Recently, I discovered Calysta Labs, a skin care company that is grounded in solid science. That is, Calysta Labs products have ingredients that are proven in peer-reviewed, scientific studies in reputable journals; ingredients that are used in concentrations similar to those in the studies; and delivery systems that practically guarantee the products will work. You wouldn’t believe all of the skin care companies I come across that have one or two of these three factors, but not all three. But this is a line I’ll get behind completely.
Another thing I love about presenting this company for FutureDerm readers is that it is very reasonably-priced. Sometimes readers will complain to me about how I’m recommending products that are over $100 per ounce. And while some of these products are very good, some readers just won’t go there. I get it. But Calysta Labs manages to have products in the affordable $30-$65 price range — all with concentrations and delivery systems that rival the far more pricey Skinceuticals, Skinmedica, and PCA Skin “scientific skin care” brands.
I’ve been using the Calysta Labs Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum for a couple of weeks now, and I must say, I love it. I also have my staff using the other products, and I’ve gotten nothing but great feedback. This is definitely a “must-try” line!
When it comes to clarifying the skin, charcoal is a must-have ingredient. In dermatology, topically applied charcoal is well-established in its ability to draw out impurities from the skin. Limited research in the journal Dermatology also suggests that charcoal may be useful in the treatment of certain skin diseases, including porphyria. The charcoal powder in Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser gives the formulation its characteristic “black” hue, as well as in absorbing excess oil.
Unfortunately, charcoal can also be drying to normal-to-dry skin types, so I normally only recommend products with charcoal to those with the oiliest of skin types. However, with a peel-off product, you’re absorbing topical oil and refining the skin, but not to excess. So I have to say, I love Calysta Labs Clarifying Charcoal Peel-Off Mask for all skin types. I personally am using it whenever I’m noticing hormonal breakouts here and there post-pregnancy, as my skin returns to its old (slightly oilier) self!
Ingredients in Calysta Labs Clarifying Charcoal Peel-Off Mask: Activated charcoal powder, salicylic acid, polyvinyl alcohol, organic aloe leaf juice, glycerin, olive fruit oil, emulsifying wax, jojoba seed oil, DMAE,Hyaluronic acid, Green Tea Leaf extract, vitamin C, Provitamin B5, vitamin B3, organic white willow bark extract, pomegranate seed extract, vitamin E,sunflower seeds extract, menthol, lavender, Xanthan gum.
According to the Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology (Baran and Maibach), DMAE is a simple amino base and a synthetic analog of one of the B vitamins, choline. In skin care products, DMAE is commonly used partially as a pH buffer, wrinkle reducer, skin fullness increasing agent, wrinkle reducer, and anti-inflammatory agent.
For instance, according to a Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology-cited, 150 subject (women 35-60 years of age), placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, multi-center study featuring DMAE, dermatologists rated the improvement in otherwise untreated women’s skin on a one-to-ten (minimum-to-maximum) scale regularly for one month using digital photography, skin color evaluation and water retention measurements in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin). At the end of 29 days, it was found that the change in undereye firmness of women treated with DMAE was 5.15, which suggests a great difference after DMAE use (p < 0.05). The change in cheekbone and cheekfold firmness were 6.96 and 7.00, also a great statistical difference after DMAE use (p < 0.05). The change in jawbone firmness was 5.98, statistically significant to a lesser degree (p < 0.1). The results of DMAE on skin firmness were confirmed again in a randomized, double-blind, split-face second study in the journal Skin Research and Technology. Over longer periods of time, DMAE was found to still increase skin firmness in a third study (mentioned in The Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology) in which 35 subjects used DMAE for 8 months.
This review in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology cites a study in which 3% DMAE applied for 16 weeks decreased forehead lines and periorbital fine wrinkles and improved lip shape and fullness in a manner that was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Further, DMAE has been called a “moderately acute anti-inflammatory” agent in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.
When using Calysta Labs Restorative Firming Cleanser, it is advisable to use it for at least a minute before rinsing, to let the product sink into the skin and bind to some skin cell receptors.
Ingredients in Calysta Labs Restorative Firming Cleanser: DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol), Panthenol, Water, Versabase foam
The problem with most acne serums is that they don’t do anything except absorb oil, dry out acne, and, well, ultimately, dry your skin. Repeated use of those types of acne serums is that they often ultimately will make you and your skin look older.
