At Home Anti-Aging Devices: Fab or Fad?

Airdate: 1/17/12

Curious about the at-home anti-aging devices you see online and in fashion magazines? Paula's Choice Research Team reveals which devices work and which are a waste of money.

Bryan Barron: Hello everyone. Welcome to "Be Beautifully Informed with the Paula's Choice Research Team." My name is Bryan Barron. I'm going to be your host for the show tonight. And with me on the line I have my associate and producer, Desiree Stordahl. Desiree, are you there?
Desiree Stordahl: I am here. How are you?
Bryan Barron: You are safe at home?
Desiree Stordahl: Safe at home.
00:00:30 Yes. We are expecting a big storm here in the Seattle area, haven't seen it yet, so we are at home doing the radio show. So if you notice our sound quality isn't as good tonight, it is because we are all on our cell phones, but we are going to do our best to keep you beautifully informed.
Bryan Barron: Yes. And we have Daynah Burnett online as well. Right, Daynah, are you there?
Daynah Burnett: I'm here holding down the fort at the office.
Bryan Barron: Daynah doesn't live too far from the office and it is not snowing here yet, so she was the brave one among us and decided to man the switchboard from the office. Thank you, Daynah.
00:01:09 And let's hope you get home safely. I'm sure you will. We are not supposed to get our big snow until later tonight. But it is interesting, not only because the Seattle area doesn't get snow too often and when we do it is almost always - there is this sense of anxiety and nervousness in the air because people just kind of panic.
00:01:32 And I grew up in Michigan. I'm very much used to snow. I don't enjoy driving in it. I don't know anyone who does. But living out here, when we get snow and especially when we get ice, I worry much less about whether or not I can handle it behind the wheel of a car but what other people are going to do because the Washington natives who live in the Seattle area and have lived here all their lives pretty much don't know what to do on the roads when it gets snowy and icy and everyone starts to panic.
00:02:04 So it can be quite treacherous and we are a hilly area - I know Desiree you have got quite a hill leading up to your place. And it can be pretty intimidating when you know that that is going to get all snowy and icy and you are thinking "how am I going to home?" It is a panic?
Desiree Stordahl: Yeah. Everybody on Facebook is calling it Snowpocalypse, so we are pretty much doom and gloom with the snow storm, but I am sure we are all going to be fine.
Bryan Barron: Well, right.
00:02:32 And this is a pretty big storm coming through. They are talking about record snow fall levels that we haven't seen since the mid-90s when there was a really bad one here. And then in the mid-80s there was a bad one as well. And "bad" being more than a foot of snow in the metropolitan area which for all intents and purposes pretty much shuts us down.
00:02:57 So we are braving the weather and we are going to be talking to you tonight about anti-aging devices that you can purchase and use at home. No doctor appointment necessary. No prescription. So we are going to be talking about that for a few minutes. We are going to get to your calls as soon as possible. If you do have a question for us on an anti-aging device, on one of those handheld anti-acne devices, the Clarisonic, any beauty question that you want to ask us you can give us a call at 347-426-3783.
00:03:32 And before we start talking about our topic, as some of you know who have been listening to the show for awhile, we get a lot of fashion magazines at the office. We rely on them to keep us abreast of what is new and what people are talking about, what is getting buzz. And to a certain extent that is how we, one of the ways we go about choosing which products to review on And it pretty much goes hand-in-hand that if something is being advertised a lot in fashion magazines we get questions about it. People want to know is this any good, should I buy this.
00:04:07 And that is our job - to keep you beautifully informed and help you make the best decisions. So Revlon hasn't had the best year in terms of their makeup ads. And their products themselves have been a little bit hit or miss, would you agree Daynah?
Daynah Burnett: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think these ads are also hit and miss.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
00:04:28 So in the hit column, and we are discussing - we are not trying to pick on Revlon, and we are starting out with praising Revlon, actress Emma Stone who has been in a few movies of late such as "The Help," I'm sure that is one a lot of people have seen based on the box office. She was in the comedy "Easy A." Younger actress. Almost a replacement, of sorts, for Lindsay Lohan and thus far hasn't been any sort of a train wreck; here is hoping that continues because I think she is a very talented actress.
00:05:00 But Emma Stone is one of the new spokespeople for Revlon and she appeared in one of their new ads for ColorBurst Lip Butter. And we haven't reviewed that. It is on our list. But we really wanted to point out that this photo of her, it is a full-page photo, and she is just beautiful. Her makeup is exactly - it is a classic, natural, but vibrant look for somebody who has more of a fair skin tone or a peaches and cream complexion.
00:05:30 She has got soft eye shadow. Her brows are softly defined. The lips are clearly the focus of the ad because the product is advertising a lipstick. If you get a chance, if you come across this ad in InStyle or Allure, Glamour, any of those that you might flip through, you will probably see this ad. And really take note of the makeup because it is beautifully balanced and it is perfectly - as far as the intensity goes, it is a really, really nice example of color balance on a fair complexion.
00:06:02 Now on the other hand they have another ad for their ColorStay Eye Shadow. ColorStay Eye Shadow is going to be reviewed on Beautypedia. I think that is going to debut this weekend on January 21, so if you are signed up for our emails you will get that notice. But they, also, are featuring actress Olivia Wilde. And she is best known for - she has done a couple of films such as "Cowboys & Aliens" and at least for a time was a regular and now I think she is a semi-regular on the TV show "House."
00:06:35 So another very striking woman, older than Emma Stone, probably about eight to 10 years older. And her eye shadow design is horrible. Much like Revlon did for Jessica Biel several months back, they somehow managed to take a very beautiful woman and make her look's almost streetwalkerish.
