Product Review: Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 15

While I enjoy make-up greatly, for day to day, I tend to like things that are fast, easy, and minimal. My favorite products are those that let my pale complexion shine — not literally.  So, when Stila sent over Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 15 ($19.99, I was excited to see if it had the sheerness I wanted with the coverage I needed.

Color/Pigmentation: 3/5

As the name would suggest, this product is pretty sheer. It’s not something for someone who needs more heavy-duty coverage, though you can supplement with concealer if it’s just a few spots. This is ideal for someone who needs a little complexion correction (say, if you’re a little too rosy or not quite even) and not a full face of foundation every day. The light color has a yellowish tint which is good for evening out red spots in my fair complexion.

Durability: 4/5

Stila’s tinted moisturizer stays on throughout the day. It doesn’t have the most sticking power of all the products I’ve used, but it stays on the skin through touching and running about. As for something like, say, sweating in the summer — I’m not sure it could stand up to the heat.

Texture: 5/5, Finish: 5/5

Stila’s tinted moisturizer has a very natural finish. It rubs in quickly and once it does, it’s very light. It was really effective at evening out my skin tone a little without feeling too heavy or thick. It’s not too oily and it doesn’t have too much shine — though I’d recommend someone with oily skin going with the oil-free version.

SPF: 1/1

Sunshine in Greece

It’s better to go with a higher SPF if this is your main sun protection, so go with Stila’s SPF 30. (Photo credit: Guillaume Cattiaux)

Having SPF in skin care products is awesome — and smart — but it’s even better if you get one with a higher SPF than 15. That’s not just because I’m a stickler for sun protection (which I am), it’s also because often times, though people think they’ve applied enough product, they haven’t.

A study by the American Dermatological association found that people on average underestimated the amount of product they would need to use to actually get the SPF listed on the bottle (American Dermatological Association). As a result, an SPF as high as 100 was only actually SPF 27 when used in the amounts testers applied.

If your tinted moisturizer is your main form of sun protection, I’d recommend bumping it up and using Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 30 ($36, That way you get the sun protection you need and still benefit from Stila’s great formulation.

Bottom Line

Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 15 is great for a natural looking tinted moisturizer that evens out your complexion. It’s light and absorbs quickly though — as you would expect with a tinted moisturizer — it definitely doesn’t replace a foundation. In particular, it’s great for a low-maintenance look.
Product Rating: 8.5/10

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What are the Best Treatments for Rosacea?

You can have great skin while you have rosacea – just know what to use and what to avoid. No matter what, this will require some trial and error, but hopefully our guidelines will help.

Do you have a rosy tinge to your cheeks?  Accompanied by dilated blood vessels around your cheeks and nose?  But otherwise pale skin?  Chances are, you have rosacea.  An inherited condition, rosacea typically presents in patients 25-60 years of age (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2002).  In men, symptoms show on the nose, but in women, cheeks and chin are more common (National Rosacea Society).

To treat these symptoms, do the following:

1.)  See a dermatologist immediately.

Typically, this is not the advice that people reading a beauty blog (even a scientific one) want to hear.  But it is the best advice.  Check out the treatments only a dermatologist can give you:

  • Prescription sulfur-containing treatments, such as Novacet.  Sulfur has drying properties, which help the skin to heal.  Numerous studies have found sulfur to be effective against fighting rosacea, including a 1997 study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatments.
  • Topical antibiotics like metronidazole, or oral antibiotics like tetracycline or minocycline.  How exactly these antibiotics control rosacea is officially undefined, since antibiotics kill bacterial cells.  However, they have been found to definitively treat rosacea and to control exacerbations (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 2007).
  • Electrocautery or laser treatments, like a pulsed dye laser or IPL.  These treatments tone down redness within the skin and reduce spider veins.  Electrocautery uses a tiny needle to zap the entire length of the blood vessel.  As for the laser treatments, they usually require up to 12 treatments and cost upwards of $1500 -but are well-worth it.

