The ABC of Topical Skin Nutrition (Aestheticians/SkinTherapists only)


Many Therapists find it confusing when starting to build on their ingredient knowledge and ask for a break down of the most often used vitamins in cosmeceutical products. This is a simplified version of a very complex science and does not replace the need for Therapists to learn and understand the organ they work with on a daily basis – the skin!

Educate yourself constantly and start with the skin cells. Understanding this first will not only make it easier for you to explain the need for skin care products containing these ingredients to your client; it will also increase your retail sales ten fold. Every client will walk out of the spa with home care products and your appointment schedule should be full with return treatments.

Now this doesn’t mean these vitamins are only for these conditions, but these are the skins that need to have these ingredients as a priority.

1. Vitamin A = Acne & Ageing.

Retinyl Palmitate/Acetate, Retinol, Retinaldehyde, Retinoic Acid

Retinoids (family of Vitamin A) are used to repair cellular damage and cell turnover. All skin needs this vitamin to improve cell function.

Client Tip: “Retinoids normalize cells – from cell function to cell turnover”

2. Vitamin B3 = Barrier & Brown (pigmentation) Vitamin B3: Niacinamide, Nicotinamide

Vitamin B3 assists with the repair of the skins barrier and inhibits the transfer of the melanosome to the keratinocyte – improving hyperpigmentation.

Client Tip: “Vitamin B3 improves the barrier function – hydrating the skin and protects the skin from pigmenting”

3. Vitamin B5 = Blood & Barrier

Vitamin B5: Panthenol

Vitamin B5 assists with wound care and improving the skins barrier. Client Tip: “Soothes and inflamed skin”

4. Vitamin C = Collagen & Colour
Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl

Tetraisopalmitate, and Ascorbyl Glucoside

Vitamin C assists with the collagen production by improving fibroblast production. It improves hyperpigmentation as it acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant; therefore assists with cell damage caused by free radicals.

Client Tip: “A great ingredient to improve the signs of ageing with a better quality collagen production while also improving the appearance of skin discolouration.”

Remember, this is a simplified version of ingredient science that all Therapists must know to be successful in treating client’s skin conditions.

I hope it helps.

Donna x


©Donna Cummins-Campbell and MySkin-Coach, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna Cummins-Campbell and MySkin-Coach with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Vitamin B5/Panthenol in Skin Care

Previously, I have posted an article on Vitamin B3/Niacinamide so I thought I should write about the benefits of the ‘other’ Vitamin B used in cosmeceutical skin care products- Vitamin B5 or Panthenol.

Panthenol is used topically to treat wounds, bruises, pressure and dermal ulcers, burns and post operative incisions. It is widely used as a rash soother for babies suffering with nappy (diaper) rash.

Dexpanthenol is a precursor to pantothenic acid – Vitamin B5 and is a component of Co enzyme A which functions in the skins fatty acid biosynthesis. When we increase the skins lipid synthesis we see an improvement in barrier function, improving wound healing.

Vitamin B5 also has the ability to enhance fibroblast proliferation and the re -epithelialization of the epidermis, again assisting with the skins wound healing phase.

In addition, Panthenol acts as an effective moisturiser of the Stratum Corneum and improves the dryness, scaling, pruritus and erythema associated with inflamed skin conditions such as; atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and contact dermatitis and can assist with the side effects associated with the initial use of Retinoids in skin care.

Both Vitamin B3 & B5 can provide a variety of benefits to the skin when applied topically to the skin:

  • Improved barrier function
  • Moisturisation of the Stratum Corneum
  • Optimization of wound healing
  • Improved appearance to ageing skin

Have you used Vitamin B5 in your skin care range?


Do you have sensitive skin? Then your barriers are down…..

I thought todays topic applicable as this was our topic of discussion in class today.

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear students and clients claiming to really dislike their oily skin, I always ask why is this ? Their response is varied and not usually justified. The oil we secrete has a definitive purpose, and the purpose is not to annoy us, contrary to what most people believe. Our skin secretes sebum to provide a protective barrier against microbial invasion and environmental elements to name a few. When we constantly remove this barrier as we do with harsh cosmetics, or extreme environmental factors, our skin is unable to provide this protection. People with oily skin  are tempted to use cosmetics containing harsh detergent like ingredients and become addicted  to the ‘squeaky clean’ feeling. This feeling is due to the removal of the skin barrier by harsh detergent based cleansers which do not separate between sebum/oil and intercellular lipids and thus damages the barrier function leading to a skin that is sensitive and reactive. Have you ever used a product that has left your skin feeling red,tight and irritated? It is highly likely you have used a product that has removed the skins protective barrier. It has previously been reported that it may take up to 36 hours for the skin to replace the barrier function and restore the skins delicate pH. If you use a harsh product like this long term you are putting  your skin at risk of long term barrier function impairment, a skin that is highly sensitive, reactive and at risk of further damage. I also find these skin conditions are prone to conditions like Rosacea, especially if it is in your family.  Be kind to your skin and embrace your oil by using cosmetics that maintain the surface oil and protective barrier.

Ingredients that assist with the repair of the skins barrier should be considered for a more healthier functioning skin and less sensitive skin:

  • Niacinamide/Vitamin B3
  • Ceramides & Cholesterols
  • Panthenol/Vitamin B5
  • Dimethicone
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Macadamia Oil