Saturday, January 14th, 2012

By Nicki Zevola, Pennsylvania, Skincare Expert

Nicki Zevola is a beauty expert and the founder of FutureDerm.com, where she provides clear, well-researched information about beauty+skincare, fashion+style, nutrition+fitness, and personal development from a different perspective from most in the blogosphere. Named one of the top beauty bloggers since 2009, Nicki is also a medical student (M.D.) with an estimated graduation date of May 2013. Continue reading her full bio


Photo by mira66

5 Things You Must Know about DNA and Beauty Products

It’s been almost a decade since the human genome has been sequenced, and all of a sudden, it seems everyone wants to get in on the hot biological terminology. From sequencing to splicing to cloning, you can’t walk into a Sephora without having someone ask you about your genes (and sorry, honey, we’re not talkin’ about your Sevens). Unfortunately, while some industry insiders are utilizing the technology to make skin care bravely go where no product has ever gone before, others are, unfortunately, being a bit deceptive in their approach. Here’s what we know about the technologies:

1. There is no such thing as a single “Youth Gene.”

A product that shall go nameless recently advertised that it is clinically proven to turn on the “Youth Gene.” Unfortunately, the Human Genome Project has affirmed there are 19,599 protein-coding genes (Ornl.gov), and it is likely that the expression of nearly all of them decreases with age. Furthermore, there are likely hundreds, if not thousands, of genes targeted towards manufacturing proteins that can help make you look younger. It is the decrease of function a number of genes, not just one, that contribute to aging. So beware of any product that claims to target a single gene. It may have other redeeming factors, but this should not be your primary reason to buy.

2. The secret to red wine is not just resveratrol.

Want to know why people are so excited about resveratrol? Although resveratrol is a noted antioxidant, its main benefit is that it may upregulate proteins called sirtuins, which in turn prolong the life of your skin’s collagen-producing fibroblasts. Sirtuins do this by turning off unnecessary gene expression, so when the fibroblasts aren’t expending more energy than they need to on unnecessary tasks, they will theoretically last longer. This means that your fibroblasts enable you to make collagen naturally for more years than if you did not treat your skin with sirtuins.

Unfortunately, numerous studies suggest resveratrol does not influence sirtuin production, including a 2005 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry2009 study in Chemical Biology and Drug Design, and 2010 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. It is also hard to know for sure if sirtuins in skin care products are able to diffuse through the your skin’s cellular and nuclear membranes to affect the genetic material within in the first place. Preliminary data from companies like Avon, who feature the ingredient in their Ultimate Age Repair Elixir Serum and Night Cream, seem to suggest that sirtuins applied topically may have an effect. However, there may also be confounding variables, as the other ingredients in the products have previously been proven beneficial for the skin. Clearly, more research needs to be done.

Three more facts you NEED to know!  Continue reading →

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

By Nicki Zevola, Pennsylvania, Skincare Expert

Nicki Zevola is a beauty expert and the founder of FutureDerm.com, where she provides clear, well-researched information about beauty+skincare, fashion+style, nutrition+fitness, and personal development from a different perspective from most in the blogosphere. Named one of the top beauty bloggers since 2009, Nicki is also a medical student (M.D.) with an estimated graduation date of May 2013. Continue reading her full bio


5 Surprising Skincare Facts You Didn’t Know (Until Now!)

1. Mixing certain skin care ingredients inactivates them.

Even if you hated science classes, you have to keep in mind that skin care is the product of somewhat advanced chemistry, subject to pH imbalance, unexpected reactions, and the like. For instance, many cosmetic chemists do not recommend using products with alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid, and retinol together. This is because retinol is most active at a pH of 5.5-6.0 (Journal of Investigative Dermatology), while glycolic acid has an optimized pH at 3.83 (Cosmetic Dermatology). Another problem is using a heavier skin care product under a lighter one. High concentrations of certain occlusive agents like petrolatum and mineral oil prevent the ingredients in the lighter serum from reaching your skin as effectively. Most dermatologists thereby recommend applying the lighter product first.

2. You should never apply self-tanner before going out into the sun, unless you use a sunscreen first.

Most self-tanners work by using dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the main ingredient. According to a 2007 study published in Germany, DHA causes the skin to release 180% more free radicals once exposed to the sun. Therefore sun protection is extremely important when you have used self-tanners containing DHA within the past 24 hours.

3. There is no such thing as 100% SPF protection from a sunscreen.

According to dermatologist Dr. Rachel Herschenfeld, M.D., the percentage of protection you get is 100 – (1/SPF number)*100. I know that looks complicated, but let’s take SPF 30 for example:

Percentage of protection = 100 – (1/SPF number)*100
Percentage of protection = 100 – (1/30)*100 = 100 – 3.3
Percentage of protection = 96.6

Using that same principle, SPF 50 provides only 98% protection, and SPF 100 provides 99.9%!  Keep in mind this is the amount of protection provided when you apply a whole shot-glass full of sunscreen for your entire body and reapply religiously every 2-3 hours. As such, it’s safe to say there is no such thing as 100% sun protection from a sunscreen.

Check out two more facts you didn’t know!  Continue reading →