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How Do These Work - Layman's Terms Please
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pnw
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Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:28 pm      Reply with quote
Hello everyone, I would like to ask for a consensus on how a few of my products work on my different layers of skin, specifically, but in real skincare for dummies terms.

At night, when I use my retinol, is it exfoliating the top layer while ALSO rebuilding collagen deeper?

Every other night, when I use a glycolic or lactic acid instead, does it just exfoliate the top layer?

Every morning, when I use the vitamin C serum, am I rebuilding collagen at the deeper layer and also healing the exfoliated top layer?

When I use my enzyme peel, what am I doing?

When I use my O2 serum, am I just enhancing the effects of other actives?

Are any of the above products increasing elasticity?

I just want to get straight what it is I am doing to my skin so i can make sure I am rebuilding but also exfoliating enough to get effectiveness. I also want to figure out if I am missing anything important. TIA
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Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:25 am      Reply with quote
Thanks for asking this PNW!

(*sitting quietly in the corner with a notepad awaiting responses*)

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m.april
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Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:39 am      Reply with quote
Hi pnw - Your regimen sounds very good to me -- it's quite similar to my own. I think you have an excellent understanding of what the various products are doing for your skin -- from what I know, you've essentially nailed down each one's purpose and effect. I haven't tried my PSF O2 serum sample yet, but I use everything else you listed for the same reasons you've described. Enzyme peels work in a similar way to glycolics -- they dissolve the "glue" holding the stratum corneum (outermost layer) to the skin, sloughing off dry patches. I prefer this type of exfoliation to a manual kind where the skin is vigorously rubbed/abraded. Retinol and Vit.C are supposed to penetrate more deeply, and both promise to help restore collagen -- thereby helping to preserve/renew elasticity. Time will tell! My skin's condition has improved using these types of products since last summer.

The only other thing I regularly add to this regimen is faithful sunscreen use.
pnw
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Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:29 pm      Reply with quote
m.april, thanks so much for your reply!

It sounds like my pumpkin enzyme peel and my glycolic/lactic acids do the same thing. They all seem mild to me. Do I need them all? I wonder what the difference is and why so many of us use both plus extra strong glycolic peels (which I am still debating)?

My glycolic acid is 12%
my lactic acid just comes from buttermilk (%?).
my pumpkin enzyme peel is at 5% but also contains BHA.
Is a peel like Epidermx stronger?

I just started using the o2 spray and noticed a difference with my skin , so I believe that it does enchance actives. I sandwiched it with my retinol at night. I am using 1% but I swear it doesn't do anything dramatic to my skin on its own and it is never irritated or peely so it was nice to see a difference!

Again, I wonder if I would see more results if I used a stronger glycolic/lactic acid peel on top of what I am using or if my skin is just more tolerant.

For all who are interested in using the o2, I pm'd Darren about using it with vitamin C (I was concerned about oxidation). Here's the response:

Quote:
You can use the O2 Serum with the vitamin c. It might slightly oxidize the vitmain c, but not to the extent that it will decrease it's efficacy. It will act as a penetration enhancer though, although the low pH of the c serum should deliver it adequately. We suggest using the Vitamin C in the AM & the O2 Serum in the PM. If you decide to use them together, please let me know how you like the combination and if you notice a difference either way.
m.april
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Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:49 pm      Reply with quote
I've used glycolic acid CREAM (MD Forte 20-30%) from time to time in the past to help with acne and crusty skin. It works gradually. I've never had a glycolic peel. Since I've started using IS Clinical Firming Complex which has a lower % AHA (5), I've discovered that I like using something weaker better -- my skin doesn't get TOO dry and irritated, and there are other good things in the FC as well. I used glycolics more when I had a few spells of acne in my late 40s, probably due to the approach of menopause. Now that I'm in my 50s, I don't need it so often, especially since the FC is also antiacneic. Plus, SC Retinol .5% takes care of any breakouts for me. I'm not sure I'll be able to tolerate the 1% I recently purchased, but I'm going to try when the weather gets warmer and more humid. BTW, SC recommends that its retinol be used alone for maximum effectiveness, so I'm not sure how to incorporate PSF O2 serum into my regimen. Maybe your brand of retinol is different.

I use these much more regularly than the pumpkin enzyme peel, which I only use every 7-10 days. When retinol, etc., has caused the outer layer to dry and build up, it really dissolves the crusty skin fast and I like the immediate effect.

