Q & A with Dr Alek Nikolic on SK.IN INGREDIENTS SERUMS


I’m constantly on the look out for beauty products that address skin tone, firmness and texture because let’s face it, growing old has it’s good points, but fabulous flawless skin ain’t one of them; enter beauty brand sk.in ingredients! Cape Town based medical aesthetic practitioner Alek Nikolic is the genius behind these potent and powerful serums targeting anti-ageing concerns. I caught up with Alek to find out more about his line sk.in ingredients:

Dr Alek Nikolic for sk.in ingredients

How long have you been working on these five products and what was your incentive in creating them?

I have been working on these serums for 3.5 years to get them to a point to fill bottles. The reason for this length of time was the formulation and the concentration of the ingredients is my own creation.

Where did your inspiration come from?

After I used retinol on my own skin for the first time, I noticed visible changes. People are generally afraid of using retinol or vitamin A due to the skin reactions, which led me to investigate ingredients in more detail and in turn to formulate my own range with two main focus points: The first is that doctor prescribed cosmeceuticals are traditionally only available at doctors’ rooms (aesthetic medical practitioner, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, etc.) limiting availability to the general public. There is a good reason for this as the ingredients and their concentrations can produce unwanted side effects which if they develop, would need medical attention. I wanted to create a brand that contains high concentrations of doctor prescribed active ingredients but at the same time limit or reduce the ability for skin reactions. This would allow great skincare to be available to everyone. So, my focus was the ingredients used for the skin and this is how we derived on the name of the brand: sk.in = skin ingredients.

The second main reason is I felt a number of brands don’t offer a combined targeting ingredient and skin barrier repair ingredients in one serum or product. I am a firm believer that we all have to some degree or another a compromised skin barrier, even if we take diligent care of our skins. Exposure to pollution, smoking, unhealthy eating, laptop and computer screens, cell phones, visible light, etc. all contribute to the stress on the skin barrier.

We can apply the best ingredient on our skin but if our skin barrier is compromised, ingredients won’t reach its full potential. I wanted to create a range that not only had a targeting ingredient (such as vitamin A or vitamin C) but that it also ingredients to repair and maintain the skin barrier throughout the day and night.


I got to try out MARVEL, GLOSS & BOUNCE

Tell us a bit about the names

I know they are a bit quirky, but we wanted to go with a ‘superhero’ kind of theme but at the same time indicate what they will do for the skin:

FLASH is for the HPR (Hydroxipinalcalone retinoate) because of its ability to restore the skin to is more youthful state but in a ‘flash’.

BOUNCE is our combination HPR and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (AT) or vitamin C and it will bounce the skin back to its original form.

GLOSS is based on the skin brightening effect of the AT or vitamin C.

PURE is based on the cleansing action of the salicylic acid, the fruit enzymes and the Zinc PCA.

MARVEL is based on the hyaluronic acid plumping and moisturising effect and the skin barrier repair effect.

Retinol is a confusing ingredient to understand – can you explain what type to look for in products and what type you used in your products:

Retinoids is a word used to describe a group of different vitamin A derivatives of which retinol and HPR are some of them. I chose HPR over all of the different retinoids because of its ability to reduce skin reactions. All vitamin A (except HPR) needs to be converted to retinoic acid before it can start ‘working’ on the skin. We have retinoic acid receptors in the skin and only retinoic acid can bind to these receptors and only once bound to these receptors can the changes start taking place. HPR is a retinoic acid ester (derived from tretinoin the prescription strength vitamin A) so no conversion needed. Furthermore it is the conversion process that causes the reactions to take place. The more steps needed the greater the reaction.

“Potent enough to target the errors of the past, powerful enough to get your skin working at its best again, sk.in gives you superpowers”

What age do you suggest your clients start incorporating these ingredients into their routine and specifically, Retinol.

