Healthista editor Anna Magee is trying out new Epionce, a doctor-recommended range of skincare for 12 weeks and having the results assessed with a Visia, the camera dermatologists use to assess skin’s ageing. She’s hit the halfway point and here are the results so far…
Six weeks ago I began trying Epionce, a new range of high end skincare recommended to me by the dermatologist Dr Mervyn Patterson. In my first blog about it, I explained the idea of the trial: my face will be photographed using a Visia camera before, half way through the experiment and after 12 weeks of continuous use of the products. This is the camera dermatologist’s use to assess the various signs of ageing including wrinkles, skin texture, pigmentation and pore size. Each week I will also be photographed without make-up in harsh light to see if any of the changes the skincare claims it will make are actually happening to the naked eye. Then at six weeks and 12 weeks I will be photographed by the Visia. This is the six week point. Why do it? I wanted to find out if expensive skincare like this rises to the claims it makes to improve brightness, texture, wrinkles and pigmentation.
For the last six weeks I have been trying Epionce new to the UK and recommended to me by dermatologist Dr Mervyn Patterson. But it’s not cheap and I wanted a way of quantifying its effectiveness. I mean, I don’t mind paying a tonne for skincare. It’s my face after all and the one thing I always have to show the world. But I want to know that my skincare is doing something more for my money other than smelling nice. The Visia camera is the one way I know to quantify the effect of skincare as it photographs and uses numerical values to show your levels of wrinkles, pigmentation, sun spots and texture problems. You can take before and after pics manipulating light but this camera don’t lie baby.
Epionce’s strap line is ‘Delivering the beauty of healthy skin,’ which to me was compelling. Before I started, Patterson explained: ‘By optimising what you give the skin, it performs at its best and becomes as healthy as you can get it and healthy skin looks good’.
He said every Epionce product is tested in pharmaceutical conditions. One clinical study showed that the Epionce regime after six months of use was as effective as prescription strength retinol at reducing fine lines, tactile roughness and skin laxity (sagging) and increasing brightness as well as reducing dark spots caused by sun damage – but without the initial irritation that can be caused by prescription strength retinol.
My skin before
According to my first scan with the Visia camera my skin issues were:
Eye wrinkles – I have virtually no other wrinkles, just loads around my eyes! Very dry skin in the eye area, almost flaky in parts
Thick skin a good thing which Dr Mica said is great for not getting wrinkles but can lead to sagging, as thick skin is heavy
Dilated pores on T-zone
UV spots and pigmentation on top of nose, top of forehead, top of cheeks and top left of forehead and as well as at the left of my chin. This is probably my biggest skin issue (perhaps a result of growing up in Australia during the tanning-oil loving 80s).
I had to start the range gradually as Dr Patterson’s intention was to prepare the surface of my skin by building up its barrier gently before adding treatment products to refine its look and feel. In the first three weeks therefore I used the Epionce Renewal Cleansing Lotion £25, Renewal Eye Cream £52 and Renewal Facial Lotion £68.50 in the day and Renewal Facial Cream £74 at night. I loved the feel and smell of the products from the start. They smell lusciously natural thanks to the botanical actives they contain but have a refined feel that makes them really penetrate and feel ultra-moisturising without leaving any greasy film.
The wider product line-up
By week three, I was ready to move onto more treatment products and began widening the range of products I used to help the problems of my particular skin – rough texture, large pores, pigmentation and eye wrinkles. My product line-up widened and became quite extensive to include repair serums and brightening creams which meant my ablutions at the beginning and end of the day became longer than usual – I didn’t mind this (if it got results I didn’t care). So here’s the line-up of products as recommended by Dr Patterson for my specific skin that I have been using (more about their action and what is in them will be in the final blog in six weeks’ time).
