My Face Serum May or May Not Contain Foreskin; Advances in Skincare

Scanning over the ingredients of my super luxe TNS Essential Serum I see that it has Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media at the top of the list. Could this strangely sounding element really be why the serum is know to be so effective (not to mention pricey at $260 a pop)? And is it the skincare equivalent of Soylent Green? Is it really made from humans?

Actually, I think it is.

SkinMedica, the company that makes TNS calls Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media ‘ A physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin tone and texture.’ Googling around gives some mixed results; it’s thought by some to be derived from newborn babies’ foreskin (!), but I can’t find a clear explanation about its origin and the company isn’t giving details so the jury is out. Since it’s listed as ‘human’ on the ingredient lineup, I’ll assume it’s something of the sort however it’s derived.

While the use of young stem cells is gaining some serious traction on the scientific front in age reversal research, some companies who can afford to purchase the technology (like SkinMedica) are starting to offer products that are more cutting edge than ever. TNS Essential Serum isn’t new and has developed a bunch of crazed loyalists claiming that it has made their skin look 15 years younger and that they’ve tried to do without it but because of the cost, but they eventually return when they discover nothing else works as well. Its function is to repair and protect by fading discolorations, improving skin tone and texture while also preventing future damage – it’s a do-it-all (better be for the cost right?) replacing other creams and serums and narrowing down the steps to your routine.

I’m only a few weeks into using it during the day, it replaced my C serum and moisturizer and does a good job of hydrating and priming the skin for makeup. It has two separate chambers inside so when you pump it out you get a serum from one side of the bottle and a light lotion from the other that you mix together and apply. I hear the scent has recently changed which is good because it stinks. Really stinks (like foreskin?). But the scent fades and you don’t smell it any longer after it’s blended in.

It’s too early to tell if it’s making a difference, but it’s worth a shot. Because I’m pregnant I’m off Botox and my skin has been lackluster to say the least so I’m hoping for a miracle in a jar. I’ll keep you posted with an update in a few months to see if it works as well as they say.

New From Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare and Peter Thomas Roth

A few new launches have caught my eye recently in a vast landscape of ‘more of the same.’ I haven’t tried either one, but I’m looking forward to checking out new innovations by two companies I’ve grown to really love.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare has a new Vitamin D Serum Oil $65 for those of us who are so good with sunscreen that the sun’s own vitamins can’t penetrate to nourish the skin. I was way low on D years ago because I’m a crazed SPF weirdo and now take a vitamin D daily, but haven’t explored using it topically until seeing this serum. It’s formulated to be available to the skin without sunlight and they mixed it with Vitamins A, E, B, CoQ10, as well as Glycolic and Ferulic Acids to get some hydrating and brightening benefits in there as well.

Peter Thomas Roth added a new addition to their way popular Un-Wrinkle line to hydrate and brighten up dull skin. Illuminator Instant Brightening Moisturizer $68 combines 3 color correcting shades of light pigment that blend with the skin to brighten dullness and neutralize redness. For me, the home-run is the combo of a wrinkle fighter with a skin perfecter – I love multi-tasking skincare that helps your skin to look great so you don’t need to use as much makeup in the end.

Because It’s Worth It… Where to Spend a Little More Money

If you haven’t watched the adorable Marcel The Shell video that’s such a huge hit on YouTube – you have to check it out below (and click HERE to see it if you get this post delivered via email). The the couple who produces it has already written a book and is in talks to develop a series staring their lovable one-eyed shell after just 2 videos. I watch it religiously. It just makes me smile.

http://youtu.be/Ta9K22D0o5Q

My favorite line is at the end when he says he smiles because it’s worth it. Which caused a mental domino about what’s really ‘worth it’ in terms of popping the lock off the wallet and spending a little more for an investment in your skin looking great. I’m not someone who thinks you have to spend a ton to look great – I recommend drugstore finds as often as department store ones – but there are a few exceptions that are so great that I’ll spend the extra cash because I know they’re worth it.

