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Cellular beauty is set to be the future of skincare. Here’s how

“Beauty is only skin deep,” goes the common lore. While humanity was busy dissecting the proverb into bite-sized affirmations, a branch of science literally got under our skin to drive a beauty trend—currently reframing the anti-ageing industry one cell at a time. Introducing the future-focused science of cellular beauty, a skincare trend dealing with the building blocks of our body to provide a strong foundation for overall health, including our skin, hair and nails.

What is cellular beauty?

The idea is pretty simple: what we eat and how we treat our bodies deeply affects our skin, while the natural cell rejuvenation process begins to slow down with age. Connecting this internal factor with the external, cellular beauty preaches the fact that optimal skin health starts at the cellular level and works its way out. A sheet mask the evening before a party may instantly boost hydration and calm our acne, but treating these concerns from the bottom up—meaning boosting the fundamental health of your cells—has long-term benefits in the anti-ageing battle.

“The idea behind cellular beauty is to support the cellular processes that occur within skin cells so that the skin can function optimally,” said Doctor Joshua Zeichner. In an interview with Dazed Beauty, the dermatologist further explained how antioxidants are foundational ingredients in this approach to skincare. “Think of them like fire extinguishers that put out inflammation caused by free radicals,” he added.

Cellular beauty gets this job done by hydrating our cells naturally and re-energising the cell division process—which, in turn, rejuvenates the skin. Coupled with cellular therapy, the approach provides the necessary enzymes and proteins to hydrate and increase oxygenation, which then stimulates cell metabolism so that our skin can renew the way it used to when we were just babies.

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From a product claim standpoint, those catering to cellular beauty promise to help your cells perform a number of functions—including resistance to ageing, oxidation and environmental damage while regenerating beauty-boosting essentials like collagen. As a homogenous group, however, these products aren’t made nor function in the exact same way.

In October 2020, Nestlé Health Science launched a new brand dedicated to the concept. Dubbed Celltrient, the line includes three categories of ingestible products to protect, energise and strengthen cellular health. Targeting consumers aged 50 and above, the products feature ingredients like glutathione and nicotinamide riboside chloride—a form of B3. “We believe we are part of the next wave of wellness, because at some point the market gets saturated and people are looking for products that work on a deeper level,” said associate marketing director Joelle Legree in an interview with Glossy back in November 2020. “This is an emerging science and we’re seeing a rise in the scientific publications around cellular health. As more doctors continue to learn about it, this category could grow very quickly.”

A pandemic-accelerated boom

Fast forward to 2021, and cellular beauty seems to be fronting both the anti-ageing and wellness battle—as consumers increasingly focus on optimising their overall wellbeing in the most natural way possible. “They increasingly want products that work smarter and more efficiently to generate a natural radiance and vitality, and work longer to more permanently improve our health,” explained Mallory Huron, a beauty and wellness strategist at Fashion Snoops.

In her research, she admitted to uncovering similarities of cellular beauty with the same appeal that’s driving the rise in nutricosmetics and ingestible beauty supplements. In short, the idea of generating optimal health from the inside out is of growing interest. “With cellular beauty, the idea of using a product—either as an internal supplement or an external topical—that is able to boost your skin’s functioning at a cellular level has the same attraction,” she told Dazed Beauty.

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According to the publication, while the efficacy of such products is not entirely clear due to the lack of regulations, a group of brands are pushing cellular beauty to the forefront. For starters, skincare brand Haoma Earth claims to naturally reverse signs of ageing and boost skin health through potent, plant-based formulas that target root causes of cellular breakdown—like stress or environmental damage. In addition to slowing these processes, Huron mentioned how the brand’s formulas flood the skin with antioxidants and fortifying activities to help support cell health and make them more resilient to breakdown in the long run.

Other topical brands innovating within cellular health include CellularMd and Elysium Health. While the former is centred around its motto that “skincare is a science,” the latter pushes the envelope in terms of how far supplements can go to reverse the effects of ageing on a cellular level. Dazed Beauty also noted how Elysium Health sells Index, an at-home ‘biological age test’ that can help determine how fast you’re ageing—ultimately monitoring how fast your cells are breaking down.

While the supplement market was the first to go cellular, injectables are the latest addition to the approach. Cue plasma-rich platelet (PRP) injections, commonly known as vampire facials. Instead of foreign fillers and neurotoxins, the procedure involves taking a vial of your own blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the plasma and other cells, then injecting it back into your skin. Since plasma is a healing cell, the all-natural fluid allegedly works to repair damage at and around the injection site, revealing healthier skin for months to come.

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Although Huron claims cellular beauty to be a sneaky repackaging of the anti-ageing movement, she noted how the trend would continue—as the biohacking movement (where you ‘hack’ your body to help it function more efficiently) gains steam. “Moreover, we’re seeing a real interest among consumers to proactively address their health and to implement routines, rituals, and products that can help address, prevent, and slow down problems before they arise,” she added.