00:07:02 Daynah, you were going to say something?
Daynah Burnett: Nope. That was Desiree.
Desiree Stordahl: What I was going to say is that a good example of something that Paula talks about is neutral shadows and matte shadows and how much more flattering and classic of a look it is. And, for example, with this Olivia Wilde ad, she has bluish-green eyes and they put bluish-green eye shadow on her eyes, so it doesn't make them pop at all. It just kind of makes it all blend in together. It doesn't make her eyes look striking.
00:07:29 It just looks like a dated makeup look. So, it is a very good example of there can be colors that you think might be fun but in reality they just don't look that good on people.
Bryan Barron: Right. Because when you see this ad the first thing you notice is the eye shadow. You don't really notice her eye itself. So, if you are using eye shadow just to add some pops of color and what you want people to notice is your eye shadow and not your eyes then by all means go for that type of look.
00:08:03 But I think most women who use eye shadow want to do that to enhance their eyes. I mean survey after survey I have seen over the years where the question is posed to women what is your best facial feature, almost overwhelmingly women say, "My eyes." And eye makeup is a huge category. There are a bazillion products out there that you can use to define and shape and shade your eyes. But these Revlon Quads and most of the color combinations they offer just is not one of them.
Desiree Stordahl: So you can take that away as a do and a don't.
00:08:36 The Emma Stone is a do and the Olivia Wilde's ad is a don't.
Bryan Barron: Absolutely.
Daynah Burnett: I also want to give them a shout-out for actually letting their actresses look recognizable, or the models look recognizable, so we know that is Emma Stone. She is not Photoshopped to oblivion.
Bryan Barron: That's right. Yes. We noticed those ads for CoverGirl with that actress from "Modern Family," the television show, Sofia Vergara, I may not be saying her last name right, but Daynah that was striking when you pointed that out to me that she is in the ads for that new CoverGirl, what is it called, Flip Stick?
Daynah Burnett: Mm-hmm.
Bryan Barron: Or Blast Stick, or something like that.
00:09:16 But there are two pictures of her and then there is another ad on the opposite page where she is advertising another CoverGirl product, and in the lipstick ad you don't even know it is her. I mean her face has been so manipulated that you can't even tell who it is. All right, enough of that. Celebrities and cosmetics is big business. Celebrities and fragrance is big business. We are going to be talking about anti-aging devices. Are they fab or a fad? And the quick answer to that question is that they are a little of both. So, when I originally dove into looking into this topic a bit further I really thought I was going to come away with these are a waste of time and money, and they just don't work, and there is no replacement for what a cosmetic dermatologist can do.
00:10:04 And the more I dove into it the more I found that there were pros and cons for both. So we are going to talk about a few of the bigger ones tonight, the ones that we get asked about the most. And we are going to start with the Clarisonic Opal. Now, Clarisonic's main claim to fame, as many of you know, is their facial cleansing brush. A lot of people just absolutely love this.
00:10:28 In fact, when I was looking at some of the online reviews for the Clarisonic Opal, first of all the reviews for it are decidedly mixed. This is clearly a polarizing product. Women who spend the $185 to get this device along with the accompanying serum either report loving it, think it is the best thing they have ever done for their eye area, or they use it as directed for a certain period of time and they don't see any results.
00:10:58 And this one woman on Sephora wrote an incredibly clever review where it started off with, "Whoosh, that is the sound of my $185 being flushed down the toilet." And then it went on to say what she didn't like about the device. So, the Clarisonic Opal, unlike the brush, it is different. It is sort of a merging of the Sonicare toothbrush technology. It is this handheld sort of flat egg-shaped device that you outfit with these little suction cup type things.
00:11:34 And it is designed specifically for crow's feet around the eye area. So what you are supposed to do is apply this anti-aging serum that comes with the device - the serum is also sold separately for around...Daynah, was it $75 or $85?
Daynah Burnett: It's $65 actually.
Bryan Barron: $65, well, okay. Definitely on the expensive side. You certainly don't need to spend that much to get a well-formulated serum and you certainly don't need to use that particular serum with the Clarisonic Opal. But if you buy the device you are going to get the serum anyway.
00:12:07 It is actually a well formulated serum. So you put these suction type devices, one per use, onto the Opal. It is a battery-powered device. You would turn it on and it uses sonic vibrations. You will feel kind of a slight pull thing/massaging action. And you are supposed to move that all around the crow's feet area, all around your eye, around that orbital bone.
00:12:33 And it is supposed to reduce wrinkles, firm skin, build skin elasticity, soften and smooth skin. Many of the things that they claim that this does you can pretty much accomplish with a well-formulated moisturizer or serum on its own. So from what I know about this device and from what I have heard from people I know who have used it, including a fellow staffer at Paula's Choice -
00:13:02 She was actually involved in the pre-market testing for Clarisonic Opal and she didn't like it. I mean she liked it at first but then she didn't. And here is why - what we suspect is happening, and I saw this a lot in the reviews, is that women who use the Opal tend to notice results within 30 minutes to an hour after using it.
00:13:28 And what I suspect is going on is that the vibration and the massaging action that you are supposed to do for several minutes is causing some low-grade inflammation around the eye area. You get a little bit of swelling, you get a little bit of inflammation going on in those areas, skin is going to puff up a bit. I mean think about what happens if you are someone who has swollen ankles during the summer or something like that, the skin in that area looks smoother. That is pretty much what we suspect is happening around the eye area.
