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Well, readers, I’ve finally decided to do it: After years of yo-yo dieting, I’ve decided, once and for all, this will be the year I get back to 115 pounds. (For the record, I’m 5’4″).

I always was 109 pounds and happy with that, and then I ended up gaining 35 pounds in 2013. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, PCOS, and insulin resistance.

But the weight stuck. It’s been six years and one healthy pregnancy, and at the start of this year, I was still up 25 pounds from my ideal weight. I finally decided, no matter how hard it was, I was going to do this. Health issues be damned.

So far, I’ve lost 10 pounds since March, which means I only I have another 14 to lose, and I’m so there.

The thing is, my son is now 15 months old, and we’ve finally settled into more of a reliable, structured routine. I feel like I’m able to take time nightly to exercise (the Peloton is my girl, if you know what I mean!), and I have started to see a dietitian again. I’m doing 1200-1600 calories a day, eating a lot of green salads, and cooking a solid amount of protein-and-vegetables-type-meals for dinner. The point is, I’m making life changes, and it feels good.

For the record, I know I’m not fat. I’m 129 pounds right now, a solid size 4, and I’m healthy. Overall, I think I look OK, although I still think my face looks too wide on videos (sometimes I’m too self-conscious to even post them, how messed up is that?!), and I broke my nose a few years ago, so I also think my nose looks too wide now in general. I mean, I don’t feel very pretty most of the time, at least not compared to five or ten years ago, if I’m being honest. But, I mean, I do plan to get my nose fixed once I’m done having children (pregnancy does crazy things to your bone structure!), and I am doing something about the weight. Sometimes I think true acceptance of yourself starts with being honest about your true feelings, and working up from there.

Anyway, if you would like to join me on my fitness journey, follow me:

On Peloton, I’m @nickiZBenvenuti

On MyFitnessPal, I’m @nickibenvenuti

All the best,
Nicki

The post Follow Friday + Nicki’s Personal Updates: Join Me on My Fitness Journey this Summer! appeared first on FutureDerm.

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Glow Recipe is a K-Beauty brand that rose to popularity after being featured on the television series Shark Tank. The product they are most well known for is their Watermelon Glow Sleep Mask, but the entire line is best known for its incorporation of (and highlighting of) various fruit extracts. The recent launch of their Pineapple-C Bright Serum is getting a lot of buzz and positive reviews, so I thought I would give it a try for myself!

Ascorbic Acid

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, no skincare routine is complete without a vitamin C derivative, so I am a huge fan of the ascorbic acid in this serum!

According to the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, vitamin C has many favorable aspects for the skin, including:

Dr. Jeannette Graf also adds in Dr. Burgess’s Cosmetic Dermatology text:

  • “Topical vitamin C increases levels of tissue inhibitors of collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1). “

According to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, topical application of vitamin C has been shown to prevent UVA-mediated phototoxic reactions in porcine [pig] skin, as well as to supplement depleted vitamin C levels after UVA exposure. According to the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, UVA-induced damage includes the release of oxidative species, resulting in immunosuppression, photodermatoses, photoaging, and photocarcinogenesis.

In addition, according to the study in the British Journal of Dermatology, topical application of vitamin C also protected skin from UVB-induced damage, as measured by erythema and sunburn. According to the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, UVB-mediated damage includes activation of MAPK and NF-κB pathways that can result in erythema, hyperplasia, hyperpigmentation, immunosuppression, photoaging, and skin cancer.

Topically-applied ascorbic acid has also been linked to improved skin laxity, improved skin texture, and an improvement in overall skin appearance (Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery).

My only issue with Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum is that it contains only 10% L-ascorbic acid — most formulations studied in journals are using L-ascorbic acid in concentrations of 15% or higher. I’m assuming that Glow Recipe went for 10% because they’re assuming you’ll get another 5% from its inclusion of pineapple fruit, but I’m not entirely convinced. As I’ve said before, fruit extracts can vary in vitamin C concentration depending on their seasonality, soil quality, and overall ripeness at the time they were picked. So I would’ve definitely preferred a 15% L-ascorbic acid concentration with a “vitamin C from pineapple” added bonus.

Pineapple Fruit Extract

In addition to being a natural source of (who knows how much, it varies) vitamin C, Pineapple Extract also is beneficial for the skin because it contains an enzyme called bromelain. A lot of natural skincare brands and companies claim that this enzyme helps with exfoliations and contain anti-inflammatory properties. This sounds all well and good, however, there are no large-scale human research studies to back up the claims that the bromelain in pineapple fruit extract will improve your skin.

