New Beauty awards- our take on the Skin and Anti-Aging categories
SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic ($144): Despite a plethora of new antioxidants seemingly coming out every other day claiming to be the best, CE Ferulic remains a perennial favorite. I’ve used it for years and while I’ve tried other antioxidants from time to time, CE Ferulic is a true staple in my skin care regiment. Yes, it’s expensive, but it has solid science backing the formulation. I know it works - not because of what I’ve seen - but because of what I continually don’t see over the years– fine lines, age spots, dulling skin. But CE Ferulic isn’t just for prevention. With regular application and combined use with synergistic anti-aging products including a broad spectrum sunscreen, it can even help turn back the clock. This is a powerful free-radical fighter worthy of your anti-aging arsenal. (TIA has cleverly identified a virtual twin that is certainly worth investigating.)
Ingredients: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($49.50) While hydroquinone has been the longstanding gold standard for addressing hyper pigmentation, news that it may cause cancer and subsequent ban of the ingredient in the EU has everyone scrambling for alternatives. Clinique touts this OTC formulation to be an industry breakthrough and as effective as Rx strength hydroquinone (maybe that’s why Clinique calls it “Even Better”?) CL-302 complex, a proprietary blend of a ‘rare’ botanical (Dianella Ensifolia), salicylic acid, vitamin C (in ascorbic glucoside form) and blackout yeast enzymes are the ingredients that supposedly make Even Better a breakthrough product. Clinique claims that Dianella Ensifolia (aka umbrella dracaena - the plant’s proliferation in Florida’s State Parks has warranted Invasive Plant Science and Management…aka extermination) has antioxidant properties making it a powerful pigment inhibitor. There is no clear evidence to back up this claim. Moreover, Clinique never actually calls the product an exfoliator but it is indeed an exfoliant masquerading as a serum. To say this product is the BEST in its category is a stretch. Despite rave reviews from many beauty editors, actual user reviews are all over the map. The only thing that seems certain is that you’ll have to wait at least a few months to see the effects of Even Better – if it works for you.
Ingredients: Dianella ensifolia, ascorbyl glucoside, blackout yeast extract, and trametes versicolor extract (brightening ingredients); glucosamine and salicylic acid (exfoliants); curcuma longa turmeric root extract and scutellaria baicalensis root extract (antioxidants); glycyrrhetinic acid turmeric root extract (anti-irritant)
Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 ($29) I really love this sunscreen and was thrilled to see it on the Best Products list. I’ve recommended this to many clients as the formula is oil, paraben & fragrance free. The lightweight formulation contains 10% Zinc Oxide which is a safe mineral based physical sun blocker; ergo it also provides broad spectrum protection against both UVB (burning) rays and UVA (aging) rays. Moreover, zinc oxide is a mild antimicrobial and wound healing substance, considered to be non-comedogenic. Per new FDA guidelines and the American Dermatology Association (ADA) guidelines, it’s imperative that your sunscreen has a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30– this formulation has an SPF of 46! Forget the SPF 100 formulations - any sunscreen over SPF50 has such a minute incremental benefit (approx .01%) that you are wasting money as many sunscreen manufacturers generally charge more for higher SPF formulations. Keep in mind that SPF only addresses UVB meaning the amount of time you can safely stay in the sun before burning. A good sunscreen is your first defense in age management so I would list this under the anti-aging category as well!
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (9.0%), Octinoxate (7.5%); Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water, Cyclomethicone, Niacinamide, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 70 ($10) It breaks my heart to see this sunscreen on such a prestigious list of products. I’m also extremely confused about the reason New Beauty put it on the list. New Beauty notes the ‘key ingredient’ to be micronized silica powder. Silica in the body, as previously noted on TIA here is a toxic, carcinogenic substance. Yes, this is a topical sunscreen but it is micronized, a term not uniformly used so it’s not clear how “micro” the particles actually are and the jury is still out on exactly what size particles can penetrate skin. Regardless, Neutrogena’s selling point on this sunscreen is Helioplex, not silica powder. According to Neutrogena, Helioplex is comprised of Avobenzone, stabilized with Oxybenzone. Two wrongs do not make a right (see below). Moreover, according to the EWG, there is relatively high level of potential harm in ALL the active ingredients in this product. Check out the actives and sleep with one eye open tonight: Avobenzone (sunlight causes this unstable ingredient to break down into unknown chemicals), Oxybenzone (chemical that absorbs through the skin in significant amounts. It contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans according to Centers for Disease Control research”), Homosalate (forms toxic metabolites, and can enhance the penetration of a toxic herbicide), Octisalate (a penetration enhancer, which may increase the amount of other ingredients passing through skin), Octocrylene (produces oxygen radicals when exposed to UV light). Why use this sunscreen when there are so many safer alternatives?
