Real Time Beauty Questions

Sometimes anti-aging  ingredients and skin care  product descriptions sound like a review sheet  for  a medical board exam.  This week  questions about two  anti-aging ingredients sent  me to Pub Med, the  NIH online medical library for the answers. 

Question 1– What is Idebenone?

This is a synthetic antioxidant that is designed to mimic CoQ10, a naturally  occurring oxidant found in our cells.  (FYI  CoQ10 which is responsible for energy, decreases as  we get older).  Idebenone is an especially powerful antioxidant, perhaps the most powerful antioxidant in our anti-aging arsenal. Antioxidants in general  help prevent aging by dealing with free radicals in the cells.  Our biggest sources of  free radicals are cigarette smoke, alcohol and sunlight.  It certainly makes sense to put antioxidnts into a sunscreen where it can do hand to  hand combat  with … Continue Reading…

New Respect for Retinol

I have often mentioned my reservations about retinols vs the more powerful retinoids like Retin A.  When applied to the skin, retinols have to convert themselves to  a true retinoid before they can be effective. Researchers estimate that a retinol is only 25% as effective as a Retin A.   For example, a .1% Retinol (  a very common concentration) is equal to a .025 Retin A–  which is actually the mildest Retin A on the market.  And then there is the problem that most retinol products don’t say how much of the power  stuff they actually contain.  You can’t know if a  product is to weak to be effective or too strong and irritating. 

I stayed away from retinol products until wandering in the exhibit hall  of a derm conference, I picked up  free samples … Continue Reading…

Do We Need Facials Now That We Have Lasers?

True story.  Several years ago, I was recruited to do an in-store event for a popular exfoliating  scrub.  The plan  was to  set up a mini spa in a Wal-Mart in suburban Arizona.  I was not really looking forward to it.  I had just finished a before and after project for a publisher and the results were pretty awful with the befores looking better than the afters.   Now I was facing  a crowd of real women  who expected results.

It only got  worse when I  had to wear a little white lab coat with my name stitched on the  breast pocket. As the facialists went to work,  I tried to  hide behind the  bags of dog  food that flanked  the temporary spa.  They were offering a very basic facial  that consisted of an exfoliating scrub,  warm compresses, a peel -off mask and ending with a toner.  As I watched the treatments, … Continue Reading…