There is one study conducted in 2012 that states that when bromelain is taken orally it “…can be used as an effective health supplement to prevent cancer, diabetes, and various cardiovascular diseases in the long run.” As I’ve mentioned many times on this site, your skin does not absorb nutrients the same way your digestive system does so I am skeptical of the skincare benefits of pineapple fruit extract until more research has been done.

Squalane

Squalane is one of the most common lipids produced by the skin cells and is a component of sebum. Squalane is commonly used as a moisturizer and acts as a quencher of singlet oxygen, protecting the skin surface from free radical damage caused by UV exposure. Although it is an oil, it does not have an oily feel and is odorless, noncomedogenic, and antibacterial, making it safe for sensitive skin. It is also used in treating skin concerns such as seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.

Although squalane is produced naturally by the body, production slows drastically after age 30, which contributes to dry skin. It’s a great addition to this serum!

How to Use

I use Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum only a couple of times a week because it contains exfoliating ingredients (lactic acid) that shouldn’t be mixed with retinol products. On a superficial level, I think the packaging is really unique, fun, and creative. Because it contains pineapple fruit extract there is a very strong pineapple scent so if you are not a fan, you might not be into this as the scent does linger on your skin throughout the day. Another nice benefit to this product is that it contains chamomile and aloe which are very soothing ingredients and great for those with sensitive or reactive skin types. After applying it gives your skin a healthy glow which I love!

Bottom Line

While I don’t have a ton of faith in pineapple fruit extract, I think this serum is worth trying because it contains other effective ingredients like squalane and ascorbic acid which are going to assist in brightening and hydrating the skin respectively. It also contains exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid so if you have sensitive skin be sure to introduce this into your routine slowly, and don’t use it on nights that you are also using retinol.

Ingredients in Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum: Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Water, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Dimethicone, Ascorbic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Squalane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Extract, Hexylresorcinol, Arginine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Fragrance.

The post Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum Review appeared first on FutureDerm.

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By now, everyone should know the benefits of double cleansing. It’s very rare that you’ll find a normal cleanser that removes all makeup and impurities at once, so if you wear makeup at all you really have to go in with an oil-based cleanser first.

Drunk Elephant is one of the most popular brands at Sephora, and known for its high-quality ingredients and innovative packaging. Recently they released a brand new cleansing balm cleverly named Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter. An innovative cleansing balm that melts all traces of dirt, makeup, and sunscreen from the skin, removing even water-resistant formulations. It also includes a Bamboo Booster for exfoliation.

Safflower Seed Oil

The small orange safflower plant is a medicinal pot of gold! Dermatologically speaking, safflower seed oil has cleared vitiligo (skin pigment discoloring), mild rashes, acne, rosacea, and high rates of alopecia recovering when coupled with hair-restoring mixtures (International Plant Genetic Resources Group 25-30). Studies also noted that babies who were rubbed four times a day for five days with the safflower oil had increases in essential fatty acid levels, especially linolenic and arachidonic acids (Leslie S Bauman – “Safflower Seed Oil”).

Because this product is a cleanser and not a leave-on serum or moisturizer, you won’t be getting all of the benefits that Safflower Seed Oil provides. But what you will get is a nice clean that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils or leave it feeling tight and dry.

Bamboo Extract

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter is pretty much your standard cleansing balm. It’s filled with good-for-your-skin oils that break down your makeup without stripping your skin. BUT what sets it apart from the others is the Bamboo Booster that comes with it. One to two times per week, you add the Bamboo Booster to Slaai for a “customized, skin-refining physical exfoliation to aid in the removal of dead skin cells that have accumulated on the surface overnight.” I suggest using this sparingly, especially if you use retinol, as rough exfoliants can cause skin irritation.

The Bamboo Booster contains… you guessed it, bamboo extract. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many, many years and, subsequently, most of the research about this plant in skin care have been done in China. It’s been shown to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties (China Surfactant and Detergent and Cosmetics). There are claims that it has anti-aging potential, and early research is positive, but there’s not enough to back up the claim just yet. Bamboo isn’t as powerful as another antioxidant tea, green tea. In tests looking at the antioxidant properties of various teas, bamboo has one of the lowest antioxidant capacities and amounts of flavonoids (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).

Charcoal Powder

The Bamboo Booster also contains charcoal powder. 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. Charcoal can also be drying to normal-to-dry skin types, so it’s only recommended for those with the oiliest of skin types.

