Skin Care & Beauty Questions with our Facebook and Twitter Fans

Airdate: 4/17/12

A special Q&A extravaganza with our Facebook and Twitter Fans! Get expert advice or your most challenging skin concerns, from wrinkles to uneven skin tone and persistent breakouts.

Bryan Barron: Good evening everyone. Thanks for tuning in. This is "Be Beautifully Informed with the Paula's Choice Research Team." And tonight we are not taking your calls live on air. We have been culling questions from the Paula's Choice Facebook page, as well as from our Twitter feed. It is our Facebook and Twitter Extravaganza. You asked us tons of skin care and beauty questions.
00:00:29 We are going to try to get through as many of them as possible. We have some great ones lined up. And I am here tonight with our producer, Desiree Stordahl. Hey Desiree!
Desire Stordahl: Hello.
Bryan Barron: Oh, busy weekend. I know Desiree... - Oh, we have a quick announcement before I talk about where Desiree is headed. But next week we are doing our live show with Dr. Brandith Irwin; she is a Seattle are dermatologist.
00:01:00 And she is going to be talking about the latest and greatest anti-aging procedures that a cosmetic dermatologist can do. Not too long ago she was at a big aesthetics derm conference in Paris, and has some really exciting things to share with us. That show for next Tuesday, April 24th, is going to be our last live show for the next few months.
00:01:26 We are actually going to be taking a hiatus. And so we are going to be off for the summer, so to speak, and we will be back with new information, new shows, new research the first Tuesday in September, I believe. Desiree, do we have the exact date?
Desiree Stordahl: That would be September 4th. Right after Labor Day.
Bryan Barron: Right. Labor Day is Monday, September 3rd. We will be back with new shows on September 4th. In the meantime, though, in those proceeding months, we are still going to be broadcasting the show every week on Tuesday at 6pm Pacific, 9pm Eastern as usual.
00:02:05 We are going to be obviously doing rebroadcasts, but we are going to pick some of the shows that we have gotten some great feedback about. You know, we have been doing this for a little over two years now, and so we have amassed a little over 140 shows, all of which are available on our website, in the Community section. We have lots of transcripts available.
00:02:28 So we will still be keeping you beautifully informed through the summer with these rebroadcasts. So if you missed a show we encourage you to tune in. You will be getting emails, if you are signed up for them, letting you know each week what the show is going to be about.
Desiree Stordahl: And the cool thing about these rebroadcasts is that we have really picked the best of the best. So we have narrowed it down for you based on which ones were most popular with our fans, and the best topics. So you are really getting the cream of the crop.
Bryan Barron: Yes. Sort of like when you watch reruns of your favorite television show during summer, because they are not doing new episodes, and they are only picking those episodes that just really had you on the edge of your seat and left you wanting more, as opposed to those filler episodes.
00:03:11 We are only going to give you the good stuff. So, Desiree is leaving with Paula tomorrow for a couple of weeks in Korea.
Desiree Stordahl: That's right. We are going to be going over there and doing some media. She has some TV interviews, some public speaking appearances, interviews with magazines and newspapers.
00:03:32 And we are also going to be meeting with our distributor over there. And visiting the Paula's Choice stores that they have in Korea. So it's going to be a busy, busy trip. Paula will be updating her status on Facebook and Twitter, so stay tuned there if you would like to know what we are up to. But it should be a great trip.
Bryan Barron: I still can't get over the fact that we actually have Paula's Choice stores in Korea. I have seen the pictures, because the businessman that head's up Paula's Choice Korea operations is just a powerhouse.
00:04:06 And it is just so trippy to see, you know, in the middle of a busy street in Korea there is a Paula's Choice storefront where you can go in and buy the products, and test the products. And we do not have anything like that in the United States, or Canada, or I don't think any other country where we are sold. Not to say that won't change in the future. Not making any promises in that regard either.
00:04:31 We do like being an online company. It allows us to keep a tighter control over making sure that we are giving you the most consistent, reliable information. So, speaking of reliable information, this is my one pseudo rant before we get to the questions. We have gotten some emails about this issue, and I was a bit surprised because it is actually kind of dated. But I'm assuming that it somehow made its way onto some blogs, or maybe it got recycled or re-promoted in the media.