00:14:01 And honestly, the bottom line because we need to talk about some other devices, the Clarisonic Opal is definitely on our iffy list. Who is going to chime in?
Desiree Stordahl: Bryan, was the Clarisonic Opal, you were talking about how that vibration causes inflammation where it makes people see that the wrinkles are gone for a very short amount of time, could the same be said for skincare products that irritate your skin in that area where you have fine lines and it plumps it up because of the inflammation for a period of time?
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:14:40 You could argue that in terms of AHA exfoliants, for example, particularly those that have a higher amount, but with those types of products it is a balancing act because the very manner in which AHA and BHA exfoliants work elicits some amount of irritation.
00:15:00 But what we know from research is that the benefits of using those types of ingredients and skincare products really outweigh the risks. We that for in order for AHAs to work they have to cause some irritation but they will also stimulate collagen production and help provide moisture to the skin. And, I'm sorry, you were going to say?
Desiree Stordahl: Well, I'm thinking of poorly formulated products that are actually, you know, ones that we would give a bad review on Beautypedia.
00:15:30 Because someone may say, "Made my wrinkles disappear," and I'm thinking maybe that is part of the effect that they are seeing is actually the inflammation for a short amount of time.
Bryan Barron: Yes. There are definitely some truths to that as well, particularly products that contain more constricting ingredients like a really high amount of caffeine or products that contain higher amounts of film-forming agents, an example would be polymethylmethacrylate that can cause skin to feel temporarily tighter and then when they are using the higher amounts -
00:16:02 like if you see an ingredient like that that is in the number two or number three position, those acrylic type ingredients and the higher amounts can be irritating on their own. And so you may be seeing some inflammation from that. So, yes, I'm sorry Desiree, I misunderstood you, but yes - longer answer but both sides end up causing some issues but the AHA/BHA, there are far more benefits than risks to using such products.
00:16:35 And the benefits will continue with time. So the next device that we wanted to tell you about, and you have been asking us about is called Baby Quasar. So, there is the Baby Quasar and then there is the Quasar MD, and then there is a similar group of products from a company called Tanda. One is the Tanda Luxe. They have the Tanda Clear for Acne.
00:17:02 And then they have a less expensive device for acne called the Tanda Zap. The Baby Quasar and the Quasar MD operate by using the combination of LED lights, red light, and infrared light. And I came up with some information to kind of briefly explain how these work.
00:17:27 But, basically with the red light therapy, and these devices...I did check because one of my issues was, well, chances are that the strength of light that they are emitting is probably not enough to elicit much of a change. And assuming these companies are telling the truth, because I found out this information from their own websites, in their FAQ section, companies like Quasar and Tanda, these LED red light devices for wrinkles, for discoloration, for firming the skin are putting out light in the wavelength/the strength that is required for efficacy.
00:18:15 As to whether or not these are comparable to what you can get done from a dermatologist, I think you can get a portion of the results but ultimately the procedure that you can have done at a dermatologist's office or a medical aesthetician's office, I think, are going to net you better results. They can be more customized. The machines that skincare and medical professionals can buy are going to be more customizable and more powerful than anything that is sold for use at home.
00:18:48 Last year we had dermatologist Dr. Brandith Irwin on the show and we asked her about these light emitting devices. We didn't necessarily call out the Baby Quasar or the Quasar MD, but she summed up the issue in terms of lawsuits, which is a bit interesting, but if you think about it, it makes sense.
00:19:11 The companies that sell these devices actually have to limit themselves as to how strong they can really be because of the consumer tendency to think that "if a little is good, more must be better." And so there is that danger of consumers ignoring the instructions and maybe using the device more often than they should.
00:19:32 I know I would do that if I didn't know any better. And assuming that these companies are telling the truth about how much the wavelength/strength of the red light that they are emitting, you can experience some pretty bad side effects if you overuse these or if you use them for longer than directed. We are talking - you know the red light strong enough to heat the skin, you are running the risk of burns. You could do some tissue damage.
00:19:59 You could possibly cause pigmentation issues. But, with the Baby Quasar, and I actually had to jot this down; so the Baby Quasar sells for $399. The Quasar MD sells for $795. Both of them put out red light in the nanometer, which is the measure of light intensity, range of 630 to 950.
00:20:29 Both of them have various setting so you can adjust the intensity and that is all explained in the instructions. If you have sensitive skin you are supposed to start at this level. Normal skin you start at this level and so on. The difference between the two, and it took me much longer than I thought to figure this out, is that the Quasar MD, the more expensive one at $795, it is not necessarily that it is stronger.
00:20:59 They say it is, but in terms of light measurement it doesn't seem to be. The advantage really comes down to the fact that you can use a Quasar MD once per week for 25 minutes versus Baby Quasar which you are advised to use two to three times per week for anywhere from 24 to 36 minutes each session. So really the crux of Quasar MD, if that is the one you are considering, is that you get maximum results with fewer treatments.
00:21:28 Now Daynah, some time ago you purchased a Baby Quasar to use on yourself, correct?
Daynah Burnett: Uh, yes. I have a Baby Quasar. I do. And, you know, it was an interesting experience. I would not rush out and buy another one. I didn't really see the kind of results that I was expecting and I didn't have the patience to do it as often as I was supposed to and to rotate it the way I was supposed to.
00:22:01 And I honestly saw better results from Paula's Choice products than I saw from the Baby Quasar. So that was my experience.
Desiree Stordahl: I think you make a really good point. Because I have heard that from a lot of women with these at home laser LED type devices, whether it is for acne or wrinkles. The patient's part, where we just get burnt out, we don't see results and we realize it is not doing anything and it takes a really long time to do these treatments every night.
