Is It True There Is No Benefit to Layering SPF?

FutureDerm Layering SPF- Myth Busted

When we are in school, we are taught “1+1=2″.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works in Sunscreen Land. Keep the following rules in mind:

1.) With perfect application, an SPF 20 formula layered with an SPF 50 formula = SPF 50.

Futurederm Layered 20 and 50 SPF Diagram 2With perfect application, sunscreens do not have an additive effect. Instead, think of sunscreens more as having a limiting effect — they limit the number of rays that get through, but you can’t increase above the limit of the highest number.

For instance, if you apply a very thick application of an SPF 50 formula, it will allow 1/50 UVB rays through, or about 2% (source).

If you apply a very thick application of an SPF 20 formula, it will allow 1/20 UVB rays through, or about 5%.

If you apply both formulations perfectly at the same time, the SPF 20 formula allows 5% of rays through. The SPF 50 formula will block some of those, but 2% of the overall rays will still get through. This is regardless of which formulation you apply first.

2.) Almost no one achieves “perfect application.”

Average Application of Sunscreen by Catagory- FutureDerm Chart Table

Formulations undergo rigorous testing to achieve SPF that involves very thick application of product — 2 mg/cm2 of skin, or about half a 8 oz. bottle to cover the average body. It covers a grid until it appears almost white, and light is reflected onto the grid to measure absorbance capacity to determine the overall effectiveness of the product. This is how the SPF rating is achieved for all sunscreens.

Unfortunately, the average person only applies 1/3 to 1/2 of the amount of sunscreen needed to achieve the SPF rating on the bottle. So your SPF 30 sunscreen is more like an SPF 10-15 with the average application.

It’s even worse with powder formulations. The average consumer only applies 1/14 of the amount of sunscreen needed to achieve the SPF rating on the bottle, so your SPF 15 powder formula is more like an SPF 1 formula:

3.) So it is true: Layering and reapplication of individual formulas has benefit with typical application.

What is the real SPF you are getting with average application of sunscreen lotion and powder

Here’s where it gets tricky. As I’ve stated before, applying an SPF 30 sunscreen and an SPF 15 powder perfectly nets you a total SPF of 30, because you are stuck by the upper limit of maximal rays that can be blocked/higher SPF rating.

Applying an SPF 30 sunscreen and SPF 15 powder with typical use of application is still limited by the stronger formula/SPF rating. Assuming you are the typical consumer, the SPF 30 sunscreen nets you an SPF rating of 10-15, and the SPF 15 powder nets you an SPF rating of 1. If you were paying attention (and you better be, because there will be a quiz later — kidding!), then you are only getting a net SPF effect of 10-15. The higher number wins.

But layering still pays off with individual formulas. If you apply the SPF 30 sunscreen perfectly, you get 1/30 instead of the typical 1/15 rays blocked, or 3% versus 6% — a substantial enough difference.

And for the sake of argument, let’s say you apply the SPF 30 sunscreen very thinly and net SPF 10. And let’s say you pack on the SPF 15 foundation and net SPF 15. Well, guess what — you get SPF 15 protection. It’s not the higher SPF that wins, it’s the formula that provides the higher SPF when the amount of application is taken into account. Just looking at this from the stance of probability, the more formulations with sunscreen that you use, the better your probability of applying the right amount of active to get to the right dose to achieve maximal SPF.

4.) Do not layer formulas with octinoxate and avobenzone.

Octinoxate will degrade avobenzone

It has been shown in studies that octinoxate will degrade avobenzone (Photochemistry and Photobiology, 2005). For this reason, it is important that you avoid using formulas with these ingredients simultaneously after one another.

Bottom Line

Let’s recap:

  • 1.) With perfect use, you get the SPF rating of the higher formula. (Use SPF 30 sunscreen and SPF 15 powder, each perfectly, get SPF 30 protection.)
  • 2.) With typical use, you get the SPF rating of the formula that provides the higher SPF when the amount of application is taken into account. (If you apply an SPF 30 sunscreen very thinly and net SPF 10, and pack on a SPF 15 foundation and net SPF 15, you get SPF 15 protection. It’s not the higher SPF that wins, it’s the formula that provides the higher SPF when the amount of application is taken into account.)
  • 3.) Be sure to layer and reapply.
  • 4.) Do not layer formulas with octinoxate and avobenzone.

Octinoxate and Avobenzone List Products.png

For sunscreens we love at FutureDerm, check out our Sunscreens page!

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10 Most Commonly Asked Questions about FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 – Answered!

FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0

One of my favorite parts about my job at FutureDerm is that I get to learn about the best ingredients in skin care, and when I’m lucky, I get to formulate products with them. That’s the case with our FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 ($59,–  the product contains an astounding 10% of stabilized L-ascorbic acid, plus 1% vitamin E, all in a base that is designed for the delicate eye area.

I’ve received a lot of questions about the eye cream, so I thought I would address them here. But, at the same time, I never want to get too “sales-y” on my blog. My credibility is important to me, and so I will be very honest about everything.

1.) Why is FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10% vitamin C and not 15% or higher?

I had a real dilemma when formulating FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0.

It is true that most studies that demonstrate efficacy of vitamin C, and L-ascorbic acid in particular, feature concentrations of 15% or higher for vitamin C (Photochemistry and Photobiology, 2005). I knew that my readers would know that.

But in formulating FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0, it occurred to me that the 15% was just too strong for the delicate eye area for most people. The skin around the eyes has less oil glands and undergoes more movement than any other part of the face, resulting in thinner, drier, more delicate skin.