00:05:03 But it is about a couple of preservatives. And in May of 2008, so almost four years ago, this in on the FDA's website at The headline is, "FDA warns consumers against using Mommy's Bliss Nipple Cream. Product can be harmful to nursing infants." Now this is a product that a nursing mother would apply to her breasts, on and around the nipples if they start becoming uncomfortable or dry, or as a result of nursing.
00:05:40 I've not seen the ingredient list for this cream, but the FDA notice calls out the preservatives Chlorphenesin and Phenoxyethanol. And they say that Chlorphenesin relaxes skeletal muscle and can depress the central nervous system and cause respiratory depression, slower shallow breathing in infants. And Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and mediations. Very true.
00:06:05 It can also depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea which may lead to dehydration in infants. That's definitely startling information. What is not mentioned though is that this is all about oral - it's about ingestion. It's not about topical application to skin. The other factor to keep in mind is that we don't know how much Phenoxyethanol or Chlorphenesin is being used in these products.
00:06:32 There are no reports, or specific reports called out of infants that have been affected by this where something happened and the mother went to the pediatrician or to the emergency room and they traced it back to this nipple cream that the baby somehow ingested from nursing. But here's what you need to know. We have been getting emails about this because some of our Paula's Choice customers said, "Hey, I found this information. It sounds scary. And what do you know? You guys are using these preservatives in some of your products."
00:07:03 Yes we are. Both of them have been studied. Both of them are effective, particularly Phenoxyethanol. It's more of a broad spectrum type of preservative. There isn't one single preservative that is just wholly effective against every type of bacteria and fungus or mold. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, which is why in almost any skin care product, particularly if it has water, because water is definitely a medium where bacteria can flourish and grow.
00:07:33 But almost any cosmetic product will have a blend of preservatives. It is unusual to see just one, and usually if you do it is because the product does not have water in it. So if there is a tiny amount of one broad spectrum preservative like Phenoxyethanol included, more or less it's a precaution. Both of these preservatives have global regulatory status. They are approved up to certain amounts in products.
00:08:00 For example, in most developed countries Phenoxyethanol is approved for use up to a 1% concentration. It is not considered harmful. Like any preservative, certain people may have a sensitized reaction to it. That doesn't mean that it is going to cause chronic respiratory distress, and skeletal collapse, and all kinds of other issues. As long as you are not eating and drinking these products you are going to do fine.
00:08:26 So the bottom line is, despite the FDA's warning letter about the nipple cream, yes if you are a nursing mother who is using this product, it's probably best to stop using it. Consider using something else if that area is effective, such as plain Vaseline, or even Aquaphor ointment. Or even just plain, a non-fragrant plant oil like olive oil, safflower oil, jojoba oil. Those would be fine. But in terms of Phenoxyethanol and Chlorphenesin being used in skin care products that are applied topically, unless you know you have a concern about those ingredients in terms of causing a sensitized reaction, they are fine.
00:09:07 And I just wanted to reassure our customers that Paula's Choice vets all of these ingredients carefully. We talk to the chemists. We talk to the toxicologists. So I just wanted to put your mind at ease about that.
Desiree Stordahl: Well thank you for setting the record straight. I know that is helpful to a lot of people out there who have those concerns. Are you ready to take some questions off Facebook and Twitter?
Bryan Barron: Mm-hmm.
Desiree Stordahl: Our first question comes from Lesley on Facebook.
00:09:37 And she says, "How do I know if I am doubling up on products needlessly? I use both Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk and Extra Mild Liquid Facial Soap. You have both listed under cleansers on Beautypedia. They list them separately as an accessory and cleanser. When I asked the counter, of course the sales lady said I needed both. I have the same question regarding their Dramatically Different Moisture Lotion that I am using plus their Sheer City Block Face Protector SPF 25. Again, you list them both as moisturizers and, again, the same sales lady said I needed them both as the face protector was not moisturizing enough. Again, they listed them separately as moisturizer and sun care. I have just ordered your PC Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream for Nighttime, but still wonder about these two daytime moisturizers."