I've also used lactic acid peels to dissolve crustiness for a more immediate effect, but I like the pumpkin enzyme mask better.

So, while these acid products are all exfoliating, they don't work in quite the same way.

Epidermx sounds intriguing and people rave about its ability to diminish lines and roughness. But my skin is already smooth with just a few fine lines and I'm nervous about using something abrasive along with the acid products -- I worry it could be too irritating. Some Epidermx users have rubbed their skin raw and I'd never want to do that to my face! Exfoliating the outer layer with acids leaves my skin somewhat vulnerable and I'm afraid of damaging it.

If the results you're looking for are related to line reduction and/or firming, it may be safer for you to be patient and let the products you're currently using gradually refine your skin. Only you can tell if you can add something stronger or more abrasive into the mix.
pnw
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Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:39 pm      Reply with quote
Hi m.april,

If I am right, it sounds to me like you are mainly using retinol and the pumpkin mask once a week for crusties these days? That's partly where I am confused. I use a 1% retinol now and have been using retinols for at least a year. I have never experienced dryness or peeling, just softness and glow, so I keep thinking I should go stronger on the retinol or use a stronger peel to enhance penetration. I am using the PSF line and the O2 serum is designed to be used with the retinol. I can't think of why you couldn't use it the same way. The SC company may just want it used separately from all of their other products, but never considered O2. I would not use my retinol at the same time as my vitamin C or my glycolics, for example.
m.april
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Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:38 pm      Reply with quote
Hi pnw - It could be that since SC Retinol isn't combined with any other active ingredients, it's stronger than PSF retinol. Or the type/form of retinol could be different. I can assure you that SC .5% is very active and causes dryness and peeling. That's why I can only use it every other night, at most. The PSF Pumpkin Enzyme Peel makes my skin shiny and glossy, which is why I don't want to overuse it -- I don't want my skin to be too exposed and end up with more freckles rather than less. Even though I use a good sunscreen, no sunscreen completely blocks damaging rays.

I've used many samples of other retinol products, and even used MD Forte Skin Rejuvenation Lotion (which contains retinol and glycolic acid) for a couple of years, but none of them came close to exfoliating my skin as aggressively as SC Retinol does. That's why I'm not sure I'll be able to tolerate 1%.

If you're looking for a stronger product, you may want to try SC Retinol, however, the .5% sample sizes I tried aren't as strong as the full-size!
pnw
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Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:06 pm      Reply with quote
Gosh, I wish I was seeing the kinds of results you are! I actually started with the SC .5% and used it every night - nothing! So I went up to 1% but switched to PSF. You may have a good point concerning the type of retinol, though. I don't know what SC uses, but I know that PSF uses "all-trans-retinol". Alot of others are seeing results with green cream at much lower strengths, as well. I wonder what their retinol type is?
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Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:08 am      Reply with quote
I have been using PSF O2 serum first and follow up with Skinceutical .5 to 1.% in the past 4 months with no problem and still see continues improvement in my skin. I did peel a bit and also use the pumpkin peel to get rid of dry top layer. Retinol is an active, I think O2 serum can enhence the penetration of actives.

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m.april
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Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:21 am      Reply with quote
Well pnw, your skin is obviously a lot tougher than mine if you could use SC .5% nightly without any dryness or flaking. But since that's the case, I'd still worry about overdoing manual exfoliation. If all of these strong chemical exfoliators aren't working, I'd think you'd have to scrub like hell with an abrasive product to achieve exfoliation. That could cause broken capillaries. I could be wrong though.
pnw
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Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:35 am      Reply with quote
I agree m.april. I really don't understand my skin at all these days. So many others are seeing results with so much less. I like to be on the safe side with how I pamper it, too. It must be tough Confused , but I know from past experience it also cannot handle any abrasion. That usually leads to a big time break out and redness, UGH.

Wild Cat, thanks for joining us. I am glad to hear that your products are working nicely for you. I really like the PSF line and you are getting exactly the results I would LOVE to be getting.
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Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:09 pm      Reply with quote
pnw wrote:


Wild Cat, thanks for joining us. I am glad to hear that your products are working nicely for you. I really like the PSF line and you are getting exactly the results I would LOVE to be getting.


