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Ask Marta: Your Questions Answered

ask marta your questions
November 12, 2013 Reviewed by Marta 11 Comments

My inbox fills up every week with questions about regimens, skin concerns and product recommendations. Every now and then, I select those that I think other readers will relate to. Whipsawed with worry over dry, sagging skin? Agonizing over which device to pick? Going potty over serums in jars? It's all here. And if it isn't, then ask me your question. 

Q: I have oily/acne-prone skin and tend to break out with most heavy hitters. What's a good option for me?

A: Because this question crops up frequently and I have breakout prone, oily and very sensitive skin, I’ve been going out of my way to find effective anti-aging serums that have been formulated with us types in mind. Michael Todd True Organics Knu Anti Aging Face Lift ($150). Not only does it smooth wrinkles with copper peptides, Matrixyl 3000 and epidermal growth factors, but it soothes my skin on disgruntled days and, according to Michael Todd, can help with acne and rosacea. This may be due to the inclusion of snail slime. Really!

Medik8 CE-Tetra ($115 in the shop) is a standout a 7% concentration of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a potent but stable form of vitamin C. In the past, I have rarely been able to use vitamin C because it is too drying (even for my oily skin) and causes irritation. Not so Medik8 CE-Tetra. This is extremely well-tolerated by my skin. Oh, and it works.

Q: I am looking for the most effective products for wrinkled knees and firming cream for sagging skin above the knee.

A: The best thing I have found for wrinkled knees is a regimen: exfoliate, hydrate and firm.

Exfoliate: To exfoliate I use a glycolic such as Arcona Pumpkin Lotion 10% ($35). This is not a wimpy formulation; it contains very few ingredients and each is determined to do a thorough job including10% glycolic acid lotion pumpkin ferment AHAs.

Hydrate: Stemulation Relance Body Lotion ($98 in the shop) is one of the most rewardingly hydrating body lotions and has impressive anti-aging chops with growth factors as well as some excellent botanicals for tackling wrinkles longer term.

Firm: The most effective firming cream I have found is Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Age Repair Body Lift ($95). Although designed for "bust, belly and behind", it works a treat on sagging knees and flabby thighs. Finally, regular use of Ultra Renew Sculpt ($129) firms body areas with ultrasound at 1MHz, FAR infra-red LED and EMS (electro massage stimulator).

Read more about sagging and wrinkled knees

Q: Do active ingredients remain potent if they are in a pot that can be exposed to the air, rather than a closed pump system?

A: Typically, cosmetics are manufactured for a three-year shelf life and are subjected to testing to see if they will remain stable without the product being compromised in any way. Airless pumps can help keep products fresh and may mean that fewer harsh preservatives and stabilizing ingredients can be used. However, other compromises need to be made to, for example, the density and viscosity to ensure the product goes through the pump.

If the formula is designed as a rich cream, then a pot may be the most practical option. But what about those actives disappearing into thin air every time that you remove the lid? Some ingredients are inherently unstable, such as vitamin C (although newer versions such as MAP are much improved on the stability front). But most antioxidants and peptides will not evaporate into thin air and will last the three or four months that a product is typically in use for.

So now you might be more confident to try some pots of gold, such as BRAD Michael Todd’s moisturizer with Matrixyl 3000, Damascus Rose Enriched Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($89) or BRAD Biophotonic Skincare’s Ultra Elastin Sculpting Firming Cream Complex ($195), an active packed serum and moisturizer in one.

Q: I have VERY dry skin and sagging facial and neck areas. I just want something for sensitive skin that works. I know I can’t look 50yrs again (I am 59) but would just like to keep the status quo. I noticed a brush for cleansing and a machine that helps for sagging skin?

A: The Ultra Clear is a facial cleansing system  by Truth in Aging ($86) that is great for sensitive and mature skin. As proper cleansing and exfoliation is the foundation of a good skincare regime, it's a great addition to one's regimen.

The Ultra Renew Plus ($159 in the shop) combines ultrasonic and LED to help firm and lift, repair wrinkles, help with hyperpigmentation, as well as breakouts. This is a great multi-purpose tool, and our founder, Marta Wohrle, finds that ultrasonic is the best thing she has found to help firm and plump sagging skin.

To help with dry skin, you might consider the Hyalogic Episilk line, which formulates with super hydrating sodium hyaluronate and is very suitable for sensitive skin. In particular, the Episilk Pure Hyaluronic Serum ($59.95 in the shop), which also has Pepha-Tight, an instant skin tightening active.

Another product I recommend that has been a Five Best for Sagging Skin, and is also great for hydrating, is the La Vie Celeste Extra Rich Face Cream with R-Lipoic Acid, Chronoline and Apple Stem Cell ($75 in the shop) – ChroNOline is a peptide that helps with elasticity and supporting sagging skin.

Q: Should I incorporate sodium hyaluronate into my regimen? If so, what should I use? 

A:  It is important to understand how sodium hyaluronate works. It is water-binding and water-attracting. Some people in very dry climates report that sodium hyaluronate serums make their skin drier. This may because, this water attracting active draws on the moisture in the skin when there is little in the atmosphere. If you live in a normal to humid climate then it can be very useful as it fills up the spaces between the connective fibers collagen and elastin in the dermis and prevents elastin from getting dry and brittle.

