Product Review: Your Best Face Antioxidant Concentrate

It always feels like a small sort of accomplishment to find and try out products that promise to do wonderful things for my skin. I live in a city — read: a metropolis of pollution — so my skin can start to feel a little dull if I don’t give it some extra attention.

Cells go through processes that create electrons, which sometimes spin out of orbit. This is called a free radical and when it’s spinning out of whack its negative charge can cause damage to other cells in your body. This can be worsened and further aggravated by triggers like stress, UV rays, and pollution.

Enter: Your Best Face Antioxidants Concentrate (Amazon, $55), which promises to go on light and enhance pretty much every skin care product you own.

Ferulic Acid

On it’s own, ferulic acid absorbs UV rays, which makes it a frequent additive in sunscreen (Biomed). In a topical solution it helps to stabilize levels of vitamin C and E in products. When combined with these vitamins — it’s combined with E in antioxidants concentrate — it doubles photoprotection and combats molecular lesions (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).

Spin Traps

Who doesn’t want their powerful antioxidant to also sound like a crazy carnival ride? But in all seriousness, spin traps (phenyl butyl nitrone) have things very under control by stopping problems before they even really get started.

Antioxidants generally neutralize electrons’ charge. Not spin traps, they take it a step further by actually stopping the electron before it can wreak havoc. These anti-inflammatory and anti-aging specifically target proinflammatory cytokines (Cosmetic Dermatology).


Lipochroman-6 neutralizes them RNS oxidative molecules that damage cells (Personal Care). It also hinders the nitration of tyrosine, an important amino acid that prodceeds protein (International Journal of Cosmetic Science).

Vitamin E

This antioxidant stops the reaction chain of free radicals and protects against UV damage (Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology). It also helps to create a barrier in the skin that helps create a healthy skin barrier to protect against environmental damage (Skin Pharmacy and Physiology). In combination with other antioxidants, vitamin E can increase their potency (Skin Therapy Letter).

Personal Opinion

Goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly – what more could a girl want?

Your Best Face Antioxidants Concentrate’s (Amazon, $55) formula goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly — so you really can use it with other products. All the while it has an almost sugary, candy-like aroma. I felt an ever-so-slight tingle that gave me confidence it was doing something. The immediate benefits are slight, my skin looked a little brighter.

Bottom Line

You’re likely to see benefits from continued use of Your Best Face Antioxidants Concentrate (Amazon, $55). It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly, making it an easy addition to a regular skin care routine. It doesn’t substitute anything in your usual skin care routine; rather its intention is intended to enhance what you’re doing. It will help boost sunscreen and give your skin some rejuvenation after all the stress, smog, and sun.

Product Rating:  9/10

  • High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients:  3/3
  • Unique formulation or new technology:  3/3
  • Value:  3/3

About the author:  Natalie K. Bell is the former magazine editor of The Pitt News.  She has nearly five years of experience in print and communications.  She loves big sun hats and good grammar.  For more, please visit our About page.


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FutureDerm's Exclusive Interview with Melody McCloskey, Co-Founder of StyleSeat

If you’ve ever had a bad haircut or facial (and I’ve had both!), you probably don’t want to waste any more time or money without doing your research first.  Today I’m proud to announce my interview with Melody McCloskey, founder of StyleSeat, a San Francisco based company that enables users to review and connect with thousands of beauty, health, and wellness professionals in their area.  You can even book online!

Nicki:  What made you come up with the idea?

StyleSeat shows you hundreds of area professionals. You can review their profiles and portfolios online to get a sense of who would best work for you.

Melody McCloskey:  Salons don’t have the ability to easily get new clients in the door so many turn to daily deals, which bring challenges for them and their clients. We wanted to create a sustainable solution for small businesses so we launched new client offers, which allow professionals to offer promotions to new clients in a sustainable way. These offers bring NEW clients in the door, and work together with StyleSeat’s business platform to help turn those clients into regulars.

How is your business model different than daily deal sites, like Groupon, and reservation services, like NoWait?

You can even book salon and spa services online!