At the same time, I realized concentrations of 10% have been shown to have efficacy in peer-reviewed, independent studies.  It has been shown that topical application of CellexC, with 10% L-ascorbic acid as its active ingredient results in the presence of L-ascorbic acid in the skin days after application. In the study, the 10% L-ascorbic acid solution was found to decrease wrinkles significantly over the course of three months in the areas where it was applied.

By combining the ingredient with 1% vitamin E, each of these antioxidants can essentially “borrow” an electron from the other antioxidant to renew itself, and vice versa (), allowing the antioxidant potency to be heightened than if each ingredient were used separately.

2.) What makes FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream different?

Like our FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic 16+2 Silk Serum ($89 in the Shop), FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 contains stabilized L-ascorbic acid. This means it will not break down in light, heat, or air with typical use. It is also packaged in an airtight pump, so you don’t have to worry about exposure.

3.) What can I expect it to do?

FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 will increase skin brightness around the eyes, and decrease the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation over time.

Keep in mind that vitamin C can only treat dark circles that are caused by hyperpigmentation, or excess melanin (skin pigment) production in the undereye area.

Dark circles are not entirely understood, but are most commonly caused by excessive melanin production or blood pooling under the eyes (Cosmetic Dermatology). To find out what the cause of yours is, do the following test, from dermatologist Dr. Heidi Waldorf: If you apply pressure to your dark circles and it disappears, your problem is due to blood pooling under the eyes. You should look for an eye cream with Haloxyl®, like Lumixyl Revitaleyes ($65.00 retail, Haloxyl® is an ingredient formulation that reduces the appearance of dark circles by calming inflammation and facilitating the release of bilirubin and iron from skin tissues.  In clinical studies using Haloxyl, 60% of participants noticed visible lessening in the appearance of dark undereye circles within two months of twice daily use, according to the textbook Formulating, Packaging, and Marketing of Natural Cosmetic Products.

If you apply pressure to your dark circles and the color doesn’t disappear, the darkness is caused by excess pigment, and FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 is likely to help.

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. You should see a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to have this treated or managed.

4.) How long does it take for FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 to work?

In just one use, the skin under the eyes will feel smoother.

In ten days of daily use, the skin will appear brighter under your eyes. This is due to the high concentration of vitamin C.

In two months of daily use, the skin will appear brighter, dark circles due to hyperpigmentation/melanin production will be diminished, and the skin may feel firmer. It really, truly does work.

5.) Do I have to wait before applying other products?

It depends on what product you are applying next. I recommend applying FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic 16+2 Silk Serum all over the face except around the eye area, and FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 to the eye area. Following, I always recommend a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, including delicate application around the eye area. Sunscreen can be applied immediately after FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0.

If you forgo the sunscreen for some reason, wait a minute or so before applying concealer, foundation, or makeup products. FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 has a silicone and avocado oil base that is hydrating for the eye area, but which may thin out your concealer a bit if you apply it before it is dried. The best policy is just to wait 60 seconds, then apply makeup.

6.) What are the ingredients?

Ascorbic Acid (Antioxidant), Dimethicone, Bis Vinyl Dimethicone/ Dimethicone Copolymer (Slip Agent), Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3 (Slip Agent), Aluminum Starch, Octenylsuccinate (Emulsifier), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil (Fatty Acid), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil (Antioxidant), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Hydrator), Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide MEA (Preservative), Tocopherol Acetate (Antioxidant), Fragrance (Needed, Trust Us)

7.) Is the fragrance irritating?

No, not at all.

I don’t generally approve of orange oil in skin care and cosmetic products, particularly when the products are designed for daytime use. Orange and other citrus oils can increase photosensitivity, which is the last thing you want anywhere on your face.

But FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic 16+2 Silk Serum and FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 contain less than 1% of a 10% orange oil solution, which means our products contain less than 0.1% orange oil. This concentration of orange oil does not increase photosensitivity, and is counterbalanced by the vitamin C, which may enhance UVA protection (Acta Derm Venereology, 2006).

8.) Should it be applied morning, evening or both?

FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 should be applied in the morning under a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 may also be applied at night. I recommend using a retinol or AHA-based eye cream for nighttime instead, though, because these ingredients benefit more from nighttime use, when basal body temperature is the highest and the ingredients can get deeper into the skin as a result. Vitamin C doesn’t need to get as deep in the skin as retinol to get the full effects.

9.) Can it be used with FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic 16+2 Silk Serum?

Of course, I formulated them that way — apply FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic 16+2 Silk Serum all over your face and avoid the eye area, and apply FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 around the eye area.

You can get them both in a value gift set in our FutureDerm Vitamin CE Duo ($129 in the Shop).

10.) When is the best time to buy?

The best value for the FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 is in the FutureDerm Vitamin CE Duo ($129) — you get both the full-size FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic 16+2 Silk Serum ($89) and FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 ($59) for a reduced price.

Alternatively, another great way to buy is with a coupon code — VIDEO30 will take 30% off FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0!

Bottom Line

FutureDerm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0 is a great eye cream for brightening and tightening the delicate undereye area. Formulated with 10% stabilized L-ascorbic acid, 1% vitamin E, and skin-hydrating avocado oil, this is one product I absolutely love and am super proud to have created for FutureDerm!

What are your thoughts? Do you have more questions? Let me know in Comments below!

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Q&A with Esthetician Alana Mitchell, Owner of Skin Care by Alana about Her Personal Approach to Skin Care

Licensed Esthetician Alana Mitchell, owner of Spa Alana and founder of Skin Care by Alana, brings a personal approach to skin care. She strives to use her beauty expertise, accumulated working for over 15 years in the industry, to inform customers about which products really work and to help them figure out which products will work best for their particular skin. In her spa, she customizes the experience to each customer’s needs. On her site, she features and recommends only products she’s tested and researched  herself, and her presence on the site and blog make an online shopping experience feel more personal.