How to Use

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter comes with a green spatula which can be used to scoop out the product. Apply to dry skin, massage thoroughly, and remove with a washcloth or muslin cloth. If you want to emulsify it more, just add a little bit of warm water. Once a week, add the Bamboo Booster into the mix for extra exfoliation. But be aware if you are using retinol; you might want to skip that step as it could irritate your skin. There are no added dyes or fragrances to this product so it’s safe for sensitive skin, and it doesn’t leave any residue behind.

Bottom Line

This is a great product. Drunk Elephant could have easily just made an average cleansing balm and called it a day, but the attention to detail is what really sold me on it. The bright green lid is magnetized and includes a spatula which sticks to the lid. You use the spatula to scoop out the product which keeps everything nice and sanitary. Even though it contains effective ingredients, I can take or leave the Bamboo Booster as physical exfoliants can be too rough for the skin. Especially if you’re using retinol. If you’re looking for a makeup remover, I’d definitely recommend this one.

The post Drunk Elephant Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser Review appeared first on FutureDerm.

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No one can deny that sheet masks are one of the most popular skincare products on the market right now. According to Karen Grant, vice president, and senior global industry analyst at the NPD Group, “Masks attract today’s consumers with the promise of immediate results in treating a variety of skin flaws […] New formats and formulations that address individual needs appeal to the consumer looking to try something different without spending a fortune.”

The Dr. Jart Vital Hydra Solution Sheet Mask is a cellulose sheet mask that promises to deeply hydrate and replenish skin’s moisture levels. Believe it or not, the fact that it is cellulose matters: Cellulose types of sheet masks differ from traditional cotton ones in that they are actually an all-natural material, produced through cultured bacteria. They were originally manufactured solely for medical applications to treat burns and chronic wounds. The material adheres to the skin tightly, so less skin is missed, and the absorption properties have been proven to deliver key ingredients deeply into the skin, like the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 (Life Sciences, 2008) and hydrator glycerin (European Journal of Pharmaceutics andBiopharmaceutics, 2014). These types of masks also allow you to move around for lengthy amounts of time while you’re wearing them, which is a huge plus for me while I’m chasing my one-year-old around!

Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid

Before I get into hyaluronic acid, let’s talk about that “hydrolyzed.” Hydrolyzation is simply a chemical process involving the reaction of a substance (here, hyaluronic acid) with water and another acid, hydrochloric acid, to form a modified substance (hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid). Hydrolyzation generally makes ingredients absorb into the skin more quickly, so they don’t have that “heavy” feel atop the skin.

In general, however, regular ol’ hyaluronic acid has the same effect as hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid as a natural moisturizing factor (NMF). In fact, non-hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the skin, on the uppermost layer of the skin, providing natural hydration. So when you topically apply hyaluronic acid, it has similar effects to when it’s naturally produced.

This is different from, say, collagen, which is produced and found predominantly in the deeper layers of the skin, so when you topically apply collagen, it has very little effect other than hydration and temporary skin plumping atop the skin — not like its natural function below the skin’s surface.

When you apply hyaluronic acid to the skin, it also draws water into the skin, reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). It helps to temporarily stabilize and maintain the complex intercellular-skin matrix, which is the “glue” that holds the skin together. Hyaluronic acid also creates a slight swelling of the skin that temporarily reduces the appearance of wrinkles. So if you’re looking for a quick boost of hydration, hyaluronic acid is going to be your best bet, so it’s no surprise that it is included in this sheet mask.

Algae Extract

Science is currently limited on the full effects of algae. On the one hand, isolated polyphenols from brown algae have been shown to boost UV protection (International Journal of Cancer, 2009). Considering the fact that 80-90% of the visible signs of aging are attributable to UV damage, that’s no small feat. And a French study suggests red algae have similar UV protection-boosting effects, as well as in stimulating collagen synthesis and acting as a potent antioxidant. Algae has a low irritant potential for the skin, according to some studies, such as this 2004 study from the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Still, other studies suggest that algae can be a significant irritant (Journal of Allergy, 1966).

Because the jury is still out here, especially on if this ingredient is an irritant, so proceed with caution on this mask if you have sensitive skin. I also wouldn’t use the Dr. Jart Vital Hydra Solution Sheet Mask nightly due to the inclusion of algae — the risk of creating an allergy is too high, in my opinion.

