It’s no secret that the high-end luxury skin cream market is saturated with all manners of concoctions that promise to magically transform your skin. The problem is that all of these jars and tubes only go skin-deep—literally. They’re a Band-Aid solution against the march of time and environment.
So, when a skin care regimen arrives that favours hardcore science over slick marketing to produce real, bonafide results, it is certainly wise to pay attention. As part of the venerable Shiseido family, Clé de Peau Beauté’s Synactif skin care line arrives with some serious research heft. One of the oldest beauty brands in the world (dating to 1872), Shiseido is also Japan’s largest cosmetic company. If its Clé de Peau Beauté brand was developed as the queen bee in a behemoth stable of offerings, then think of the new Synactif line as the rarified gems in her crown.
At the forefront of this new research sits Takayuki Ishimatsu, who spent the last 16 years tucked away at the Shiseido Research Center in Yokohoma, specializing in pharmaceutical research and skin care development. Ishimatsu now assumes a more public role as the director of Clé de Peau Beauté’s Laboratories, which requires him to distill this new science down to a crowd less versed in Methyl Aminomethyl Cyclohexyl Carboxamide with cinnamon (MACC) and more familiar with what it can do: combat wrinkles. Arriving in Vancouver for Synactif’s launch, he is still dressed in his signature lab coat, but new habits are forming—he is clearly a daily user of this new elixir. He looks barely old enough for chemistry class, let alone being the gatekeeper of skin care transcendence: “I’m 42, but people always mistake me for far younger,” he confirms through his interpreter.
By focusing on the complex network of tissues and organs that helps our body filter out toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials, the Synactif team is convinced they can fight aging skin.
Targeting the lymphatic system forms the cornerstone of Synactif’s skin care regime. By focusing on the complex network of tissues and organs that helps our body filter out toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials, the Synactif team is convinced they can fight aging skin. There is still much research to be done, Ishimatsu says, but what we do know so far is that the older we get, the harder it is for these lymphatic channels to work efficiently. “When we study lymphatic vessels in healthy skin, we see that they look small and closed,” he says. “On the other hand, in skin that has been exposed to UV rays, we see large, expanded lymphatic vessels. We discovered that the ability of these vessels to recover waste had been severely compromised.” As a result, your dermis is clogged with inflammatory cells, and since their waste isn’t being collected and disposed of properly or efficiently, they start to accumulate. With that, it’s a fast track to dullness, sagginess, and a rougher texture—and the skin is powerless to heal.
To combat this, Synactif offers a blissfully simple system aimed at the time-challenged: “Five products that offer maximum benefit with minimal time,” says Ishimatsu. There’s a rich, foamy soap of rose, rosemary, and iris (the rose hails from the noted Delbard Nursery, where it won first prize and best fragrance award in the world); followed by a hydrating lotion for clearer skin; then a day or night cream (for the changing rhythms of the day) infused with Vitamin C that works to smooth surfaces during sleep. The ritual is capped with an ultra-rich, concentrated sculpting contour cream that removes dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles, and can subtly change the face’s shape by tightening. Colour, texture, and shape are all primary beneficiaries.
For those who want to take it to the next level (yes, there is a next level), Ishimatsu recommends having the Soin Synactif facial at the Clé de Peau Beauté counter at Holt Renfrew (where Synactif is sold exclusively in Vancouver) once or twice a month. This treatment stimulates the lymph nodes on the face and neck with deep cleansing, and skin rejuvenation with a combination of multiple masks and massages. Though lymphatic drainage does not sound terribly sexy, it might just be the best-kept beauty secret in town.
Taken together, the Synactif products and treatments form that elusive proof that it is important to pay attention in science class—because what is learned there might just hold the key to reversing the future.
Read more Beauty stories.