We let our salons control their offer type (discount or bonus service) and how long it runs. We take a much smaller fee (30%), and we show them the value of their offers by tracking how many clients return. Clients that come to StyleSeat are looking to find a great service, not the cheapest deal, so the quality is extremely high, and salons can access our client retention tools to help keep these new clients coming back.

The businesses don’t have to do huge numbers of deals to participate and aren’t overwhelmed with hundreds of discount appointments. Our deals are very salon + client friendly.

How are your recommendations for offers custom for salon/spa visitors and what is the benefit?

People go to StyleSeat to find the best beauty/wellness appointment, not the cheapest. Oftentimes they want to explore new professionals or experiment with a new service, but want a discount to sweeten the deal.

We help clients find the best professional for what they’re looking for, and we help businesses offer sustainable offers for new clients so everyone wins.

Also, are there any opportunities for FutureDerm readers to try the service? 

Yes! Head to and search by service and location. You can sort by “New Client Offers” at the top by clicking the check box, and check out professionals in your area!

Product Review: Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

I never thought that I would even mildly like a vitamin C serum in a clear jar.  But Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution ($49.99, gets a semi-nod: it’s likely to work, though not as well as concentrated L-ascorbic acid serums like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic.

It contains a stable form of vitamin C, 3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, that fares better in the presence of light and air, plus vitamin E and a solid delivery system.  Overall, I like it because it’s likely to work, albeit slowly.  Also note other products on the market are better for sunspots, including concentrated L-ascorbic acid serums and 4% hydroquinone. For more, read on.

3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid

Chemical structure of ascorbic acid, (aka vita...

Vitamin C derivatives have to be broken down into L-ascorbic acid + other component(s) before becoming active. So to have the same potency as a 20% L-ascorbic acid serum, a vitamin C derivative serum would need to have more than 20% vitamin C derivative.

There are really limited studies on 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid.  In fact, the semi-relevant one I could find was that 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid can help to inhibit the development of tumors when eaten by mice (European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 1998).  But I digress. 
Here’s the thing.  All derivatives of vitamin C must first be broken down into L-ascorbic acid and another component in order to be active within the skin.  Several companies sell L-ascorbic acid in concentrations up to 20%.  So, you need more than 20% vitamin C derivative to end up with the same amount of L-ascorbic acid within the skin that the L-ascorbic acid serums provide.   How much more depends on the specific derivative, the delivery system, the pH, as well as the 20% L-ascorbic acid serum in question.
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution is just one of many vitamin C derivative serums that fails to list the concentration of vitamin C derivative.  (In fact, the only one I’ve seen is Perricone Ester C, with 15% vitamin C ester).  If I had to give my best estimate, I’d say it is 10% 3-O-ethyl-ascorbic acid, which is anywhere from 5-7% active L-ascorbic acid within the skin.  Not the strongest vitamin C I’ve ever seen – but it is substantial enough to work over time, albeit slowly.

Solid Delivery System

After applying Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, my skin feels smooth and non-tacky.

If I spent my early twenties learning about boys (and finally finding the right one!), I spent my late twenties learning about skin care delivery systems. 
I kid you not – just as the opposite sex can put you through the ringer, so can delivery systems.  Contrary to popular belief, neither propylene glycol nor alcohol are harmful or detrimental to the skin in beauty products.  Instead, they both help deliver key ingredients deep within the skin.  Propylene glycol is incredibly effective in getting ingredients into the skin – so much so that it’s the same ingredient used in nicotine patches. 
On the other hand, alcohol thins a solution, allowing the thick layers of a formulation to be compressed.  If many skin care formulations didn’t contain alcohol, they would rest on top of the skin, never delivering key ingredients.  That’s not to say you should use pure alcohol on your skin regularly – this would dry it out.  But in the context of other ingredients, alcohol dries them out – not your skin. This is a mistake I made early on in my days at FutureDerm, and I’m sorry about the misunderstanding. 

Why is it in a clear bottle?

My other problem with Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution is that it is in a clear bottle.  When it comes to light and air, vitamin C is one of the most reactive skin care ingredients out there.  Sure, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid is certainly more stable than L-ascorbic acid, but I have studied many ascorbic acid derivatives, and none are completely unreactive to light and air. 
There’s no need to provoke vitamin C in a clear bottle.  A better option:  a dark amber bottle (for Kiehl’s) or placing Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution back in the box quickly following each use. 