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:10:26 Lesley, this is a great question. I definitely wanted to make sure that we addressed this. Honestly, it does - you are absolutely right to be skeptical in terms of what they told you, because it does come down to sales. Years ago I worked for Clinique, and the way that they train their consultants to sell products is they have a very specific - they won't call a makeup remover a cleanser, and they won't call - none of their cleansers can remove makeup. They used to use this, I don't know if they still do, but when I worked there they used this silly analogy of the way you are supposed to explain to customers why they need a makeup remover for their entire face, and their cleanser, or why the cleanser isn't removing makeup -
00:11:09 I believe the statement was you wouldn't take a shower with your raincoat on, and that is essentially what you are doing if you use one of our cleansers without using one of our makeup removers first. First of all, almost all of the regular facial cleansers, including the one you mentioned from Clinique that they sell will absolutely remove makeup.
00:11:33 I mean, when I worked for Clinique I tested that myself, because I just didn't buy into that whole theory of absolutely needing to use two products. Do you need an eye makeup remover? Most likely yes, because for the most part we are just not as thorough around our eyes as we should be with a regular facial cleanser. And there is good reason for that - we want to be cautious that we are not getting our facial cleanser in the eye itself.
00:11:56 And if you are wearing waterproof mascara or some of those long-wearing gel type eye liners, or a ColorStay Eye Shadow, sometimes your regular facial cleanser isn't going to get all of that off. So you absolutely need to use a makeup remover, too. Paula likes to mention that not too long ago she talked to a dermatologist that really changed her mind about the necessity of using an eye makeup remover if you routinely wear a lot of eye makeup. And this dermatologist mentioned that when she looked at the woman's skin under a magnifying mirror and light it's amazing how much eye makeup she sees crusted along the lashes, and in the little folds around the eye lid, and under the eye.
00:12:41 And all of that builds up over time. And these women were all washing their faces. It's not like they were being negligent about skin care. They just weren't taking all of their eye makeup off. Not doing that every night can absolutely led to eye irritation. It can be a contributing factor to puffiness, both above and below the eye.
00:13:00 So, I'm definitely a big fan of using an eye makeup remover, along with a cleanser. But you don't need to use - in your case with the Take the Day Off Cleaning Milk, you could use that all by itself, or if you prefer the Extra Mild Facial Soap, that can work, too. Another option is just to use the Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk around your eyes with a cotton pad or with a Q-tip. And then finish with the Extra Mild Soap.
00:13:25 The moisturizer issue, we have heard this over the years. A lot of companies will say a sunscreen isn't your moisturizer, and a sunscreen doesn't moisturize. And the fact is that most of them do. The reason for that is that most sunscreen active ingredients do best, and they spread over skin the best, they adhere to skin the best when they are in a moisturizing base. So it is really not true, with very few exceptions in terms of say a liquid sunscreen or a spray-on sunscreen, that a sunscreen product isn't going to provide any moisture and therefore you need a separate product. You don't.
00:14:05 Can you combine them, applying a moisturizer first, followed with the SPF rated product? Sure you can, but you don't need to. It really comes down to personal preference and how that combination feels on your skin. If you have a daytime moisturizer with sunscreen that you like, for all intents and purposes it works great, you are very, very happy with it, but you just wish that it provided a little bit more moisture, then put a dab of moisture on first and let that set.
00:14:36 And then follow with the daytime moisturizer with sunscreen, whether it is the City Block product, which City Block in particular - the one with the SPF 25 - that is quite moisturizing. And, Lesley, you probably noticed that unless you have very dry skin. That is probably feeling quite hydrating on its own. So, I'm glad that you are giving the Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream a try. I think that that's great.
00:15:01 It's absolutely a better choice formula wise than Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. I'm not just saying that because I work for Paula's Choice. There are lots of moisturizers that are better than Clinique's Dramatically Different. It has become dramatically boring. That has been the same wax and oil, yellow-tinted moisturizer for years. It is shocking to me, that along with the Maybelline Great Lash mascara, which is reported to be the best-selling mascara in America, and this Clinique moisturizer.
Desiree Stordahl: Oh gosh.
Bryan Barron: Oh my gosh.
00:15:36 I wonder, either the people buying this are all sticking with what they know and are nervous about trying anything else, or they just don't know any better and they are not experimenting with some of the new products. It's like with the Clinique Dramatically Different, it really is very much akin to saying, "Eh, no, I'm not going to go for that iPad or use email, I'm going to stick with this typewriter and the White-Out."
