Top 5: What to Look for in Cutting-edge Skincare

Top 5: What to Look for in Cutting-edge Skincare
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Top 5: What to Look for in Cutting-edge Skincare

February 17, 2021

Closing out February, this week’s Top 5 is a follow up to our piece, Beautify Your Skin with Cannabinoids. Today, we are focusing on what to look for in your cutting-edge skincare so that you get the best products for your routine.

In previous years, these products have been found as part of expensive spa packages, but since skincare products have become a vital part of everyday skin protection and nourishment, advances have been made to allow us to use these specialty products at home. With more brands formulating their own skincare lines, how do you know which products will give you that spa-like treatment and the results you crave? Let’s take a look at the Top 5 factors you should be looking for in your skincare.

#1 Top-notch Ingredients

Just like premium ingredients can make or break your favorite recipe, they can also make or break your skincare routine. It’s important to choose products that include ingredients that help support the body’s natural skin care abilities, such as protection from the elements. Our skin has a naturally occurring process for maintaining its own health and balance with natural substances such as oil, hyaluronic acid, and collagen. Your skincare routine should help you look your best; choosing premium ingredients can help further the look of healthy and radiant skin.

There are certain compounds1,2 that have been shown to increase the production of naturally occurring levels of hyaluronic acid—a clear, gooey substance produced by your body. Hyaluronic acid is found in your skin in large amounts and one of its main functions is to bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin.

These known compounds can help increase moisture retention, which leads to the appearance of smooth, dewy skin and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Much like hyaluronic acid, other ingredients can be used in skincare formulation to increase the production of a protein called Type 1 collagen, which among other vital functions, provides structure to skin. As a natural element of heathy skin, collagen supports plump, youthful skin, but after the age of 30, we slowly stop producing as much collagen, which can lead to sagging of the skin. Choosing skincare products formulated with these types of ingredients can lead to increasing the production of our natural Type 1 collagen,3,4 which is essential for skin elasticity and for the appearance of firmer, younger looking skin.

Squalene, an oily substance naturally produced by the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands to moisturize and protect your skin, has derivatives that can be used to support your skin’s healthy levels. Derivatives of squalene have been used to help support natural levels of this oil, but in previous years, these types of products came from less-than ideal sources, such as from shark livers. Companies that are more environmentally aware care where their ingredients come from and choose ingredients from more sustainable sources, such as a squalene derivative that is made from sugar cane. In addition to more sustainable ingredients, forward thinking companies also drive innovation with the addition of advanced ingredients that are more bioavailable, enhancing the absorption of certain compounds into the skin—a highly-sought after quality in skincare.

#2 Dermatologist Approval

If you’re going to put it on your skin, you want to know that the company that makes the product has gone above and beyond to best formulate products to be non-irritating and non-sensitizing. The “Dermatologist Approved” statement lets you know that the products you are purchasing have been tested and approved by a dermatologist.  Why is this important and what is a dermatologist? Dermatologists, simply put, are doctors who specialize in the health of your skin. Since dermatologist testing and approval is voluntary, you should be looking for validated skincare products. Skincare products with a dermatologist approved statement have been through independent testing and results have been reviewed and approved by a Board-Certified Dermatologist. This means that a finished skincare formulation is sent to an independent, third-party research laboratory where human volunteers use the products to determine the safety of the product. Data is then collected and reviewed by a Board-Certified Dermatologist. When the dermatologist deems the product non-irritating and non-sensitizing, the products are considered Dermatologist Approved.

#3 Purposeful and Technologically Advanced Packaging   

Packaging isn’t just smooth finishes and amazing design. Nowadays companies are considering how their packaging impacts the world we live in. Previously, packaging followed a linear path from design to launch to consumer to waste, but purposeful packaging introduces a circular path for packaging. Companies that employ purposeful packaging design their packaging with purpose—a less is more approach, reusable and/or recyclable. When searching for a new skincare product, consider products that utilize technology, for instance airless pump containers, packaging extras such as rollerballs for protecting sensitive skin areas (e.g. around the eye) while also maximizing coverage with a cooling and massaging effect, bottles that make use of foaming technology, and recyclable packing components.

