Skin booster treatments

Do they really work? Good asks the experts.

There are certain times of year, or your cycle, where your skin could do with a bit of a boost. 

It may be a pesky breakout or the fact that working from home under a heat pump has sucked it dry.

Skin booster treatments that target specific skin concerns have become big business for the beauty industry. 

So, what’s different about these booster treatments? How do they differ from our usual skincare routine? And do they work?

Boosters explained

Targeted boosters allow us to introduce key active ingredients our skin needs at the time without needing to drastically change our skincare routine, explains Dr Gillian Worth, head chemist at Glow Lab. They enable us to customise our skincare routines in a really targeted and affordable way.

“Our skin in a complex organ and our skin needs can change often making selecting the right products tricky,” says Worth.

“Targeted booster treatments can be used in addition to your existing routine to give skin a ‘boost’ depending on what your skin needs at the time. We’ve designed targeted treatments to be used in addition to your existing routine to give skin a hydrating, firming or brightening ‘boost’ depending on what it needs, with a short timeframe of only 2-4 weeks until you start to see results.”

When to use a booster

Much like we take vitamins to supplement our diets, targeted boosters are an added supplement to your skincare regime, says Worth.

They’re a way of increasing the intake of key ingredients into the skin without having to swap out your entire routine. Something as simple as a slight change to your environment could trigger your skin to become noticeably drier.

This is where incorporating a booster with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalene locks in hydration and provides a barrier to prevent further moisture loss.

Boost Lab’s co-founder and director Craig Schweighoffer adds that the time to use a booster for best results is when your face is best ready to accept the treatment, which is after cleansing and before applying moisturiser and make-up.

Adding boosters to your skincare regime

Most boosters can be easily added to any skincare routine. Cleanse, boost, moisturise. 

“As the boosters are targeted and the best way to get ingredients that matter onto your skin, you can then choose a moisturiser that feels great and offers sun protection rather than have one that contains active ingredients, sun protection and everything else. Because booster serums have a thinner consistency than creams, they absorb into skin quickly, delivering beneficial nutrients and hydration at the cellular level,” says Schweighoffer.

A booster treatment is typically a highly active ingredient or combination of active ingredients which means it is potent and intended to have a strong effect quickly, adds Ross Macdougald, Biologi founder.

However, being so active, it can mean that it is quite strong on the skin, so not always intended to be applied with other products, layered or applied too often. Sticking solely to one booster in specific areas can eliminate issues that can be caused by skincare layering.

“In regular skincare routines, people often put lots of different products on their skin that unfortunately can sometimes be detrimental due to ingredients cancelling each other out or reacting with each other, causing harsh reactions,” he says. 

“Biologi’s serums are natural so won’t cause harsh reactions when layered, but because they are active, they can cancel each other out when layered on the skin. That’s why using them like boosters and only applying one in specific areas can be really beneficial. You’re getting the full benefits of the active ingredient and not diluting it by adding any other serums on top of it.”

Use it or lose it

Most booster treatments are typically recommended to be used for a short period of time – usually two weeks.

“The 2-4 week time frames are linked to the research that supports the active ingredient claims included in our formulas,” says Worth.

“For example, IBR-TCLC®, the trademarked Vitamin C we use in our Brightening Booster has been clinically proven to inhibit melanin production and reduce pigmentation by up to 22 per cent after four weeks. Putting these time frames on the packaging helps our customers understand how long they are expected to use the product before they can expect to start seeing results. This however doesn’t mean that they need to stop after this time period. It’s merely an indication of minimum usage to see results.” 

However, synthetic boosters, which can contain strong chemicals, are recommended for a short period of time because the ingredients can be harsh on the skin for long-term use, warns Macdougald.

“What many people don’t realise is that adding a lot of synthetic ingredients can be incredibly harmful to our skin. As people apply a myriad of synthetic ingredients, our skin cells can retain these toxins over time which will then absorb into the skin’s layers.

“Over time this can result in a build-up of toxins which can actually cause skin sensitivity and result in skin issues such as eczema, rosacea or dermatitis. Biologi is lucky because our serums are so natural they’re wonderful for long-term use and we recommend them for that way.”

