One of our team members at FutureDerm, Meredith, recently had a concern.
“Why don’t we do scathing reviews of skin care products anymore? Those were fun! And useful!”
I paused. “I’m not sure, honestly,” I said. “I think I’ve started to realize it’s probably better to say something nice than to not to say anything at all. So I only select the best products to feature on the blog in the first place.”
“Yeah,” she said, “but if you say everything you review is good, how will people know what really works?”
That got me thinking. And whether it’s the fact that we have a presidential candidate who seems to speak in only superlatives, or the fact that I realized Meredith was 100% correct in that I need to help our readers recognize the truly spectacular skin care products, I’m doing a post featuring only the best of the best.
So here they are!
#1 — Best Skin Care Concentrate: ERASA XEP-30 Extreme Line Lifting and Rejuvenation Concentrate
If you love scientific skin care, then ERASA XEP-30 Extreme Line Lifting and Rejuvenation Concentrate is everything. Containing high concentrations of a new, exclusive, patented neuropeptide complex embedded in a state-of-the-art delivery system, ERASA XEP-30 Extreme Line Lifting and Rejuvenation Concentrate includes not one, not two, but four neuropeptides that are capable of producing results comparable to injections without the “frozen face”.
In a 14-day trial, ERASA XEP-30 performed with amazing results across multiple measures. Independent testing reported, on average, a measurable 64% reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, with the top quartile seeing more than 90% reduction.
It should be noted that ERASA XEP-30 Extreme Line Lifting and Rejuvenation Concentrate is the brainchild of Chief Scientist Jules Zecchino, who was the former Head of Skin Care Research and Development at Estée Lauder for over 20 years, and responsible for the development of the company’s top performing products in their multi-billion dollar segments. His team at BioMimetic Laboratories aims to build upon their impressive achievements by utilizing internal technologies as well as leveraging relationships with a number of scientific, corporate and academic affiliates who provide the adjunct technology and manufacturing necessary for product commercialization.
ERASA XEP-30 Results in Line-Relaxing Effects
Though much of the early research is private, ERASA affirms on its website that XEP-30 has “the most line-relaxing effects to date [of any topically-applied peptide]”.
Let’s talk about the differences between XEP-30 and Botox®. XEP-30 is a purified biomimetic version of a neurotoxin that is derived from a specific cone snail off the coast of Australia; Botox®, on the other hand, is a purified neurotoxin derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Though some internet reports express concern at using toxins in the skin, according to dermatologist Dr. Jessica Krant, M.D., “Because it is the piece of protein used in Botox®, and not the bacteria itself, it can’t generate more toxin in your body and make you sick.” The same logic may be the case of XEP-30; no living organisms are applied to your skin, only the purified protein.
The benefit of a topically-applied biomimetic like XEP-30 over Botox® is that XEP-30 will not create an overdone, or “frozen,” appearance. While Botox® can expertly be injected at certain angles and specific spots of the skin to keep muscle movement looking natural, some who administer Botox® do not have this level of precision. Using a treatment like ERASA XEP-30 Extreme Line Lifting and Rejuvenation Concentrate may improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, without the risk of looking stiff, unnatural, or “frozen.”
The ERASA XEP-30 Delivery System, X-50 Myocept, is Exceptional
Two more neuropeptides are contained in X-50 Myocept (Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-52 & Palmitoyl Heptapeptide-18) which acts similarly to XEP-30, in that it is designed to relax muscles and prevent contraction. What makes X-50 Myocept stand apart is its targeted delivery system, which directs wrinkle-relaxing actives to the skin cells that will benefit from them the most.
Developed by Infinitec, X50 has a downright tiny size, X50 has a size distribution between 180 to 400 nm, so it allows X50 to be taken up by the cells, and to release the actives into the cytosol of the cells.
To lead X50 to cell target, a portion of a peptide is anchored to the outer layer of X50. It will eventually lead the capsule to a specific receptor on the target skin cell. Interestingly enough, the peptide-capsule avoids non-specific clearance by other cells rather than specific targets by having a water-loving (hydrophilic) side chain that gives it “stealth” maneuvering powers.
ERASA XEP-30 is a Best Pick Because It Works
ERASA XEP-30 Extreme Line Lifting and Rejuvenation Concentrate is an exciting product for me as a science-driven beauty blogger because it is an entirely new, luxurious concentrate that introduces the patented neuropeptide XEP-30 and the cogent new delivery system X50 Myocept for the very first time to the cosmetics market. I’m excited about the potential of this product to help appearance of wrinkles — including deep frown and expression lines, dark undereye circles, and age spots — and I’m thrilled to be one of the first to introduce it to my readers!
#2 — Best Eye Cream: MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream
Since trying this product for the first time in early February, I have been slathering it on my undereye area, and very faint forehead wrinkles I have been developing. And MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream has made a HUGE difference. I swear, I didn’t even know I had fine lines, wrinkles, or uneven skin under my eyes until I started using this product!
MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream is one of the most exciting products to come across my desk in a very, very long time. Think of this stuff like Skinceuticals on steroids: Infused with more vitamin C than water and packed with over a dozen peptides, ceramides, human stem cells media, and vitamin E, MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream is truly powerful eye cream designed to visibly promote firmness, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increase blood circulation, and deeply hydrate the eye area to reduce the signs of aging. It is designed for both daytime and nighttime use.
MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream Contains More Brightening & Tightening Vitamin C than Water!
For decades, dermatologists have been singing the praises of vitamin C. And why not: According to the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid has many favorable aspects for the skin, including:
- scavenging of free radicals (reacts with the superoxide anion or the hydroxyl radical);
- suppressing pigmentation of the skin (by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase);
- decomposing melanin;
- triggering collagen production and thereby increasing skin firmness;
- enhancing sunscreen protection.
The problem with L-ascorbic acid is that it’s unstable. In fact, it’s extremely unstable. Anyone who has ever purchased a bottle of L-ascorbic acid vitamin C serum only to have it turn yellow and sticky after a few uses knows that oxidation is a huge problem.
Enter the cosmeceutical company race to invent the “new” form of vitamin C. Forms like tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl glucoside have been popular for about a decade. [Read more: Are Other Vitamin C Forms as Effective as L-Ascorbic Acid?]
While the makers of L-ascorbic acid-only vitamin C serums stand by their claims that “only” L-ascorbic acid is acidic enough to penetrate the skin, a slew of studies are popping up to prove otherwise.
In favor of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate are the facts that tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate has been shown to be more efficient in entering skin cells than L-ascorbic acid (Clinics in Dermatology, 2008) and thattetrahexyldecyl ascorbate also penetrates the skin more deeply than L-ascorbic acid (Dermatologic Surgery, 2002).
And in another study, this from Skin Research and Technology in 2008, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate was found to improve water retention in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin) after a 4-week period of daily applications.
Perhaps the only complaint about L-ascorbic acid alternatives is that they aren’t usually in very high concentrations. I’ve seen some skin care companies sneak through with less tetrahexyldecyl ascorbatethan preservatives, which are usually 0.25% or less. So I’m ecstatic that MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream has more tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate than even water — meaning that the product has HUGE potential for your skin!
MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream Contains Human Stem Cell Media That May Rival Retinoids in its Efficacy
MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream does not contain actual human stem cells. Actually, no skincare or cosmetic brand is currently using whole human stem cells. Instead, they are using human stem cell extracts. That one additional word is key, indicating that the formulations are based on the media in which the human stem cells are grown and sustained. This media includes nutrients like growth factors.
Growth factors are proteins that activate cellular proliferation and/or differentiation. Many growth factors are quite versatile, stimulating cellular division in numerous different cell types; while others are specific to a particular cell-type (Indiana State University).
Typically, stem cell skincare contains epidermal growth factors (which can only be found in human skin stem cells), which can have powerful rejuvenation and repair benefits to the skin.
Despite initial skepticism from the dermatological community, stem cells appear to have some promise in cell signaling when applied to human skin. After two weeks of using a product containing similar stem cell extracts, consumers have seen a significant reduction in the depth of crow’s feet wrinkles by 8 percent; the reduction in the depth of crow’s feet after four weeks reached 15 percent (Inside Cosmeceuticals, 2009). That’s about nearly the results retinoids typically exhibit in studies, indicating that these stem cell skin care therapies may really show some significant promise!
As for growth factors, it has been proposed in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology that topically-applied human growth factors may be beneficial in reducing signs of skin aging due to their capacity in promoting dermal fibroblast and keratinocyte proliferation, and in increasing collagen production. Growth factors have shown promise to enhance wound healing following dermatological treatments with lasers or dermatologic surgery, reduce wrinkling, and increase skin smoothness.
What I have noticed most about persons using stem cells is that some seem to swear by them, while others don’t really notice many changes at all. Some of this may be due to a lack of compliance — most people fail to apply skin care treatments daily, much less the recommended twice-daily. However, my hunch is this may be due to differences in different people’s skin. It totally works on me, for instance. But in case growth factors don’t work on you, thankfully for MDSUN, there are a slew of other effective ingredients that pack a big punch in MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream.
Why MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream is the Greatest Eye Cream of 2016 Thus Far
I personally love this product. You can quote me: MDSUN is Skinceuticals or Kiehl’s on steroids! It is a product with MANY promising scientifically-proven ingredients in high concentrations, using a quality delivery system, and at a skin-friendly pH. If you suffer from undereye signs of aging and are looking for a luxury product that actually works, this is the one. You’re paying for far more than just fancy packaging and beautiful ads with well-known models and actresses, which is what I unfortunately see with a lot of products above $150. You’re paying for efficacy and amazing ingredients. which is what I look for in my skin care. This will be a staple for me for a long, long time.
