Today, most body treatments are designed in some way or other to improve the body. Clarins’ entire philosophy on beauty wellness revolves around this. When Synactif, Cle de Peau Beaute’s premium line, was first launched five years ago, its products were created to detox our lymphatic system. This refers to the network of lymphatic vessels that sits alongside our network of blood vessels. Unlike the latter, the former doesn’t carry nutrients; instead, it carries waste (like a sewage pipe) – excess proteins, excess water and redundant inflammatory cells* – from the skin.
When it is working optimally, skin is healthy. When it’s clogged and choked, well, you can imagine the fallout. “Waste materials are extremely harmful to skin,” says Dr Takayuki Ishimatsu, director of Cle de Peau Beaute Laboratory. “Excess proteins damage the skin. This means uneven skin tone and rougher texture on the outside. Excess water results in facial bloating. Inflammatory cells break down collagen, leading to lines and wrinkles.”
Being our biggest organ, skin can produce a lot of crap. The lymphatic system’s capillaries branch out, extending throughout skin’s surface, to collect all the rubbish. But this natural process becomes “unnatural” when the capillaries are compromised. The top three reasons that cause capillaries to become less efficient are age, UV rays and pollution. “All three degenerate them, occasionally shortening them in the process. When this happens, waste accumulates in your skin,” says Dr Ishimatsu.
Ageing and UV rays also reportedly decrease the productivity of Tie-2, a receptor in our skin that commands lymphatic vessels to produce a protein that binds cells together. This “glue” strengthens the bonds between cells. Without it, cracks will form, allowing collected waste to seep back into skin. The 2009 version of Synactif boosts the function of lymphatic vessels with an amino acid-derived ingredient, MACC. The reformulated range adds cinnamon extract to MACC to create MACC-PD.
According to Dr Ishimatsu, it does three things that its predecessor didn’t: It lengthens shortened capillaries (back to their former glory) – the better to gather as much waste as possible. It also ups the production of inducing factors to attract inflammatory cells. (Think of it as a magnet that pulls waste to the capillaries.) Lastly, it activates the Tie-2 receptor to strengthen the lymphatic vessels’ walls to prevent gaps or cracks.
At close to $3,000 for the range of five items, it’s expensive stuff. (The five products can be used separately, but you are encouraged to use them together as each item has a different role and works synergistically.) Kazumi Hibi, marketing manager for Cle de Peau Beaute Japan, says the hefty price is justified “because the range will meet all your needs, so you won’t have to use any other skincare. When used together, your skin will be thoroughly purified and be working at its peak”. This means you will get clearer skin tone, less breakouts, improved skin texture and a more even face shape.
*Inflammatory cells are also known as the soldiers of skin’s defence system. When skin is exposed to a “triggering” catalyst (UV rays, irritants like soaps or fragrances), these are produced to calm skin and stop the inflammation. Generally, a small quantity is enough to do the job. But when skin is not in its prime, the signals go haywire and too many “soldiers” are deployed, which has a negative effect on skin when they are not flushed out.