Renewal Cleansing Lotion £25 –
Lite Lytic Tx £46.50
Melanolyte Tx £75
Renewal Facial Lotion £68.50
Results at six weeks – the half way point
So, for the ADHDs amongst you, I’m sorry that this is such a forensic and detailed story but I if you’re going to pay the above prices, like me I imagine you want the cold hard evidence that it works. So here it is. I had my skin photographed in the Visia camera last week after having used the products for six full weeks. Dr Mica Engel, the dermatologist who conducted my first Visia as well as this one was really happy with the results.
‘Your skin has visibly brightened and the tone and texture are clearer,’ Dr Engel explained. The pervious Saturday morning I’d scraped my hair back and worn no make-up and my husband Kevin (who doesn’t really notice anything) exclaimed: ‘You look so young today!’ The afternoon of my six-week Visia assessment I also bumped into a friend, the leading plastic surgeon Mr Rajiv Grover and told him what I was doing and he said that to the naked eye, my skin was looking really good (and he sees a lot of skin, being renowned for his facelifts). But both those events could have been down to good light.
Let’s see what the Visia camera found six weeks in. I have asked the Waterhouse Young Clinic where Dr Engel works and where I had the assessment to provide a comparative look at the different aspects of my skin before I started the skin care and after with comments from Dr Mervyn Patterson and Dr Engel. The pics on the left are the first scan at the start of the trial and the ones on the right are the results from the six-week scan.
BROWN SPOTS / PIGMENTATION down 29.2% from 277 to 196
This is a hell of a result. It means the brightness I can see in my skin is not an illusion. However, if you look at my skin with the naked eye you also will see some of the darker pigmentation on my forehead actually getting a little worse. This is a good thing, says Dr Engel. Apparently, when active skincare like this is working on dark spots and pigmentation, the problem often gets worse before it gets better and this happens usually at the six week mark when the pigmentation might look darker. ‘A typical skin cycle is is 40-90 days and your trial has reached about day 40 when the darker pigmentation areas typically start looking more prominent during treatment,’ says Dr Engel. ‘This means they are coming to the surface after years of being very deep and also means the skincare is reaching the deeper layers and doing its job.’
PORES down 29.2% from 265 to 226
‘The software is set to detect pores of a certain size and these results show a reduction from 265 and 226,’ says Dr Patterson. ‘That means both fewer visible pores and also a reduction in their size.’
TEXTURE improved 32.7% from 961 to 646
I thought my skin was looking clearer and feeling softer and these results confirm it. ‘There is significant improvement in surface retexture,’ says Dr Patterson. ‘Smoother skin means a more youthful look.’
WRINKLES Up 12% from 16 to 21
Here’s where there’s an anomaly. I am convinced that to the naked eye my eyes (the only place on my face where according to this camera I have wrinkles) are less wrinkly. But according to this, the count has gone up. What gives? ‘It could be affected by smiling a little more in this picture compared to the first one,’ says Dr Patterson who adds that I might have simply moisturised a little less that day as the eye wrinkles can be affected by recent moisturisation.
The overall verdict six weeks in
I am really happy with the results so far. Having got used to using the arsenal of products, for the first time in my life I have also found a bunch of products that I don’t need to over-use in terms of the amounts I apply day and night. I really only need the teeniest amounts to cover my whole face. This means that if I do decide to buy the products and continue with their use at the end of the trial (the products were provided free for the trial but I am seriously considering buying them all when they run out), that they will be economical as a tiny amount does the whole face. With the serum (which is really expensive) I only need half a pump. As for the results, Dr Patterson is happy so far and says:
‘I see a pleasing reduction in pigmentation, redness and pore size and the surface texture of the skin is significantly smoother. The coarser wrinkles have not changed yet in this particular analysis. But to look younger we need a more even complexion, that is, less contrasts of red and brown, tighter pores and a smoother surface texture. We are starting to see these results coming through nicely for you.’ Stay tuned for more in a few weeks time. I will be touching base on week nine and then have the final Visia dispatch on week 12.
Read Anna’s previous Skincare on Trial post
Find out more about Epionce skincare
Contact Dr Mervyn Patterson
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