Hello pnw,
I am thinking about switching to PSF retinol 1% after I am done with my skinceutical one. I love PSF...esp. the O2 serum Smile

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pnw
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Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:37 pm      Reply with quote
The PSF 1% is almost like a moisturiser, it spreads very nicely. I also love the O2 and wish it wasn't so darned $$$. I just don't think I can afford it long-term.
Michelle in Toronto
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Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:13 pm      Reply with quote
Hi, I've been lurking here for the past couple months and quickly became addicted to all the wonderful advice. I'm also a product junkie and quickly acquired and tried a number of the products recommended here (IS Active, Hydra Cool, Intense Line Defense, 02, Pumpkin Peel, SC C E Ferulic, OCM, etc...)

I started using the SC .5% retinol, every third day, just to be safe. No reaction on first use. After I applied it the second time, I awoke the next morning to red skin and lots of peeling (couldn't wear makeup as it just looked cakey and peeled off). Thinking this might be a "good thing" in the long term, I foolishly applied it again, and this time my face went raw. It actually hurt. And I had several broken capillaries on my cheeks and a breakout on my chin, which seldom happens. (Funny thing, I was desperate so put some of my sample 02 on my big pimple and only had a dot left the next morning.) My face felt so tight I couldn't get enough moisturizer on it, and it looked very crepey. I was visiting my sister and had spent the last month telling her about all these great products I had just purchased but after she saw my skin she wouldn't go near them.

I had applied a couple layers of the .5% to an area on the side of my face where I have a couple age spots that I was hoping to fade and this area had a definitive red streak; I looked like I had scorched myself with a curling iron!

Another thing: I was using a SPF 30 religiously, but not at night, for obvious reasons. I sleep with my blinds open and sometimes the sun streams in. My bed is about 5 feet from the window so I didnt think anything of it. To my utter horror, when I looked in the mirror I had MORE age spots on my cheeks, and in places where I had none before.

Feeling quite scared that I had irreparably damaged my skin, I went off everything for the past week. The only thing I kept up was my 02 serum, and my Anew moisturizer, which seemed to help. Oh, and perhaps every 3rd day I used the C + Ferulic. (Not quite off everything I guess.)

I'm wondering now if I should completely abandon the retinol or give it another try. Perhaps only use it in targeted spots? Does my skin need to get used to the retinol more slowly. As someone else mentioned, I'm fearful that I will become even more prone to freckling and age spots.

(Sorry for such a long initial post!!)
Michelle in Toronto
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Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:15 pm      Reply with quote
One more thing, lol...I had a sample PSF, .5% I think, which I tried in spots without anything like the severe reaction I had with the SC retinol, so maybe there is something to the pure/sole retinol being much stronger.
pnw
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Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:39 pm      Reply with quote
Oh, that sounds painful, ouch Michelle! You seem to be having just the opposite problem I am having. I checked my SkinCeuticals brochure and they list their retinol .5% as a "preconditioning" product to be used by people with oily skin or acne prone skin but not for people with dry, normal or sensitive skin. Is your skin really sensitive?

Yes, you do need to start low and work your way up. Also, there is a line called "green cream" that starts you off at lower percentages, I think it starts with .03% (????). That's a BIG difference. (To compare, many people here say that they also can't go stronger than SC .5%.)

I was confused at first about the peelies also. What I understand now is that if you begin to see mild peeling and redness, back off again or go lower. I just haven't reached my ceiling yet. I hope you are feeling better!
Michelle in Toronto
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Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:32 pm      Reply with quote
Thanks pnw! I have normal to dry skin, not particularly sensitive before this. I am quite fair though with freckles, and burn easily, so it probably is sensitive.

I hadn't read that about SC .5% on the website otherwise I would have been more cautious.

