Every few years, I’ll go to Hawaii, where I have a couple of friends. While I’m there, not only do I take a break from work and my hectic schedule, but I’ll also give my skin a breather.
When I’m on vacation, I’m typically bombarding my skin with everything — retinoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides, amino acids, DNA repair enzymes, growth factors, and sunscreen. Plus new products brands send to me. (Everything, I tell you, everything!)
But when I go to Hawaii, I like to check out the Asian skin care lines, which typically have soothing, calming, and detoxifying ingredients. I let my skin relax and breathe for a while.
That’s where the DHC Beauty Lift line comes in. Shockingly, this lightweight, calming, silky anti-aging line I discovered is not manufactured in Asia, but it has the look and feel of those products. After a few weeks of using them, I can honestly say my skin has recovered. (Now, just to get the rest of me to Hawaii…)
Present in all DHC Beauty Lift Products: Pentapeptide-18
Present in all of the DHC Beauty Lift products, pentapeptide-18 is the reason this is called a “Beauty Lift” line.
Pentapeptide-18 was developed to mimic the actions of substances called enkephalins in the skin. These prevent the transmission of inflammatory substances, neuronal activity, and catecholamine release (International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2009). As a result, pentapeptide-18 gives skin a rest. Studies show it may improve skin texture and firmness over time — hence the “lift” (International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2009).
DHC Beauty Lift Lotion ($47, $42 through 02/28/2015)
This “lotion” has the consistency of a lightweight toner. It has beneficial hydrating and soothing ingredients that calm and soothe the skin, including:
Oat kernel extract
According to a supplement to the journal Cosmetic Dermatology, oats have been used since ancient Egypt to manage dry, itchy skin. They are soothing in four major ways:
- 1. Contain a helpful mixture of components that soothe and/or hydrate skin, including 10-18% protein, 60-64% polysaccharides, and lipids, enzymes, saponins, prostaglandin synthetic inhibitors, vitamins, and flavonoids. In short, oat proteins have high hydration and fat-binding capacities, and have been shown to improve skin’s barrier function.
- 2. Have a lower pH than human skin, which enables absorption of oils and dirt on the skin.
- 3. Have positively charged sites that bind to negatively-charged parts of the skin, anchoring the moisturizing ingredients into the skin. This helps the ingredient form a thin layer over the skin. (Pretty neat, huh? )
- 4. Contain vitamin E, an antioxidant.
- 5. In one study, cited here, oat kernel extracts inhibited prostaglandin synthesis to a degree comparable with that of indomethacin, indicating that oats may reduce pain and itching.
In DHC Beauty Lift Lotion, oat kernel extracts may therefore be both soothing and hydrating.
One of my favorite skincare ingredients is sodium hyaluronate, which is one of the natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) found in the skin. Together with lipids, NMFs keep skin from losing water, maintaining skin’s young, smooth, non-flaky appearance. In fact, a 2000 study by Sakai et. al found that a decrease in the lipid and NMF content of the skin leads to surface roughness, flaking, fine lines, and a tight, uncomfortable feeling.
water/aqua/eau, butylene glycol, glycerin, polysorbate 20, glycosyl trehalose, phenoxyethanol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, sodium glutamate, glutamic acid, octyldodecanol, sodium hydroxide, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, sodium hyaluronate, mevalonolactone, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, ceramide 3, pentapeptide-18
DHC Beauty Lift Essence ($44)
An “essence” is pretty cool: The best way to think of an essence is like a hydrating, lightweight serum. Many times they are infused with hydrating and skin-beneficial ingredients, just like a serum, though the term is usually restricted to Asian skin care brands.
In this case, the primary effective ingredients are:
What makes olive oil so special is that it includes resveratrol, a natural protector of cellular activity; squalene, a natural hydrating agent; as well as three classes of distinct protective antioxidantpolyphenols (simple phenols, secoridoids, and lignans).
Unlike many other skin care ingredients, olive oil is beneficial when ingested and when topically applied. [Read More: Tomatoes, Lemons, Olive Oil, and More: Are They Food, Skin Care, or Both?]
Ceramides are natural hydrators found within the skin.
Adding ceramides to the skin with a moisturizer (or essence!) has also been shown to have results. In a 2002 study by dePaepe et. al, the strength of the skin — measured by its barrier repair function — was enhanced by the presence of ceramide 3, as well as a separate combination of ceramides and fatty acids.
water/aqua/eau, glycerin, butylene glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, carbomer, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, potassium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol, sodium metaphosphate, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, ceramide 3, mevalonolactone, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, pentapeptide-18
DHC Beauty Lift Milk ($47, $42 through 02/28/2015)
When you think about a “milk,” this is a serum-like product that is thicker than an essence, but thinner and (dare I say it) milkier than a traditional moisturizer. It is designed for use after an essence and/or serum, and before a moisturizer.
We produce squalane naturally in our skin, hair, and other surface lipids, where it provides skin protection and hydration (Free Radical Research).
Moisturizers like DHC Beauty Milk containing squalene keep skin soft, smooth, and moist. Because our bodies recognize squalene as a compound produced by our bodies naturally, it quickly absorbs into the skin and does not leave an oily residue (Science Based Medicine).
water/aqua/eau, butylene glycol, pentylene glycol, squalane, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 20, phenoxyethanol, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, carbomer, potassium hydroxide, polysorbate 60, sorbitan isostearate, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, ceramide 3, glycerin, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, sodium hyaluronate, mevalonolactone, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, pentapeptide-18
DHC Beauty Lift Cream ($57, $51 through 02/28/2015)
According to the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, vitamin E is one of the naturally produced antioxidant substances that protects against skin’s exposure to UV and environmental exposures to ozone. In fact, according to the article, vitamin E has been identified as the “predominant lipid-soluble antioxidant” in murine (mouse) and human skin.
According to a second research study, vitamin E is produced in the sebum of the skin, so it comes from the pores of the skin. As such, vitamin E shows a characteristic gradient in the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of skin), with lower levels being found towards the outer stratum corneum layers.
This lightweight, ester-based moisturizer provides a lovely experience: It is mildly fragranced, and it feels great on the skin. It is light enough to use under a sunscreen in the AM, and either alone or under another moisturizer in the PM (depending on your skin type).
water/aqua/eau, isotridecyl isononanoate, butylene glycol, glycerin, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, stearic acid, pentylene glycol, glyceryl stearate SE, glyceryl stearate, polysorbate 60, dimethicone, behenyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, potassium hydroxide, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, ceramide 3, tocopherol, mevalonolactone, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, pentapeptide-18
If you are looking for a lovely line to give your skin a break from the usual harsh anti-aging ingredient experience, try the DHC Beauty Lift line. These products are all skin-calming, soothing, and have pentapeptide-18 for firming to boot! I’m keeping a set in my medicine cabinet for when my skin is irritated or inflamed!