What made you decide to go into skin care?

From a young age, I enjoyed and was fascinated with skin care, how the skin would respond to certain products, and the results one could achieve. It also helped that I was immersed in the beauty industry. My parents started a beauty salon and supply over 35 years ago, and as time went on my parents business expanded to several locations and a full service day spa was added. It’s here that I first learned how to care for the skin. I worked at all locations doing just about every job and interacting with several industry professionals. Throughout my teen years I would practice my knowledge and amateur esthetician skills on my girlfriends and younger sisters. All of these experiences kept my interest and passion for skincare.

What made you decide to start Skin Care by Alana? What made you decide to give it such a personal feel?

Skin Care by Alana, written in Alana's voice and full of personal touches like pictures with her family, makes it a very personal experience.

Skin Care by Alana, written in Alana’s voice and full of personal touches like pictures with her family, makes it a very personal experience.

After receiving my esthetician license I worked for a prestigious spa in Orange County and later for a medical spa as marketing director and esthetician. It was here I saw my unique ideas and approach being strongly accepted by doctors and corporate executives. This was a huge confidence boost, as I was only 24 years old. By this time I had gained a strong customer base that wanted more of what I had to offer. It was then I started Skin Care by Alana. I had the freedom to treat and service my clients based on their independent needs and implement all of my structures on my own terms. It was a decision, but also a total organic and simple approach, to give my clients what they wanted.

What are your favorite ingredients and products to recommend? What makes them your favorite?

Retinol_WEBI have a lot of favorite ingredients but, one is the retinol, featured in the FutureDerm Time Release Retinol 0.5. The microencapsulated retinol is unique because it is structured to be the most effective form of retinol in a skincare product. I generally recommend any retinol use for fall and winter months when you aren’t tempted to hang outside for long periods of time. I also encourage retinol use to be diligent along with application and reapplication of an SPF.

Also, vitamin C is a great hydrating, anti-aging ingredient year long, and it has been used in beauty products for several years. However, utilizing it appropriately is key. For example the percentage of vitamin C, the form of it, and the supporting ingredients will sway its effectiveness.

What’s the most important thing someone can do for their skin?

There are so many important things one can do for their skin but most important would be wearing an SPF product daily and being healthy overall.

What’s the biggest mistake people make with their skin? What’s the biggest mistake they make with their skin care?

Some of the biggest mistakes people make are misusing items on their skin like, for example, harshly scrubbing your skin, or, my personal pet peeve, using toilet paper on your face. You are scratching your skin because of the thick wood fibers and tearing up skin collagen fibers, which leads to wrinkles!

There’s been a lot of talk about whether you are what you eat in skin care. Do you think diet has an affect on skin?

More than just eating right, Alana's personal philosophy is that your overall health and lifestyle affects skin.

More than just eating right, Alana’s personal philosophy is that your overall health and lifestyle affects skin.

I completely agree that diet has an effect on the skin in so many ways. I truly believe that in the bigger picture, not just your diet, but your overall health and lifestyle choices are reflected in your skin. This is one of my personal philosophies.

How do you feel about treatments like chemical peels? What about Botox?

At my day spa I offer a variety of customized chemical peels and often apply chemical peels to my skin. Chemical peels can be very beneficial in accomplishing skin goals and addressing concerns. The key is the right chemical peel and the right esthetician for you.

Botox has been around for aesthetic purposes for several years, and I have no personal issues with it. Again, I look at each individual and their specific needs and overall health whenever I make recommendations. What is right for one individual may not be right for another. Though I am not against Botox I have never received it myself, something that I mention because it contributes to my entire health philosophy of diet and lifestyle.

How do you feel about plastic surgery?

I think when one is considering plastic surgery there are a lot of questions that should be answered in order to clearly identify if this is the right procedure. My view of it has changed as I have gained more life experience and as I approach my mid-30s. Each person has to make the decision for his or herself. Ultimately, do your research.

If someone has $50 to spend on skin care, what should they spend it on? What about $100? 500? If money were no object?

Whether you have $50, $100 or $500 budget to spend on skin care, you should invest in a good moisturizer for your skin type and concerns. Not all moisturizers are right for every person, and skin care need change throughout the years and through the seasons.

You’ve built a successful spa you run Skin Care by Alana, and you’re a mom: What’s your secret? How do you balance it all?

Prioritizing is a key tool that I use in balancing all of life’s hectic demands. I keep in mind that there are urgent things and there are important things, don’t confuse them. I am going to be very bold in telling you how I balance it all, and I hope it’s not a secret: God! Each morning before I get out of bed and let my feet touch the ground I read an amazing app devotional, “Jesus Calling.” This starts my day with the right focus.

Why should people read blogs like

There are a lot of blogs out there, and I think people should read FutureDerm’s blog because of its authenticity and honesty. It’s a refresh approach in the  beauty industry with reviews, interviews, and a vast amount of topics. They offer a great beauty education to the consumer, which I am a strong believer in.


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Q&A with Dr. Andrew Nelson on What You Want to Know about Fractora

Dr. Andrew Nelson is a board certified Dermatologist who has trained at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the country.  He completed medical school at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he graduated at the top of his class and was elected to the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha society.  He then completed his Dermatology residency at Harvard Medical School.  Andrew went on to study Mohs surgery, cosmetic surgery, and facial reconstruction in a fellowship program at UCLA.
Dr. Andrew Nelson is accredited by the American College of Mohs Surgery, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.  Andrew has been an invited speaker at numerous national meetings, written extensively in the medical literature, and recently edited a textbook on cosmetic rejuvenation.  He has treated thousands of patients with Mohs surgery.  Dr. Nelson prides himself on treating his patients, not just their skin cancer. 
Dr. Andrew Nelson was born and raised in St. Petersburg.  He enjoys sailing and jogging.  He is active in several local community groups, and is excited to be able to give back to the community that helped shape his life.