Ginger Root Extract

One of my favorite dermatologists, Dr. Leslie Baumann, wrote about ginger in her blog. Baumann reports that ginger in skin care “can improve circulation, which has led to increasing research into the ways it could be harnessed to enhance the complexion.” Baumann also says that ginger exhibits antioxidant properties, although it may cause some irritation in those with sensitive skin. In the journal Phytomedicine in 2005, ginger extract in concentrations of 0.6 and 1.8 mg/site was shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory in rats with induced edema. In addition, it was suggested in the article “Eat Ginger, Rub On Pomegranate” in the journal The Lancet Oncology that (guess what) ginger is beneficial when ingested as well due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Use

If you want to give the Dr. Jart Vital Hydra Solution Sheet Mask a fair shot, be sure you set aside 20 minutes to really let it work it’s magic! After a certain amount of time, ingredients will reach a threshold of penetration in the skin, meaning that very little is to be gained from having the material on the skin longer (Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 2002). While some ingredients in certain delivery systems will take very little time to reach the deeper layers of the skin, most will take somewhere between 5-60 minutes to dissolve or absorb into the skin. Water and volatile compounds take 5-10 minutes (Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2010). The rate of dissolvation or absorption of the other ingredients depends on the environmental conditions (especially humidity), the temperature of the skin itself, the size of the ingredients, and the amount of product applied (Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2010).

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a quick boost of hydration or plumped skin before an event, you can’t go wrong with the Dr. Jart Vital Hydra Solution Sheet Mask! You’re not going to see any real long term benefits with this mask alone but when used in conjunction with a solid skincare routine, it will help any makeup you apply on top of it go on more smoothly!

The post Dr. Jart Vital Hydra Solution Sheet Mask Review appeared first on FutureDerm.

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It’s been a few years since I’ve had a new hair straightener, so I was pretty excited when the black, stylish n:p beautiful box arrived at my front door.

Likes

From the digital display to the curved design, I like everything about the design of the n:p beautiful flat iron. This is the only flat iron I’ve ever owned (or heard of, for that matter) that has vibrating plates, which make the tool more efficient. The automatic safety shut-off feature appealed to me, as I’m notorious for forgetting to turn off small appliances.

Dislikes

My prior straightener was set to my preferred temperature, but that doesn’t appear to be an option with this flat iron. This isn’t a deal breaker, but something I’ll have to adjust to. Also, I’m slightly disappointed that it didn’t come with a storage sleeve or carry bag, like previous styling tools I’ve purchased as this price point.

Love

As a consumer, corporate social responsibility is important to me. I enjoyed learning more about the causes the n:p beautiful brand supports.

The first time I used the n:p beautiful flat iron, it became one of my favorite hair tools. It’s stylish, functional, and is a brand that is working to make a difference in the community. I am looking forward to trying more n:p beautiful products!

The post COMMUNITY REVIEW: n:p beautiful Flat Iron — My First (And Definitely Not Last) n:p beautiful Tool appeared first on FutureDerm.

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The weather is getting warmer and everyone wants to get that beautiful sunkissed glow! (Especially those of us like me, who tend to wear SPF 100 every day and cover up with pants!)

Enter self-tanners. Self-tanners are growing in popularity as more and more people are realizing the dangers of UV rays and tanning beds. The formulations are better than ever and have come a long way since the orange, streaky look most people used to associate self-tanning with.

How Self-Tanners Work

Most self-tanners work by using dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the main ingredient. According to a report from The Danish Ministry of the Environment, DHA reacts with amino acids and amino groups during the formation of melanoids (pigments), on the outermost layer of the skin (stratum corneum). The reaction between DHA and amino acids and amino groups results in the formation of pyruvate and other hydroxycarbonyl compounds. The resulting skin cells turn a tan-like color, which fades over time because the skin sheds itself completely every 35 to 45 days.

One Warning

But self-tanning is not without its risks. According to the respected journal Spectrochimica Acta, DHA in sunless tanners can increase free radicals by 180% upon getting sun exposure in the first 24 hours after application. Free radicals are responsible for oxidative damage within the skin as well as the rest of the body and can result in lasting DNA damage.

One way to protect yourself when applying a sunless tanner with DHA is to be sure that you apply an antioxidant serum, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and other antioxidant-rich foods, and to apply the tanner no later than 1-2 days before you go to the beach or any other location where you will be getting excessive sun exposure.

Be sure you keep up with your application of antioxidant serums and sunscreen throughout the day, particularly in the first few days after application.

If you follow those steps, you’re ready to get your tan on! Here are some of the best, most innovative products on the market.