Serums with hyaluronic Sevani Hyaluronic Wrinkle Defense ($60 in the TIA shop), Your Best Face Hydrate B Concentrate ($40 in the TIA shop) and Prana Active Vitamin Lift Serum ($75 in the TIA shop).

Q: I am interested in a device but am struggling to decide between Myotone and Ultra Renew Plus.

A: Myotone Facial Toning System ($279) is microcurrent and uses a subsensory electric current that delivers a pulse to the facial muscles and stimulates them and the surrounding tissue. Because microcurrent works at the muscular level and so is a good complement to LED and ultrasound, which plump and smooth the complexion. So, conceivably, you can use both (I do by alternating them during the week, two sessions Ultra Renew Plus followed by one Myotone session). If you have to choose, it will depend on your concerns. Myotone is mostly for firming, whereas ultrasound firms, and smooths wrinkles, as does LED. So if you only concerned with firming, Myotone would be a good choice. If you are concerned about firming, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation then the Ultra Renew Plus by Truth In Aging ($149) with LED, ultrasound and galvanic (positive and negative ions).

  • January 30, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Jean, adding vit C and hyaluronic to your aloe vera base sounds like a very good thing. I would not do ultrasound right after needling - as it would be best not to push a device against the skin for a day or so. The LED would be fine if you hover the device a centimeter from the skin.

  • January 28, 2015

    by jean mcginnis

    I add vitamin c and hyaluronic acid to the aloe Vera used with Ultra Renew Plus.Is this a good thing? Ihave also purchased a evoDerma unit.will these be good to use together, also I also do needling 2times a week. I use retinol serum and lotion at night. Any other things come to mind??

  • April 23, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Patricia, you can use any water-based serum. The only thing I would stress is that you do need to use a fairly thick layer (or keep applying) so that it doesn't dry out on your skin (a water-based product is required to improve conductivity) and so that there is enough 'slip' for the device to glide back and forth easily.

  • April 22, 2014

    by patricia

    What serums (carried in your shop), besides the Ultra Renew Gel Serum, can safely be used with the Ultra Renew Plus? I am not a fan of the UR Gel Serum and have been using the Michael Todd Knu serum the last couple of uses. Is this okay to use? I want to get the optimum results of this great device. I am in my early 50's, with wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and starting to sag around the jowl and chin area. (Wow that sounds depressing when it is in print!)

  • November 21, 2013

    by Laura

    Thanks for getting back to me so's much appreciated. I've had no problem with the slip over my skin at all. I'm using aloe vera gel and water based serums. I look forward to continuing my treatments. XOXO

  • November 21, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Laura

    The Ultra Renew Plus is a pretty forgiving device, so if you want to use it in circular motions with your cleanser, that would be fine. I use the upward motions as illustrated in the instructions. The Jenu is a very low powered device, meant to deliver products into the skin. It does not actually firm the skin, like the more powerful devices. We advise using the Plus under the eyes only with enough water-based gel to ensure very good 'slip' otherwise you may 'drag' on the delicate under-eye skin. If you are having any reaction there - such as swelling - you should not use it. I personally do not use it on the under eye area - just above the cheek bone and around the crow's feet.

  • November 21, 2013

    by Laura

    Hi Marta,
    I've used the ultra renew plus with the highest settings for the ultrasound and ion+ with no discomfort. I wish the instruction pamphlet provided had much more in depth information though. Like how to use it to cleanse with the ion mode ( circular motions all over face? ) and is it ok to use under the eyes/what settings etc. If I get anywhere near my under eye area I get terrible swelling. I thought I could use it for my under eyes and upper lip like the Jenu. I bought the Ultra Renew because I thought I was gettig more bang for my buck. :) I hope to hear from you soon! XOXO

  • November 17, 2013

    by Kimberly

    Thanks for responding so quickly, Marta! That's what I thought, but better to be sure. I must be a tough old bird, as I have it on the highest settings and don't feel a thing. LOL! What a great device!

  • November 17, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Kimberly,

    That is correct, you should not feel anything in LED mode. In ultrasound mode you should not feel anything providing you are using sufficient water based product. In ionic mode, it depends on the individual. Some people don't feel anything, others are more sensitive and feel a tingling. In ionic mode, start on the lowest intensity and then work up to higher intensity for as long as it is comfortable for you.

  • November 16, 2013

    by Kimberly

    Dear Marta,
    I was so excited to be able to purchase one of your Ultra Renew Plus machines. However, I did notice that I can't feel anything when it is on in all modes. Is this normal? I just want to make sure it is working correctly. The only time I have felt anything was when I accidently ran it across skin that didn't have any "slip" agent on it.
    Thanks in advance for your answer,

  • November 12, 2013

    by Charlene

    Wow so much information. I need to write it down then process. My initial
    Thoughts are to use my tua visa for facial muscle toning invest in an ipl gadget for my spot prone skin showing early sighns of aging hence how I stumbled accross this site. Continue with my home made vitC serum, perhaps add some hyleronic acid into the mix for good measure. Considering also investing in a dermaroller also to help assist all my home made products right in there. Has anybody experienced a dermaroller? Mom age 33 on a budget, but still wants to look fabulous.

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