Chirally Correct. Why It’s Important.

Updated: October 2017

Chirality is certainly not a term many people are familiar with, but we are certain to hear more about it in the coming months and years. Have you ever found yourself wondering why costly, specially formulated skin care products just sometimes don’t work — at all? In theory, these skin care remedies contain everything the skin needs to restore balance and regenerate. Still, not only do some of these products fail to alleviate or remedy any ailment — some of them actually cause allergic reactions, the release of free radicals, and a host of other maladies. Researchers in both the pharmaceutical and skin care industries are now beginning to realize that the problem with many products boils down to the chirality of the ingredients themselves.

Chiral (rhymes with “spiral”) is derived from Greek and loosely translates into “handedness”. Just as our hands are mirror images of one another, researchers now conclude that molecules are the same way: all molecules exist in both a right-handed and left-handed form, or isomer. Each molecule is composed of an L-isomer and a D-isomer.

The different isomers have different effects upon your body. For generations, chemists have been adding molecules into products with both isomers present at the same time. When this happens, there are three possible effects upon the body:

The body will recognize and use one side while considering the other side to be waste and disposing of it. Each isomer will cancel one another out and there will be no effect upon the body. The incompatible side will cause harm and be considered toxic by the body and most likely lead to increased free radical production. It helps to take a look at an example, like vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Scientists and nutritionists have known for years that vitamin C boosts immune system function, helps fight oxidants, and can even stimulate the synthesis of collagen, which is why it is such a popular ingredient in skin care products — especially anti-aging remedies. Theoretically, vitamin C should be positively great for skin care — so why don’t all skin care products with this beneficial nutrient work?

It’s because ascorbic acid, exists as two isomers: L-ascorbic acid and R-ascorbic acid. The L-ascorbic acid has all the beneficial properties listed above and is a great inclusion in any skin care product. D-ascorbic acid, however, leads to increased dryness, itching, scratching and free radical production. Few skin care companies isolate the molecules into their respective isomers and instead present both of them at the same time, leading to one of the three scenarios listed above. It is easy to recognize chirally correct ingredients: they will all feature either a D- or an L- preface.

The pharmaceutical and skin care industries are both spending billions of dollars each year making sure their new products are “chirally” correct. However, there have been cases when presenting both isomers in a product at the same time led to devastating results, as is the case with Thalidomide. This drug was prescribed to pregnant women during the 1950’s to help curb morning sickness. In 1979, it was discovered that although the D-isomer was recognized and used by the body as intended, the L-isomer was responsible for birth defects.

Skin care remedies made with chirally correct ingredients will not cause side effects and will be recognized and used by the body as intended. The human body is chirally selective and so too must be skin care companies when formulating their products. Chiral compounds are at the heart of every life process, which is why chirality is so important for pharmaceutical and skin care products.

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Accutane is Scary

There are a lot of medications on the market to “cure” acne. Some are not as bad as others but some, like Accutane (Isotretinoin), should not be taken. The side effects are scary!

The drug works for severe (cystic) acne, providing long-lasting and sometimes complete reduction of acne for 80 percent of patients. However, clear skin may be accompanied by serious side effects like Crohn’s disease (this has also been reported to cause problems long after the person has stopped taking the drug), birth defects and suicide. And, once you stop taking it, the acne may come back because you have not fixed the problem.

These are some common side effects associated with taking this medication:

  • Diminished night vision
  • Increased bone injuries due to thickened or weakened bones
  • Increased reaction to UV exposure
  • Red, cracked or sore lips
  • Nosebleeds
  • Changes in nails
  • Peeling skin
  • Unusual hair growth or loss
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Fatigue
  • Voice changes
  • Headache
  • Slow healing of cuts or sores
  • Cold symptoms
  • Dry skin and eyes
  • Muscle aches

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In 2005, the FDA posted the following symptoms that can be accompanied with Accutane and should be closely watched for…

  • depression
  • suicidal tendencies
  • sadness
  • short tempers
  • anger
  • loss of social interaction
  • psychosis
  • loss of motivation
  • changes in appetite

If any of those symptoms appear, the person is advised to seek professional help immediately.

After numerous reports of negative effects and doctors started to realize the potential dangers, Roche recalled Accutane in 2009. Now, only generic brands are available (Amnesteen, Claravis and Sotret — are still available). Roche claimed they did not recall it based on safety concerns but because the market had become saturated with the generic brands. Accutane has now been recalled in 11 other countries.

The FDA gave Accutane a pregnancy rating of X, which means it should not be taken during pregnancy because there is evidence of fetal abnormalities when it is used during pregnancy. In 2006, a strict system was put in place, called the i-PLEDGE program. The computer-based system required registration by pharmacies, doctors and patients. Within the system, negative pregnancy tests from approved labs were periodically required before medication was dispensed, prescriptions only covered 30 days at a time, and users were required to utilize two types of birth control.

Is that enough? Do you still want to take this drug? Bottom line is you have got to fix the problem by using the right skin care products. I don’t care what medication you are taking, it will not fix the problem forever. Once you stop, the acne will come back. If it doesn’t come back, it is only because your hormones have calmed down and your skin was improving anyway. But if you talk to most people on these medications, you will find that they are on it more than once, usually several times.

www.SkinCarebyDevyn.com

Tomorrow- More Acne Medications

Replacing One Problem for Another??

Doesn’t it look like her face hurts in that picture?

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Why can’t products just fix the skin without causing another problem? Why are so many Dermatologists and Estheticians prescribing methods that aren’t healthy for the skin? Over use of products can be just as damaging as the skin issue itself. I always knew the acne medications and OTC acne products dried out the skin but let me give you a list of problems my clients have traded…

1. Softer fine lines and wrinkles using Retin-A for many, many years- Now has thin skin and is super sensitive to a lot of products limiting her ability to fix or stop any other issues. (this is a VERY common one)

2. Keeping acne/breakouts to a minimum by using salicylic acid on her skin, overnight and Renova (Tretinoin)- Now has red, raised bumps on her face from the reaction of using the 2 together…she hasn’t been told to stop yet! (well, I suggested she did 🙂 )

3. Using a cleanser with Glycolic Acid in it once and sometimes twice a day for clearer skin- Now has thin skin and reacts to pretty much everything unless it is SUPER mild. And with this one, you may not know you are reacting until you have the side effects.

4. Applying straight Benzoyl Peroxide to the skin, at night, and leaving it on to help get rid of acne- Now has super dry skin and acne!

These ingredients/products also make you more sensitive to the sun. Well, if you live in southern California, that is a pretty hard thing to avoid. If you live an active outdoor lifestyle, it is even harder to avoid. Sunscreen is never an option but when using this stuff, you CANNOT go a day without it.

All of the above will force your skin to AGE FASTER. It will BREAK DOWN THE COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN (you know, the stuff that keeps the skin firm). I don’t blame my clients or the customers at Target for doing the wrong thing or choosing the wrong products. I blame the industry for misleading them. Retin-A can be fine, for a short time but not for the rest of their life. And, it seems, most are not educated on what these ingredients can do long-term. Clients should know what a product is going to do, good and bad, so that they can decide if it is worth it.

I don’t think I know everything about skin and skin care ingredients but I do care about my clients and their skin. I just want their skin to be healthy without misleading them and without making them spend a fortune. I am very honest. If someone asks me how they can get rid of their age spots on their face, I ask about their outdoor activity level first. If the sun is your friend, that’s ok, but that means you probably have to live with those spots. I will not age someone faster so that I can fix something. I only want to help the skin improve.

PS I know I have more examples of trading one problem for another but that is all I can think of for now. 🙂

www.SkinCarebyDevyn.com