What I want to know is YOUR skin care regimen.
-Kristen El and Maria via the FutureDerm Facebook page
Dear Kristen El and Maria,
I’ve used a lot of products over the years. But after my most recent outbreak of contact dermatitis (long story, let’s just say don’t use limonene if you have sensitive skin), I’ve decided to start sticking to my all-time favorites. They include:
Gwyneth Paltrow loves these wipes, as she says, “The [Olivella] products are all allergen and scent-free and because they’re olive oil based, they’re full of vitamins A & E which are great for the skin.” I couldn’t agree more, and I’ll chime in further and say olive oil is a well-substantiated antioxidant that protects against UV damage (Toxicology, 2003), defends against tumor formation in mice (The Lancet, 2000) and provides a source of resveratrol (Nature, 2003), believed to make cells last longer.
With continued use over time, olive oil is known to soften and smooth the skin. Many Asian cultures use oil cleansing, believing harsh detergents disrupts skin’s natural protective barrier. The Oil Cleansing Method, gaining popularity in the U.S. and Europe as of late, also uses 25% olive oil and 75% castor oil for oily skin, while 75% olive oil and 25% castor oil are recommended for dry skin.
I’ll admit, my favorite part of Olivella Cleansing Wipes is that they’re easy. I have a blessed life, I’m not complaining, but sometimes I’m so tired I swipe a Olivella Cleansing Wipe, two pumps of serum, and two pumps of moisturizer (see below) across my face, and I’m out like a light…
Don’t you get tired of hearing me talk about this product? Sometimes I get tired of talking about it, and I never get tired of talking about beauty products. But Skinceuticals CE Ferulic deserves the praise. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is actually backed by an independent 2003 study that affirmed that a solution of 15% L-ascorbic acid and 1% alpha-tocopherol increases photoprotection against damaging UV rays and free radical formation. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic has also been reported in independent studies to reduce the existence of up to 96% of sunburned cells.
On a personal note, my mother was a beautician, who always encouraged me to take good care of my skin growing up. In a middle-class suburb of Pittsburgh, that meant using your Clinique 3-step System religiously. Well, when I hit 19, I started getting sunspots. I researched products, purchased Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, and within 2 years of daily use, my sunspots had disappeared. Now, I know there are other products – such as those containing 4% hydroquinone – that could lighten much faster. However, the key here is that I never got another sunspot as long as I used Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. (Interestingly enough, I did get sunspots when I tried other products, but I’m back to the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic again, so we’ll see.)
Sunscreens are the one area I will forever play around with, because there are so many great options out there. However, the sunscreen I’ve found that has the best skin-treatment potential is NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30.
NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention contains 5% Pro-NiacinTM (nicotinic acid), which resembles niacin in terms of the fact that in may initially increase redness and dryness, and is not recommended for patients with rosacea, psoriasis, or chronically dry skin. However, when I tried NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention, I used it once every other day for a week. Once I got to daily application, my skin was incredibly brightened, soft, and smooth.
I wasn’t alone in experiencing the rough-to-amazing effect: Pro-NiacinTM has been clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (Dermatologic Surgery, 2006). According to NIA 24, the rough experience in the beginning is typical, due to the sheer strength of the formulation.
NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 contains 9.4% micronized Titanium Dioxide and 3.6% Zinc Oxide. Although I would prefer the percentages to be reversed – zinc oxide has been shown to block a greater spectrum of UVA rays than titanium dioxide – I still love NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 anyway.
A lot of people don’t like Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue. For one, it is $100 for 0.5 ounces, making it on par with Creme de La Mer in terms of price. For another, Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue does not do much in terms of wrinkling, fine lines, or loss of firmness.
So why do I love Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue? Simple: It targets the three problems I have, namely 1.) dark circles, 2.) undereye puffiness, and 3.) hyperpigmentation.
Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue contains a high concentration of soothing antioxidant green tea and chamomile, cosmetically-brightening mica, skin-lightening vitamin C and arnica montana (though studies are limited on the latter), and vitamin K (phytonadione), which has been shown to be effective against certain kinds of dark circles when used in conjunction with retinol (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2004).
P.S.: What I mean by “certain types of dark circles” is that dark circles are most likely either caused by excessive melanin production or blood pooling under the eyes as a result of inflammation or vasodilation, (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2007). If the source of your dark circles is excessive melanin production, Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue used in conjunction with a retinol (vitamin A) cream may help you. To find the source of your dark circles, do the following test, from Dr. Heidi Waldorf: If you apply light pressure to the circle or shadow and it disappears, your problem is due to blood pooling under the eyes. If the color doesn’t disappear, the darkness is caused by excess pigment (time for vitamin K and retinol!). And if the shadow forms at the inside corner of your eye, where a tear would flow, it’s probably due to a deep tear trough (Oprah magazine, April 2008).
This retinol serum has the highest concentration of retinol I have ever seen in an over-the-counter product: 1.5%. Although I absolutely cannot recommend such a high concentration of retinol for first-time retinol users (start at 0.6%, work up gradually), it is an incredible power punch for patients with a retinol regimen of 0.9-1.0% currently.
The product is mostly cyclopentilosiloxane, a silicone, so it glides on the skin evenly, stretching out its 1 oz. size to potentially last for two months or more.
I generally don’t like products that contain vitamin C and retinol, because vitamin C is acidic, while retinol works best at higher pH levels, with optimized rates of esterification at a pH of 5.5-6.0. However, I have personally used Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM, and I can say that the vitamin C is not a problem, because there are significant results within the first week of use, and I am a regular retinol user. The skin appears brighter, smoother, and more even-toned. I’d love to see this reformulated without the vitamin C and see what happens!
MLA Power Cream is a solid product, particularly if you have dry skin and want a product rich in collagen-boosting peptides. The peptide in highest concentration is palmitoyl oligopeptide (AKA palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 or palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 or Matrixyl), a synthetic signaling peptide proven to stimulate collagen types I, III, and IV; fibronectin; elastin; and glycosaminoglycan production. (In short, regular use of palmitoyl oligopeptide can help make your skin look a little firmer, and can help prevent it from further laxity in the future).
MLA Power Cream also contains palmitoyl tripeptide-5 (Syn®-Coll), which has been reported by The International Journal of Cosmetic Science to be a synthetic signal peptide that mimics the thrombospondin I tripeptide sequence to activate TGF-β, thereby promoting collagen formation via TGF-β. In a controlled trial, 60 healthy volunteers received 2.5% Syn®-Coll cream vs. 10% palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 cream vs. placebo cream twice daily for 84 days, and Syn®-Coll significantly decreased average and maximum relief by −22 and −36 μm respectively. Considering that MLA Power Cream is one of the few moisturizers offering palmitoyl tripeptide-5, I’m excited!
Overall, MLA Power Cream is a little rich for oily skin, but I really love it, especially for those with sensitive skin who are concerned about aging treatment and prevention.
These are the six products that have been working the best for my skin, but I’m always on the lookout for new products and technologies to mix up my regime. If you have any recommendations for me to try and/or review, as always please let me know. The best way right now is via Facebook or Twitter!