2.)  Select the right skin care products.

For cleansing, it’s hard to beat the anti-inflammatory Aveeno Natural Colloidal Oatmeal Cleansing Bar.

When selecting skin care products, think anti-inflammatory, first and foremost.  My favorites for rosacea are:

Cleansers:  Think oil-free, non-foaming, and anti-inflammatory.  Between flare-ups, I like Vanicream Cleansing Bar ($9.90,, which cleanses with little or no irritation; or Aveeno Natural Colloidal Oatmeal Cleansing Bar ($2.21,, with soothing colloidal oatmeal.  During a flare-up, the sulfur-rich Coral KAVI Bar ($8.00, is a dream.

Yes, the packaging could use some work. But I’ve never known anyone with acne or rosacea who has tried this sulfur treatment and not liked it.

Daytime treatment product:  If your skin is oily or you are having a flare-up, sulfur has been shown to have great effects.  Please see your dermatologist for a prescription!  If this is not an option, De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment ($3.13, has 10% sulfur, and some of my friends with rosacea have had sensational results using it.

For an anti-inflammatory sunscreen, I really like Topix Replenix SPF 50, with concentrates of anti-inflammatory EGCG (the active component of green tea).

Daytime sunscreen:  Again, you want oil-free and anti-inflammatory. Replenix Antioxidant Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 50 ($29.90,  Most green tea moisturizers contain straight green tea extract, but Topix Replenix actually extracts the active component of green tea – EGCG – and concentrates it.  What’s more, EGCG has antioxidant and soothing effects.  So I love it for rosacea.

If you’ve tried everything for rosacea and nothing has worked, DermaDoctor Calm, Cool, and Corrected 2n1 Rosacea Cream contains two unusual anti-inflammatory agents, NDGA and oleanolic acid.  It also works well with other treatments, including sulfur.

Nighttime moisturizer:  DermaDoctor Calm Cool and Collected 2n1 Rosacea Cream ($85.00,  This cream contains two unusual ingredients, nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) and oleanolic acid.  NDGA reduces inflammation by reducing inflammatory factors, as well as the activity of the hormone necessary for converting testosterone to its active form, DHT (European Journal of Pharmacology, 2009).  The enzyme 5-alpha reductase is also inhibited with treatments for hair loss, like Rogaine.  On the other hand, oleanolic acid reduces sebum levels in the skin, and hence places for bacteria to proliferate.  The idea is, if antibiotics control rosacea by eliminating bacteria, so should oleanolic acid.  Good theory.  Truth be told, I think DermaDoctor Calm Cool and Collected 2n1 Rosacea Cream is best if used in conjunction with laser therapy, oral and topical antibiotics, and sulfur.

3.)  Avoid all of the following. 

According to the National Rosacea Society, each of the following cause rosacea, in the following percentages of patients with rosacea:

  • Sun (61%)
  • Emotional stress (60%)
  • Hot weather (53%)
  • Alcohol (45%)
  • Spicy foods (43%)
  • Strenuous exercise (39%)
  • Hot baths (37%)
  • Cold weather (36%)
  • Hot drinks (36%)
  • Skin care products (24%)

4.)  Use matte skin powders.

Iridescent or shiny powders contain mica, which has rough-edged particles that can cause irritations for those with rosacea, according to Dr. David E. Bank, M.D., Director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY.  Instead, Dr. Bank recommends using a matte finish for powder and foundation.  We like Make Up For Ever Mat+ Foundation ($25.00,, which gives a great polish.  I mean, lack of polish.  I mean, lack of shine…

5.)  If all else fails, use the right green-toned concealer. 

For under $10, Physicians Formula Green/Natural Duo is pretty spectacular.

