About Skin Station

Our Chairman and CEO, FRED C. REYES has been doing research and developing new advanced skin care products for SkinStation, which are now available under the DERMAX Professional brand. He is a multi-awarded cosmetic Chemist. In 2008, he was the recipient of Achievement Award in Industry conferred by the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies, the umbrella group of Chemists associations in the country. The Outstanding Professional Award in Chemistry came next, in 2011, from the government's Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

DERMAX Professional is the exclusive skin care line of SkinStation. It has established a cult following among the urban sophisticates. “DERMAX uses only the best, the latest, and the safest ingredients at clinical strength, definitely at par with the world’s best. With DERMAX, we have no cost constraint. Our only aim is to delight our customers,” declares Fred Reyes.

We present to you articles written by Fred Reyes himself which appeared in the SKIN SMART column in Manila Bulletin, Lifestyle Section.

The Official Blog Site

Lunes, Hulyo 30, 2012

Stem Cells in Skin Care: Hope or Hype? (Part 1)

Stem Cells in Skin Care: Hope or Hype? (Part 1)

Stem cell is touted as the new miracle cure in anti-aging, and has found its way in skin care application. Is it the greatest advance in anti-aging skin care, or is it just a lot of marketing hype? Both answers are probably correct, depending on the source, processing, and application of the stem cells. 

Stem cells are a part of all living things: plants, animals, and humans. They have the ability to develop into different cell types, and continue to divide almost indefinitely. When a stem cell divides, the daughter cells have the potential to either remain a stem cell, like the parent cell, or they can differentiate into cells with a more specialized function. (See diagram below.)

Skin Stem Cells
The skin stem cells are located at the base (basal layer) of the epidermis. When the cells divide, they form more stem cells, and daughter cells that progressively differentiate into skin cells as they travel through the epidermis. They eventually degenerate and die as they reach the skin surface. The skin that you touch is composed is composed of dead keratinized cells that are shed. Skin stem cells continuously renew the epidermis, with a normal turnover of 25 - 30 days.

Skin Aging
As we age, the stem cells begin to regenerate more slowly, with skin cell turnover likewise slowing down. Dying cells begin to outnumber their regenerated counterparts, which lead to signs of aging. It is for this reason that stem cells make an intriguing additions to anti-aging products. These expensive anti-aging products claim having stem cell ingredients from plants, animals, and/or humans.  

Plant Stem Cells
Plant stem cells are frequently derived from Swiss apple, grape seed, lilac, melon, rose or rice plant. These plant-based stem cells can be found in many expensive anti-aging products. Are they beneficial to the skin? Yes. They have properties not unlike antioxidants and are an excellent source of protection against free radicals.

But do plant stem cells stimulate the body's human stem cells? NO! It’s a clear case of marketing hype based on contentious scientific assumptions. Human cells communicate by a complex symphony of biochemical signals exclusive to the animal kingdom. There is no way plant stem cells can relate to human stem cells.

Animal and Human Stem Cells
While it is logical to assume animal and human stem cells will provide a better source of ingredients than plant stem cells, that is not always the case. This will be our topic in Part 2.


This was published in the July 31, 2012 issue of Manila Bulletin, Lifestyle Section. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at fred.reyes@skinstation.ph.

Lunes, Hulyo 23, 2012

Understanding Cosmetic Label Claims

Understanding Cosmetic Label Claims

Do you really know what you’re buying when you choose a product labeled as hypoallergenic and allergy tested? Or natural and organic? We have been programmed to think that if a label has these claims, the product must be safe and superior. But this is not necessarily true. There are many misleading cosmetic label claims and you should know what to look out for.
The hypoallergenic and allergy tested claims imply that the products are less likely to cause allergic reactions than others.  Unfortunately, the claims are largely unverified, as most countries have no existing regulations on their use.
To understand the absence of regulations, let’s go back to 1975. That year, the U.S. FDA issued a regulation requiring companies with hypoallergenic claim to conduct clinical trials on human subjects. The scientific studies should show that their product caused a significantly lower rate of adverse skin reactions than similar products not making such claim. The manufacturers of Almay and Clinique contested the FDA regulation, reaching the U.S. Court of Appeals, which subsequently ruled that the FDA requirement is invalid.
The Philippines FDA requires manufacturers to substantiate any hypoallergenic claim, but like in most countries, there is no clear standard on what kind of evidence is required.  To support the hypoallergenic claim, manufacturers generally avoid the use of fragrances and paraben preservatives, the culprits in most cases of cosmetic allergic reactions. It is good that listing of ingredients on cosmetic labels is now required, so you will be guided.
Organic ingredients are defined as natural, plant-based extracts produced from farms that do not use synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and are not processed using chemical solvents or additives. For a cosmetic product claiming to be organic, look for the stamp from any one of the following certification bodies in the world. Each body has its own set of standards.
The Australian Certified Organic (AOC) stamp requires 95% or more certified organic ingredients with the remaining 5% being restricted to natural ingredients. AOC has the most stringent requirement.

