The following list of product recommendations are in question and answer format. Click a question to see the response to each.
We offer kits that come with the core elements of our suggested regimen, and that is a great way to familiarize yourself with our line. You can also select one sample when checking out.
First: Avoiding essential oils just to be on the safe side is a good idea. I would add to the list:
All of our oils are excellent to help balance skin that produces too much oil, especially the Treatment Oil. Other products excellent for oily skin are all of the Treatment line products (Cleanser, Mist, Serum), the Daily Exfoliating Cleanser, Gentle Retinol Night Serum, and the Everyday Coverage Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30.
Our mists and oils target dry, dehydrated skin. The Rejuvenating Face Oil (formerly MVO Face Oil) and the Protective Day Oil are the place to start to replenish moisture and plump skin. Also, the Gentle Retinol Night Serum and/or Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum are excellent to bring dry skin back to life.
All of our oils penetrate deeply, are non-greasy, and have a base of Jojoba oil, which is wonderful for balancing oil production. Additionally, our Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum and Gentle Retinol Night Serum will moisturize, protect and repair skin, while helping to correct oily areas and dry patches.
Protective Day Oil, Pre+Probiotic Daily Mist, Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum and Redness Relief Serum are all protective, calming, and safe for you to use. Additionally, the Redness Relief will strengthen capillaries and prevent flushing episodes. And finally, the Everyday Coverage Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 will protect and even skin tone.
Our Lightening Serum is formulated to lighten spots and brighten skin. But this is only part of what is needed. To see results and prevent more spots from forming, you need to protect your skin during the day. For this we recommend the Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum, which protects against UVA rays, the ones that cause the spots, and Everyday Coverage Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30.
For aging skin we recommend starting with the Rejuvenating Night Oil or Protective Day Oil and paring with the Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum and/or Gentle Retinol Night Serum. These products will address issues such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation while preventing further damage and infusing health and moisture to lack-luster skin.
Our Treatment line was developed to address breakouts, clogged pores and scars. Use these products to treat these issues safely and effectively. For adults and non-pregnant women, the Gentle Retinol Night Serum is another great product to address these issues as well as issues related to aging or damaged skin.
For some products, such as our oils and mists, you may see a difference immediately, as skin gets a super-dose of nutrients and moisture. For other products, such as the Lightening Serum and Gentle Retinol Night Serum, the repair work is happening deep within the skin and results may take up to three months. Generally, most people new to the brand will see increased skin health within a couple of weeks and improvement of skin conditions such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation within three months.
On products that would work well for you—I see Gentle Retinol Night Serum working well for you to deal with hormonal acne and ameliorate scars from previous breakouts. But for discoloration, we recommend layering Lightening Serum with Gentle Retinol Night Serum at night, so you get the benefits of both. You would apply a thin layer of Gentle Retinol Night Serum followed by Lightening Serum, and you can add Rejuvenating Night Oil, Extra Healing over top if your skin feels dry. Then in the morning, use Protective Day Oil and sunscreen and you are good to go.
On the Eye Serum—no snail products in this one, just lots of great age-prevention ingredients like SOD, aminoguanadine and carnosine. I find this to be a much gentler yet far more effective formulation than the old one.
There are no plans to do so at this time.
To your question about "thinning the skin". Here's where the confusion comes in—as we age our epidermis gets thicker and our dermis gets thinner.
Vitamin A actually reverses this process, and here's how:
Epidermis - Your top layers of skin get thicker due to slower cell turnover rates. The dead skin cells pile up, giving your skin a dell, rough texture. Vitamin A normalizes skin cell growth and development, which induces growth of healthy new cells in a normalized rate of cell growth and death. It also increases deposition of glycosamineglycans in the epidermis. Both functions induce a compact stratum corneum, which improves water barrier function. In addition, the increase in normal cells helps to proportionately decrease epidermal melanin, so you get a lightening benefit if one of your aging problems is hyper pigmentation.
Dermis - In the lower layer of skin vitamin A increases deposition of collagen by promoting new collagen production and inhibiting action of enzymes which break down collagen.
So, use of vitamin A thickens skin where you want it thick (the dermis) and makes a more compact layer of healthy skin cells on the surface, where you want, as much as possible, to have optimal water barrier function. The top layer of skin gains in elasticity and overall texture is improved.
The downsides of vitamin A that are real include:
Retinoic acid in such forms as tretinoin and isotretinoin are used for treating severe acne, and they are very strong. There are side effects, like redness, dryness and peeling, and it is sold by prescription only as it is a teratogen. People with severe acne sometimes find Accutane is their last resort, but of course we encourage everyone to try other methods first.
Retinoic acid used in applications to treat aging symptoms can be very useful, since it is retinoic acid that does the trick. Low concentrations are usually well tolerated, but if they are not there are some very good retinol products that come close to achieving the same effects as retinoic acid in preparations like Retin-A. Gentle Retinol Night Serum is a good product because it achieves damage reversal effects on Retin-A type levels because of its high concentration of retinol (7%)—and it is gentle because conversion from retinol to retinoic acid happens as the skin requires it—so it's more gradual and much less aggressive.
Even so you can expect some redness and dryness with a retinol product but this indicates that the product is working—adding a moisturizer or oil blend after the retinol application is usually enough to ease discomfort of dry skin. The skin goes through a period of adjustment because retinoic acid is working at the cellular level to repair signs of photoaging. It is the ONLY ingredient that does this, which is why I concur with all the dermatologists who say, besides sunscreen, use a retinoid—and either retinol or retinoic acid does the trick—to delay signs of skin aging.
There are a number of retinoids or vitamin A derivatives. The two most popular are retinol and retinoic acid.
Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A, and is formed in the body by the hydrolysis of retinyl esters, and converted by enzymes into retinoic acid as the skin needs it. Retin-A (and other prescription products) is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A derived from retinoic acid.
Both improve signs of skin aging, but because retinol converts to retinoic acid the results are slower to manifest than with Retin-A. On the other hand, Retin-A’s strong effect on cell differentiation often produces side effects such as redness, peeling, dryness and flaking of the skin. Retinol has a much milder effect on the skin, so adverse reactions are rare. Bottom line: You achieve the same results with both, but retinol takes a bit longer.
Retinoids are the one ingredient that all dermatologists agree you should use to correct photoaging damage, and there are numerous studies attesting to its effectiveness. But as with sunscreen, a product is only as good as one’s willingness to use it. Or in the case of retinol, one’s ability to tolerate it. My challenge was to come up with a retinol product that even people with sensitive skin could use. My solution was Gentle Retinol Night Serum.
So glad you asked!
We use retinol, not retinoic acid, which most people—even those with sensitive skin—can tolerate. We moderate potential irritation by including salicylic acid, a powerful anti-inflammatory that allows us to use higher concentrations of retinol (7%) than you'll find in other retinol products. The retinol is encapsulated so it can exist in a low pH environment without degrading. We use the other vitamins necessary for skin repair, L-ascorbic acid (stabilized) and vitamin E, to take advantage of the synergistic effect to be gained from using all three vitamin powerhouses together.
The end product is Gentle Retinol Night Serum—it delivers results like a Retin-A product but without the irritation.
Who can use it?
Any adult interested in addressing problems associated with photoaging, like wrinkles, dryness and age spots. It also helps clear pores, control breakouts and lessen post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. People who should not use it include pregnant women, nursing mothers or people who still find it too irritating. As with any retinol product, use it only at night, and be sure to wear sunscreen during the day, every day.