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation:

I’m scraping the bottom of my jar of Chantecaille Future Skin that I got almost 2 years ago. I heard so much about their foundations that I purchased the jar at a counter not knowing it was $72 and then tried to play it off when she told me my total like it wasn’t twice as much as I’d ever spent on foundation. I quickly discovered that after I tried every type of foundation that passed my desk, I’d happily return to Future Skin. Its coverage is fantastic, staying power terrific, and the look of it is so natural – which might be because it’s made of 60% water and seaweed. The higher price tag could be attributed to its treatment benefits like reducing sebum and calming redness with chamomile and green tea – but who knows. All I know is that I’m mentally preparing for another $72 purchase very soon, but at least this time I know it’s worth it.

Liz Earle Cleanser:

Cleanse & Polish, the cleanser that I’ve referred to as ‘near perfect,’ is so worth an order from the UK based Liz Earle (or from Fred Segal Santa Monica- their only stateside location I know of.) It’s not a pricey buy at $25 for a 3.3oz pump (and around $7 to ship), it’s the ordering that makes it a little more of a challenge than grabbing a bottle at a store like we’re all so used to doing. I’m so addicted to this thick, creamy, lightly Eucalyptus scented gentle cleanser which removes all makeup so effortlessly, that when I try out a new cleanser to review it’s what I measure them all against. It’s a gold standard for a cleanser and one that’s so popular they have an automatic refill service and also a 3 pack available to make getting this perfect cleanser as easy as possible.

SkinCeuticals Serums:

SkinCeuticals is renowned for their high-potency, crazy effective serums designed to correct, fade, protect, and calm – whatever your skin happens to need. Their C E Ferulic is probably their best known do-it-all serum with vitamins C and E and Ferulic acid to protect the skin against environmental damage and skin aging. They use the purest, best forms of vitamins (like L-Ascorbic for their C) for maximum benefits and create combinations with other vitamins and acids for the very best skin absorption. Serums compliment any skincare routine and are so beneficial using only a few drops a day making them worth their $100- $150 cost.

Estée Lauder Eye Creams:

Eyes show age. It’s that simple. Getting that thin skin moisturized and protected is important, as is finding an eye cream that has some beneficial ingredients and proven science. So many eye creams are a complete waste – basically just plain moisturizers in a smaller jar without any true benefits. I trust and love Lauder’s eye creams – they have something for every skin type and concern, but their Re-Nutriv eye creams are their supreme offerings. With too much science in them to explain (or understand, really) I just know that when I use a Lauder eye cream, I can see the difference. I can waste money $35 at a time with something that isn’t working, or just fork out the $100 (ish) to see a difference and keep the Botox away a little bit longer.

Don’t worry, I’m also rounding up a ‘not worth it list’ (hello mascara!!) so you can save your pennies on things that are all pretty much the same.

Vitamin C for Sensitive Skin

We all know what a big difference using Vitamin C makes, but some C serums can irritate sensitive skin and worsen breakouts. Bioelements Advanced VitaMineral C Complex is a light lotion starring Acerola Cherries, a super antioxident boasting 3000% more C than oranges for a more gentle efficacy . It’s combined with essential oils to soothe, and minerals to nourish so it makes a perfect day treatment that fights aging on even the most sensitized (or acne prone) skin.

Professional Skin Care From the L.A. Experts

What would 2 L.A. based plastic surgeons and a facialist know about skin? A lot actually. Keeping celebs camera-ready in the age of HD and paparazzi (where grocery shopping can turn into an impromptu photo shoot) is the cornerstone of their businesses, so formulating their own lines to get the exact results their clients need is a natural next step for their successful clinics. Here are 3 I’ve tried recently that give celebrity-worthy results to us little people.