00:22:30 So a lot of times people end up wasting money on these couple hundred dollars to a few hundred dollar devices where if they would have just saved that up and gone in for an actual treatment, or put that towards skincare products that were well-formulated, it would have been a better choice for them.
Daynah Burnett: Absolutely. And there definitely was this feeling of feeling like I was an amateur. Like I didn't know if I was doing it right, but I didn't really feel comfortable and confident with this type of machinery and these type of treatments.
00:23:00 There was just a feeling of being out of my depth. And that if I am going to be holding a light on my face this often, I would like to know that it is from a professional, that I am doing it right.
Bryan Barron: Exactly. And much like the Clarisonic Opal, when I was looking at consumer reviews of both the Baby Quasar and the Quasar MD, I found...and I was surprised by this because I thought that overwhelmingly the results were going to be that people felt like they were wasting their money and that these devices didn't do anything.
00:23:31 That was Daynah's experience. And what I found just like the Clarisonic Opal is that it was a mixed bag. There were plenty of women who thought these devices did nothing and there were plenty of women who said this is the best investment I have ever made on my skin. Now what we don't know about these reviews is what they were using before, what they are using now, whether they go tanning. Any of these other things. So there is always that unknown that relies on how much information the person provides in their testimony.
00:24:04 But here is the bottom line with the at-home LED devices that are being sold for wrinkles. One of the other claims is enlarged pores, firming skin...they do have some potential to work. How much remains to be seen and I think it comes down to how much time you are willing to invest in these. All of them require a weekly time commitment that goes above and beyond the time that you would spend using skincare products.
00:24:34 And we are not just talking about two to three minutes extra time, we are talking about upwards of 30 to 40 minutes and then doing that at least once per week and in some cases more than that. But, generally from what the research has shown so far about red light therapy for wrinkles using LED lights is that, one, it is not as good as the stronger laser treatments or non-invasive light emitting procedures that a cosmetic dermatologist can do.
00:25:06 Two, just because it is not as good doesn't mean it is not worth considering. So, if you have the budget for these devices, you should know that when the devices are made correctly, and for all intents and purposes it appears that the Baby Quasar, Quasar MD, and also the Tanda Luxe device which is $195, so that is the less costly one, but what they seem to be able to do, what the red light does in the nanometer range that we were discussing, that 630 to 950 range is that they can stimulate cellular energy.
00:25:46 And what that means is they work to stimulate the production of a cell-communicating ingredient in the skin called adenosine triphosphate. And when that ingredient is stimulated it in turn talks to fiber blasts in skin and fiber blasts are the cells in skin that make collagen.
00:26:09 So the ATP is stimulated by the red light. It gets excited. It goes over the fiber blasts and talks to them saying, "Hey, there is this message I am getting from somewhere outside of the body that says we need to start making better collagen." And then at the same time, this is what I thought was interesting, is that the red light also seems to destroy damaged collagen and elastin while not harming the healthy collagen and elastin.
00:26:38 So in that sense it seems to be a win-win but, again, there isn't a lot of research on this. It is not as well-rounded as many other light-based procedures. So, our bottom line on LED red light devices for use at home is if it is in your budget, give it a go, see what you think. Companies like Quasar and Tanda, they both have good return policies or you can purchase the Tanda from companies like Sephora. They have a great return policy.
00:27:11 Use it as directed for the specified period of time where they say when can I expect to see results. And if you are not seeing a change, return it. Some people will, some people won't. And then, of course, you also need to decide whether or not the time commitment is worth it. Whether or not you want to continue that every single week. These aren't devices that you use for a period of two or three months and then while your skin is firmer, your wrinkles are reduced, so you can just step away from it and go on with your daily life.
00:27:45 It is very much like a skincare routine where it is only going to work and maintain those results as long as you continue using it. So there you go. Those are our anti-aging devices. Again, we are not necessarily going on record saying that they are fabulous, and we are not going on record saying that they are fads. There does seem to be some potential for them to benefit your skin, particularly wrinkles, particularly collagen stimulation. I think the whole enlarged pore thing is a little iffier.
00:28:18 I really think that you need to address that with skincare products such as a good exfoliant and not using overly greasy products. But, there you have it. So, who do we have for callers tonight? I don't have my switchboard up. Who are we going to talk to?
Daynah Burnett: Well I think we are going to start with Marcia from Michigan. She has some dry skin she wants to talk about.
Marcia: Hi. Thanks for taking my call.
Bryan Barron: Marcia. Marcia from my home state.
Marcia: Oh, well actually it is Minneapolis. I probably wasn't clear enough.
Bryan Barron: Oh, Minneapolis.
Marcia: It's cold.
Daynah Burnett: Or I just don't know my state abbreviations. I think that is my fault.
Marcia: Oh, that's okay.
00:29:00 Well, the reason I am calling is because I have been having some very dry, flaky patches on my face. And I would guess maybe it was from the weather, of course, but actually it started like late summer. And when it started to creep up into my eyelids I decided I thought I better go see a doctor or a dermatologist, which I did. And she prescribed some Desonide which I guess is a steroid.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Marcia: And she also asked me what other products I am using.
00:29:37 And I have been using Paula's Choice products and loving them for many, many years now. And I told her that and she didn't have any objection to your line, but she...I'm also using in addition to the Paula's Choice, Retin-A Micro which is also a prescription as you well know. And I've been using that for many years as well with no problem.