Calysta Labs Calming Acne Serum is different, in three major ways. First of all, aloe is the first ingredient, indicating that it has a higher concentration of aloe than anything else. For centuries the aloe vera plant has been called “the beautician” because of her many benefits for the skin. In fact, aloe was one of the most frequently prescribed medicines throughout most of the 18th and 19th centuries and remains one of the most commonly used herbs in the U.S. today, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Second, the serum contains vitamins C and E, which FutureDerm readers know are two ingredients I recommend for daily use under sunscreen. As you age and undergo stress, your body produces toxic free radicals. These toxic free radicals are capable of causing nearly every sign of damage there is, including DNA damage within your cells. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that work to stabilize free radicals. After stabilizing toxic free radicals, the antioxidants are usually less effective. This is because antioxidants donate electrons to stabilize free radicals. But after donating the electrons, the antioxidants are depleted of electrons themselves!
Vitamins C and E combat this problem. Vitamins C and E are what are known as “network antioxidants.” When vitamin C donates an electron to stabilize a toxic free radical, vitamin E can donate an electron and replenish vitamin C. Which is awesome, because then you’re getting extra antioxidant strength!
In addition, in research studies, vitamin C has been reported to enhance UVA protection, whereas vitamin E is more effective against UVB radiation. So together, there is strengthened UVA/UVB protection when worn under sunscreen.
Lastly, Calysta Labs Calming Acne Serum may help with hyperpigmentation and acne scarring, due not only to the vitamin C, but also to the glycolic acid, azelaic acid, and niacinamide. Overall, I’m a huge fan of this acne serum, because it is not only anti-acne, but also anti-aging and soothing.
Ingredients in Calysta Labs Calming Acne Serum: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Retinol A Palmitate, Damascena (Rose) Distillate, Cocos Nucifera (Organic Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Emulsifying Wax NF, Stearic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), vitamin C (ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate), Xanthan Gum, Niacinamide, Glycolic acid, azelaic acid, Salix Alba (Organic White Willow) Bark Extract, Azadirachta Indica (Organic Neem) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA, (May contain sodium bicarbonate and/or citric acid as pH adjusters)
Calysta Labs Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum has a lot of great ingredients for fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and sagging skin. Of these, I’ll concentrate on the glycolic acid and niacinamide, but the vitamin CE combo makes it great as well.
Glycolic acid is the most common of all the alpha hydroxy acids. Glycolic acid peels advance desquamation and thinning of the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin). By exfoliating the top layer of the skin, glycolic acid peels smooth the skin, quicken the rate of cell turnover (which is reduced by up to 7% every ten years), decrease small wrinkles and increase the fibroblast proliferation of collagen.
Glycolic acid is the smallest of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and is a common ingredient in skincare ingredients. Both in vitro and in vivo tests have shown it to increase collagen production, fibroblast proliferation, and cell turnover rates (Dermatologic Surgery).
Glycolic acid acts as both a moisturizer and an exfoliator; it increases the skin’s supply of hyaluronic acid, which can hold 1000 times its weight in water, thus making glycolic acid a humectant. It also exfoliates by increasing the separation of skin cells, a process called corneocyte desquamation, resulting in even more cell turnover! And you know what that means: smoother, more elastic skin (Skin Therapy Letter)!
As far as niacinamide goes, it is truly an amazing ingredient. According to Bissett et. al., niacinamide does it all: reduces fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and increases elasticity. Further, according to a 2005 study by Draelos et. al., niacinamide may help alleviate some of the symptoms of rosacea by increasing hydration and barrier function of the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of the skin), and may have some anti-tumor characteristics as well. And finally, in a 1995 study by Takozaki et. al., it was reported that a 4% topical niacinamide treatment applied twice daily may help to treat acne by reducing inflammation with similar efficacy to 1% clindamycin gel. What’s not to love?
With regular use of Calysta Labs Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum, your skin is likely to look more youthful, with fewer lines, wrinkles, and sunspots.
Ingredients in Calysta Labs Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Retinol A Palmitate, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Propylene Glycol, Glycolic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Niacinamide,Damascena (Rose) Distillate, Cocos Nucifera (Organic Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Emulsifying Wax NF, Stearic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), vitamin C (ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate), Xanthan Gum, Salix Alba (Organic White Willow) Bark Extract, Azadirachta Indica (Organic Neem) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA, (May contain sodium bicarbonate and/or citric acid as pH adjusters).
If you’re looking for high-performance skin care, look no further than Calysta Labs. I’m really impressed by this line, which relies on optimized concentrations of high-performance, scientifically-proven ingredients, at price points that are reasonable. I’m all in favor of it!