James Read Tan H2O Tan Drops Face

Don’t want your self-tanner to interfere with your skincare routine? You can incorporate it seamlessly with the James Read Tan H20 Tan Drops. It is a water-based formula that won’t clog your pores and includes hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera. It can be applied as a serum or added to your moisturizer for a bronze glow that doesn’t get in the way of your daily routine.

Loving Tan 2 Hr Express Self Tanning Mousse

The Loving Tan 2 Hr Express Self Tanning Mousse is a fan favorite among beauty lovers. It comes in three shades (medium, dark, and ultra dark) and comes in a traditional mousse formula and is applied with a tanning mitt. Let it develop for two hours and then rinse it off in the shower. Don’t be alarmed when all the color rinses off! That was just a color guard, and the actual tan will develop over the next 4 to 8 hours. No more orange bedsheets!

St. Tropez Gradual Tan Lotion

If you’re looking for something more on the natural side, you can’t go wrong with the classic St. Tropez Gradual Tan Lotion. It gives you a soft, sunkissed glow without ever looking too intense or too orange. It’s hydrating, quick drying, and as a bonus – doesn’t need to be rinsed off!

The post What Are the Best Self-Tanners? appeared first on FutureDerm.

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Laneige is a K-Beauty brand best known for its ultra hydrating sleeping masks. (I personally use their Lip Sleeping Mask religiously, even if their marketing of it pisses me off a little bit). Recently they’ve expanded their collection to include products like cleansers, BB cushions, and toners. The Laneige Fresh Calming Toner is a hypoallergenic toner that “fuses together nutrient-rich deep sea water and lychee peel extract to deliver soothing skin relief.” Because it’s brand-new to Sephora, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the ingredients to see if it’s worth adding to your cart!

Deep Sea Water

Deep Sea Water (DSW) is one of those ingredients that sounds really gimmicky. In actuality, it has limited, but substantial, research backing it up. In a study involving patients with atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) treated with DSW, they saw an improvement of skin symptoms such as inflammation, lichenification, and cracking of the skin. AEDS patients typically have an imbalance of various essential minerals, so using DSW helped to restore some of the essential minerals such as selenium, and reduced the levels of toxic minerals such as mercury and lead in the treated patients. An in vivo study showed that DSW can improve skin symptoms like dryness, itching, and transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

If you have dry and/or irritated skin and are looking for a suitable non-irritating base for a toner, you can’t go wrong with Deep Sea Water! Its inclusion in the Laneige Fresh Calming Toner is a huge selling point for me.

Butylene Glycol

Butylene glycol is a well-known penetration enhancer (International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 1999) that also act as a “slip agent,” improving the feel of ingredients on the skin. As loyal FutureDerm readers know, because I say it all the time, glycols “thin out” a solution, but also simultaneously have enough “bulk” to them to also make them more water-binding and hence more hydrating.

There is an internet rumor around glycols that started about a decade ago when people realized the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) can cause liver and kidney damage and act as a skin irritant. However, MSDS sheets refer to 100% concentrations of a substance, and in the very small concentrations used in skin care cosmetics, it is not a concern. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “studies have not shown these chemicals [propylene or the other glycols as used in cosmetics] to be carcinogens.”

There is only one minor concern in my book: Butylene glycol may make your skin more susceptible to irritation when used with irritating skin care ingredients. Glycols enhance the penetration of other ingredients into the skin as an absorption enhancer. There are only 10 ingredients in the Laneige Fresh Calming Toner, and none are common irritants, so I am not really concerned — but it is something to keep in mind if you have ultra-sensitive skin!

Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract

Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract is a newfangled “nutracosmetic” ingredient in Laneige Fresh Calming Toner. Because people are increasingly looking for natural and/or organic ingredients, you’re likely to see a lot more fruit-based ingredients in your skincare, including Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract.

As far as natural ingredients go, I think Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract is more comparable to an apple or lychee extract (with some moderate antioxidant activity) than say an antioxidant-packed green tea or white tea. That said, studies show that components of Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract, including anthocyanins, vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid, and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) all maintain their antioxidant activity when Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract is taken from the fruit (Food Chemistry, 2007).

It should be noted that Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract is marketed as a UV filter as well as an anti-aging/anti-stress ingredient, but the studies for these appear to be in-house (from the creators of the ingredient, BASF) and limited to the public (SpecialChem). My honest conclusion is that this is an antioxidant that is a source of vitamin C like many other fruits (such as apple or lychee extract), but is not necessarily an ingredient I would buy the product exclusively for, especially not given the low concentration of it in Laneige Fresh Calming Toner.