00:30:03 And so she said that maybe I should alternate the exfoliant that I am using and the Retin-A Micro instead of applying them on the same day, which she said that might be probably too harsh for my fair, sensitive skin to use them at the same time. And maybe what is causing the flakiness.
00:30:30 So, I just was wondering what your thoughts are and do you have a suggestion on the strength of the exfoliant? I mean I know you guys have several different options there and I guess I am just not sure.
Bryan Barron: So first of all, I do think that the advice that you got from your dermatologist was great. In fact, I think many dermatologists wouldn't go as far as to offer that helpful of a suggestion. A lot of times what we hear from women is that the dermatologist's advice is all or nothing. "Well stop using that," or, "Just keep using it and power through it; it will go away."
Marcia: Well she does believe in exfoliants. So that was something that I was glad to hear.
Bryan Barron: So, Marcia, which of our exfoliants are you using?
Marcia: Good question.
00:31:27 I've been using...I have tried the 8% and I started using the Resist Resurfacing Treatment which is pretty high. And I felt maybe that is too strong, so I went to the 8%. And so I kind of stopped at that when this problem started. And I thought well maybe I am not applying this correctly or just the timing is off or what, I'm not sure what to do.
00:32:01 I don't want to give up an exfoliant. She said that is very important to use. And I really don't want to give up the Retin-A.
Bryan Barron: Were you using the AHA product once daily or twice daily?
Marcia: The Resurfacing Treatment? Or just either...
Bryan Barron: Well let's talk about both of them, because you mentioned the Resurfacing Treatment and then you said that you stopped using that. But when..
Marcia: I was just using that on your recommendation of about weekly.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
00:32:34 So once weekly.
Marcia: Mm-hmm.
Bryan Barron: And now that you are using the 8% AHA gel, are you using that daily?
Marcia: Probably about every other day like she recommended, alternating with the Retin-A Micro.
Bryan Barron: Okay, so you have been following that advice and so what you are telling me then is the flaking is not improving?
Marcia: It has a little bit. It has a little bit.
00:33:01 So, I'm wondering if maybe I should even go down a notch with the exfoliant and do the 2%?
Bryan Barron: Well, you know you raise a good question in the sense that for our alpha hydroxy acid exfoliants we offer, there is the 5% in the Daily Smoothing Treatment in our Resist line. The 8% which is what you are using, the 8% alpha hydroxy acid gel as part of our Skin Perfecting line of exfoliants. Then the 10% in the Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment.
00:33:36 For salicylic acid the percentages are lower but it isn't a quantitative difference. It is more of a qualitative difference. Simply put, you don't need as much salicylic acid to get the same results that you can get with a higher amount of glycolic acid. Does that make sense?
Marcia: And salicylic is the BHA?
Bryan Barron: That is correct. Yes.
00:34:03 So what we can do, let's do this. Desiree, let's send Marcia...Marcia, do you have more normal-to-oily or normal-to-dry skin? I know you are dealing with some dryness, but your overall complexion, how would you describe it?
Marcia: Actually right now it is very, very dry skin. And maybe you have other suggestions as to different ones in your line right now. I am using the Moisture Boost Hydrating Cream and Daily Restoring.
00:34:34 And the One-Step Face Cleanser. And the Moisture Boost Toner. And Resist Barrier Repair. Is there any other suggestions since I am going through this that might even make the recovery a little bit better?
Bryan Barron: Yes. I'm going to suggest three things. I think that you should replace your Moisture Boost Toner with our Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner. And we will send you a bottle of that so you can experiment with it.
00:35:03 It is a different formulation. It contains a more sophisticated range of ingredients including, and this may be the key for contains several more ingredients that help to repair skin's barrier, skin's surface. And what can happen, especially with combined use of Tretinoin which is the active ingredient in Retin-A Micro, and then an exfoliant is that you can get...basically what happens is you get a kick back.
00:35:33 You see patches of dryness and flaking. It is sort of your skin telling you, hey, this is a little bit too much and maybe you soul reconsider and scale back. So, I want you to start using that toner. For overnight treatment, so instead of your moisturizer at night, I want you to apply the Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask. It is a fluffy, kind of soufflé-like cream that is intensely hydrating.
00:36:02 You can rinse it off after ten minutes, but really in your situation you can leave it on overnight and there is absolutely no harm in doing that, just because it is called a mask. It is a moisturizing mask. It is perfectly safe to leave on your skin overnight. And then for the exfoliant, let's try the 1% beta hydroxy acid lotion.
Marcia: Okay.
Bryan Barron: I'm curious as to how your skin would respond to not only a lotion texture for an exfoliant, instead of a gel, but also salicylic acid versus glycolic acid.
00:36:36 And then I would like you to keep up with your dermatologist's recommendation of one night on/one night off. So you would use the exfoliant we are sending you, you would use one night after cleansing and toning. And then on the opposite night you would apply the Retin-A Micro.
Marcia: Okay. Okay.
00:36:57 And then just keep on doing that and maybe that is all I should be doing then instead of doing them at the same time?
Bryan Barron: Right. Right. Another thing that you can try, because I was also going to suggest at some point that you talk to your dermatologist about maybe switching to either Renova or generic tretinoin in cream form. Because the Retin-A Micro is a very sheer gel. It is not really giving you any hydration at all.
Marcia: Okay. Renova is the same strength as the Retin-A Micro?
Bryan Barron: Retin-A Micro, I believe the strength range for Retin-A Micro is a bit stronger, but your dermatologist would know best as to which one to move you over to. But, my point is that there are other options and maybe you should try using that same active ingredient but in the more emollient base. And then that in and of itself may help.