Desiree Stordahl: Right. Outdated.
Bryan Barron: All right.
00:16:05 So, there's your answer Lesley. And, Desiree, who are we moving onto next?
Desiree Stordahl: We have Valerie on Facebook, and I love this question. She says, "If a cream with antioxidants is in jar packaging, how long would it take for all of the antioxidants to dissipate and thereby render the product ineffective?"
Bryan Barron: Oh, that is a good one. Valerie, very good question. Okay, the answer is it depends.
00:16:31 First of all, all of them will break down over time with enough exposure to air and light. Part of that is the virtue of how antioxidants work in the presence of air. They are essentially little kamikaze pilots that intercept that rogue free radical that is looking for something to pair up to, but you don't want it to pair off with those substances in the skin and steal that electron.
00:16:59 I don't mean to get too science-y here, but that is essentially what antioxidants do. They prevent this chain reaction called free radical damage in skin by donating what the free radical is seeking to take, and it will take from your skin if there isn't something else that is being supplied topically, and of course internally as well, because we have quite the antioxidant defense system within our bodies - it's just natural. And as a side note, the healthier your diet is, lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, minimal process foods, avoiding lifestyle factors that we know causes free radical damage like sun exposure and smoking, all of those will help minimize free radical damage inside the body as well as outside.
00:17:41 But in terms of how long antioxidants last in a jar once the product is opened, it ultimately comes down to what type of antioxidants are being used. As an example, most plant extracts aren't going to hold up very long.
00:18:00 And all you need to do is think of how long fresh produce or a plant that you get from a florist lasts in your home, whether it is refrigerated or out on your counter. After about a week or so, maybe even less, it's not looking so good. I mean, just the other day I tossed out an avocado that I was kind of kicking myself for not using, because sitting out in a bowl on my counter, it turned into this soggy, mushy, starting to mold mess.
00:18:26 So I'm a little embarrassed to admit that, but yeah, you have got to throw that stuff out; it has a short shelf life. Some antioxidants such as the synthetic ones, an example would be idebenone, which is the "star antioxidant" in the Prevage products. Those tend to last a little bit longer because they have been modified to be more stable. The same is true for certain types of vitamin C. But, just because they have been modified to be more stable doesn't mean doesn't mean that they are stable indefinitely.
00:19:02 So as a general rule, first of all you can't know for sure how long they are going to last once they are exposed to light and air. But I would say on average, after you have opened a product with antioxidants that's in a jar, you probably have about anywhere from three to six weeks before the antioxidants are pretty much gone to minimally effective. You will notice that, too, with some vitamin C serums that have a high amount of vitamin C and they are packaged in those brown bottles with the dropper.
00:19:33 Some of them are more stable, and some of them will actually go from maybe a light gold or an amber color and then about two weeks later, especially if you are leaving the cap off too long, or not securing it tightly, you will notice that the liquid is almost like a rusty brown color. At that point, when you start seeing that in the products, the good ingredients are gone. They have oxidized, they have turned for the worst, and they are no longer helpful for your skin.
Desiree Stordahl: Bryan, what about retinol?
00:19:59 I know that is a highly sensitized ingredient.
Bryan Barron: Yes. And the good news is that there are fewer and fewer products with retinol that are packaged in jars, or in clear containers, because retinol is also prone to breaking down in the presence of light. I haven't seen any hard research showing how long it would last in that type of packaging. What the research consistently states is that retinol is a highly unstable ingredient. And we know from experience in formulating the products that we have with retinol that it can be very difficult to stabilize and then to keep it stable.
00:20:39 For example, when the company that manufactures our Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum for us, when they add the retinol to the mix, it is done in a special room under what is called a nitrogen blanket. And essentially what that does is it pumps up the amount of nitrogen in the air and severely minimizes oxygen.
00:21:02 It's a very controlled environment. That allows the retinol to be mixed into the product and put into air-tight packaging without any loss, or at the very least, minimal loss of efficacy.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay.
Bryan Barron: If I had to guess Desiree, I would say -it's going to start to break down immediately and you are probably going to see a serious loss of effectiveness after about a week or two.
Desiree Stordahl: Got it.