Do they really work?

Yes, boosters are really effective because of the activity in the ingredient, says Macdougald.

Active ingredients are those which have been scientifically proven to change the skin at a cellular level. The higher the activity of a product, the more chance it will have a positive impact on the skin quickly.

The benefits really depend on which active ingredient the serum contains and the ingredient efficacy depends on how it has been formulated.

With skincare boosters, you’re ultimately looking for undiluted versions of the active ingredient you need, because diluted versions often contain filler ingredients that don’t really do anything for your skin.

All of Biologi’s serums are 100 per cent active and contain one plant extract and a tiny amount of preservative so they can all be used as a skin booster if you like to target areas of your skin in that way. 

Boosters versus serums

“Some people may get confused between pure, super high percentage vitamin shots, sometimes called boosters, and Boost Labs boosted serums, which are a combination of clinical actives designed to target specific concerns,” says Schweighoffer.

Both are highly concentrated formulations designed to penetrate quickly into the skin. They are typically more effective as they address particular skin concerns and contain more targeted ingredients than moisturisers, he explains.

“Serums are light and fast-absorbing liquids, whereas moisturisers are thicker creams used to form a barrier on your skin, which is perfect for locking moisture in, however not ideal for exposing active ingredients to your skin.”

Biologi’s serum range is extensive because everyone’s skin is different – even down to the fact that some people even have different parts of their face where their skin is different, e.g., you might have an oily T-zone, but dry patches across your cheeks.

“Our serums are designed to be used interchangeably depending on what you’re currently looking to target or are experiencing,” says Macdougald.

“We have some customers who might use the Bk Rejuvenation Eye Serum all over their face in the mornings because they want the benefits of natural Vitamin C and antioxidants to help diminish fine lines and firm delicate skin, then they might apply the Bm Regenerate Anti-Ageing Serum in the evenings for its collagen-boosting potential.” 

Picking the best booster

There’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to using boosters.

It all comes back to what your skin needs at the time says Worth. The best part is there are no rules and you can use boosters as and when you need.

Designed to be highly targeted, you could multi-treat by using a Firming Booster to smooth the forehead and eye area and a Hydrating Booster to target dry skin on your cheeks and chin.

Boost Lab’s website offers free, personalised skincare advice with its Skin Advisor based on the individual skin metrics, artificial intelligence, expert algorithms and real-time information to determine an overall skin “health” score and recommend the perfect serum boosters for your concern.

Booster beware

It’s always best to patch test, as some ingredients like Retinol can be uncomfortable for a few applications.

Because boosters are usually highly concentrated actives, it can be a lot for your skin to handle, says Macdougald.

Try introducing them slowly into your routine, perhaps once or twice a week at first, then working to every second day. It really depends on the brand and the specific booster you’re using.

It’s key to research the skincare booster you’re considering to ensure that it works with the other ingredients in your skincare products. Whilst active ingredients can be incredibly beneficial, some actives can react with other actives.

The science

Glowlab uses trademarked active ingredients from reputable suppliers so that the research behind the claims come from reputable sources.

It lists these trademarked ingredients on its packaging and with a quick Google search, these studies are readily available for anybody to access.

For the more persistent scientific investigator, there are also patents and published papers that assess the activity of some of the peptides and compounds within the extracts. The actives behind its product claims are researched and scientifically tested by third-party chemists. 

Unfortunately, not all skincare is made equal. The way to see if a booster can be scientifically backed would be to look at the active ingredient and the efficacy of that, says Macdougald.

For example, all Biologi extracts which contain a high concentration of actives are independently tested in Australia for their full scope of water-soluble phytoactives and micro-nutrients. An active phyto-nutrient is a biological ingredient in the plant source that directly affects skin function.

Here to stay

All agree that boosters are here to stay because people see real results from their skincare. 

“They are the most effective and targeted means to solve skin concerns and can be highly personalised depending on your conditions and climate and so on,” says Schweighoffer. “It puts the power to create good, healthy skin back in the consumers’ hands.”

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