1. How does Fractora/fractional radiofrequency work? 

Fractora works by using radiofrequency energy to heat the skin. The RF device causes molecular vibration and collisions that generate heat in the tissue. Fractora is unique because it not only fractionally resurfaces the skin by ablating (removing) the epidermis and superficial to mid dermis, but also heats the deeper dermal layers of the skin at the same time.  This unique combination of fractional resurfacing and deep dermal heating allows for more efficacious treatments than traditional laser resurfacing devices.

2. Who’s the best candidate to receive Fractora treatments?

An ideal candidate is a patient with mild to moderate rhytids, loose lax skin, and superficial textural abnormalities. Typically, our patients are those who want to avoid a facelift, but are looking for tighter, younger, more rejuvenated skin.

3. What skin problems does Fractora treat?

Fractora safely and effectively treats rhytids (wrinkles), scarring, loose skin, and poor skin tone/texture.  Additionally, patients note improvement in superficial pigmentation and vascularity.

4. What about Fractora makes it so effective for treating multiple skin issues?

The Fractora device is extremely versatile, incorporating several different treatment applicators. There are currently three hand pieces for Fractora fractional resurfacing: a 3000-micron-length tip for deep dermal resurfacing, a 600-micron mid-dermal tip for superficial and medium rhytids, and a 600-micron tip for a superficial, dense treatment. By using different combinations of these applicators, a physician is able to tailor the treatment to the patient’s exact cosmetic concerns in a process the company calls “the Designer Dermis.” This allows physicians to use one device to effectively treat multiple cosmetic concerns in a safer, more effective manner than with other current devices.    

5. What areas of the body can be treated?

The Fractora device can be safely and effectively used on any body area.  In clinical applications, the device has been safely and effectively utilized on the face, neck, hands, chest, back, and extremities.  Best of all, because Fractora utilizes radiofrequency energy rather than a monochromatic laser, it is safer in dark skin types, including Fitzpatrick types IV and V.   

6. When do you see results?

Immediately after the treatment, patients may not mild redness and swelling which can last a few days.  Patients note improvement immediately following the treatment, but also continue to see improved results over the next 30-60 days as new collagen is produced (neocollagenosis).

7. Compared to other rejuvenation/tightening procedures, how much does Fractora cost?

Fractora treatments are typically less costly than other laser rejuvenation procedures, ranging in cost from $1000-$2500 for a treatment depending on the extent of the procedure performed.  

8. How long are the sessions? How many sessions are required?

A Fractora treatment requires approximately 30 minutes to be performed. Patients typically apply a topical anesthetic agent one hour prior to the procedure to make it completely painless. Most patients observe significant improvement after just one session, but many patients choose to have a series of multiple treatments performed to achieve even greater results. Multiple treatments are also ideal for patients who want more treatments at lower energies. 

9. How long do the results from Fractora last?

Fractora stimulates the production of new collagen to remodel and rejuvenate the skin. As a result of this new collagen production, the results are typically permanent. Unfortunately, patients will continue to age, so future treatments are necessary to maintain these wonderful cosmetic improvements.

10. What cosmetic procedure do you perform the most?

Our most common cosmetic procedures are Fractora skin resurfacing, Forma skin tightening, and cosmetic injectables (Botulinum toxin and dermal fillers). Combining all of the treatments together allows for minimal downtime, non-surgical total facial rejuvenation. 

11. What cosmetic procedure do you think most women could benefit from?

It is important for each patient to be evaluated as an individual. Every patient is unique with individual cosmetic goals, and could benefit from a different treatment or combination of treatments.

12. What products would you recommend a FutureDerm reader buy if she has $10? $50? $100?

In our office, our first recommendation is for patients to use a good, broad spectrum sunscreen every day. In addition to reducing their future risk of skin cancer, sunscreens also reduce wrinkles and slow the aging process. Topical retinoids used daily are also a wonderful to exfoliate the skin, lighten fine lines and rejuvenate your look — best of all, many topical retinoid formulations are available as generics and are relatively inexpensive.

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Q&A: Could I Be Allergic to the Soy in My Cosmetics?

spoon  with bean
Q: I have been using a moisturizer with soy extracts and my eyes have been getting watery with swollen eyelids. Does soy extract affect the eyes? 


First, stop using your eye cream. If you have any reaction to a product, you should stop use immediately. This sounds like this might be an allergic reaction. Contact and allergic dermatitis can cause skin to become inflamed, red, and itchy (New York Times).

Second, talk to your doctor. While soy might be a main ingredient in your eye cream, it’s not the only potential culprit of an allergic reaction. Discussing this issue with your doctor, showing her your eye cream, and getting tested for potential allergies can help you narrow down what’s causing the reaction.

Soy in Cosmetics

Soy has become a common ingredient in cosmetics.

Soy has become a common ingredient in cosmetics.

Over the past decade, soy has become quite popular in cosmetic products for a variety of uses. It contains a soybean trypsin inhibitor (STI) and a Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI), both of which help to lighten skin and reduce unwanted body hair. Its estrogen-like and antioxidant metabolites help to increase thickness of skin and synthesize collagen while also restoring the skin barrier function and moisturizing (Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology). With such a list of credentials, what’s not to love?