Airless container technology works as a non-pressurized vacuum pumping system. As the pump is pushed down, a disc inside the bottle rises to push the product up and out. Products using airless containers offer several benefits including:5

  • allowing you to get every last drop,
  • extending the shelf life of the products,
  • offering recyclability, and
  • are environmentally friendly with no chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions.

Products that use roll-on applicators consisting of a stainless-steel ball ensure gentle, mess-free application. Rollerballs are free to rotate in any direction, slowly dispensing the product for light, continuous coverage.  Products with rollerballs allow you to use more of the product more efficiently and for a longer amount of time while benefiting from the cooling and massaging benefits of the rollerball.

Products packaged with foaming technology are an excellent addition to your skincare routine. A specialized pump design dispenses liquid as a foam when you press the pump head, building pressure in the bottle. The liquid is pressurized through the pump, causing it to foam. Not only does this technology use less product, but it’s also healthier for you. By using a foaming pump, manufacturers can eliminate the use of foaming chemicals which may be less than ideal for your skin.

#4 Free from known harmful compounds

It’s always a good idea, as a consumer, to know what ingredients are in the products you buy, and skincare products are no different. While you are searching for exceptional ingredients to care for your skin, you should also be looking for ingredients to avoid.  Two well-known additives, parabens and sulfates, may not be ingredients you want in any of the products you buy.

Parabens have a similar composition to hormones found in the human body and have been known to cause disruptions in the body’s natural processes.   Sulphates are chemical detergents that cause products to foam or lather.  Because they are exceptionally good at cleaning, they can have a harsh effect on the skin, removing moisture and damaging the skin’s protective barrier. To verify if your product does or does not contain parabens or sulfates, check the ingredients listed on the packaging.

#5 Transparency

Finally, any product that you use should be made by a company that endorses transparency about their brands. Transparency means a company is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed, implying openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency can come in many forms, such as product information on their website, certificates of analyses, and extra resources to better understand their products.

When searching for ultra-skincare products, a company’s website is the first place you can start. Look at the information provided on the product’s webpage. What ingredients and components are featured? Does the website provide contact information? You can also check the safety of the website with a Google Transparency Report.

Exclusive skincare products may also come with a certificate of analysis (COA).  Check to ensure the COA is issued by an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory that is accredited to perform the type of analysis specific to the product you’re interested in. A COA from a lab with proper accreditation confirms that the lab had the proper know-how to complete the testing on the product, and that the results from testing are accurate and can be used to show the product meets its predetermined specifications. Each COA contains the results obtained from testing performed as part of the quality control system for the manufacturing of an individual batch  of product. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act require that labels on products be truthful, accurate and not false or misleading in any way. Therefore, the gold standard product should have authentic and accurate labels and packaging.

Lastly, a company that operates with transparency should have compliant, educational information available about its products for consumers. Check the company’s website for talks, flyers, blogs, or any other educational resources about the ingredients and processes used to produce your new favorite skincare products. Extra available resources show the company’s willingness to share in depth information with its consumers while also complying with laws and regulations governing the claims and types of information that companies are permitted to make and share, which depend on the categories of products they sell.

Most of the time we shop blindly and choose the products with the lowest price. These five tips give you the power to be an informed consumer who can more optimally determine what they’re getting for their money. Keep these Top 5 tips in mind the next time you are searching for your gold standard skincare.

Join us next time for a look at the ins and outs of the skincare market from Zilis’ Director of Finance, Jason Leach.

Lachance, 1995

Redini et al, 1988

Jenkins et al, 2001

Sommer-Knudsen et al, 1998

About Zilis’ Scientific Research & Development Department

Our Scientific Research and Development Department is headed up by Dr. Marielle Weintraub, a hemp industry expert. She holds a master’s and a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience and is very active in many dietary supplement and hemp industry trade associations, including her role as the current President of the U.S. Hemp Authority. Dr. Weintraub is committed to the continued development of hemp-specific information and testing to fulfill the Zilis mission.

Science posts for Discover are co-researched and co-written by Kelly McGill, Senior Scientific Technical Writer at Zilis. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in Linguistics / TESL. She has been writing science-related content for over 20 years and is an expert in making difficult concepts easy to understand.

Zilis is the creator of UltraCell™, a CBD oil product derived from hemp. Based in Argyle, Texas, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth, Zilis is privately held. Visit for more information.



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