One to watch: new cosmeceutical skincare range

January 22, 2019

Ever since I heard about the impending release, I’d literally been waiting for an email since the beginning of the year, announcing the launch of Dr Alex Nikolic’s own skincare line, (short for skin ingredients).

Dr Alek is an aesthetic medical practitioner who has his own practice, and is one of those go-to specialists in Cape Town for not only skin and anti-ageing procedures, but also for his online store SkinMiles, where you can find some of the best of the best cosmaceuticals around.

Dr Alek has advised me in the past over email quite a bit, and has been great at pinpointing my problem areas and advising accordingly. He’s also prompt at answering queries, and his sites have a “quiz” to determine your skin type and issues, and match products accordingly. It’s basically skin matchmaking, but without any awkwardness. Dr Alek and his team welcome emails and phone calls, so if you’re in doubt about what to use, you can get in touch.

I’ve only just received my products, so it’s a bit premature to give a review of them. In the meantime, I asked Dr Alek some questions just to give you insight into these local products that I believe are the ones to watch over the next few months, and beyond.

Here’s our interview:

How long has your own range been in the making? Where has it been made?

I’ve been working on the range for just over three years. My goal from the outset was that every product can stand up to any respected local or international brand.

Before each serum/product gets to be finally filled into its airless bottle ready for a consumer to use:

  1. I start by deciding on the formulation and concentrations of the ingredients I feel will give the best results. The choice is based on clinical study results and what I want to achieve or target with each serum.
  2. This gets passed to the compounding pharmacist who then sends me a rough mixture to test – not yet ready for consumer use. Once we are happy that it gives the desired results, we then work on formulating the serum to be applied by a customer. Here the look, feel, texture, and application and penetration speed of the serum is tweaked without compromising the concentrations of the active ingredients.
  3. This then gets sent to me to test again – not only that it gives the desired results but also how it sinks in the skin, does it leave any streaks or visible residue on the skin, does it interact with makeup or with other products, etc.
  4. Once we are satisfied the serum undergoes a stability test. This requires the serum to sit in its bottle in an incubator at 42 degrees Celsius for 3 months. After this time the product is tested that all the ingredients are still active and at the correct concentrations.
  5. Finally, we do a sterility test. Here the serum is impregnated with bacteria and fungi, incubated again at 42 degrees Celsius for 1 month. The serum is then tested for any organism growth. Once the product has passed all of the above, we then start filling the bottles.
  6. The testing does not stop here as both stability and sterility tests are continued through the products life cycle as this determines its shelf life. Currently we have a 12-month shelf life, but our tests are starting to show we will have a 24-month shelf life without compromising the ingredients stability or the sterility.

It is compounded in Pretoria at the compounding pharmacy Lycoderm. Almost all ingredients are sourced internationally.

Why did you want to start your own range? Was something missing from other ranges?

Good question. I started for two main reasons:

The first is that doctor prescribed cosmeceuticals are traditionally only available at doctors’ rooms (aesthetic medical practitioner, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, etc.) which limited their availability to the general public. There is a good reason for this as the ingredients and their concentrations can produce unwanted side effects which if they develop would need medical attention. I wanted to create a brand that contains these high concentrations of doctor prescribed active ingredients but at the same time to limit or reduce the ability for skin reactions. This would allow great skincare to be available to everyone. So, my focus was the ingredients used for the skin and this is how we derived on the name of the brand: = skin ingredients.

The second main reason is I felt a number of brands do not offer a combined targeting ingredient and skin barrier repair ingredients in one serum or product. I am a firm believer that we all have to some degree or another a compromised skin barrier even if we take diligent care of our skins. Exposure to pollution, smoking, unhealthy eating, laptop and computer screens, cell phones, visible light, etc. all contribute to the stress on the skin barrier.

We can apply the best ingredients to our skin but if our skin barrier is compromised that ingredient will not reach its full potential. So, I wanted to create a range that not only had a targeting ingredient (such as vitamin A or vitamin C) but that it also contained ingredients to repair and maintain the skin barrier through the day and night.

There are a fairly large group of people with sensitive skins and/or who have reacted to active ingredients in the past. Here has an advantage as the ingredients are specifically chosen to minimise skin reactions, making it an ideal choice for people with a history of sensitivity who still want the benefit of active ingredients.

There are also a number of people that have a basic skincare regime (cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen) and would like to start with active ingredients. Because can be added into any basic skincare regime it’s an ideal product to introduce active ingredients.

This depends on your skin type and skin concern, but I will list the main serums for specific skin concerns:

What ranges are there, and what skin issues do they treat?

Our introductory range has five serums which each target specific skin concerns: pure | medi shot: this solution has two main functions:

  1. To target oily or acne prone skin.
  2. To act as an at home facial chemical peel. gloss | radiant shot: this serum contains a high concentration of lipid soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate) with ingredients to repair and improve the health of the skin barrier. This serum is specifically indicated to act as a day time antioxidant, stimulate collagen and elastin, to improve fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce hyperpigmentation. marvel | hydro shot: the main focus for this serum is to improve dry/dehydrated skin, improve skin sensitivity and to repair and maintain the skin barrier. flash | repair shot: there are three flash serums – flash 1, flash 2, and flash 3. The main difference is the concentration of the vitamin A and specifically hydroxypinacolone retinoate. The three strengths allow users to slowly acclimatise their skin to nightly vitamin A. The main function of flash is a night time antioxidant, to further help stimulate collagen and elastin, to improve fine lines and wrinkles, to reduce hyperpigmentation and to improve pore size and reduce sebum production. bounce | combo shot: this is the serum for those people who maximum benefits from a single serum , one ‘that does it all’. Very simply it is gloss, flash 2 and marvel in one bottle.

What should a regime look like?

This depends on your skin type and skin concern, but I will list the main serums for specific skin concerns:

Hyperpigmentation: gloss, pure, bounce

Fine lines & wrinkles: gloss, pure, flash

Textured: marvel, pure, flash

Sensitive: gloss, marvel

Hyperpigmentation: gloss, pure, bounce

Fine lines & wrinkles: gloss, pure, flash

Textured: marvel, pure, flash

Sensitive: gloss, marvel

What could women be doing to supplement product usage for good skin? (e.g. diet, water, rest, treatments).

Definitely all of the above. Diet, exercise, a good night’s rest, and supplementary skin treatments all add to improving the age and condition of the skin.

Treatments such as chemical peels, IPL, lasers, Dermapen, Botulinum Toxin Type A, and dermal fillers, all contribute and slow down the ageing process in the face and neck/chest areas.

Will you still be promoting other products on SkinMiles?

 In our launch phase, will only be available at participating salons and aesthetic practices and on its own site

There are a large number of excellent skincare ranges and brands on SkinMiles, considered leaders in their fields. So yes, I will absolutely still be promoting quality products on SkinMiles, as well as in my own practice where we stock a number of skincare brands, not only

For more information or to follow on social, see below:



YouTube: Skin Ingredients

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