Unfortunately for soy, many have become increasingly aware of its potential as a skin allergen. Allergens can reach the skin through a variety of ways: through the air, by reacting to sunlight, and, of course, through contact between the hands and sensitive areas (e.g., eyelids). While allergens found in cosmetics are usually fragrances, preservatives, or antioxidants, an increasing number of people are reacting to natural ingredients, particularly protein-derived ones like oatmeal, hydrolyzed wheat, and soybean extract (Journal of Allergy).

Soy Allergy from Skin Contact

Usually we think of soy as a food allergen, but at least one case study shows that it can irritating skin upon contact.

Usually we think of soy as a food allergen, but at least one case study shows that it can irritating skin upon contact.

Soy is one of the top five food allergies, along with eggs, milk, wheat, and peanut (The Journal of Pediatrics). Usually, the protein in soy causes allergies, but there are also other reasons why soy might cause a reaction. One of the surprising things that might make soy an allergy for you is its high concentration of nickel (Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology). That’s right, it isn’t as obvious as nickel in coins and belt buckles, but it can cause allergic reactions when eaten and in patch tests.

To answer the question more directly, yes, soy extract can affect the eyes. The first-documented case of such a reaction occurred in a 55-year-old woman who had been using a night cream. She had developed erythema (redness of the skin) and, later, swelling of the face. While she didn’t have an allergic reaction to orally consumed soybean, patch tests of the extract produced reactions within 30 minutes (Contact Dermatitis). So while you may not have an allergic reaction to foods containing soy, it is very well likely that your moisturizer is causing an allergic reaction.

Bottom Line

It’s very possible that the soy in your eye cream is causing your issues, but it could also be other ingredients in your cream. If it is soy, it’s possible to have a skin allergy to soy and not have any symptoms of a food allergy.

No matter what’s causing your issues, stop using your eye cream immediately and talk to your doctor. Together, you can discuss what possible ingredients could be irritating your skin so you can avoid them in the future.

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Q&A: Dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt

Dr. Rebecca Baxt began one of the first combination dermatology and plastic surgery practices, located in Bergen County, New Jersey. Dr. Baxt is particularly interested in treatment of acne and rosacea. She attended the University of Pennsylvania and had her residency at the New York University Medical Center. She currently has hospital privileges at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey and Bellevue Hospital in New York, New York. She also has an academic appointment at New York University.

What makes you interested, in particular, in rosacea and acne?

As a dermatologist, I enjoy treating skin conditions and making people better.   I find acne and rosacea are very responsive to treatment and my patients are very thankful and happy so it’s a win-win.  Making acne and rosacea patients better is very rewarding.

What are the ingredients someone with acne and rosacea should look for?

Acne patients can look for benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid over the counter.  Also glycolic acid.  Rosacea patients need to stick with very mild and hypoallergenic types of products since their skin is so sensitive.  A lot of the antiaging and antiacne medications will irritate rosacea sufferers.

What are the biggest skin care mistakes you see people with acne makes?

Over scrubbing and washing and picking.  Acne isn’t about dirt and you can’t scrub a clogged pore open.  Scrubbing and overwashing and picking just cause irritation and scarring and it doesn’t help remove acne.  Washing twice a day or three times a day is plenty.  Get care from a great dermatologist if the over the counter creams and gels aren’t enough.  No scrubs or puffs or picking.

What are the biggest skin care mistakes you see people with rosacea make?

Trying everything in the supermarket or the makeup counter or the pharmacy thinking it will help them.  It’s a big waste of money and time and can make their skin worse.  Rosacea patients need to find a program that works for them and stick with it, changing with the seasons as necessary.  These patients really need guidance from a dermatologist.

What are the benefits of a combination dermatology-plastic surgery center like yours?

There is a lot of overlap within dermatology and plastic surgery.  We often do dual consultations so the patient can see both the dermatologist and the plastic surgeon at the same time and make a plan altogether.  Its very time consuming to go back and forth between consultations and offices seeing different doctors getting varying opinions and then the doctors often don’t speak to each other.  We can evaluate the patient at the same time and talk in front of the patient at the time of consultation so everyone is on the same page.

How did your practice come about?

My mother who is dermatologist and my father who is a plastic surgeon realized that there was a lot of overlap between the two fields and combined their practice over 35 years ago.  They were one of the first if not the first practice to do it, and there have been many others who have followed in their footsteps.

What are the most common procedures you perform? What are the ones you most commonly recommend?

Botox, Fillers, Chemical Peels, Fraxel laser resurfacing, Vbeam laser or IPL for redness/rosacea, Isolaz for acne, Smoothbeam for acne, Laser Hair removal,  I recommend all of these all the time.  It really depends on what the patient needs.

What are some exciting developments in aesthetic medicine that are happening right now?

The most exciting things to me right now are the new fillers.  We have loved Juvederm and Restylane, and now we have Belotero which is similar but we are able to inject it more superficially, and we are expecting Voluma for cheek augmentation hopefully by the end of this year.

If you could tell FutureDerm readers any one important skin care tip, what would it be?

Wear your sun block and don’t forget to reapply!!!



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Q&A with Dermatologist and Laser Expert Dr. Susan Stuart, M.D.


Susan Stuart, M.D. is a leading San Diego dermatologist who specializes in dermatological laser procedures and pediatric dermatology. Stuart has study at some of very prestigious dermatology programs around the country, including residency at Emory University and a postgraduate fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. She also founded and was previously been president of an organization at Duke University dedicated to children with physical and emotional disorders. She spent time studying with leading, internationally respected dermatologist and laser experts. She is currently serves on the faculty at UCSD Medical Center, continuing her education, and holds active staff privileges at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.