Bottom Line

I know a lot of women who love Kiehl’s.  It’s probably a combination of the fact that Kiehl’s has some high-quality products, and that their marketing budget went way up after they were acquired by L’Oreal a few years ago.  But I digress. 
I like Kiehl’s too, so I will say this:  If you want the best vitamin C or sunspot treatment on the market, don’t buy Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution.  But if you swear by Kiehl’s and only want to use their products, then I will tell you that you will get results from Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, albeit slowly.  
Product Rating:  7.5/10
  • High or optimized concentration of independently proven ingredients:  2/3
  • Unique formulation or new technology:  3/3
  • Value:  2.5/3
  • Sunscreen-boosting antioxidants:  1/1


What are the Best Body Moisturizers?

Today’s question, submitted via the Facebook page:

Hi Nicki! any tips about the best body moisturizers/lotions or products like retinol or mandelic acid to exfoliate the body? quench changed their formula,,,i had been a user for 4 years and the moment i tried the new quench, i noticed it was not the same at all.

-Kristina and Christine

Dear Kristina and Christine,

In general, the skin of the body ages more slowly than the face, simply because the body is not exposed to UV light as often.

However, that does not mean the body does not age.  Factors like pregnancy, nursing, fluctuating weight, disease, and other external and internal stress can lead the skin to lose elasticity, resulting in sagging or wrinkled skin.

The great news is, the same 5 ingredients that are most-recommended for facial skin are also recommended for body skin.  These are:

  • Sunscreen
  • Retinoids
  • Alpha hydroxy acids
  • Niacinamide or nicotinic acid
  • Antioxidants

The Best Body Moisturizers

You may notice some of these are repeats from an earlier post, What are the Best Age-Defying Body Lotions?  This is only because my opinion has not changed on these and/or they have not been discontinued.

6.  Best for Everyday Use:  CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($12.99,

When it comes to facial skin care and body treatments, I look for:

  • Potent ingredients;
  • Effective delivery systems;
  • Unique formulations/new technologies worth investing in.

When it comes to an everyday body lotion, I look for:

  • Hydrating/beneficial for skin type;
  • Dries quickly;
  • Won’t rub off on clothes much, if at all;
  • Wears well under sunscreen;
  • Fragrance-free.

Unlike the other products on this list, CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion is not a treatment for any skin ailment in particular.  But it hydrates well and feels light on the skin.  Plus, the fragrance does not interfere with my favorite perfume.  So I’m free to just slather this on quickly in the morning and go!  That’s probably not my best sales pitch, but I’m being honest.  It’s simply a quality hydrating moisturizer that is fast and inexpensive to use regularly.  Suitable for all skin types except the most oily.

Ingredients:  Purified Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20 and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-11, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 20, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum.

5.  Best Soothing:  Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($16.84 for 18 oz)

Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion contains Avena sativa (oat) flour, which has to be one of my all-time favorite moisturizing ingredients.  In a supplement to the journal Cosmetic Dermatology, it is stated that oat flour is so potent, it is amongst the few ingredients in skin care and cosmetics regulated by the U.S. FDA.  Oat flour contains agents that soothe, hydrate, and fight inflammation in the skin, including protein, lipids, enzymes, saponins, prostaglandin synthetic inhibitors, vitamins, and flavonoids.  Oat also binds to the skin extremely well, as it has a lower pH than human skin.

Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Aveeno, also claims that their oat extract reduces itching and inflammation similar to mild prostaglandin inhibitors (source).  I know that I have sensitive skin that often breaks out from trying so many products, and each time, I turn to the Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion for a fast recovery. That’s not an advertisement, folks – that’s truth!  Better yet:  use this body lotion in conjunction with Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment.  Oatmeal may not be tops on any fashion magazine’s “must-have” list, but it sure makes your skin look smooth, calm, and healed over time.