I had also bought some of the SC Eye Renewal Gel - I think it has some retinol in it. I've used it sparingly around my eyes but it just emphasized the lines and is very drying. I wonder if that is a temporary thing, or if it just isn't suitable for my skin.
pnw
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Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:13 pm      Reply with quote
I would like to help but I'm afraid I have no experience with eye gels or creams yet. It is a bit odd to me as this one is listed in their brochure as suitable for all skin types. I don't know what the ingredients are but I know it has 5% alpha hydroxy acid. I don't think it has retinol. Again, some people are more sensitive than others, sometimes not just to the concentration of the actives but also to the bases they are delivered in. Yours has a gel base. I wonder if you started overall with too high a concentration of actives in too drying of bases for your skin type? What I can tell you from my experience is that overall, I find many of the SC products to be on the dryer side of the continuum and are well liked by people with oilier skins. I also know personally that my skin likes more watery serums and gels while others like richer serums, creams and lotions. I think you will find you fall into one or the other of these categories and you may have just found out the hard way that you are a creams/lotions gal. Does your skin tolerate these without breaking out? It is fairly easy to find active ingredients like retinol and glycolic/alpha hydroxy acids in either form. That is usually a part of the reason why people go for certain brands.
HTH
m.april
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Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:24 am      Reply with quote
Hi Michelle - I could only use SC Retinol 1-2 times a week when I first started. I, too, found out the hard way: I first tried some .5% samples and tolerated it well -- I even used it on successive nights at times. But when I got a full-sized bottle, it was entirely different. AND, since I'd tolerated the .5% samples so well, I also bought a bottle of 1% at the same time as the full-size .5%, thinking I'd graduate before long. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to use it. On one hand, my skin is oilier in summer, so that would help. But on the other, I get a lot more sun exposure then, and I don't want to end up with more freckles.

You may want to use the CE+Ferulic daily. Even though it sometimes stings a little upon application if the skin is irritated, I find it to be eventually calming. Also, my Avene sunscreen is very soothing for some reason. Avene makes all kinds of skin products, and touts their soothing waters, so I wonder if there's something in their sunscreen meant to help soothe the skin.

I haven't tried SC Eye Renewel Gel. If it's "renewing", I wouldn't be surprised if it contains retinol. I have a hard time using retinol around my eyes -- the same thing happens to me -- they get crepey or lined. I've been thinking of getting something like the PSF Retinol to use just around my eyes since it seems to be much gentler than SC. Also, last year I used some Lancome samples (Re-Surface Eye) that contained retinol, and they did a nice job without causing any irritation, etc. It was creamy, so I think pnw may be correct about creams vs. gels, but I also suspect that it just doesn't contain as much retinol.

In any case, you probably should lay off retinol until you build up the stratum corneum again, and then ease back into it very very slowly. I know someone who can only use the .5% once a week.

I think I have fairly normal skin, but I can't give up retinol. It's definitely anti-aging!!! I'm surprised the SC brochure doesn't recommend it for normal skin-types. But they may be worried about liability in case it's over-used, which is hardly outside the realm of possibility -- most of us are anxious for results and can get carried away. If you find that you simply cannot tolerate it, it may be best to try a different form. I've heard praise about Avene Ystheal (sp?) which contains retinyl palmitate -- a supposedly less irritating retinoid. No doubt there are probably other brands that use retinyl palmitate. I may get some myself!
Michelle in Toronto
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Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:07 pm      Reply with quote
Thanks pnw, and I totally agree that the SC is more suitable for oilier skin. And I appreciate your point about gel vs cream bases, depending on one's skin type. I had never considered that before!

m.april, thanks for your insights! It sounds like we have similiar skin types, and I'm learning, slowly, that I have to take that into consideration when reading these reviews.

I've found the C E Ferulic is drying; when used daily, I always have a slight peel going on.

Given my admittedly limited experience with retinols, and my negative results, I'm a little perplexed as to what all the fuss is about. Apart from the couple age spots I have (which my friends consider 'freckles'), I have a sleep line under one eye I'd like to get rid of - that's why I tried the retinols. I'm willing to work through the redness and crepeyness (sp?) if it ultimately erases these problems, but I haven't really read a post yet that SPECIFICALLY details the results one has had - they're all very general.

I've read the posts on copper peptides and the occasional attack of 'the uglies', which eventually clear up, replaced with better skin. I *think* I'm going thru the same thing with retinols, but am uncertain as I haven't heard the degree of sensitivity I've encountered discussed elsewhere.

(Again, sorry for the long post!!)
Michelle in Toronto
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Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:10 pm      Reply with quote
m.april, I'm curious as to what you mean when you say it's definitely anti-aging...have you seen significant results with your skin (since we're similar in type)? Is it helping soften fine lines or more of a general improvement? And what about your freckles - are you more susceptible to them after retinol use?