This is dependent on the real age of the skin. People in their twenties can have fine lines and wrinkles appearing, so it’s not really an age thing but rather how their ageing skin is changing. Another approach is to start using active ingredients as a preventative approach. So generally speaking we should consider actives such as low dose HPR (flash 1) and vitamin C (gloss) in our twenties with a good SPF 30 or higher that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

Will you be adding to your range anytime soon?

Definitely yes. I am extremely excited about the new additions and do not want to give too much away except to say that the ingredient combinations and their concentrations are fairly unique and will be very effective.

I am also working on a professional treatment line that will allow satisfied sk.in serum users to have skin treatments to further enhance their skin at a professional therapist or doctors rooms.

sk.in ingredients pure

Do you recommend PURE for everyone to cleanse their face or is this specific for oilier skin?

PURE is a solution applied after cleansing the skin and should not be used daily. We use medical strength salicylic acid and as such we recommend that it is only applied 2 to 3 times weekly depending on what the skin can handle. It has two main targeted effects:

  1. Acts as an at home chemical peel for hyperpigmentation, ageing prevention, treating existing ageing skin changes, smoothing skin texture.

  2. Works to diminish and prevent acne breakouts, reduces oil or sebum production and minimises pores.

I read somewhere your Hyaluronic Acid has a low molecular weight – what does that mean?

All our serums contain HA. PURE (solution not a serum) contains Hyalasome which is a cross linked HA. The cross linking prevents breakdown so it stays longer in the skin. The HA in our serums is a complex which is a mixture of low, medium and high molecular weight HA. Specifically, we have used 50 kDa, 320 kDa and 800 kDa molecular weights to make up the entire complex. The reason for these different molecular weights is to allow different absorption and penetration through all the layers of the skin: from epidermal to dermal. This maximises the benefits of the hyaluronic acid through the superficial to the deepest layers of the skin. The low weight penetrates deep into the skin and similarly the higher remains more superficially in the skin.

I love these serums as they can be incorporated into whatever other products in beauty routine- besides a moisturiser and an SPF would you recommend adding anything from within eg. collagen supplements or?

Collagen supplements are great but they need to be hydrolysed collagen and the concentration needs to be higher than 6000 mg. my recommendation to boost skin effects is to rather consider other treatments such as chemical peels and/or Dermapen/needling.

You’ve gone for biodegradable packaging and vegan ingredients- is it because it’s a Global’s trend or something you share on a personal level

We are very aware of the environment and specifically what we can do to help. We have also partnered up with Greenpop and are contributing a percentage of our sales to this organisation. We are busy working on allowing customers at checkout to add a small amount to their basket which will go directly to Greenpop as it is our mission to become as environmentally friendly as possible.

Do you have a personal favourite

My personal favourites are GLOSS and FLASH 3 which I use every day as well as the new additions which will be coming soon.

Can you tell us a bit about the skin analysis machine you use to monitor skin treatments

The skin analysis machine we use is the latest 7th Generation VISIA Complexion Analysis System to monitor progress with all of our skin treatments. For online I have developed a short and a detailed skin assessment (we call it the sk.in test): https://skiningredients.com/sk-in-assessment/ which allows online customers to get recommendations for their skin types and concerns. We are also very glad to help customers through email and recommend them to email me or Sam with their high res photos of their face and from there we can also recommend.

In all of our studies we performed the Visia over 4, 8 and 12 weeks to monitor changes and improvements.

sk.in ingredients Dr alek nikolic

I was super chuffed to try out three of Alek’s serums: GLOSS, BOUNCE and MARVEL and can see a remarkable improvement in my skin; I’m going for my final skin analysis in a week’s time so watch this space….

All sk.in ingredients products are vegan friendly, have never been tested on animals and are free of parabens, sulphates, gluten, soy and nuts.

sk.in ingredients is available on www.skiningredients.com and selected skin clinics (enquire online).

CREDITS: courtesy of sk.in ingredients and photographer: Ian Reeves

That is it for this Friday..happy weekend