What made you interested in dermatological lasers?

My interest in dermatological lasers developed as a result of my personal experience working with some of the pioneers and world experts in lasers for dermatological conditions. I discovered how innovative and effective lasers could be when other treatment methods were not.

What have been some of the most incredibly recent advances in dermatological lasers?

The most incredible recent advances in dermatological lasers have been in the area of non-ablative laser technology. These lasers can create long lasting improvements in the skin’s tone and texture without damaging the outermost layers of the skin. That means there is really no significant down time with these lasers with no peeling and much less risks of permanent skin discoloration or scar formation.

Who do you think are ideal candidates for which lasers?

Ideal candidates for these lasers are those people who have sun damage related to unprotected sun exposure over the years. Their skin is often discolored with sunspots and fine lines on the face, neck, chest, and hands. Many of these newer lasers are really safe for all skin types and have the approval of the FDA for added assurance.

What’s the biggest skin care you see people making regularly?

The biggest skin care mistake people make is to forget to incorporate a sunscreen into their daily skin care routine. People often remember to use a moisturizer but forget how important it is to protect one’s skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation. It is important to use a daily sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and apply it in the morning before going outdoors, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

What do you think are the benefits of a combined dermatology and plastic surgery practice?

The greatest benefits of a combined practice are that the combinations of the talents and unique training of both a dermatologist and plastic surgery, which benefit each and every patient we see. We have decades of combined training and experience that we bring to our patients’ care. Patients get the best of both worlds, and we really believe this is the gold standard for any practice that’s serious about aesthetic surgery.

How did you practice come about?

Our practice developed because we saw too many practices that wanted to be everything to everyone. There were practices where dermatologists were really outside of their comfort level and training trying to be plastic surgeons. The same could also be said about some plastic surgery practices. Physicians are hesitant to refer patients out of their practices for fear they won’t return. Consequently, some physicians will push the envelope and it’s patient care that’s compromised in the end. We wanted to practice the full range of our specialties yet stay within our chosen specialties to provide our patients what we would expect for our families and ourselves. The result is that our patients receive the gold standard in aesthetic plastic surgery and dermatology. We wouldn’t settle for anything less.

What are your post popular procedures? What are the procedures you recommend most?

The most popular procedures are non-invasive technologies for creating more youthful skin such as the dual Fraxel and Cool Sculpting for non-invasive removal of unwanted fat. We offer the entire range of aesthetic dermatological lasers to treat all types of skin problems.

We also introduced the Neograft hair replacement system for male and female pattern hair loss. This is game changing technology because it avoids a donor scar from where the hair grafts are obtained and there is minimal manipulation of hair follicles. Hair growth occurs in 95-98% of transplanted hair follicular units (FUE), which is the highest of any technique. We can transplant several thousand hair follicle units at one time and really recreate the way hair normally grows in the scalp. You cannot tell someone has even undergone hair replacement surgery, as it is very natural looking and permanent.

What are your top five ingredients for keeping skin youthful?

The top five ingredients for keeping skin youthful include sun protection from protective clothing and sun glasses, daily use of a moisturizer, daily application of a sunscreen with an SPF of 30, avoiding excess alcohol, avoiding tobacco use.

What make pediatric dermatology different from adult dermatology? What are some of the unique challenges?

Pediatric dermatology is different from adult dermatology in that patients often cannot provide a very accurate nor detailed history. The actual condition of the skin may reflect not only skin-specific or skin-limited disorders, but — in most cases — is a mirror of either the physical or psychological status of the patient. There are some very challenging skin diseases in the newborn population that require special expertise to diagnose and treat effectively.

What is the most important advice for parents about helping their kids keep their skin health?

Teach your children about the importance of sun protection and the proper application and reapplication of sunscreens. Avoid outdoor activities during the times of peak sun exposure from 10 am to 2 pm. Apply a sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours or more if sweating or after water exposure.

If you could tell FutureDerm readers any one important skin care tip, what would it be?

Remember that the skin is the largest organ in the body. It is vital that you take good care of it. If you don’t, then the results will be premature aging of the skin and the development of skin cancers such as melanoma, which can be life threatening. Make a good sunscreen a daily part of your skin care ritual.

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Why "Men's" Skin Care is a Waste of Money

As it turns out, men’s skin is more different than you’d think. It’s about 25% thicker and tougher. This is because men have more androgens, which are male hormones, the most commonly know being testosterone.

Androgens are the hormones that cause hair growth, deeper voice, and a tendency toward more aggressive behavior (The International Dermal Institute). These hormones not only cause the skin to become thicker and tougher, they also cause a greater secretion of sebum, meaning that men (on average) tend to have oilier skin and may have more acne (Dermalogica).

It’s also not in your head that the man in your life is aging more slowly than you do:  Men (those lucky ducks!) also have a higher collagen density (Skin Inc). This means that the adage that men fair the perils of aging better than women is true and may explain why men aren’t as interested in skin care under the age of 30.

Do Men Need Different Products?

Nope! Well, not entirely anyway.

Men have some different needs, such as shaving, that require different products. Overall, however,their skin doesn’t require anything drastically different.

In general, men need to exfoliate less than women.  This is because shaving effectively sloughs off the uppermost layer of the skin.  In fact, exfoliating before or after shaving can lead to irritation over time – in general, it’s overkill more than once per week.

How Are Men’s Products Different?

However, men also have skin that is 25% thicker than women’s, and hence more resistant to products.  Thus, stronger products with penetration enhancers like glycols or thinning agents like alcohols may be of interest to help products to better penetrate the skin.  Due to their oilier skin and no-fuss approach to grooming, men also tend to seek out fast-absorbing gel or lotion formulas rather than creams.  Men’s product lines are also more streamlined, with fewer products.  (No Erno Laszlo line with 7-9 products for the deeper-voiced gender!)  But that’s about it.