DERMAX Squalane Oil
has ECOCERT seal. 
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic logo sets a minimum of 95% certified organic content (excluding water and salt). The remaining 5% can include non-natural ingredients. The word ‘organic’ can be used on products with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, but these products are not permitted to display the USDA organic seal.

ECOCERT is the European standard for organic labeling. In 2003, it became the first body to set standards for organic and natural cosmetics. The ECOCERT natural and organic seal requires a minimum of 95% plant-based ingredients with at least 10% of all ingredients coming from organic farming. The natural stamp is allowed with a minimum of 50% plant-based ingredients with 5% of all ingredients certified as organic.

NATRUE is a Belgian based organic cosmetic certification body. It specifies at least 95% of the product’s natural ingredients “must come from controlled organic cultivation and/or controlled wild collection”. Note that the requirement is not to have 95 per cent organic ingredients – just that 95 per cent of the natural ingredients used must be organic.

In the Philippines, there is still no standard set by any independent or legal body for organic claims in cosmetic products.

This was published in the July 24, 2012 issue of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at fred.reyes@skinstation.ph.

Lunes, Hulyo 16, 2012

Is there hope for acne scars?

Is there hope for acne scars?
Most people recover completely from acne without any permanent scarring. Those with severe acne are not as lucky. They are left with disfiguring acne scars of various types that can leave them feeling self-conscious about their appearance. Picking, pressing or rubbing of pimples or whiteheads increases the possibility of scar formation.
When acne clears up, pink, red, or dark spots often appear on the skin. The good news is that these are not scars and will eventually fade. To be classified as scar, the skin defect has to persist for at least a year. Topical products with lightening and exfoliating ingredients like Retinol-C serum, NanoWhite cream, and AcneX soap can lighten these dark spots. Multiple sessions of mild glycolic peel combined with diamond peel may provide faster relief than topical medication.
Acne scars take several shapes. The back and chest get the hypertrophic scar, which is thick and lumpy. The face usually gets the depressed types of acne scars, named after their shapes.  The first is an ice pick scar, which is deep pitted with steep edges. The second is a boxcar scar, which has sharp, square sides to it.  The third is a rolling scar, which has wide, shallow and curved indentation.
Most successful acne scar treatments may take multiple sessions over a period of several months before significant improvement can be seen. The basic steps of acne scar removal may include a combination of the following procedures:
Dermal fillers: These are substance that can be injected into depressed scars to plump them up to the level of the surrounding skin. Hyaluronic acid injectable like Restylane and Juvederm are good fillers for shallow to deep acne scars. They can last from 3 to 18 months, depending on the material used. Your own fat, taken from another part of the body, can also be used as dermal filler and can last from 1 to 3 years. Ice pick scars may require dermal fillers.
Chemical peels: A chemical solution like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or glycolic acid is used to peel away the outer layers of skin. The solutions are available in several strengths, and used according to the degree of peeling desired. A series of 4 to 6 superficial peels are effective for improving discoloration from acne, while medium depth peels or a deep peel can improve the appearance of atrophic acne scars. Healing can take from 3 days to 3 weeks depending on the depth of peeling. Avoiding unnecessary sun exposure, wearing sunscreen daily during the healing period and following post-care instructions are important to prevent unwanted side effects.
Fractional laser is available
 at SkinStation. 
Fractional lasers: Excellent results can be achieved for the boxcar and rolling acne scars with ablative fractional lasers using CO2 or Er:YAG. These lasers are called “fractional” because they work by resurfacing only a “fraction” of the skin at a time, leaving the surrounding area intact for faster healing. These lasers poke tiny microscopic holes in the skin down past the epidermis and into the dermis, causing new collagen to form, which fills in the acne scars and smoothens skin. The same basic principle is the basis for micro-needling procedure (dermaroller or auto stamping) which we call the COLLAGENESIS in SkinStation, but more sessions are needed to approximate the same benefits one can get from fractional laser resurfacing.

Scar surgery: The goal of scar surgery is to raise the scar to the level of the surrounding skin, thereby creating a smooth appearance.  Sometimes the scar is actually cut out and the edges of the remaining skin are brought together.  Fillers may be used to raise the affected area. 

Before committing to any medical treatment for acne scar, be sure you have all the knowledge you need to make an educated decision.  Have your free consultation with the doctors at SkinStation so that you fully understand the risks and benefits of each treatment option.
This was published in the July 17, 2012 issue of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at fred.reyes@skinstation.ph.

Lunes, Hulyo 9, 2012

Do Your Hands Give Away Your Age?

Do Your Hands Give Away Your Age?
“If you want to know a woman’s age, look at her hands,” is an old saying that remains true. The face and the neck are the usual concerns when it comes to looking younger. The hands are commonly overlooked. Ageing hands like the face are susceptible to volume loss and sun damage. The fatty layer of the hand disappears, so the skin is more translucent and shriveled, and you see underlying structures like bones, tendons and veins. 