#3 — Best New Body Product: Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair
Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair is a state-of-the-art skin care product designed for the neck, chest, and hands. I say “state-of-the-art” because it contains three ingredients that haven’t been introduced to the skin care market at large before, at least not in concentrations that are significant:
- 1.1% Hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid: Designed to exfoliate the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. May help to prevent future excess melanin production as well.
- 2.4% Sodium tetrahydro-jasmonate: May help stimulate structural proteins, like collagen and elastin, to increase skin firmness. May also exfoliate, like hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, to remove excess surface pigmentation.
- 3.3% Vigna aconitifolia seed extract: May helps to strengthen skin’s structure and increase cellular renewal.
Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair Contains Hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, a Superb New Treatment for Hyperpigmentation
Hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid is designed to do two things:
- First, exfoliate the skin. By deeply exfoliating the skin, it may reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
- Second, hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid is designed to help to prevent future excess melanin production in the future, so you have less sunspots and melasma.
There has been one study on the performance of hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid in treating hyperpigmentation to date, from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2013. This 12 week study enrolled 82 subjects (7 male, 75 female) ages 25–60 years. The study divided the 82 subjects into two balanced groups of 41 subjects each. One group used a novel 1.1% hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid,ellagic acid, yeast extract, and salicylic acid formulation twice daily. The other (control) group used a standard prescription combination of 4% hydroquinone cream and 0.025% tretinoin cream applied nightly.
Both the hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid and standard tretinoin formulation were shown to be able to even skin tone, decrease spot intensity, decrease spot size, and improve overall pigmentation.
But what was exciting is the hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid formulation was that it did not cause the irritation, redness, or peeling seen with some of the prescription tretinoin. This means that, at least theoretically speaking, hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid shows as much promise as retinoids in treating hyperpigmentation — without a prescription and without redness. And that, my friends, is exciting.
Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair Contains Alcohol, But It Will NOT Harm Your Skin
It’s 2015. Let me tell you — companies do not put alcohol into their products because it is cheap, drying, or damaging to your skin. There are plenty of ingredients that are just as economical and practical, without the bad rap that alcohol has on the internet.
Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair includes alcohol because it thins the solution. Plain and simple. Think of it this way: If you put petrolatum jelly on your skin, what happens? It just lays there. Very little of it gets absorbed into the skin. Instead, it hydrates as an occlusive agent, locking moisture into the skin, and protecting the skin from outside assaults.
But if you have a formulation with active ingredients like Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair, you want for them to get into the skin so they can actually improve the appearance of the skin. So ingredients like alcohol or glycols are used.
For the record, alcohol in skin care products is fine. Topically-applied alcohol does NOT cause the release of free radicals. A scientific review long ago came to the conclusion that “ROS and other reactive molecules are indeed formed in human alcoholics.” But this has nothing to do with skin care. Ingesting alcohol and topically applying alcohol to the skin are two completely different things. The digestive tract is designed to absorb and bring trace amounts of ingredients in; the skin is designed to protect and keep damaging ingredients out. Alcohol is not damaging to the skin, unless you apply a 100% concentration to the skin, and have very dry skin!
Why I Love Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair
Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair is a genius product. Too many of us abandon our necks, chests, and hands when it comes to high-performance skin care. This product addresses these concerns with optimal concentrations of high-tech ingredients like 1.1% Hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, 2.4% Sodium tetrahydro-jasmonate, and 3.3% Vigna aconitifolia seed extract.
That said, after reviewing the literature, I highly recommend Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair for sunspots and age spots, especially when used in conjunction with an antioxidant vitamin CE serum. I’m far less enthusiastic about Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair for fine lines, wrinkling, and sagging in these areas. Overall, though, a fantastic product for treating hyperpigmentation on the body and keeping it at bay!
There are many fantastic skin care products. With the slew of skin conditions, skin types, and skin concerns out there, it can be difficult to recommend skin care products that are universally beneficial for everyone. This is part of why I dedicate a large portion of my time towards finding different products that are beneficial for different skin conditions, types, and concerns. In general, I have found the “FutureDerm Seven” to be helpful for everyone: Retinoids, antioxidants, vitamins C+E, amino acids, AHAs, peptides, and sunscreen.
However, so far this year, I have found that the new ingredients in ERASA XEP-30 Extreme Line Lifting and Rejuvenation Concentrate (neuropeptides), MDSUN Med-Eye Complex Cream (ultra-concentrated tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and growth factors), and Skinceuticals Chest, Neck, and Hand Repair (Hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, Sodium tetrahydro-jasmonate, and Vigna aconitifolia seed extract) are absolutely exceptional. If you’re always looking for new ingredients to try, I can’t say enough great things about these products!
Looking for the best skin care? FutureDerm is committed to having its customers find — and create — the best skin care for their individual skin type, concern, and based on your ingredient preferences. Learn more by visiting the FutureDerm shop!