Still, men are becoming increasingly interested in skin care, and so companies are beginning to make products specifically male skin care buyers (New York Times).  Many times, however, the differences stem from bold labeling, dark square-cornered packaging, and highly masculine aromas.  Sometimes within the same brand, you can see nearly identical formulations packaged for either men or women!  So don’t expect these products to deliver different results than the women’s products do.  As with people, it’s what is on the inside that counts – and right now, the best products on the market I’ve found are from gender-neutral lines.  As always, I love highly-concentrated products with top-notch delivery systems, like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($103.70, with 15% L-ascorbic acid and 1% vitamin E and our own FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 ($55.00,  If you are the rarified male with dry skin, try Atopalm MLE Intensive Moisturizing Cream ($16.45,, with the perfect blend of a number of my favorite hydrators.

Men Develop More Skin Cancer

Gentlemen, this has nothing to do with the actual makeup of your skin. As it turns out, men are twice as likely to develop basal and squamous cell skin cancer, because they spend more time out in the sun but wear less sunscreen (Skin Cancer Foundation).  Many doctors and dermatologists are calling for men to think more about sun protection.

A study done by the National Sun Protection Advisory Council found that men spend an average of 10 hours more per week in the sun than women. They are also less likely to avoid the sun — 39% of women shun rays as compared to 25% of men. Add to that the fact that men have less hair to act as protection, are less likely to seek medical attention for problems, and are overall less likely to use sun protection of any sort. Men are less likely to do self-exams to check themselves for strange-looking moles.

So, men, be sure to wear sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF and other sun protection such as UV protective clothing. While men don’t need different products, they do need to use products in general that will help keep them healthy.

Bottom Line

I’ll admit, I went a little Seth Godin on you here and gave this post an attention-grabbing title.  Truth be told, as with women’s products, some are more effective than others.  However, it is true that men don’t need different products. They have thicker, tougher skin with more sebum and higher collagen density, meaning that they benefit somewhat from lines with more penetration enhancers and thinning agents.  But they don’t “need” them.

What’s more, men’s skin does age more slowly than women’s.  This may explain why men historically haven’t been as interested in skin care products. (More collagen = firmer skin for longer!)  But with 43% of the population in the U.S. aged 50 or over by 2014, we may start to see men buying skin care products like hotcakes.

Our warning?  Don’t be deceived by the squared-off packaging with its dark colors and hefty weight.  Gentlemen, nine times out of ten, you’d be better off borrowing product from the woman in your life.  If you are concerned about signs of aging, make sure you use formulas with high concentrations of independently-proven ingredients like retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids, niacinamide, peptides, and sunscreen in stable packaging with proven delivery systems.   I have yet to see an exclusive men’s line with the highest concentrations and best delivery systems available.  You really don’t need your own products to do this – just share the best products with the woman in your life!  Two I recommend for everyone are Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($103.70, with 15% L-ascorbic acid and 1% vitamin E under sunscreen for day, and our own FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 ($55.00, for night.

How Should You Take Care of Your Skin in Winter?: An Interview with Dr. Glenn Kolansky, M.D.


Dr. Glenn Kolansky, M.D. is a board certified dermatologist located in New Jersey. He is a diplomat for the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He’s a fellow for the American Academy of Dermatology, The American Society of Deratological Surgery, the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, and the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology.
As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, he travels giving lectures and provide skin cancer screenings. He was awarded the “Physician of Hope” award by the American Cancer Society. 

What are some of the things that happen to skin in winter?


Winter weather can wreak havoc on skin, especially when you’re going from cold to hot constantly.

What happens in the wintertime is that cold weather causes the blood vessels and the skin to constrict, and you also get less blood supply going to the skin’s surface. When you go in from the cold to a dry, heated room it just causes the skin to become dryer, water evaporates. When you go from hot to cold your skin tends to lose moisture and just dry out.

How should people change their routines to account for this change in winter?

It depends on the type of skin you have. If you tend to have oily skin you probably have to do a minimal, light moisturizer in the winter. But for most people with normal to dry skin, should use products that have ceramides and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help the skin hold moisture. I personally believe you should use products that are fragrance-free.

What Ingredients should people look for in the wintertime?


Look for moisturizers with hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

If you look for these ingredients: Products like dimethicone and glycerin are humectants, they draw water to the skin, and so the skin can absorb more moisture. And during the winter when you get dead skin cells, products that have urea or lactic acid to remove those buildup of dead skin cells.

Use moisturizers such as Cetaphil Restoraderm, products like CeraVe that have the ceramides. They’re barrier repair moisturizers. They increase the skin’s hydration to reduce the water losses, that way the skin stays softer and moister.

When should people use occlusive moisturizers in wintertime?

I think at nighttime. You generally don’t use grease during the day. What you try to do with an occlusive moisturizer is hold water in the skin. So what I tell people is generally during the winter time and using at night, you should use a grease moisturizer, products that have lanolin — if you’re not allergic — mineral oil, and petroleum jelly. They keep the moisture in the skin.

After you take a shower or bath, you absorb a certain amount of moisture. While skin is still damp, if you put a greasy moisturizer on, it locks the water into the skin.

What kind of soaps should people use in winter?


Dr. Kolanksy uses gentle Cetaphil soap.

I think washing with gentle, moisturizing soaps is important. I try to tell people to look for soaps or liquids that are white and cream. Dove makes body washes for both men and women, for example. Eucerin makes some products, there’s lot of products on the market to moisturize on the skin.