Combating hand ageing takes more than the usual hand cream. Now, there are new products and procedures that will not give away your age. Hand rejuvenation techniques can instantly replenish volume loss, diminish age spots, and provide long term benefits.

Restylane micro-injector is used in SkinStation
To remedy the lack of volume in the hands, stabilized hyaluronic acid dermal filler injection, such as Restylane Vital Light and Juvederm, provides instant remedy. Dermal filler injection immediately plumps the back of the hand to provide supple and younger appearance. Hyaluronic acid raises the skin level, making bone structure and veins less visible. The results last up to 6 months.
Before and after pictures with Restylane Vital
Topical anesthesia is applied for a painless procedure. To avoid bruising of the delicate skin on ageing hands, a Restylane micro-injector is used which precisely measures the amount of filler introduced into the spaces between the knuckles. This allows ease of access and accurate placement of fillers for superb results. The actual treatment takes less than 30 minutes for both hands.
RETINOL-C improves skin texture.
To remove sunspots, filler treatment can be combined with intense pulsed light (IPL) or fractional laser resurfacing. These procedures can also tighten skin and minimize appearance of wrinkles. Chemical peels with TCA or glycolic acid will also improve texture and lighten pigmentation.

Not everyone can take advantage of these instant hand rejuvenation clinic procedures. New advanced products for home use can provide relief.  They also extend the effects of the clinic procedures. Highly recommended is HYAL-C serum with low molecular weight hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to augment the skin’s hydrobalance and help reduce pigmentation. RETINOL-C serum smoothens skin texture, encourages new collagen to form, and minimizes sunspots.  Daily sun protection is a must, with UV MILK sunscreen with SPF55 PA+++ rating. These products are available exclusively at SkinStation.

With all these options available for hand rejuvenation, the old saying that a woman’s hands always give away her real age could be a thing of the past.
______________________________________________________________________________________This was published in the July 10, 2012 issue of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at fred.reyes@skinstation.ph.

Lunes, Hulyo 2, 2012

What You Can Do About Melasma

What You Can Do About Melasma

Melasma typically appears as dark, irregular, well-demarcated hyper-pigmented patches on the face, usually seen on the upper cheek, nose, upper lip, and forehead. These patches develop gradually over time.  It is a common skin disorder in women during their reproductive years, and is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”.

The dark patches are caused by the overstimulation of the pigment producing cells in the dermis, called melanocytes, to produce more melanin when the skin is exposed to the sun. Experts believe that increased levels of female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, combined with sun exposure, trigger hyperactive melanin production.

Pregnant women experience increased estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) levels during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Hormone related correlation is also seen with increased incidence of melasma in women taking birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and those with thyroid condition.

Genetic predisposition may also be a factor, just as race can play a role. Melasma is most common among women of Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin descent. There are also antiarrhythmic, antiseizure and antibiotic medications like tetracycline that may make the skin more prone to pigmentation after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Certain cosmetic preparations have also been found to cause melasma-like patches on the face.

The discoloration usually fades away over a period of several months after giving birth or after stopping the oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. Unfortunately, not all the discolorations disappear. Many also experience a resurgence of the patches after prolonged sun exposure.

Avoid the sun and 
use sunscreen daily. 
Prevention is primarily aimed at having daily facial sun protection and sun avoidance. Treatment requires the same regular daily sunscreen application, with minimum of SPF30 recommended. Wearing sunscreen daily should be a continuing habit even during pregnancy, while all other forms of treatments should be done after pregnancy.

The most common melasma home remedy is a combo of lightening and exfoliating ingredients. Years ago, the preferred lightening ingredient product was hydroquinone. Misuse of blends of hydroquinone and tretinoin have been the cause of many skin discolorations on the face, particularly those who failed to include sunscreen in their daily regimen. Risks associated with long term use of hydroquinone have also prompted most countries to restrict its sale. 

For sometime, kojic acid appeared to be the chosen replacement for hydroquinone, but doubts about its safety were raised prompting Japan and Korea to ban its use in cosmetic preparations. Now, we see the market embracing natural and effective skin lightening alternatives, like licorice extract, ellagic acid, and alpha arbutin, which are all found in DERMAX NanoWhite night essence, creams, and lotions. DERMAX Retinol C serum provides a more intensive effect with its micro-exfoliation feature.

In conjunction with home cream applications, in-clinic treatment options include chemical peels by TCA or a combo of glycolic and diamond peels. CollaWhite Collagenesis is a signature microneedling procedure at SkinStation designed to minimize skin discoloration and smoothen out rough skin. Multiple treatments, in combination with daily use of DERMAX UV MILK sunscreen, lightening and exfoliant creams, yield best results. To ensure that treatment doesn't fail, sun exposure should be minimized.

Many doctors generally avoid IPL and laser therapy options for melasma. While it may work for some, many patients report a worsening of their skin discoloration. Those with melasma have excitable melanocytes that any exposure to light can trigger adverse effect. If your doctor recommends IPL or laser, ask for a second opinion.
This was published in the July 3, 2012 issue of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at fred.reyes@skinstation.ph. (Updated on April 23, 2013.)