Disclosure: I own Johnson&Johnson stock -parent company to Neutrogena- and I still feel you should avoid this sunscreen like it’s the plague. (J&J are not terrible - They make excellent Band-Aids!).
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6%
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Caprylyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), BHT, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acrylates/C12 22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Trideceth 6, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Disodium EDTA, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance
PaloVia Skin Renewing Laser ($499) As previously posted on TIA; PaloVia is an at-home use device from major laser maker, Palomar Medical Technologies. Until now, the technology was available exclusively to medical professionals, however the PaloVia laser is FDA approved for home use without specialized training. Laser rejuvenation heats the dermis (second layer of skin - below epidermis) causing a type of “controlled wound” in order to induce collagen growth. The PaloVia harnesses laser technology to reduce fine lines around the eyes. More detail on the device is available here. TIA has conducted tests on the device and some like it and some not so much, however the products’ efficacy hasn’t been denied. Testing is still in progress and early impressions on a forthcoming review are impressive. Here’s a preview: “As far as I'm concerned no eye cream even approaches the results the PaloVia yields. My eyes look refreshed and I can see a lifting effect at the corners.” As a licensed esthetician, I generally feel that some treatments, especially any form of skin rejuvenation, should not be performed at home and are best left to “trained” professionals. That said, the overall results from this device are extremely convincing, and depending on your pain thresholds, this little laser can yield remarkable results over time. I might just need to get one for myself!
Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($195) Clarisonic brushes are a longstanding staple at TIA. I have the travel size Clarisonic MIA ($149) in turquoise that I’ve taken everywhere with me. You charge it overnight and it's good for twice daily use for over a week. Clients have often asked me why they get blackheads. Many people, regardless of the amount of sebum they produce, could greatly reduce the number of blackheads they get if they simply cleaned their faces properly morning and night. The Clarisonic is not a face brush in the scrubbing sense. I’ve seen it compared to drugstore brands that claim to be as good as the Clarisonic, but in truth they are just rotary face brushes, whereas the Clarisonic employs sonic frequency (oscillation) that literally shakes all the dirt/makeup out of your pores. My face just isn’t as clean without it! The Clarisonic is not an inexpensive technology but TIA has found an alternative worth “Sirius” consideration at a third of the price.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Face Advanced Anti-Aging Serum ($159) Prevage in the Elizabeth Arden formulation is the OTC version of Allergan’s Rx strength PrevageMD. The Arden Prevage contains 0.5%. Idebenone, a synthetic antioxidant patented by Allergan. I had excitedly purchased and tried the original Elizabeth Arden Prevage formulation only to break out in hives the first day I used it. A quick Google search revealed cosmetic forums teeming with complaints of similar skin reactions to idebenone. Elizabeth Arden re-formulated the serum but I’m personally not taking any chances. Putting my allergy induced bias aside, TIA reviews on the Prevage Body product do show that idebenone has worked well for those not allergic to the synthetic. Prevage claims to be “the most powerful antioxidant for correcting and preventing degenerative cellular damage caused by environmental assaults.” I haven’t seen any clear evidence that idebenone is “the best antioxidant” so I wouldn’t have put Prevage on this list. Vitamin C (in stable and bio-available form) is probably the anti-oxidant with the most clinical evidence to back its efficacy. But I suspect that’s because it’s one the earliest substances discovered to have anti-oxidant properties so there are more studies available. As Marta had noted in her Jan 2010 review regarding idebenone: “Having said that it is still a good antioxidant. Just not the best in the world.” That remark still holds true in Jan of 2012.
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Peg-8, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Hydroxydecyl Ubiquinoyl Dipalmitoyl Glycerate (Idebenone), Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Ergothioneine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Arundinaria Gigantea Leaf Ferment Filtrate, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Caprylyl Glycol, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Pca, Trehalose, Urea, Phospholipids, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Sodium Acrylate/Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyquaternium-51, Polyisobutene, Xanthan Gum, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Tetrasodium Edta, Mica, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzoic Acid, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Sorbic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Red 4 (Ci 14700), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)
Baby Quasar ($399): This LED device was a TIA favorite until it was trumped by the Sirius Aurora LED Light Therapy System ($149.95). I had purchased the Baby Quasar and found the surface area to be annoyingly small. Full face treatment was extremely time consuming. My first attempt to use the device was while watching the final episode of “Lost “and it took close to a full hour to treat my entire face. After a few chimes of the rather unpleasant sound of the buzzer reminding me to move the device to another area of my face, my then significant other asked me to “turn off that bloody beeping sound”. I returned the Baby Quasar the next day.
Stay tuned for highlights of TIA’s take on New Beauty’s 100 Best Products of the Year under the Hair category!