Chat Live with Nicki Today from 5-7 PM! @futurederm

Skin Care

Chat live with me on Twitter today!  I’m @futurederm!

Ask anything – If I don’t know, I will happily look up the answer for you!  I’m best at answering questions about:

  • Skin care
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair care
  • Blogging
  • Beauty businesses
  • Start-up business
  • Yorkshire Terriers and Shih-Poos (see mine below!)  :-)

Please join!  I’m looking forward to talking with everyone directly!  :-)

Also – if you don’t have Twitter, I’ll gladly keep up with you via Comments on this post!

All the best,


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8 thoughts on “Chat Live with Nicki Today from 5-7 PM! @futurederm

  1. May says:

    Hi, Nicki!

    Alas, I don’t have a Twitter account, so I’ll just post my question(s) here! :)

    I know we talk a lot here about preventive/anti-aging skincare, but what about skincare for healing/strengthening damaged skin?

    I feel like the condition of my skin has gotten progressively worse year after year. As a teenager, I had very oily skin, so I experimented with products to sop up the oiliness. However, the contact dermatitis that I incurred from several products seems to have caused my skin to become even more sensitive – which then leads to more contact dermatitis from even more products! It’s a vicious cycle.

    I think I should have listened to my mom when she told me years ago “Stop experimenting with your skin!”, but I can’t help it, because I’m still looking for that “holy grail” product which will magically reverse a decade’s worth of self-inflicted skin damage – but perhaps such a product only exists in my head (or only for a kingly ransom!).

    Is it possible for someone with damaged skin like mine to ever have skin like, say, Cate Blanchett’s (or whoever else is a poster child for literally flawless skin)? Actually, I’ll set my expectations lower: make the hyper-sensitivity and redness go away and I’ll give you my firstborn. 😉

    One of the reasons I love your blog so much is that it has educated me immensely on what ingredients actually have proven science behind them, rather than falling prey to gimmicky marketing campaigns. I wish I’d known about your blog years ago – I’m sure I’d be thousands of dollars richer today, from not having blown money on useless products!

  2. Nicki Zevola says:

    @May – Thank you for your kind words.

    For healing/strengthening damaged skin, the first-line treatment is to see your dermatologist for professional-grade peels and laser treatments.

    The next line is to use at-home products with retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, potent stabilized antioxidants, niacinamide/nicotinic acid, and peptides. Some of my favorite treatments:

    -NIA 24 Skin Care System with nicotinic acid
    -Topix Replenix Skin Care System with potent green tea EGCG concentrate
    -Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads with AHA and BHA
    -Olay Regenerist with niacinamide and peptides
    -MLA Skin Care with peptides
    -Lumixyl with skin-brightening peptides
    -Jan Marini Skin Transformation System with alpha hydroxy acids and retinol (I don’t like them together, because it’s less optimal for retinol dehydrogenases to transform retinol to its active form, but they still work alright, and the system is good)
    -NEOVA DNA Repair (they advertise with me because I like their products, not the other way around)
    -FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 (couldn’t resist, I love it)

    I recommend for day:
    -Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
    -NIA 24 Physical Sunscreen SPF 30 or NEOVA SPF 45

    For night:
    -FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5
    -Olay Regenerist/Olay ProX or Jan Marini Skin Transformation Moisturizer or MLA Skin Care Power Cream or Pro+Therapy MD with kinetin and peptides

    Hope this helps,

  3. May says:

    Thanks so much for the extensive recommendations, Nicki! I can’t wait to get my hands on them and try them out.

    Also, if you don’t mind, I have some follow-up questions, even though at this point, the live chat is long over. 😉

    – What exactly is a peel, and will it not aggravate my super-sensitive skin? It’s why I’ve universally avoided them in the past, as I’d always thought they’d be way too harsh on my delicate skin.

    – I swear, at this point, it seems like everything and its mom has been touted as an “antioxidant”. What are the most potent, proven ones?

    – Do you have any reading suggestions for someone who’d love to read up on dermatology? I have a pretty solid foundation in biology and chemistry so I think I should be able to handle most if not all “scientific speak”. After all, the science behind dermatology is really what I’m most interested in. (I’ve decided I’m tired of placing my faith willy-nilly in insidious marketing campaigns, so to change that, I’m going to take charge of my own education from now on!)

  4. Hanana says:

    Hi Nicki! I’m loving the time release retinol .05 I just got a few days ago. My skin is so smooth and more radiant than ever.
    I do want to ask about layering product with retinol. I actually put on my Estée Lauder Advanced night repair before I put on your retinol, and then I follow up with neutrogena night cream that also has retinol in it. Is this okay? I always want to get the benefits from all products, but never sure if I’m doing it correctly.
    Just curious, I see that you try new products pretty often, how do you switch back and forth and keep up with so many products out there?
    Thanks Nicki!

