Dr Des Fernandes: Looking Forward to 2018
04 Jan 2018

Des Fernandes, Founder of Environ® Skincare puts his views forward on fashionable market trends, explains why he is boring and advises skincare professionals to be confident in their approach.

I am only interested in promoting healthy skin that is as youthful as we can manage. That means that we focus on molecules that don’t get to be called “key new ingredients”. We focus rather on proven chemicals that promote stem cells naturally, normalise skin stem cell physiology, promote healthy differentiated cells promote healthier active mitochondria, protect DNA and support the telomere, and create a dense natural network of fibres and supportive molecules that maintain tissue turgor and volume.  We also strive to protect the stratum corneum all the time which is why we have never fallen for the fashions that have swept through the skincare market. Thats why we are boring.

Vitamin A will always stay central together with supportive vitamin C and antioxidants. The actual peptides we use may vary in time as research shows us more active ways to enhance all the fibres in the dermis and epidermis.  They will. also take on greater roles as messenger chemicals to “instruct” cells into optimal activity.

Then we use “old” technology like cosmetic Roll-CIT (that won’t easily be replaced) and the DF Machine or the new Electro-Sonic DF Mobile Skincare Device that are still head and shoulders above anything else to make all these selected chemicals work to the best that they can. 

Of course that also means that we have to formulate the products to resonate with these technologies. 

Ultimately what we are looking for is to ‘FUTURE PROOF” our skin: i.e. to keep it in optimal state even if we live to be 120 years old.

At a recent conference on cosmetics in Lisbon, attended by all the major players in skincare, the keynote speaker said that the public were bored with the failed promises that their skincare would reduce their wrinkles.  The public, she said, realise they have been duped and now what they are looking for is an experience of sensory luxury, with knowledge that the products are ethically produced, environmentally friendly and the farmers have been properly rewarded for their work.   Where can I fit into that bun-fight? They are in the red ocean of competitive fashion whereas we are still in the blue ocean pursuing ways to Future Proof our skin.

Q:  What changes in the skincare market will thrive, survive or simply fall away (like face brushing) in 2018? 

A:“ I have noticed that finally more and more companies have accepted that vitamin A is the main ingredient to make healthy skin.              

I believe what will change in 2018 is that companies will fight about which vitamin A version is the best and so we can expect various combinations of vitamin A.  They will also fight about percentage concentrations. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is what value of vitamin A in international units or retinol equivalents. No one will be allowed to exceed the maximum permissible for a cosmetic. Environ will always climb to the maximum permissible. That is our promise that we will never break.  Ultimately, our work over the past 30 years has shown that the higher the vitamin A level achieved , the better the results. That is why we have to go for the maximum.  

All treatments that ignore the rules to protect the stratum corneum, like brushing to get the skin “squeaky clean” will fall away.  We need to protect that barrier.“

Q: Are there any key new ingredients for 2018? What key ingredients are here to stay regardless of trends?  

A: “Vitamin A will remain the key ingredient regardless of trends. That is never ever going to change because vitamin A has been built into the physiology of mammals and  is intricately woven into the fabric of our being right from conception. Its the master controller of growth of cells and then the differentiation of those cells that is so essential as we change from clump of primordial cells into the vastly differentiated tissues that make up our entire body.   That is why vitamin A is so important during pregnancy.  By the way, a Japanese study of the men and women of Japan showed that Japanese diets are generally 10 to 20% deficient in vitamin A.  In pregnant women this is aggravated because women are advised to avoid vitamin A-rich foods etc.  

Vitamin C is also encased in our physiology and will never be replaced. We simply can’t make enduring collagen etc without it. Antioxidants also always remain essential for the well being of the skin since it is constantly bombarded by extraneous free radicals.

quote 2Enhancing the protective barrier of the epidermis and saving it from the deleterious effects of pollution has to become more and more important.  At the same time we need to nurture the natural bacteria on our skin, which vary according to where you live. I believe we will see more products like that.  

We may see newer peptides coming in but only in time will we know if they have special properties to put them ahead of the gold-standard peptides that we have.  I have no doubt that better peptides will emerge in time.   

I think that “Indie” products will ultimately fade into oblivion IF the general public become more discerning.  However, I think that is not going to happen soon.”

Q:How will the role of the Skincare Professional need to change in 2018 in order to ensure clients get the best advice for their skin?  What role will technology and innovation play in assuring premium quality, consistency and long term outcomes for healthy skin?  What are the new ‘at home skincare’ offerings/ technology to look out for? 

A: “There are going to be many gimmicks with pseudo-science but I have not found anything that is remotely interesting in my quest to “FUTURE PROOF” THE SKIN. The skin care professional will need to analyse skin easily and then have safe effective means of using the key ingredients optimally.  

That means they need to understand the physiology of the skin cells and recognise the real key ingredients and ignore fashionable trends that cannot survive the test of time.

My book ‘Your Skin Factory’ (£12+VAT / RRP £18.95)remains the easiest way for the majority of skin care professionals to understand skin physiology. They then need to know how to maximise the benefits of these key molecules. At present the gold standards have been set by daily use of devices to enhance penetration into the skin like the Cosmetic Roll-CIT®. Therapists have to encourage their clients to use this not just once a week, but at least five times a week. Next we have a home care device employing low-frequency sonophoresis in combination with iontophoresis.  At present the only known device is the Environ Electro-Sonic DF Mobile Skincare Device.  This is state of the art and should not be confused with the common ultrasound and iontophoresis machines that are so common and so ineffective. Of course even more powerful is the use by skin care therapists of low frequency ultrasound and iontophoresis with the Ionzyme DF® machine. This technology has not been superseded by any other new ideas. It is simply the best in the world especially if the products used have been specially designed and formulated with an understanding of the complicated science. “