Tag Archives: skin care

Stand for Skin Peace: Why You Need Topical Antioxidants

Summer. A time for vacations, relaxation, the beach…and war. Yes, you read that correctly. War. A war on your skin. While you’re enjoying a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, your skin is secretly crying out for help. You see, when the sun hits your skin it increases the number of “free radicals.” To understand free radicals we have to use a bit of science. A free radical is an atom that has shed an electron in an abnormal way. The atom doesn’t like missing the electron so it franticly tries to attract one. It doesn’t do this nicely, but rather quite aggressively by attacking other molecules and atoms and stealing an electron from them. (in other words, it’s behaving “radically”). When it steals the peaceful atom or molecule’s electron, that atom or molecule then becomes a free radical itself and the process snowballs. This is when it starts causing damage to our skin. The skin franticly attempts to protect itself from the carnage by futilely producing a tan, or in some cases, it will just burn. The battle also causes your skin to become “stressed out” and it begins releasing enzymes that are also damaging to your skin. It can even lead to damaged DNA within skin cells. This is an overly-simplified explanation of extremely complex physical science, but you get the general idea.

When your skin is damaged, it doesn’t function the way healthy skin should. Damaged skin is more likely to have cell mutations. These mutations can slowly destroy the collagen and elastin in your skin. As you lose collagen and elastin, you decrease your skin’s supportive fibers and you end up with…wrinkles, sun damage, and sagging skin.

So why use topical antioxidants? Antioxidants neutralize and slow down this damage—both the direct sun damage, as well as the damage from stress-induced enzymes. They do so by offering the free radicals their own electron so they don’t have to attack and steal them from healthy molecules. Basically they sacrifice themselves and end the war. They’re the peacemakers of skin molecules. The result is slowing down the rate of aging.

Every antioxidant does not do this equally. Some offer more protection than others. Studies have shown that a broad mix of antioxidants, rather than just one, offers the best protection. dermaTRUTH’s In the Beginning Antioxidant Peptide Serum contains over a dozen of the most powerful antioxidants, all at or above the recommended levels. The potency is therefore equivalent to over a dozen separate antioxidant products.

So while antioxidants are important all year round, they are especially important for summertime. Give your skin the protection it needs by layering our antioxidant serum under a SPF. Stop the war. Stand for peace. Use topical antioxidants. The best anti-aging product is the one that stops aging before it starts.

Fairy Dusting Explained

“Fairy dusting,” also known as “angel dusting” or “window dressing”, is a term used in the skin care industry that refers to beneficial ingredients being used in a product but not in amounts that are sufficient to provide much benefit. The consumer sees favorable ingredients on the label which convinces them to purchase the product believing that they will reap the benefits. Unfortunately though, the actual amounts are too small to produce results. The product has been sprinkled with just a touch of the “good stuff” like a bit of dust from a fairy.

Why would some manufacturers practice fairy dusting rather than just using effective amounts of ingredients? The simple answer is economics. Effective active ingredients are the most expensive ingredients in a cosmetic formulation. There are no government regulations regarding how much of an ingredient is required for it to be listed on the label or to make claims regarding the benefits of that ingredient. The consumer may therefore be left with a nicely marketed, yet ineffective product.

It is not always easy to tell if your product has been fairy dusted, but your best defense is to be an educated consumer. dermaTRUTH is committed to no fairy dusting; our products always contain active ingredients at levels proven to be effective. We are committed to bringing you the best products possible along with information you need to make informed decisions regarding the health of your skin.

What is an “active” ingredient?

The term “active ingredient” or “active agent” causes a lot of confusion in skin care. This is primarily because an active ingredient in skin products is not exactly the same as an “active ingredient” in a pharmaceutical drug.

An active ingredient in a drug is the ingredient that causes a change in the function of the human body-in other words, the ingredient that is doing the job.

Similarly, an active ingredient or active agent in a skin care product, are those ingredients that cause physical changes in the skin.  The tricky part here is that most skin care ingredients cause physical changes in the appearance of skin and not necessarily physical changes and are therefore not regulated by the FDA.   If they are not regulated, then they are NOT listed under active ingredients.  Essentially only those ingredients that are considered “drugs” are listed as active ingredients-among the common ones are sunscreens, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and hydroquinone.

If an ingredient is not listed under “active” then it is most likely listed under “other” or “inactive” ingredients. This is again confusing because an “inactive” ingredient does not mean it is not doing anything or serves no purpose, it simply means it is not considered a drug.  Furthermore, there are also many chemical variants of ingredients so depending upon the chemical makeup, an ingredient that is typically listed as an active, may be listed as an inactive.  A common example is retinol.  A product may claim that it contains retinol however it is not listed under active ingredients.  This is because it may be listed as one of many OTC forms of such as retinyl palmitate, reinylaldehyde or retinyl acetate.