00:37:56 Now your dermatologist may have been a bit hesitant to suggest that because you have been using Retin-A Micro for so many years, but it is worth asking about. And Tretinoin is available generically which will end up saving you money, depending on your health insurance. But if you can go the generic route it is almost always cheaper and it is the same active ingredient. So, let's give that a go Marcia, and you can let us know how you are doing. You can email our customer service team and say that you spoke to us on the radio show and they can forward your information to me.
00:38:30 And we can fine tune your routine from there if needed.
Marcia: Okay. Well thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Bryan Barron: All right. Thanks for calling, Marcia.
Daynah Burnett: All right, next we have got Christy from Washington. Christy?
Bryan Barron: Hi Christy. What's on your mind tonight?
Christy: Hi. I am calling to ask about what I suspect is maybe Milia because it is a stubborn little bumpy spot on my forehead that doesn't seem like whiteheads or blackheads.
00:39:07 Yeah, that I am having trouble with. And I do have the generic Retin-A but that wasn't really helping it. So now I have been experimenting a little bit with BHA and AHA but I am not sure what is best for it.
Bryan Barron: Well without question if what you are dealing with is either Milia or it is also known as a whitehead, they tend to be referred to as Milia when they become more stubborn.
00:39:36 But for most people who have these, definitely would say, "Yeah, it is stubborn; I can't get it to go away." BHA is the better choice because in comparison to AHA, the beta hydroxy acid active ingredient, salicylic acid, it is oil soluble. And that white bump that you are seeing is an accumulation of excess oil, dead skin cells, and other debris that gets caught in the follicle lining of each pore.
00:40:05 Every pore on our face has a little follicle lining that goes down deeper into the skin that connects to an oil gland. And that system normally, you can think of it very much like plumbing. Normally it flows smoothly, but sometimes a clog can form and things get backed up. But the oil and what-not is still being produced and so eventually you will end up with a Milia or a whitehead, a white bump on the skin.
00:40:35 So I would definitely suggest BHA. Most people will find that over the counter strengths of salicylic acid or BHA aren't going to do enough, because again, Milia can be stubborn. So, if it isn't responding well, you can talk to your doctor or dermatologist about having, especially if it is just like one or two bumps, you can go in and see a cosmetic dermatologist and have the bump lanced and drained.
00:41:06 It sounds kind of gross and in a way it kind of is, but it isn't that painful. Dermatologists know what they are doing in that sense. It is nothing new for them. And it is a very quick way to drain the contents of that bump so that when you are using your exfoliants they will work a lot better and that bump won't come back.
Christy: Okay.
Bryan Barron: At least that is the goal.
Christy: Does Microdermabrasion or IPLs, do those help prevent that at all or help with that?
Bryan Barron: IPLs, no.
00:41:45 IPLs do not have any influence on oil glands or how skin cells form and shed. They are primarily for correctly...
Christy: Pigmentation?
Bryan Barron: Yes. You can pretty much chalk IPLs up is a non-laser, it is a light-emitting device that the primary benefit is the way it can handle brown and red discolorations.
Christy: Okay.
Bryan Barron: Microdermabrasion, first of all, you wouldn't want to use that type of procedure over Milia because there is the risk that depending on the strength of the machine and the technician using it that they can literally blow the surface of that bump right off.
00:42:29 You still have got the blockage. It is sort of like how the Biore Pore Strips take off the top portion of the blackhead. And so when you tear that strip off the face or your nose you see some immediate improvement, that black dot is gone, but what is causing that black dot is still lurking inside your pore. So, in short order, you are going to see another blackhead. So it is kind of the same thing with Microdermabrasion in that they might remove the dimensional bump but what is clogging the pores is still there.
00:43:02 And so maybe in a week or two, probably a bit longer than it would take for a new blackhead to show up, you are going to see that bump again. And then tretinoin, you mentioned that.
Christy: Right. Along the same lines as the question, but how do you balance because I know that tretinoin, I can never say that right, but how do you balance that with...
Bryan Barron: We can't either.
Christy: ...exfoliants?
00:43:30 Just like one at night and one in the morning?
Bryan Barron: Right. Tretinoin is generally best applied at night. Although many dermatologists will recommend once if you are going to apply it every day, to only do it at night, because tretinoin is inactivated, it is basically made ineffective when exposed to UV light.
Christy: Okay. So that has to be at night.
Bryan Barron: As far as exfoliants go, you can use an exfoliant with tretinoin.
00:44:02 It is not that the two can't be used at the same time. And the exfoliant would go on first.
Christy: First, okay.
Bryan Barron: That is our general recommendation because our theory is that with the way a well-formulated exfoliant works on the skin, it sort of paves the way, it helps clear out some of that stuff so that the active ingredient, the tretinoin, can work even better.
00:44:29 Now some people find that applying the tretinoin product first and then following with an exfoliant works best. There is no hard and fast rule here. I can't point you to any research that says, "Ah, this is the order of application that works best." But, so our recommendation is more based on theory. So go ahead and give that a go and see what happens. But then feel free to switch it up if you don't think it is doing much.
Christy: Okay.
Bryan Barron: Other than that, unless you notice signs of flaking, redness or irritation from the combined use of tretinoin and an exfoliant, you can use that combination daily.
00:45:10 If you prefer to apply the exfoliant with the tretinoin at night, that is fine. Another option would be to apply your exfoliant product in the morning, followed by moisturizer with sunscreen, or if you use a serum you can put the serum on first and then the moisturizer with sunscreen, so you can separate it that way as well.
Christy: All right, okay. That sounds great.