While the concept of cellular beauty is nothing new so to speak, the addition of the term ‘cellular beauty’ into the wellness lexicon might just initiate more brands into its folds. Currently considered as “the most promising development in skincare,” the approach is undoubtedly here to stay. After all, what’s more fundamental than your cell health in the long run, am I right?

Inside the toxic and misleading world of at-home Botox

Surgical and cosmetic procedures seem saturated in society today, with extremely dangerous methods to achieve ‘the look’ on the rise, young girls and feminine presenting people are at risk. Moveover Apetamin and BBLs, another toxic beauty trend is taking the internet by storm: at-home botox parties.

An obsession with anti-ageing methods is running rampant within gen Z, creating a new boom of baby Botox—also known as ‘preventative Botox’—along with other dangerous ways of procuring and using botox, which are becoming increasingly available.

Keep in mind that Botox can have medicinal value. It’s used to treat migraines, excessive sweating and bladder issues, to name a few. However, when used in a party environment (and paired with alcohol), Botox can be dangerous.

At-home Botox and Botox parties

You can order Botox online; yes, to your door, where you would administer the product yourself. Take a quick Google search and you’ll be bombarded by choices, with prices ranging from £100 to £700 for a box of apparent Botox. While Apetamin was swiftly taken down in the UK after the dangers of it surfaced, the availability of online Botox is still here for one simple reason—demand.

According to an investigation initially conducted by Which? that was then reported on by The Guardian 12 years ago, DIY Botox kits were already available online and even sold on eBay back then. The kits’ content often contained the ‘Botox’, needles, saline and a diagram of the face detailing the areas to inject. In 12 years, nothing has changed. In fact, it seems to have only worsened. While in 2009 it was found to be mostly sold on eBay, now there are hundreds of websites dedicated to the product.

Editor of Which?, Sarah Kidner, said, “It’s easy to forget that Botox is actually a poison. We were appalled that we were able to buy a DIY kit so easily and are concerned that the internet is becoming a marketplace for cut-price cosmetic treatments.” This research hasn’t aged well, has it? And wait—it gets worse… Welcome to the world of Botox parties.

Botox parties are a social gathering where Botox injections are readily available for administration. It’s a typical party, booze, snacks and socialising, there just happens to be a nurse (if you’re lucky) standing in the corner with a needle. Sounds like a good time…

The dangerous side effects of at-home Botox

Now, even in a safe, medically professional environment, Botox has its potential side effects. The most common symptoms often involve pain, bruising, redness and even infection at the site; other potential side effects can include the drooping of the face or eyelid, irritation to the eye area, double vision, and difficulty blinking regularly to name but a few. Even when used for medical conditions like the ones listed previously, the product comes with its risks.

In fact, one user took to RealSelf for medical advice over her use of at-home Botox, “I ordered Botox online and injected myself about a month ago. My cheeks went down tremendously but, [they’re] still swollen and yesterday the side area of my eyelid [has] become swollen as well.”

An experienced Botox practitioner, Malti O’Mahoney, told The Guardian, “If you did it yourself, with Botox you could end up paralysing your whole face. Facial muscles are very complex and a lay person would not know this. It is a full medical procedure, requiring a patient’s medical history and detailed consultations before any treatment takes place.”

This becomes an issue, especially when it comes to the fairly recent surge in Botox parties—their safety is wholly questioned. Remember when I said you’d be lucky if you saw a nurse at a party? Well, often there is no guarantee that the individual administrating the injections is even a licensed professional or, at the very least, experienced. It may be no different to the dangers of you doing it yourself.

Despite Botox being not directly harmful in small medically approved doses, it is still a toxin and, although rare, could cause side effects or even an allergic reaction. Because of this, if something goes wrong, there is no appropriate immediate medical attention that you would receive if visiting a clinic. Especially if you’re at a party and drinking alcohol. I don’t know about you but some of the parties I’ve been to have hardly been sanitary.

It’s not actually Botox

To make matters worse, the ‘Botox’ readily available online and at (unlicensed) Botox parties is unlikely to actually be Botox. Cosmetics Business reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had broadcast warnings in 2015 and 2017 on the distribution of fake Botox and fillers online; the market is largely unregulated and reportedly, possibly fatal. In fact, it’s pretty easy to determine the fakes since real Botox is a copyrighted trademark made by one company.

That one company is Allergan, a pharmaceutical corporation that is the sole manufacturer of authentic Botox, which is sent directly to medical practitioners and must be kept at a controlled temperature. Cosmetics Business (in collaboration with Red Points data) disclosed that counterfeit beauty products shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic, “with 74.14 per cent of cosmetics brands seeing a spike in cybercrime.” The dangers become even higher when knowing that counterfeit products are often cut with toxic and unsafe ingredients such as lead, mercury and even cyanide.

There’s no shame in getting Botox if that’s what you want to do—no judgement here—just make sure that if you’re going to get it, you get it the right way. Go to a bloody doctor.