  5. Catarina says:

    Hi Nicki,
    I found your Blog just a couple of days ago. I do like it a lot because I think it is very informative and I like the fact that you always link your arguments to scientific sources like PubMed and scientific journals. It makes it a lot easier to research what I am interested in, so Trank you for that, it must be a lot of work :)

    What I am wondering about that ingredients like formaldehyde releasing agents, PEG related emulsifiers, irridating ingredients and so on are not regarded as critical in skincare from you. You even use a formaldehyd releasing agent as a konservant in your retionol serum what kind of dissappointed me, regarding all your scientific background and amount of knowledge. Would you want to explain that a little?

  6. Nicki Zevola says:

    @May –

    1.) A peel is a procedure that uses ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids, phenol, and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to partially remove the uppermost layer of skin. This stimulates collagen production (increasing skin firmness over time), reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin smoothness, and helps to alleviate sunspots and hyperpigmentation.

    If you have particularly sensitive skin, the best option is to go to an experienced, licensed dermatologist or aesthetician for your peel. Tell him/her your skin type. You will be started (most likely) at a very low level peel, and will gradually work up over time at monthly or bi-monthly intervals, depending on the condition of your skin!

    2.) Coffeeberry was once compared to six other antioxidants and was found to have the highest free radical absorbance capacity, as measured by its ORAC score. However, coffeeberry has never been compared to combinations of other antioxidants.

    My personal favorite are network antioxidants, which are found to replenish one another. These include vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid, ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10) and gluthathione.

    For an added boost, I use other antioxidants that work on other pathways as well, including green tea, white tea, grape seed extract, etc. I like to use vitamins C and E in combination in the morning and a variety of different antioxidants at night. Does this help?

    3.) There are lots of great books on dermatology:

    a.) Cosmetic Dermatology, by Dr. Leslie Baumann
    b.) The DERMADoctor Skinstruction Manual, by Dr. Audrey Kunin
    c.) The Science of Perfect Skin, by Dr. Daniel Yarosh (I don’t agree with everything this book says, but it’s 90% good in my opinion)

    There are others, but these are the three best I’ve encountered as non-textbook reading (Cosmetic Dermatology is a textbook technically, I suppose, but it’s readable!)

  7. Nicki Zevola says:

    @Hanana – The general rule of thumb is to apply lighter products before heavier ones. If you don’t mind, please apply our product first, as it is a lightweight gel. Next, apply the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. Lastly, I personally would not apply another product with retinol afterwards. If your skin is not peeling or experiencing any adverse effects from using both, then I suppose it’s fine to continue – many skin care systems sell retinol in a serum and then in a cream.

    I switch back and forth every month or so. I’ve been writing for 5 years (on September 24), so it may seem like I switch a lot, but I really don’t :-). To be honest, I always stick with CE Ferulic in the morning, and I will try different cleansers beforehand and sunscreens after, though I still have 3-4 different favorite go-to formulas (e.g., NIA 24 Physical Sunscreen SPF 30; Mychelle SPF 28; NEOVA SPF 45; Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 100 layered over top of a physical sunscreen for a day at the beach/in the sun/driving).

    I also use retinol religiously 6 nights a week, and I switch to alpha hydroxy acids one night a week. I will try different nighttime moisturizers, though I do tend to revert to alternating a few favorites there as well (e.g., Olay Regenerist; Priori with Coffeeberry; MLA Power Cream; Pro+Therapy MD Advanced Repair).

    I have a lot of writers helping me with reviews now too though, which is truly a blessing! Hope this helps!

  8. Nicki Zevola says:

    @Catarina – I assure you none of the ingredients in the retinol product release formaldehyde in the bottle or on your face. Again, a lot of that research utilizes ingredients at extremely high concentrations – for instance, vitamin C is toxic at 20,000 times the recommended exposure, but this fact is conveniently omitted from a lot of databases and such. The U.S. already has stricter standards for ingredients than the E.U. or Japan, and I believe 99.9% of ingredients in skin care and cosmetics are safe at the concentrations and combinations they are in products currently.

    True scientific analysis takes evaluating a study – are the ingredients used at typical concentrations for a skin care product? Do the ingredients build cumulatively in tissues over time, or are they released after a certain number of hours? (For instance, topically-applied parabens are out of the system within 36 hours according to at least one study, despite popular belief). Were the studies done on cells or on living organisms? If living organisms, were they mice or humans? How many subjects was this tested on? How many times were the results repeated? DId other studies have a similar finding? And if not, is there potential bias on the part of one or more of the authors?

    Databases that “flag” ingredients typically don’t do this type of analysis. I think those databases are great resources for trained scientists, but the public does not have the training to evaluate a study properly. I also think these databases have a bit of bias – certain citrus oils have been shown to be irritating and damaging to cells at extremely high concentrations, but you don’t find those studies flagged in the databases. Only the ones with the names that sound strange to the public.

    With that said, I assure you, there is no formaldehyde in our product, nor will any form on your face from using our product.

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