00:45:33 Can I say really quick that I was introduced to Paula's products and books by my sister who kind of knows her through the publishing world somehow, but anyway, that is how I was introduced to her products and love them. And I have two teenage daughters that now are always telling me, "Mom, order this," or, "mom, we need that." So, they are wonderful. We love them.
Bryan Barron: Well, I'm glad that you brought that up.
00:46:00 Because I forgot to give you some products!
Christy: I would happily take them!
Bryan Barron: If you know them, let's list a couple, or two/three of the products that you or your daughters use and we will replenish you.
Christy: Okay. Well, I have been using some of the Resist line and then I have, again, teenage girls, so they are kind of using some of the Clear line products.
Bryan Barron: Actually, Christy, why don't we do this. We have your email address. And we have your basic information. So, Desiree, let's check Christy's file, her order history, and then Christy we will check in with you via email about what we should send you.
Christy: Okay. That would work.
Bryan Barron: Because I kind of feel like I am putting you on the spot a little bit. And I thought let's look at your order history and then we will get a nice selection of products sent your way.
00:47:04 We will replenish some stuff. Maybe we will look at your most recent order. in the meantime if you want to email our customer service team letting them know that we spoke with you on the radio show if there are specific products that you think, gosh, it would be great if they send me more of this, and you actually have them in hand and can write that down in an email and send it to our customer service team, we can do it that way, too.
Christy: Okay. Well great.
00:47:29 Thank you very much. And stay dry. I'm in Kirkland so I am not far from you guys. We will see what happens with our blizzard tonight.
Bryan Barron: Oh, I know. I don't know if I am going to wait up and see what happens, but I am anxious to see what is on the ground tomorrow morning.
Daynah Burnett: Okay. Next caller...we have [Nu] from Illinois. Nu, are you there?
Nu: Yes I am. Hello?
Bryan Barron: Nu?
Nu: Hi.
Bryan Barron: You are on the air with the Paula's Choice Research Team.
Nu: Oh, wonderful.
Bryan Barron: What can we do for you tonight, Nu? What is on your mind?
Nu: I'm 39 years old.
00:48:25 And I have about ten years worth of sun damage from living in tropical climates. And I have this redness around the base of my nose that I have noticed just a few years ago stating to come. And I don't know how to get rid of it. I also have some brown spots that I use the Remarkable Skin Lightening Lotion on and that seems to be doing the trick for the brown spots.
00:48:53 But the redness, I don't know what to do. I have used the Super Antioxidant Serum, but I seem to be allergic to that.
Bryan Barron: Okay. Well that is not good. I hope, if you have not done so already, you can return that product to us or you can contact our customer service department and they will refund you and they can talk to you about some of our other serums that you may have better luck with.
Nu: Okay.
Bryan Barron: The redness around your nose, is it like an almost spotty type?
00:49:28 Or are you actually seeing red like veins?
Nu: I see some veins, yes.
Bryan Barron: Okay. That's what I was thinking and those are, again, without having you here in person to see it for myself, what I am guess is that what you are dealing with are broken capillaries. It is definitely one of the signs of sun damage.
00:49:57 I have dealt with that myself. I have fair skin and I didn't get a lot of sun exposure growing up, but as a kid we would go to Florida quite a bit and I would spend all day in the ocean or in the pool and I was with my grandmother whose opinion on sunscreen was you only need it after you get a burn. I mean it was the early ‘80s. To her credit she grew up in a generation where it was considered very fashionable to be tan.
00:50:31 I'm not putting grandmother under the bus, but she did the best she could. So I distinctly remember getting some sunburns from being out too long in the Florida sun, and then I would get slathered in the sunscreen which at the time was probably only like SPF 4 or 8.
Nu: Right.
Bryan Barron: And probably encouraged tanning right on the label. But, I say all of that because as an adult I ended up with some redness that sounds very similar to what you have experienced and the first thing you need to know is that it isn't the type of redness that you can treat with skincare products.
00:51:08 Yeah. Using gentle, fragrance-free, non-irritating products definitely helps and can keep them from getting worse, as can avoiding things like splashing your face with hot water, or some people react to...they find that their capillaries look worse after they consume either caffeine or beverages with alcohol.
00:51:30 That can be more indicative of someone who is dealing with Rosacea. Don't think that is what you are dealing with. But what you need to do to get those treated is to see a dermatologist and have a series of intense pulse light treatments
Nu: Oh, okay.
Bryan Barron: Most people...first of all, IPL can work beautifully for broken capillaries. It essentially zaps the source of the problem. The body reabsorbs it.
00:52:00 And then the skin goes back to normal. And as long as you are keeping your skin protected from further sun damage it is not like those are going to come back. Now you might see some new ones pop up on other parts of your face, again, from sun damage because we know sun damage is cumulative and it is not like all of the sun damage we have ever received in our lives all of a sudden just shows up on our face when we hit mid-30s or early 40s.
00:52:27 So, you may see some others down the road and you can see how this treatment works. But generally speaking IPL for broken capillaries is a brilliant option. You might need anywhere from one to three treatments, depending on the severity, before you see 100% clearance. And, yes, they can be a bit pricy depending on where you live; the treatments will run anywhere from $250 to $500 a pop. A lot of dermatologist practices will offer a package deal because they know you need more than one treatment to get the results you want.
00:53:01 So they will bundle either three or six packages together and then they will offer that at a reduced rate. So, try to find a dermatologist who does that. Maybe someone who is nice enough who will say, "Okay, Nu, we will try this once and see how you do. And then if you decide you need another one, at that point you can do the bundle pricing." Some of them will do that.
