is that each individual has a set of healthy skin organisms as part of bacterial flora. These are important for preventing diseases. Conditions like acne and eczema are closely related to the presence of bacteria. When we’re talking about cleansing, we’re not referring to harsh, antibacterial soaps or cleansers, but rather, gentle and effective cleansing. The very process of emulsification is a science that dissolves microorganisms into a foam or an emulsion. After, rinsing water physically removes it.

I have encountered a number of individuals who tell me they’ve just washed their skin with water as they feel that all the soaps make their skin worse. That would be a big beauty faux pas for me. Indeed, a lot of formulas for cosmetic cleansers are not for sensitive skin. A hallmark of a good cosmetic skincare line is borne out of a simple test: of how well sensitive skin can tolerate it. In dermatology, we describe sensitive skin as referring to a subset of individuals with atopy. Those who have a history of eczema, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. In the general population, there are some individuals who may only have sensitivity when there’s a trigger. Other individuals have overt eczema. But the truth is, a good cleanser will be able to achieve a well-tolerated cleansing effect in both groups of individuals.  

Chelsea: Moving on a little, for our listeners, Dr. Teo recently took part in Dior’s Digital Skin Talk hosted by Gisele Bundchen and Philip Picardi.

What are your thoughts on the science behind cosmeceuticals that target skin stem cells?

Dr. TWL: The novel discovery made by the Helios research institute, is that aging skin stem cells do not decrease in number, but rather reduce in their energy potential. That is primarily responsible for the aging process. That is consistent with our current knowledge on inflamaging. Which is a key pathway of aging in the skin exposome concept, as it relates directly to stem cell exhaustion. 

In the same vein, what should we be looking out for in cosmeceutical skincare that can target the aging skin stem cell? 

Dr. TWL: In the case of Dior’s Capture Totale Serum, the longoza flower is part of a 4 flower patented extract. It has been shown in cell studies, specifically proteonomic studies, to exert positive effect on the mitochondria of aging skin stem cells. Additionally, the method of delivery is also very relevant, as when you are optimizing absorption of a cosmeceutical, there are 2 main ways to do that. The first, which is what Dior has done, is to present it with a vector. In this case, is a biofermented lipoprotein peptide, that enhances the absorption of the floral complex. The other method, which is what the biomaterials arm of my research company works on, is the use of polysaccharides, as well as polymers. These act as mini reservoirs which enhances delivery of the cosmeceutical ingredient. 

Chelsea: I feel like I learned alot about upcoming aging skin stem cell research. Well that about sums up the episode. Thank you guys for tuning in, and we’ll see you guys in the next episode.

If you want to have a question answered on Dermatologist Talks: Science of Beauty, leave a comment on the post below, or send us a message through our various social media accounts. Or, record it on your smart phone then send it in an email to drtwlscienceofbeauty@gmail.com.

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Ep 5: On Pigmentation, Skincare Faux Pas and Stem Cell Research

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