Thanks again for all your advice and help!
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Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:31 pm      Reply with quote
Yes, Michelle, I've seen definite improvement in my skin since I first started using retinol, but I'm still trying to guage how often to use the SC Retinol, since it's more powerful than other OTC retinoids I've tried. Like I've said before, I just can't tolerate tretinoin -- prescription retinoic acid, and I tried Retin-A for a few years but gave up because I was tired of the extreme dryness and redness it caused. When Renova came out, I tried that for a long time but had the same experience. It was difficult to see any benefit since my skin was so dry and crusty all of the time, and slathering on moisturizer would end up causing acne. Then I used MD Forte Skin Rejuvenation Lotion II for a long time, applying it about 3-5 times a week (it also contains glycolic acid). I could handle it with no problem. This is when I finally realized how refining retinoids were -- they get rid of fine lines and keep wrinkles at bay (for me). They also help keep the skin firm. This is why I can't envision giving them up. But, using any kind of exfoliator regularly definitely makes the skin more vulnerable to photo damage, and that's why I started using stronger, more effective sunscreens last summer -- ones that offer superior protection against UVA rays. If you do a search for the thread "Bad Bird and other sunscreeners", you'll see where I got my education on this forum. SPF factors only indicate UVB protection (sunburn), while UVA rays are more penetrating and cause more wrinkling. Sunscreens available in the US generally don't indicate their PPD (UVA protection value), and only say they're broad spectrum (meaning they protect against UVB and UVA). But there's a good reason why they don't divulge their PPD -- they're woefully inferior to sunscreens like LaRoche Posay Fluide Extreme or Avene (only available from Europe or maybe on eBay).

Now that spring and summer are approaching, I have to be more careful because I'm outdoors a lot more, and for longer periods of time. It's recommended that sunscreen be reapplied after a couple of hours of sun exposure, and this is very challenging when wearing makeup. But I'm trying to go without makeup more often in order to reapply easier. And I have a few brimmed hats to help out. But when it gets really hot, hats can be uncomfortable, so last summer (for the first time), I actually carried an umbrella to help protect my skin! All of this is rather a bother, but will pay off in the long run. Even now, I look several years younger than my friends who are the same age.
Michelle in Toronto
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Sat Mar 04, 2006 8:31 am      Reply with quote
I guess I'll stick with the retinol then but only use it once a week.

I have seen the Avene in our Shoppers Drug Mart here in Toronto. I'll have to check and see if it mentions the PPD on the packaging. I wonder if it's the same forumla they sell in Europe?

There's such a wealth of information on this forum; it can get a little overwhelming trying to retain it all!
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Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:40 am      Reply with quote
I know from last summer's dialogue here about sunscreens that LRP in Canada isn't the same as the European version. I'm not sure about Avene. Avene's active ingredient is Tinosorb, so maybe if you see that on the label, it'll help you decide.

As far as retinol goes, I'm really thinking about trying a gentler kind, and maybe use the SC 1-2 times a week. I'm glad to hear about your experience with it -- I was beginning to think something weird was going on with my skin since I was WAY more sensitive to its effect than pnw. But she must have unusually tough skin! On the other hand, my skin is much oilier in summer so maybe I'll tolerate it better.

I haven't experienced dramatic freckle reduction so far. I've used these better sunscreens and Vit.C serum for that purpose only since last summer. And I noticed in a SkinCeuticals brochure I saw last year that the before/after photos of these product users (which were truly quality photos, i.e., the exact same camera angle and lighting) were taken at a twelve month interval. So I'm hoping that by my anniversary, I'll see better pigment lightening. But I also understand (a little) that there are different types of freckles/pigmentation, and some are more stubborn than others. My freckles aren't outrageous by any measure, but on vacation last spring they got darker and that's when I freaked and started asking questions here about sunscreen. They HAVE lightened, but haven't disappeared. I have some SC Phyto+, but haven't used it faithfully. I think its kojic acid ingredient is supposed to help lighten pigmentation more safely than hydroquinone. I think I'll go put some on now!

I agree with you about the amount of info on this forum! If I go too long without checking in, there's almost too much catching up to do!
Michelle in Toronto
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Sat Mar 04, 2006 11:52 am      Reply with quote
Me either, on the freckle reduction, although I'm more concerned with age spots now than freckles. Maybe it does happen over a longer time period...we'll see.

One great thing this forum has taught me is to USE SUNSCREEN FAITHFULLY. And a good one. I've been using Ombrelle 30 for years but only applying it once a day, even in the summer, and I thought is was being so good. Now I realize I have to be more viligant about it, and find one of those European ones that block the UVA as well (or is it the UVB, lol, still confused).
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