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Upgrade Your Favorites with Four Firming Skincare Hacks

Upgrade Your Favorites with Four Firming Skincare Hacks

Posted by Dr. Hannah Sivak with Brendan Leonard on Aug 20th 2021

The skin health battle that we fight everyday is centered around a couple of key issues right? 

Aging is probably the issue that jumps to mind first and fastest. As we have explored in the past, the process of physical aging is connected to our relationships with free radicals and antioxidants.

The next thing we might think of is texture. A lot of issues surrounding texture manifest themselves as in two, not necessarily opposed directions. Sometimes texture challenges manifest as irritation and raised red blemishes. Other times texture challenges look and feel more like the scaly, leathery skin that comes from dehydration.

But what about firmness?

That might not be something that you think about all the time.

But that leads to the question: what good is age-defying skin and flawless texture without firmness?

Have no fear! Skin Actives is here to show you the way with four firming skincare hacks you can do at home yourself!

Each of these great hacks takes the form of a great active ingredient that you can add to one of your favorite products to step up your firming game. If you are looking to start an entirely new firming cream, our Canvas Base Cream and European Base Cream are the perfect place to start. 

DIY Hack Number One: Pullulan

Pullulan is an interesting chemical. It is a polysaccharide, meaning that it is a starch that is composed of a number of bonded sugar molecules. In skincare, pullulan can be used for a temporary firming/tightening effect, as our Founder, Dr. Hannah Sivak says:

“I consider pullulan to be a ‘make-up’ type of ingredient because its tightening effect is almost instant but it will wash away.”

It’s possible that in the long-term, pullulan may help to enhance the immune response and make the skin more resistant to infections. Note: at Skin Actives Scientific, we have been experimenting with pullulan in varying concentrations for years, and it’s a primary ingredient in our Skin Firming Serum

Use: Pullulan can be used at almost any concentration but our preference is 0.5%. We recommend mixing in a very small quantity first and adding more gradually until the optimal consistency is found. 

DIY Skin Hack Number Two: Sea Kelp Coral

Long time members of the Skin Actives Family are probably well aware of one of our star products, Sea Kelp Coral. For those of you who are new to this product, check out our blog about it here. At Skin Actives we believe in the power of science and observation over the power of the supernatural, but even we have had to resist labeling our Sea Kelp Coral with words like “miracle” or “magic”. That’s just how good biofermented sea kelp is for you, the urge is to attribute its power to something outside the realm of material reality.

We use Sea Kelp Coral for purposes that are both anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. This ferment obtained from sea kelp supplies a complete nutrient medium, and moisturizes skin and scalp. The foundation for fermentation is kelp, a sea macroalga whose particular species can vary according to availability and ecological considerations

Fermentation makes the cell contents of this alga readily available to the skin barrier, moisturizing it and providing the nutrients required to synthesize new components. It also has anti-itch activity. This active is rich in fucoidan, carrageenan, algin, fucoxanthin, and many active chemicals. 

Sea Kelp Coral provides minerals like iodine, copper, molybdate, magnesium, etc., required in enzymatic reactions of lipid metabolism and energy conversion. Additionally, our Sea Kelp Coral allows you to skip out of formulating with creams entirely, as it can be used as a base for any of our water-soluble actives. This is one of our favorite ingredients and you will encounter it in practically all of our ready-mixed products.

Use: Hacking your favorite skin care or base cream with Sea Kelp is very easy. Mix some in gradually, using a teaspoon. You’ll need a bigger jar to store your upgraded cream because Sea Kelp Coral has a lot of volume! Stop adding in sea kelp when you’ve reached a consistency that you are happy with. Now your favorite product is even more nutrient-dense.

DIY Skin Hack Number Three: Hyaluronic Acid

Sometimes called hyaluronan or sodium hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid is another polysaccharide. In our skin, it stabilizes the space between the cells in your skin, and contributes significantly to activities essential to skin health such as: cell proliferation, migration, and skin repair. By definition, the molecular weight of hyaluronic acid is in the millions. Small fragments of broken hyaluronic acid can’t hold water or form gels.

Hyaluronic acid is probably best known in the skin care community for its tremendous capacity to hold water. Adding this active to your creams, lotions, gels or serums will help keep skin moist. Also, hyaluronidase in your skin will break this active down releasing sugars that will then be used to produce new hyaluronic acid in your dermis.

Use: Perhaps the easiest way to hack a cream with hyaluronic acid is by adding in some of our DIY Hyaluronic Acid Gel. Gels tend to be much easier to mix as they diffuse more rapidly than powders which must be broken down to be absorbed. Our DIY Hyaluronic Acid Gel comes in a 10 mL tube, but you don’t have to use it all at once! Add and mix to preference. 

DIY Skin Hack Number Four: Collagen Peptides

There is a lot of ink getting spilled on collagen peptides right now. You may even remember our blog on it from a few months back. But yeah, if you are betting on the peptides you are taking orally to make it to your skin, that’s a bet we would gladly take you up on.

Collagen peptides are amino acids (not to be mistaken for collagen itself), and are the very building blocks of life.

Collagen is an important component of skin and of many other tissues. It is an insoluble protein and, as such, is not useful as an ingredient in its whole form. Instead, like most proteins, it must be broken down and once this is done, the amino acids become available as a topical ingredient. 

The peptide mix used by Skin Actives in our Collagen Serum is derived from marine collagen and is not suitable for vegans. Collagen peptides are rich in glycine, proline alanine and other amino acids.

Use: Hack your favorite cream with a vial of copper peptide, copper tetrapeptide, or palmitoyl pentapeptide. This one is super easy, each of these peptides comes in a saline suspension. All you have to do is empty the vial into your favorite cream or base and mix! It’s that easy!

Tips To Mixing Your Own Skincare Products

  • Want to make your DIY process even easier? When selecting your actives, stick to solutions or gels, which are much easier to dissolve than powder. 
  • Always remember to do a little bit of research on the ingredient you are planning to add. This doesn’t have to be a lot or exhaustive. If you are working to become your own skin health expert, it’s worth it to educate yourself on the tools you are working with. Dr. Sivak’s Ingredient Glossary is a great place to start.
  • If the ingredient you are adding comes with instructions, make sure that you follow them closely. Skin Actives does not ship instructions with its products, but you can find instructions for our DIY active ingredients on their respective pages in our webstore.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom Skin Actives Family, we appreciate you! We hope that you found this topic both fun and informative. Check back with us here on Tuesday, August 24 when we’ll be discussing care for a part of your body that we don’t talk about often here: your feet!