How to Use

After double cleansing my skin, I apply a little bit of product to a cotton round and apply to the dry areas of my skin. Not only does it add a nice boost of hydration and calm my skin down after cleansing, but it’s also a nice prep for the serums in my routine because it includes butylene glycol that will help increase absorption.

Bottom Line

Overall, I think Laneige Fresh Calming Toner is a solid product with a good roster of ingredients. There are no added fragrances and colors and no gimmicky filler ingredients or anything that seems unnecessary. Ironically enough, I think the best ingredient in the product is the Sea Water. It’s not a miracle product by any means, but for just $27, if you have dry skin and are looking for some hydration and extra cleansing from a toner, you can’t really go wrong!

Ingredients

Water, Propanediol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ppg-13-Decyltetradeceth-24, Butylene Glycol, Sea Water / Maris Aqua / Eau De Mer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium Edta, Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract, Tocopherol.

The post Laneige Fresh Calming Toner Review appeared first on FutureDerm.

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What is your opinion please on very low weight hyaluronic acid (hydrolyzed sodium hyaluronate — molecular weight 10kDa) contained in some hyaluronic acid products? There is some research that associates very low weight hyaluronic acid with inflammation and scarring. Also, I would be grateful for any recommendations you may have for a hyaluronic acid products for use after at-home dermarolling. -N

Dear N,

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is both naturally found in the body and used many popular skincare and beauty products (but it might be most famous for that one Eva Longoria commercial for L’Oreal Revitalift!) Hyaluronic acid resides in both the epidermis and the deeper dermis, where it plays a key role in hydration, skin repair, and protection against free radicals and UV damage. It is able to bind moisture in up to 1,000 times its own weight when topically applied to the skin (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2004) and also helps the skin heal after injury (American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2005; Biologicals, 2011).

However, skincare fanatics have been criticizing hyaluronic acid because of its large size. The 500 Dalton rule states that molecules larger than that cannot penetrate the skin; therefore, the quite large 1-1.5 million Dalton hyaluronic acid isn’t penetrating the skin at all. Instead, it binds to water atop the skin, forming a gel. It may still have proven effects in studies as far as hydrating and preventing water loss go, but it’s not plumping the skin from within.

Enter the SLMW (super low-molecular-weight) form, which is just 10,000 Daltons. (It should be mentioned Ultra Low Molecular Weight (ULMW) Hyaluronic Acid is also available, at less than 6,000 Daltons (6 kDa)).

Any low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is made by enzymatically cleaving high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid into small fragments. These smaller fragments can no longer form a gel with water like the large molecules, but they can theoretically penetrate the skin much easier and actually have a better anti-irritant and regenerating effect once absorbed by the skin. The high molecular form of HA has a better hydrating effect than the low-molecular form of HA.

Because they are theoretically able to penetrate the skin easier, they are being marketed as a more effective version of hyaluronic acid and popping up in more and more products.

Why I Like Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid

While even the lowest molecular weight hyaluronic acid will not penetrate the skin (6,000 Daltons is a lot more than 500 Daltons!), they do produce hydrating and plumping effects that are superior to that of higher molecular weight HA. An in vitro study found that LMW HA (110 kDA – 300 kDA) improves wound injury, whereas HMW HA (1,000 – 1,400 kDa) and SLMW HA (5 – 20 kDa) had no healing effects (21).

I theorize this is because you’re covering a greater surface area more thoroughly. For instance, if you’re painting a roof, you’ll typically use more paint if you use small strokes of paint, rather than single large brush strokes. Each small stroke of hyaluronic acid means your skin is collectively binding more water and forming more gel with HA.

But yes, as you mentioned, there have been studies conducted that show “macrophages exposed to low molecular weight HAs are encouraged to produce pro-inflammatory mediators associated with the classically activated state.” Macrophages are associated with the inflammatory or healing response in the skin. For this reason, I would NOT use low molecular weight HA on skin that is sun damaged, abraded, open, etc. Otherwise, I personally think it is fine.

What are your thoughts on hyaluronic acid? Let me know in comments below!

The post Ask Nicki: Is Low Weight Hyaluronic Acid Better Than Regular Hyaluronic Acid?  appeared first on FutureDerm.

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Carolers may chant, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” at Christmastime, but for hardcore skincare fans, we know that the most wonderful time of the year is Sephora VIB Time! (Woot!)

Twice a year (in Spring and Fall), Sephora holds their VIB sale. Rouge members get 20% off the entire store, while Insiders and VIB’s get 15% off. This may not seem like a lot, but considering the fact that Sephora seldom has popular items on sale otherwise, it’s a pretty big deal.

