The beauty industry is rife with misinformation, and it’s led to mass confusion about what we should, and more importantly shouldn’t, be putting on our skin. Dr Judey Pretorius – one of South Africa’s leading skincare scientists and Founder of Biomedical Emporium – has adopted a science-based approach to skincare and is highly driven to create products that make a real difference to real people.
With a Master’s degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Dr Judey has dedicated her life to understanding and treating the largest organ in the body – our skin. As such, she believes there is an urgent need to start sharing accurate (evidence based) information with consumers, especially for new mothers whose skin goes through so much transformation during pregnancy and post- birth.
We spoke to Dr Judey of Biomedical Emporium about the motivating factors that led her to create a skincare range specifically designed for expectant mothers and babies.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got into skincare?
From a very young age I had a great affinity towards nature and biological sciences with a particular application within the medical area. A career in biochemistry and chemistry was a perfect fit.
I have always dreamt of becoming a brilliant scientist – discovering and developing my own product ranges. With my specialised skills in product formulation and development, I decided to start my own business and co-founded Biomedical Emporium. The discovery of new scientific solutions on skin and appreciation of patients experiencing the results are truly meaningful.
What prompted the interest in a skincare range for babies and expectant mothers?
After becoming a mother following the birth of my twins, I wanted to develop a special range for babies that provided the necessary care for sensitive skin to boost immunity and enhance the skin biodiversity: the Bio-Baby range.
The skin barriers of newborn babies are highly compromised and extremely sensitive. A baby’s skin is very vulnerable against external factors and environmental extremities. Because of this the compromised skin barrier may lead to problems such as moisture loss and flaking.
There are many postpartum skin problems that may occur in babies if they lack the necessary microbiota. One of these problems is seborrheic dermatitis, which is expressed as redness and flaking of the skin. It also causes severe itchiness and makes babies very uncomfortable. This can be due to a lack of fully developed microbiota on the skin to protect against such an expression.
For this reason, The Bio-Baby series was scientifically formulated with biosimilar microbiota to restore and balance the biodiversity of sensitive and compromised skin. The Bio-Baby series is free of allergens, irritants, phenoxyethanol, fragrances, dyes and parabens. Products in the Bio-Baby series offer gentle care for atopic skin and offers soft and gentle care with delicate ingredients to promote immunity for your baby with a dermatological application.
The Maternology range is scientifically formulated skincare range from pre-conception to mom-to-be. This range is simplistic and safe to use. The ingredients are rich in vitamins and minerals and cover a wide array of gentle and effective ingredients to treat your skin optimally when trying to conceive as well as during pregnancy. The Maternology range will assist in controlling skin concerns associated with pregnancy such as pigmentation, acne and increased sensitivity.
What ingredients should expecting mothers avoid?
Skincare during pregnancy should be simple and easy due to the skin being much more sensitive and reactive. The following product ingredients should also be avoided during pregnancy:
- retinoic acids
- beta hydroxy acids
- any peroxide containing ingredients
- artificial colour stained products and products containing fragrances
- skin staining products (perhaps refrain from self-tanning products during pregnancy)
- avoid skin lightening or bleaching ingredients such as hydroquinone containing products
- avoid mechanical exfoliation as this may deteriorate the skin’s barrier function
The Biomedical Emporium Maternology range is easy and safe to use. The ingredients are rich in vitamins and minerals and allow you to treat your skin optimally when trying to fall pregnant as well as while pregnant.
What are some good skin habits to practice while pregnant?
We recommend adopting a routine that protects against all forms of UV radiation to avoid pigmentation.
Hydrating serums and creams that are rich in emollients and humectants are useful to always keep the skin as moist as possible, to enhance and maintain the elasticity as well as the skin’s tensile strength. Ample moisturization – at least twice a day – will assist in preventing stretchmarks from forming.
Including products to your routine with high antioxidant activity will assist in enhancing the skin’s barrier function as well as promoting healthy skin cell turnover rates. Products that contain mild acids such as lactic acid and glycolic acid will assist in dead skin cell removal as well as enhancing optimal collagen contraction which will boost and maintain the skin’s hydration levels.
What is the most common mistake you see people making with skincare for babies?
Parents need to understand the ingredients in skin care products, what they are made of and how the ingredients that may affect skin health.
Particular compounds and molecules need to be applied to skin in order to assist and supplement a homeostatic balance at all times even when the skin is exposed to the atmosphere with social and environmental stressors. Products with measurable quality, safety and efficacy standards should always be considered.
What are some natural ways to keep baby’s skin healthy?
Skin-to-skin is one of the ways to ensure your infants skin gets off to the right start. Skin-to-skin contact is usually referred to as the practice where a baby laid directly on their mother’s bare chest after birth, both of them covered in a warm blanket and left for at least an hour or until after their first feed. Skin-to-skin contact provides an appropriate and affordable yet high quality alternative to technology.
There is a growing body of evidence that skin-to-skin contact after the birth helps babies and their mothers in many ways. Among many benefits related to heart rate, breathing and digestion, skin-to-skin also enables colonisation of the baby’s skin with the mother’s friendly bacteria thus providing protection against infection, boosting baby’s immunity.
What is your number one tip for mothers wanting to maintain healthy skin in general?
Parenting often goes hand in hand with broken sleep and exhaustion. Prioritising sleep and rest is scientifically proven to lower anxiety, reduce inflammation and promote cell regeneration – essential for natural glow and a healthy complexion.
I also recommend a combination of both home care products and professional treatments to ensure a suitable remedy for individual skin. Everyone’s skin is different, so the most important thing you can do is consult a certified professional to develop a science-backed treatment plan based on your skin’s particular needs. Dr Judey Pretorius is one of South Africa’s leading skincare scientists and the Founder of Biomedical Emporium