This Hero Ingredient Is the Ultimate Skin-Care Multitasker—and It Was Developed by Accident
111Skin's founders on the origin story of their iconic skin-care formula.
Surgeon Yannis Alexandrides and his wife Eva Alexandrides didn't set out to create a skin-care brand. "Look, I just really wanted to find something to speed up the healing process for the patient," Dr. Alexandrides tells me as we're discussing the brand's origin story, which is now 10 years old. They've seen significant growth since then: I'm interviewing the couple at the Santa Marina Resort in Mykonos where their brand, 111Skin , has launched its latest spa. "I was very much interested in having a product that was going to enhance results," says Dr. Alexandrides.
According to Dr. Alexandrides, most post-op products are either not that effective, too aggravating to the skin, or too complicated for patients to use properly. He was searching for a new formula that was simple, easy, and safe to use when he came across an ingredient called NAC that had been created for astronauts to treat wounds in space. Another side effect of space travel? Aging. There's no gravity and no atmosphere to block radiation, so the skin ages rapidly.
Armed with this insight, Dr. Alexandrides used the original NAC as a starting point and for 18 months, he worked with scientists to create his own new and improved formula: NAC Y2. His patients loved it, and they came back for more. Because of the combination of ingredients in this new compound, not only did NAC Y2 help speed healing, but it reduced scarring and minimized the appearance of dark spots and fine lines. Now the compound is at the heart of several products that make up 111Skin's product range.
What Exactly Is NAC Y2 and How Does It Work?
The compound is made up of three key parts:
NAC: NAC works on the chemical interaction in your skin that creates melanin. When your skin grows inflamed—from a zit or another reaction—your body works to heal that site of trauma. As your body heals, it also produces a large amount of melanin, and sometimes, in certain skin types and tones, your body will produce too much melanin leaving you with dark spots.
"NAC is able to go straight to the cells in the basal layer of your skin that create melanin," says Dr. Yannis, "which stops the production of melanin before it even begins." That means fewer dark spots and a more even skin tone for you.
NAC is a precursor to the ingredient glutathione, and research shows that it has an antibacterial effect that significantly decreases the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
Vitamin C: This antioxidant is also known for its dark spot-fading abilities, but when it's paired with NAC, there's a synergistic effect, says Dr. Alexandrides. "One multiplies the effect of the other, creating a greater impact."
Additionally, 111Skin uses ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C that is more stable, and the formulas are housed in glass packaging. "We also went with glass because it's airless, which prevents the ingredients from degrading quickly," says Eva. "But it was also important for me to use the material because I wanted the packaging to be sustainable," she adds.
Antioxidants: Your skin is constantly blitzed by free radicals—UV rays, environmental pollution, and blue light—which damage your skin cells, increase inflammation, and reduce your collagen levels. Antioxidants act as a barrier, neutralizing the effect of the free radicals, and protecting your skin from any potential harm.
The products that feature this MVP ingredient are focused on healing the skin, strengthening your barrier, and hydrating the cells. Through developing this compound and the subsequent skin-care line, Dr. Alexandrides and Eva were able to create science-based skin-care products that are effective and can be used in the comfort of your own home—truly a win-win.
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Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/ @111Skin
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