In 2019, Rouge members can start using their discount on April 26th while everyone else can start May 2nd- 6th. If you’re looking to add some items to your skincare routine, this is the perfect time to do it! I put together a quick list of what you should add to your cart, and what you should skip.

What to Buy

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

Drunk Elephant has a win on their hands with their new Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser. It contains a number of cleansing ingredients capable of removing both oil- and water-soluble ingredients, which is always a plus, given that some of us now wear sunscreen-primer-concealer-foundation-powder-contour-blush on the regular. (No judgment, I do it too when I have the time!)

While I’m not crazy about all of the fruit extracts in a cleanser (why, you’re just going to rinse them off!), I do love Sunflower Seed Oil, which contains about 60% linoleic acid, an oil that is naturally incorporated into skin lipids and prevents water loss.

In true Drunk Elephant fashion, it comes in unique and innovative packaging, with a magnetic cover that a small spatula sticks to. You use this spatula to scoop the product out making it much more hygienic. It is gentle enough to be used around the eye area, and it quickly transforms from oil to milk upon contact with water. If you’re looking for a product that melts away makeup and sunscreen, I recommend picking this one up!

Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Lauryl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-3 Laurate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Ananassa (Strawberry) Seed Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-2 Caprate, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Ximenia Americana Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Glycerin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum

In doing research for this post, I found that Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum may actually be more effective than 2-4% hydroquinone products. In at least one study, kojic acid combined with glycolic acid was more effective than 10% glycolic acid or 4% hydroquinone alone for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Another study by Lim et. al. found that 2% kojic acid in combination with 10% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone further improved melasma symptoms over a mixture of 10% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone alone.

While I’m not sure Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum has 10% glycolic acid (in fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t, since it has 10% ascorbic acid and glycolic acid is considerably further down the list), it does have the kojic acid + glycolic acid concentrations mentioned in the first study (I’m pretty sure, at least, I can’t tell without knowing the exact formulation).

After about 6-8 weeks of nightly use, this product should significantly reduce the appearance of dark spots. I’m a fan.

Ingredients: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Kojic Acid, Dimethyl Isosorbide, PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Tocopherol, Mandelic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Arbutin, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Azelaic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Quercetin, Phospholipids, Soy Isoflavones, Ergocalciferol, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

Part of what makes Good Genes so effective is it contains both lactic acid and licorice. A popular alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), lactic acid has smoothing abilities similar to that of glycolic acid. However, the advantage to lactic acid is that it does not temporarily thin the skin like glycolic acid does, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This is particularly useful as we’re heading into the summer months, when UV rays are the strongest.

Licorice root extract, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra L., is primarily used to help to prevent and treat age spots in skin care. It’s also been used to treat eczema, dermatitis, cysts, and pruritis. A study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment showed it to be an effective agent for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Licorice root extract has also been used in skincare as a method of improving moisture retention and as a histamine and vasodilator. It’s used as an anti-inflammatory for subacute and chronic dermatoses and to treat other chronic conditions like contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

In other words, this stuff WORKS and you should definitely add it to your cart!

Ingredients: Extract Blend [Water/ Eau/ Aqua, Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Agave Tequilana Leaf (Blue Agave) Extract, Cypripedium Pubescens (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharomyses Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract] Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Ppg-12/ Smdi Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20, Glyceryl Stearate,Peg-100 Stearate, Arnica Montana (Flower) Extract, Peg-75 Meadowfoam Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil, Triethanolamine, Xantham Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, Dmdm Hydantoin.

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47

Argan oil has three times the amount of antioxidant vitamin E found in olive oil and is rich in linoleic acid and oleic acid. An omega-6 unsaturated (i.e., contains double bonds) essential fatty acid, linoleic acid has been shown in several research studies to be capable of reducing inflammation and acne and increasing skin’s moisturization levels. Linoleic and oleic fatty acids may both help protect and maintain skin elasticity, smoothness, and radiance.

According to a competitor’s in-house clinical tests, subjects showed a 38 percent improvement in lines after eight weeks of using their upcoming argan oil-rich firming face cream. If you’re looking for an effective, natural SPF you can’t go wrong with this one!

Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Glycerin, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Methicone, Alumina, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Chloride, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Fragrance, Bisabolol, Dimethicone, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Laureth-12, Ethylhexylglycerin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

What to Pass By

Herbivore Jade Facial Roller

People who love Jade rollers swear that the stone and its massaging properties helps to fight wrinkles, aid with blood circulation to the face, assist in detoxification, decrease puffiness under eyes and around face, tighten the skin, and help to absorb moisturizers more fully. But there isn’t a ton of science that backs this up. They’re really only good for their massaging properties. And even then, the friction coefficient of a lot of gemstones is lower than that for a lot of other materials, indicating that there would be less frictional force rubbing against your skin than with, say, a plastic or rubber dermaroller.

Further, a lot of the benefits come exclusively from massage, which “may help to fight wrinkles, aid blood circulation, assist in detoxification, decrease puffiness, tighten the skin, and help to absorb moisturizers.” Better to massage your face with your fingers, so save your money!

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

I like a lot of Drunk Elephant products but this one just doesn’t really do it for me. This vitamin B serum feels like a rip off of Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, except the Skinceuticals product also contains a ton of hydrating hyaluronic acid. This DE product instead has a bunch of fruit acids, which seems odd in a hydrating product.

First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

Save the coconut water and quinoa for your smoothie. Yes, these ingredients are fantastic when ingested, but when topically applied to the skin, your skin cells don’t have the machinery necessary to break down these ingredients into their component vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and amino acids. Best to pass by.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream

The percentage of vitamin C as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate — somewhere in the realm of 5% — is way too low for me to get behind this. That said, it glides on the skin well and absorbs alright, but it might be a better product for someone with normal to dry skin than those with oily skin.

Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb

Even though it contains some ingredients I really enjoy (panthenol, oat extract, and ceramide) I’m not a fan of belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb for anything other than mild to moderate moisturization. It’s not going to result in the same wrinkle and fine line-reducing activity as, say, an eye cream with retinoids or AHAs, peptides, or high levels of vitamin C might, nor is it going to brighten up under eye skin as well as a cream with, say, vitamin C, kojic acid, azelaic acid, or any of those heavy-hitters. But, at the same time, if you’re young and looking for an eye cream to help treat mild to moderate dryness, this is OK — just not sensational, so maybe save your money and splurge on something else!

Bottom Line

There are a ton of great skincare products at the Sephora VIB Sale this year, but a few I also wouldn’t recommend. I hope this guide helps you get the most of your % off!

The post Sephora VIB Spring 2019 Sale Guide: What to Buy, and What to Pass By appeared first on FutureDerm.

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Air-Brush Envy

As a young female living in the digital age, I’m constantly bombarded with “air-brush-perfect” images of models on social media — especially Instagram. Models with skin so glow-y and perfect, one can only dwell in envy. Thus, my hunt for the perfect makeup base began.

I started my search with foundations more on the heavier side, my armature understanding back then was “the more pigment the better the air-brushed appearance.” The result of this, of course, was me mastering the “face-mask” look. Not very Instagram worthy!  

Makeup experts have recommended I try products more on the lighter side, but I still wasn’t pleased with the results. They appeared to have no decent coverage, and if I dare layer the makeup, was stuck again with cakey, un-natural looking skin. I just couldn’t seem to find the right balance of lightweight and amazing coverage. I remember giving up and settling with foundations and creams I wasn’t completely happy with. Until…

Flawless Skin At Last!

I sampled the Osmosis CC Cream by chance but without much expectation. After trying it on, I was left speechless, and, wait, flawless!?

One of the first things I noticed when applying the product was its unbelievably smooth texture. It was comparable to applying lotion which made application fairly quick and easy, as well. No makeup sponge or brush was needed during my first application. In fact, it moisturized my skin just like high quality face moisturizer would and gave my face that instant, healthy-looking glow, with an added blurry effect. Flawless skin at last!

After a Day of Wear

I remember coming home after a busy day to inspect the damage of a day of wearing a new product. To my surprise, there was no blemish developing (which is what I was used to after a hectic day), and although some of the product had faded away (an easy fix by reapplication of simple touch-ups throughout the day), my face maintained the blurry and flawless appearance. If possible, an even more natural look then when I newly applied the cream!

Finale

Overall, Osmosis CC Cream provides sheer, natural coverage. I had no breakouts during the sampling of this product and was surprised to notice my face maintained its healthy-looking glow even after the removal of the product. It turns out Osmosis sticks to ingredients designed to protect and heal your skin, instead of simply just covering up flaws — which tend to be from unhealthy skin in itself. I’m over the top happy with this product, and will continue to wear!

The post COMMUNITY REVIEW: Osmosis CC Cream appeared first on FutureDerm.

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