Of the few things I sampled from the Kate Somerville line, I was most impressed by her Anti Aging and Acne collection, a totally underrepresented category of skin care. It’s for those who are still experiencing slight to moderate breakouts in their 30′s and beyond where drying the hell out of your face to banish acne isn’t the best option for a youthful skin texture. Her Oil Free Moisturizer balances skin hydration levels carefully so as not to exacerbate oiliness or breakouts and also uses Pepha-Tight, an exclusive skin toner and tightener for a firmer looking face.

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

Also worth checking out is her Anti Bac Clearing Lotion, a 5% prescription strength, time-released Benzoyl Peroxide that’s strong enough to wipe out acne but gentle enough to  protect skin from the typically drying and peeling effects some acne fighters cause.

Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion

Dr. Solieman is a double board certified plastic surgeon who developed Jolie MD Metamorphosis to refine lined, blemish-prone, hyper-pigmented, and oily skin into a clearer, more vibrant version of itself. His two step system uses an arsenal of proven ingredients that helps overall skin clarity like Glycolic, Salicylic, Vitamin A, and Whitonyl to name a few. The two light lotions are layered together nightly for a deep down exfoliation revealing the clearer skin you’ve been hiding all this time.

Dr. Garth Fisher is known for his appearances on ‘Extreme Makeover’ as well as the guy who fixed Bruce Jenner’s earlier too-tight face work. Even Kim Kardashian raves about his line, CellCeuticals and says her whole family has been using it since they’ve met him. Extreme Defense is a best-seller because it’s a good-for-all skin protector that targets daily environmental pollutants known to advance skin aging. He uses Vitamins A, C, E, Green Tea, and Vitamin B5 along with Almond and Avocado oils to soften the skin without a heavy cream. His line is straightforward and so effective that he touts visible results in just 2 weeks.

More Fantastic Eye Creams

Since I’ve been off Botox, I’ve been busy testing out a whole slew of treatments to curtail my crow’s feet. Here’s another tested and approved array of eye creams I’ve used that help you not to look as haggard tired as you feel.

For Dry Eyes with Early Signs of Aging:

Advanced Night Repair has been one of my very favorite eye creams for years. Lauder created this little miracle potion with a unique texture to it like a thick serum so you can slather on as much as you’d like without a thick build up. It feels like a quenching gulp of water for that delicate eye area that’s so vulnerable to dryness and fine lines.

For an All Purpose Cream

If you aren’t protecting that delicate skin under your eyes yet, you really should be. Noah’s Naturals has a popular ‘green’ Eye Cream that delivers light hydration and antioxidants for just $10.

For Quick Wrinkle Erasing

I like feeling the intense tightening brought on in minutes by Freeze 24/7′s Anti-Aging Eye Serum. Everything from this line is designed to give quick, visible results and this eye serum is no exception. Use it sparingly and go easy on the concealer over top, it causes makeup to drag a little bit,  but considering how it erases crow’s feet, eh who cares?

For Tired Looking Eyes

Everything in Glytone’s Anti-Aging Eye Cream is meant to take the tired look out of eyes; Caffeine to reduce puff, Licorice to lighten dark circles, and Red Tea to protect from future damage. There’s even a shot of Glycolic Acid to mildly exfoliate the skin to allow brighter skin come through.

For De-Puffing Naturally

I’ve been using various things from Desert Essence for years now and I’m glad they finally got into the skin care game. They created a (big tube of) Coconut and Olive Oil rich cream that helps reduce eye puff. Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream gets the moisture level perfect, use it solo or mix a little in with your concealer for a custom tinted eye cream. If you’re super puffy in the morning, store the tube in the fridge and make a habit out of using it when you stumble into the kitchen for coffee.

For Firming

I’ve been on an Osmotics kick lately. Sure I’m a sucker for a Denver-based company, but I’m also sucker for a line that’s edited and focused. Anti-aging is their thing, and Blue Copper 5 Firming Eye Repair is an anti-aging treatment for the eyes. It’s a best seller for them because of its dreamy gel-cream texture packed with healing Copper, Peptides, and Vitamins to firm and contour skin while incidentally acting as a nice little primer for makeup as well.