Ingredients in Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion:  Water, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Oat Flour (Avena Sativa), Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride

4.  Best for Brightening: NIA 24 Sun Damage Repair for Decolletage and Hands ($33.50,

This lotion makes your skin worse before it makes it better.  This is due to the active ingredient, niacin, which is at 2% concentration in this rich cream.  It will make your skin a bit red, swollen, and sensitive for a few days after you use it, which is why it is all the more important to apply sunscreen to the sun-exposed areas afterwards.

So why do I recommend it?  The cream contains a basic, microencapsulated form of vitamin B3, which they call Pro-NiacinTM.  Due to the delivery system, Pro-NiacinTM “penetrates the epidermis in a slow, continuous release.” (NIA24 informational brochure)  Considering the myriad of benefits associated with vitamin B3, this is amazing – benefits include a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and an increase skin’s elasticity.

I have used NIA 24 products in the past, and while my skin was a little more sensitive at first, after about a week I had an amazing glow.  It’s definitely a strong product – but I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a dramatic change in skin brightness and texture.

3.  Best Skin Softener after a Shower:  Neutrogena Body Oil ($13.26,

Body oils are sensational because they lock in moisture.  A few drops of this oil in the bath helps to soften the water.  Better yet, applying to lightly damp post-shower skin will keep you hydrated for hours.  (Even better:  Put 100% cotton socks and pajamas on afterwards.  You will wake up with hydrated skin!)

Of course, it’s not for everyone:  I would not use this if I had oily or acne-prone skin.  I also would avoid Neutrogena Body Oil Light Sesame Formula if I was particularly sensitive to scents, as the sesame is definitely not for everyone.  So while the sesame component is somewhat hydrating, there is also the Fragrance-Free option, which seems to work just as well over time.  I’m a huge fan, and I would recommend to anyone.

2. Best for Age Spots:  Glytone 17.5% ($29.58 for 8.4 oz)

If you’re rocking a bathing suit this season, Glytone 17.5% is truly the best way to get dramatic results in the shortest amount of time.  Equipped with a full 17.5% glycolic acid, Glytone 17.5% will significantly reduce wrinkles, brighten, and firm (skin only, not muscles – sorry!) when used over time.

Glycolic acid works by advancing desquamation and exfoliation of the top layer of the skin. As a result, glycolic acid quickens the rate of cell turnover, decreases small wrinkles and increase fibroblast proliferation of collagen. It does not specifically inhibit melanin production, but many dermatologists and aestheticians report the appearance of sunspots is improved with continual use.

Unlike other glycolic acid-based treatments out there, Glytone 17.5% is formulated such that most people do not report much irritation, despite the high level of glycolic acid.  At any rate, do not leave the lotion exposed to the air for too long, as the other ingredients can evaporate, leaving glycolic acid more concentrated and hence more irritating for the skin.  Furthermore, be sure to use this product in conjunction with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least 30!

1.  Best for Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Dr. Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream 

It was really close between Glytone 17.5% and Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream.  Glytone 17.5% gives results faster, but Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream is more hydrating for the harsh winter months.

In the long run, I chose Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream not only because of its potent hydrators (olive oil, cetyl alcohol, stearate, and triglycerides), but also because retinol is probably the most profound anti-ager on the market today.  As renowned dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch, M.D. once said, “We have beautiful, profound data that shows if you use [retinoids] for 20 years, you’re going to look a lot better than someone who doesn’t.”  When applied after UV exposure, retinoids also help to prevent collagen loss.  Retinoids have been proven to stimulate matrix metalloproteinase genes, which are in part responsible for collagen degradation, and to increase cell turnover rates (Cosmetic Dermatology).  In essence, retinoids smooth the skin, refine the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and make skin more firm over time.

While I normally do not recommend creams that contain both vitamin C and retinol, as the activity of each is optimized at a different pH, the open-top design of the jar means that vitamin C (as L-ascorbic acid) won’t be stable for very long anyway!  With that said, retinol is actually not stable for more than one month after it is open and exposed to the air either (source), so be sure to use your jar of Dr. Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream within a month after opening!  Also, use it with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least 30 during the day, as retinol can make the skin more photosensitive.

Hope this helps!

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