I think you should avoid stuff that has strong detergents; more so, in the winter when skin tends to be drier. Cetaphil makes a Restoreaderm cleanser. If your skin is dry and it cleans your skin without drying it out. If you have oil in your skin, it won’t remove that oil. I personally wash with Cetaphil soap. It’s great on my body, but sometimes on my face I use a scrub or something to actually clean it, because it doesn’t cut the oil on the skin.

What’s one of the worst things that people do to their skin in the winter?


Sunscreen is just as important in winter as in summer. Don’t get burned out on the slopes!

The worst thing that they can do is go out without a sunscreen. People lose track of the fact that even though you go to the ski slope, the sunrays are reflecting off the snow and you can become sunburned, even though you’re not going to the beach. The sun reflecting off the ski slopes, the snow, when going out in the winter there are times the sunrays are quite strong and you can get a burn or sunburn.

Sometimes you’ll have a mom come in and say, “You know it was a cloudy day and I was sitting and watching the kids play soccer,” and she comes in with a sunburn. You just don’t think about it. They weren’t at the beach or it wasn’t that sunny, but in the wintertime because it’s cold, the natural thing is not to think of sunscreen.

You’re at the risk of burning. If you burn on the ski slopes from the sun reflecting off the snow it’s similar to or actually worse depending on where you’re at to going to the beach.

If you had one piece of advice to give to FutureDerm readers, what would it be?

Moisturize and use sunscreen, those would be the key winter skin care tips. Look for a cleanser that’s white and creamy and apply moisturizer and sunscreen often.

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Stressed? Listen to Your Body!

Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

By Valerie Kalfrin for Life & Beauty Weekly

Ever fall asleep thinking about a project at work and wake up the next day with a splitting headache and pain in your jaw? Or been on the go with the kids all day and ended up with stomach cramps and a bad case of the runs? Don’t blame it on the weather or bad luck! It could be your body’s way of saying you’re too stressed out.

Headaches and stomach problems are among several seemingly mundane ailments that could signify you’re under too much tension in your life, says Dr. Kenneth L. Savage Jr., an osteopathic physician at the University Community Hospital Physician Care Group in Tampa, Fla. “It’s normal to have some level of stress,” he says. “When it becomes abnormal — or your body can’t handle it — that’s when things start to happen.”

In the worst-case scenario, stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, mood disorders and other issues. But it can also be the source of more common health issues. Do any of these sound familiar?

Argh! My skin’s so itchy!

A sudden outbreak of hives or a rash can be a sign of tension (assuming you haven’t walked into a patch of poison ivy recently). Stress taxes your body by causing its energy to funnel away from the immune system, says Savage. This can lead to the abnormal release of inflammatory substances in your skin — and suddenly, you’re scratching away. Too much tension in your life can also worsen rashes you’re already susceptible to, such as allergy-related dermatitis or the itchy scalp and greasy dandruff of seborrheic dermatitis.

Try: An outdoor walk or bike ride. “A little bit of sunlight and exercise can be healthy,” says Savage. Moderate sun exposure provides your body with vitamin D, and it can improve your mood and well-being. Staying active also benefits your circulatory and immune systems.

Yuck! A cold sore!

Tingling on your lip, then an ugly, crusty red blister … you know it’s another cold sore, and right before an important meeting at work too! Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. Although the initial infection comes through direct contact with someone who has the virus, recurrences can crop up when you’re under stress because your immune system isn’t strong enough to fight it off.

Try: Saying no once in a while. “Manage stress by controlling the source of the stress,” says Savage. If your workload is weighing you down, talk to your boss about delegating some tasks. If all those school fundraisers are taking up too much time, remember that you don’t have to volunteer for all of them.

Achoo! I’m sick again!

Sure, you’re bound to catch a cold every so often — especially when everyone in your office has the sniffles. But you’re more likely to come down with a runny nose and scratchy throat when your body is already run down by an overactive schedule or lack of sleep.

Try: Getting your z’s. Adequate sleep doesn’t just make you feel refreshed in the morning; it also boosts your immunity and makes you less prone to picking up your coworkers’ or kids’ colds. Go to bed an hour earlier and see what a difference it makes.

Ugh! My stomach hurts!

How we care for our bodies while under stress can cause as many problems as the stress itself. If you’re so busy shuttling the kids to dance class and baseball practice that you’re skipping meals or grabbing fast food all the time, that’s a formula for stomach upset, diarrhea or constipation.

Try: Planning ahead. Shop on Sunday for a week’s worth of healthy meals, including dishes you can serve as leftovers the next day. Knowing you have the dinner situation under control is one less thing to stress out about. Keep fruit, plain yogurt and other nutritious snacks in the fridge so you can grab them and go.

Ow! My jaw’s so sore!

Stress doesn’t magically end at the end of the day. Going to bed with worries on your mind may lead you to clench or grind your teeth while you sleep — a condition called bruxism. If you often wake up with an aching jaw, head or ear, or if your teeth seem worn or chipped, see your dentist. He may prescribe a mouth guard or suggest ways to keep your mouth relaxed at night.

Try: Winding down before hitting the sack. Practice 10 minutes of yoga, listen to soft music or read a book so your dreams stay sweet and stress-free. You may also want to look into a process called biofeedback, which trains people to watch and use signals from their bodies. It’s been shown to be useful in some bruxism cases, according to Tampa Bay Jaw and Facial Surgery.

Valerie Kalfrin is a writer in the Tampa, Fla., area. Her work has appeared in The Tampa Tribune, Ladies’ Home Journal, and She has previously contributed to Life & Beauty Weekly.

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