On the color wheel, red is right across from green, meaning that your best chance at achieving neutrality is to use a green-toned concealer on blemishes, followed by a superb flesh-colored concealer.   I like Physicians Formula Green/Neutral Duo ($6.41, followed by Laura Mercier Perfect Camouflage ($22.00,  While the Laura Mercier product is not green, it is amongst the best concealers I have ever used, and mica-free (see #4, above).

Bottom Line

Rosacea can be difficult to live with, but it is not the end of the world.  With oral and topical antibiotics, sulfur, laser treatments, oil-free/anti-inflammatory skin care products, and avoidance of the certain environmental stressors and products, you can simultaneously have rosacea and great skin – promise!

What works for your rosacea?  Tell us!


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Product Review: Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair

A new favorite for night, especially layered over a favorite retinoid (pick mine! pick mine!) or AHA.

With school starting up again, this means one thing to dermatologists:  There is less moisture in the air.  So those with non-oily or acne-prone skin can switch to anti-aging moisturizers with a bit of oil, like water-in-oil or oil-in-water emulsions.  One of the most interesting I’ve encountered this season?  Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair ($110.00,; official site), with a slew of new ingredients, including roxisomes, zeatin, photosomes, and two kinds of peptides (almond and palmitoyl tripeptide-5).  Since we were sent a sample, I will review the ingredients as well as my personal use and opinions of it:


Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair‘s most promising new ingredient is roxisomes.  Roxisomes are mitochondrial DNA repair enzymes known as 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase (OGG-1) encapsulated in liposomes.  From the plant Arabidopsis Thaliana native to Europe, Asia, and northwest Africaroxisomes are some of the first treatments in the U.S. geared towards repairing mitochondrial DNA.

Regular DNA is found in the nuclei of cells, whereas mitochondrial DNA is found in (guess where!) the mitochondria, which makes the energy (ATP) within cells.  If mitochondrial DNA is damaged, this limits the expression of proteins necessary for electron transport, causing the release of free radicals, dysregulation of cell structures, and, in some cases, cell death (Elsevier).  Roxisomes repair the damage done by oxidative stress, which gives them a complementary effect to antioxidants (Cosmetic Surgery Times).

However, the natural question is, do roxisomes applied topically affect mitochondria within cells?  The best answer is:  It looks promising, but we’re not sure.

A study testing roxisomes found that they were effective at increasing collagen, decreasing the collagen-degrading enzyme matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), and improving certain DNA repair processes (American Academy of Dermatology). The researchers concluded roxisomes could be a potentially effective treatment for stopping premature aging.  Another study testing topically-applied roxisomes on mice found that usage prior to UV irradiation made for smaller tumors and reduced progression of cancer (Photochemistry and Photobiology).

Research on topically-applied roxisomes is currently limited, but promising.  So, for right now, we’d give them a 7 on a scale of 1-10 – likely to be beneficial, but we’re not sure until more research is done.


The kinetin in Pro+Therapy MD has been proven to have similar effects to 0.02% tretinoin (Retin-A) in research studies. It is, however, more gentle for the skin, with no adjustment period. It can also be used with a retinoid.

Unlike many other anti-aging ingredients, kinetin has been found to have greater effects on skin cells when started at a younger age (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 1994).  This is because kinetin delays the onset of signs of aging like disrupted cytoskeletal organization.  It was noted that some of these signs began to reappear after the removal of kinetin, which suggests that continued use of kinetin is necessary to maintain any results.

Kinetin also has been found to be an antioxidant that mimics superoxide dismutase (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 1999).  Kinetin also prevents glycation reactions, which are responsible for that hardened state of collagen that occurs with age (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 2000).

As for its effects on the skin, at least one study has shown 0.1% kinetin improves skin mottling, roughness, and fine wrinkling similar to less-concentrated 0.02% tretinoin (Skin Medicine, 2004).  This is most likely due to the fact that kinetin and tretinoin have both been found to increase cell turnover, effectively smoothing and exfoliating the skin (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 1999).


Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair also contains zeatin.  Like kinetin, zeatin also prevents certain deleterious cell events from ever occurring.  However, unlike kinetin, zeatin has been shown to have these effects on aged skin cells as well (Rejuvenation Research, 2005).  Zeatin also prevents UV-induced damage (International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 2009).  Further research is limited.

Peptides:  Almond Peptide and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5

Pro+Therapy MD feels like a mix between a gel and a cream. There is limited research to support almond peptides, but palmitoyl tripeptide-5 (Syn-Coll) has been found to firm the skin in at least one study.

Almond peptide is one of the only ingredients in Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair I’m on the fence about.  Packaging claims almond peptide “creates a lifting effect while balancing moisture levels in the skin,” but I can’t find any peer-reviewed, independent (non-company-affiliated) research to support this.

Fortunately, palmitoyl tripeptide-5 (Syn®-Coll), has been reported by The International Journal of Cosmetic Science to promote collagen formation. 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.  Syn®-Coll significantly decreased average and maximum relief by −22 and −36 μm respectively.

[For the ultra-scientific:  the same study confirmed palmitoyl tripeptide-5 to be a synthetic signal peptide that mimics the thrombospondin I tripeptide sequence to activate TGF-β, thereby promoting collagen synthesis via TGF-β.]


Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair also contains photosomes.  Just like roxisomes are DNA repair enzyme (OGG-1) packaged in liposomes, photosomes are light-activated enzyme (photolyase) packaged in liposomes.

When skin is exposed to UV light, one of the signs of damage is that DNA forms dimers.  However, one study showed topical application of photosomes to UVB-irradiated skin decreased the number of dimers by 40–45% (PNAS, 1999).  Other than that, studies are limited.

Personal Use and Opinions

Pro+Therapy MD absorbs well and dries with a slightly tacky finish for the first 30 seconds or so, but fully absorbs after about a minute. (For the record, this is not my hand.)

Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair has a texture between a gel and a cream, gliding across the skin easily.  It absorbs fairly quickly.  Once absorbed, it feels a teensy bit tacky on the skin.  It has a very mild fragrance, which is reminiscent of some sort of weak natural berry.

Bottom Line

Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair is an excellent, innovative daily staple to prevent long-term signs of aging, or to treat existing signs of aging.  I like it best layered over other treatments.

Here’s the truth:  When it comes to treating fine lines and wrinkles or facial sagging, I still feel that retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids are better.  There is simply more research – and let’s face it, no one goes in for a kinetin peel, but they will go in for prescription retinoids and glycolic acid peels.

And when it comes to treating age spots or hyperpigmentation or skin dullness, I also feel that hydroquinone, a concentrated vitamin C, and glycolic or salicyclic acids are better.

But the beauty of Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair is that most skin types should be able to tolerate any of the above treatments with it.  So while you’re treating your wrinkles with retinoids and your age spots with hydroquinone, you can be applying Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair as a soothing antioxidant gel/cream with slow-but-steady anti-aging benefits as well.  Think of it as a hydrating, soothing boost.

I’ve been using FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 followed by MLA Power Cream with peptides or Davi Skin Care Le Grand Cru, but after doing this review, I may very well switch to Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair at night after the retinol treatment.  I like it a lot, and everything in it holds a lot of research promise – except the almond peptides!  :-)

Product Rating: 9/10

  • High or optimized concentration of ingredients: 3/3
  • Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3
  • Value for the money: 3/3
  • Sunscreen: 0/1

Ingredients in Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Ultra Rich Day Repair:  Purified Water, Saccharide Isomerate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Squalene, Algae Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 and Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Dimethicone, PEG-12 Glycerul Dimyristate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil), PPG-3 Myristyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Plankton Extract and Lecithin (Roxisomes), Stearyl Alcohol, Diethylene Glycol Monoethyl Ether, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Kinetin (0.1%) – Zeatin (0.1%) Complex, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylated Hydroxytoluene.

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