In addition to actives, a skin care formula will also contain a variety of functional ingredients that are used to give the product a particular texture, help the way a product absorbs or spreads on the skin or helps preserve it.

Keep in mind that the majority of ingredients and terms used to describe ingredients are not regulated and may not be consistent.

Bottom line:

Just because an ingredient is not listed as an “active ingredient” does not mean it is not in the product.  Comparing “actives” in skin care products is not apples to apples.  Just because two products may both contain 2% salicylic acid, for example, does not mean they are the same.  One may be more hydrating, penetrate differently or not preserved well.  It is the product’s complete formulation that determines how effective it is.

Right product, wrong packaging?

Packaging Considerations by Product Category



Cleansers can come in several forms such as gel, cream, milk, oil or foam. Most cleansers have low concentrations of active ingredients, or none at all, since the majority of the product washes down the drain.  Packaging for cleansers therefore should focus more on functionality than anything else.  Does the cleanser come out easily?  Does the dispensing device clog? Does too much or too little dispense at one time?

What to look for

  • Creams and milks work best in a plastic bottle or tube with a flip-cap or pump.
  • Oils work best in a plastic bottle with a pump that dispenses a measured dose so too much oil does not come out at once.
  • Foam cleansers need to be packaged in what is called a “foamer”—a bottle with a specialized pump that turns liquid into foam.

What to avoid:

  • Glass packaging.  Cleansers often end up in the shower and glass, soap and water tend to be an accident waiting to happen.
  • Gels with a pump dispenser. Thicker formulations may clog the pump. Thicker cleansers in a pump can also lead to product being out of reach of the pump pick-up tube.  Clients will have to turn the bottle upside down (which is very tricky with a pump) or fish out the remaining product in another way.



Packaging is extremely important when it comes to serums since they usually have high concentrations of active ingredients.  The focus on serum packaging therefore should be protection of ingredients.  Air and light are the two biggest enemies to a serum’s integrity.  Ingredients that oxidize such as vitamin-c and retinol need the most protection to slow down the oxidation process. In fact some say that using an oxidized product does more harm than good.  If a product turns brown or changes in consistency, it has most likely oxidized.   While all products degrade over time, a good package choice will slow down this process.  A good analogy is an apple that has been bitten into.  Its skin is the packaging that protects it.  Once the skin is ruptured, the apple begins to oxidize and turns brown.

Product consistency must also be considered when it comes to serum packaging.  Serums can range from liquid (almost water-like) to a gel.   Poor packaging for a thinner serum can cause product waste and likewise poor packaging for a thicker serum can make it difficult to dispense.

What to look for:

  • Any vitamin C or retinol product should be in a dark or opaque bottle to slow down oxidation and other damage accelerated by light.
  • Airless pumps also slow down oxidation since there is virtually no way air can enter the bottle.  Standard pumps dispense product by pumping air into the bottle to displace the product.  Airless pumps use a mechanism to dispense the product so no air enters.  They can look very similar however so you may need to check with your vendor if you are not sure which type of pump it is.
  • Thinner serums best dispense with a dropper, particularly those with a measured dose.
  • Thicker serums dispense most easily with a pump.

What to avoid:

  • A vitamin C or retinol product in a clear container.
  • Thinner serums in a pump.  It may be difficult to control dose and they may dispense too quickly.
  • Thicker serums with a dropper dispenser.  They may coat the dropper and make dispensing messy.  If the serum is oil-based it may also coat the threads of the container, which compromises a tight closure.



Creams also can contain active ingredients that need to be protected, but they generally do not contain as many as a serum.  Creams vary in consistency from a light, whipped product, to a gel-cream to an extremely dense cream.  The consistency of the product should determine whether it is packaged in a pump, tube or jar.

If a cream contains several active ingredients, light and air should be kept to a minimum as in the case of a serum.  Airless pumps can be used if the cream has a thinner consistency. Tubes can be used for thicker creams. Airless jars are now becoming more popular for thicker creams to minimize air exposure but also to minimize bacteria transferred from fingers.  Airless jars use the same technology as an airless pump and dispense a measured amount of cream by pressing on an inner piece of plastic that covers the cream. The container for creams also tends to help define the brand more so than other product categories.  In other words, it can give the perception of a spa/luxury brand or a clinical/medical brand.

Since creams can take so many forms, functionality and protection should be considered, but a good client experience should be the packaging focus.

What to look for:

  • Opaque or dark bottles or tubes with ingredients prone to oxidation.
  • Airless jars for creams with higher concentrations of ingredients prone to oxidation.

What to avoid:

  • Jars with a small “mouth” or opening.  This can make it difficult for the client to reach the product (particularly if they have long nails).