00:53:26 But it is just something that skincare can't adequately address. And so rather than spending money on products that aren't going to get you the results you want, it makes more sense, and I can speak from personal experience, just to have that procedure done and you won't have to worry about the problem in that area anymore.
Nu: Okay. All right. Well thank you.
Bryan Barron: So you are using sunscreen, yes?
Nu: Yes I am.
Bryan Barron: Are you using Paula's Choice products? Can we set you up with some freebies tonight?
Nu: Oh, sure. That would be great. Yes. I am using a lot of her products actually.
00:54:11 The Hydroquinone one and...
Desiree Stordahl: How about this - we will be in touch with you via email and will find out the perfect products to send you and see if you want to try anything new.
Nu: Okay, great. Thank you.
Desiree Stordahl: Thank you.
Bryan Barron: Thanks, Nu.
Daynah Burnett: All right.
00:54:30 So we have one last caller here and I think this might be someone on Facebook who is having a birthday today. Is it Olesya, am I saying that right, from Pennsylvania?
Olesya: Hello.
Daynah Burnett: Hello, Olesya? Is that correct?
Olesya: Yes, Olesya. That's correct. Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: Olesya, what a pretty name.
Olesya: Yeah, it's a Russian name, that's why.
Bryan Barron: So Olesya we have a few minutes to chat, so what is on your mind tonight.
Olesya: Yes.
00:55:10 My question is to what about cleansing devices. I was wondering if you can point out the difference or even if you recommend it between Clarisonic Mia, Olay's product brush, and DDF Cleansing and Polishing Tool, I believe. Is there any difference significant or do you recommend them at all for improving texture and for extra help with cleaning?
Bryan Barron: Well, regardless, most of those cleansing brushes have far more similarities than differences. The ones that come with different detachable brush heads that you can use, you want to make sure that the bristles are soft and they should be made of nylon. Most of them are.
00:55:59 You do not want to use the ones that have any sort of a scrubbing attachment. The key with cleansing the skin is to always be gentle. Our recommendation is to use a soft cotton washcloth or even a special facial cloth, which some companies like GHC sell, with your cleanser instead of any handheld device. The handheld brush type devices do give you a bit more sort of an extra measure of cleansing.
00:56:31 Some women feel that they are more adept at removing makeup and there is a bit of research to support that. And some women report that they like the almost scrub like action that the bristles can have. We have also heard from a lot of women who have tried these devices and found that they worked really well at first but they liked it and they keep using it, and then three to six months down the road they are noticing that their skin has become more sensitive, it is a bit blotchy.
00:57:01 It is maybe showing little flaky patches. But they love that brush so much they keep using it and they never thing that it might be the cause of it. Sometimes the irritation that these brushes can cause when they are used too aggressively or too often can lead to problems down the road that you may not immediately associate with the brush. So, my advice to you Olesya is to use caution.
00:57:27 If you haven't invested in any of these yet, I would suggest starting with the cleansing brush from Olay Pro-X.
Olesya: Mm-hmm. It's cheaper also.
Bryan Barron: Well, it is a cheaper alternative and, you know, it is actually a pretty nice brush if you like using that type of product to cleanse your face. So, it is a good place to start so you can see what you think. The difference between the main Clarisonic and the Clarisonic Mia as far as I know is just that the Clarisonic Mia is smaller and comes in more colors.
Olesya: Travel size.
Bryan Barron: And the DDF one...gosh, I am drawing a bit of a blank on exactly what that is like.
00:58:10 But from what I am recalling at this late hour, I don't think we liked that one quite as much as the others.
Olesya: [Unintelligible] bristles and in brush, I believe. That is why I was wondering if it does anything, like Microdermabrasion effect on the skin to smooth the texture?
00:58:32 Or it is more a [grip]? [Unintelligible]. Thanks. That will help. I think it is not maybe worth it. I will try with the washcloth first and then we will move on to something more.
Bryan Barron: Okay. And then take a look at the cleansers that we recommend on And we will go from there and you can give us a call back and let us know what you think. All right, thank you Olesya. Thanks for calling.
Daynah Burnett: Can you send her some of our cleansers for her birthday? It's her birthday today!
Bryan Barron: We will.
Olesya: I'm actually using a lot of your products already and I love them.
00:59:16 And I'm really very grateful that I discovered [your company].
Bryan Barron: Well for your birthday, Olesya, and I'm sorry...I didn't mean to cut you off, but I need to wrap up here. So, again, we will check the routine that you are using in our database and we will send you a brand...we will replenish your entire routine for your birthday. Okay?
Daynah Burnett: Okay, I think she is off the air.
Bryan Barron: All right, cool. So, we will send Olesya the Paula's Choice products that she has been using and you can check us out at Really quick - next week on January 24 we are having a Facebook and Twitter Q&A Extravaganza. Check out our Paula's Choice Facebook page. Pose your questions there. And if we pick them you can hear it on air.
01:00:07 On the 31st, tips for the perfect foundation. We are bringing back special guest makeup artist Kimberly Heintzman to help you solve all of your foundation problems and get advice from someone who is using a bunch of different foundations on lots of different people all the time. And on February 7 we are doing a special show on how to get rid of those stubborn dark spots, what works and what doesn't.
01:00:31 And then how to handle the problem that an uneven skin tone can present. What you can do to get your skin tone looking fresh, bright, radiant, and more even. Thank you so much for joining us. This has been "Be Beautifully Informed with the Paula's Choice Research Team." Have a great evening and we will talk with you next week. Good night.
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