Bryan Barron: That's my educated guess. I don't have any hard and fast research to say, that's why I said that. It's just more speculation.
00:21:36 But the take home message is to never buy a retinol product that exposes the contents to a good amount of light and air, which absolutely means no jar packaging for retinol. That is true for all forms of vitamin A.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay, Karen on Facebook has a question along the same thing. She says, "How long does an active ingredient need to be on the skin and sink in to become effective? I'm applying a combination of hydroquinone and tretinoin to the backs of hands, and I'm wondering how long I should wait before washing my hands."
Bryan Barron: Hmm. Okay.
00:22:11 Karen, first part of your question - how long does an active ingredient need to be on skin to sink in and become effective. That is going to come down to the formula, what type of vehicle it is in. For example, an oil or emollient, oilier emollient cream generally allows for a slower penetration of active ingredients into the skin's surface layers.
00:22:35 A lighter-weight cream is going to speed that. A gel or a liquid, particularly one that has glycol-type ingredients is going to allow that to occur faster. Same thing with a gel texture. The less there is that "gets in the way" of the active ingredient penetrating, the faster they are going to penetrate. There are absolutely reasons why you don't want certain ingredients to penetrate too fast and you want them to stay in the surface layers of the skin, because that is where the repair has to start.
00:23:10 Generally though, how long it takes to sink in and become effective comes down to the active ingredient. Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, when they are formulated in the correct pH range, and this is just an example, they start to work fairly quickly, probably within minutes of being on your skin. That's one of the reasons that we say for our Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment which has a 10% glycolic acid. You can rinse that off after about 10 minutes.
00:23:35 It's fine to leave it on the skin. You will get better results if you do, but if you find that it is causing issues for you, maybe you noticed some flaking, maybe it is starting to work too well. You can rinse it off after ten minutes and not feel like you are losing efficacy. With hydroquinone and tretinoin, I would say you want to at least give those ingredients about half an hour before washing your hands.
00:24:03 I'm thinking that you are asking this because you are putting those products on in the morning. And Karen if that is the case you definitely want to make sure that you are following up with a good sunscreen. First of all, there's no sense in using hydroquinone if you are not being almost neurotic about sun protection. It really is that important. And second of all, using tretinoin during the day is typically not advised because UV exposure renders it ineffective.
00:24:29 You can minimize that to a degree by using sun protection, but generally speaking you want to keep the tretinoin reserved for nighttime use. Did I pretty much get the gist of that?
Desiree Stordahl: You did. We will move onto Stephanie on Twitter. And this is a great question, one that I can personally answer. She says, "Does self-tanner stain clothes? I'd like to give yours a try after having you as my guru for so long." So, Stephanie, yes; self-tanner can stain your clothes in the application process. Once it is set and dried you don't need to worry about that.
00:25:05 But you need to give it ample time to dry and absorb into your skin. So, if you are putting it on right before bed, you want to give it a good probably half hour before you are rolling around in your sheets, just because you don't want to risk turning them a little bit of a bronze color. And it also depends on the self-tanner itself. Some of them do add a bronze tint into it before you will see the actual bronzing effect, and that is what can stain clothes.
00:25:33 So I would say wear dark clothes right after you put it on. If you need to throw on like a t-shirt or something like that, something that is dark colored. Another tip that we have told people is to use an old bathing suit if you are wanting to wear something while you apply it. It's also easiest to just apply it buck naked and, hey, just hang out in the bathroom for awhile, or if nobody is home you can go about your business. But definitely it will stain clothes, so be careful with that.
00:26:00 And you can check out our article called "Self-Tanning Done Right" on for more tips on how to apply. So, our next question comes from Tico on Facebook. And Tico asks, "Can I use Paula's Pick M.A.C. Strobe Cream on the eyes?" Bryan?
Bryan Barron: Tico, I had to double check this product to make sure. My initial answer is yes, and it is still yes, with a slight precaution. Strobe Cream is fragranced. It isn't highly fragranced.
00:26:32 We actually...this is one of the products that we have around the office. And I double checked the scent; it's not that bad. The concern with using a fragranced product around the eye area is the risk of getting the product into the eye itself, and fragrance is no friend to the eye. Otherwise, the ingredients in Strobe Cream are great for use around the eye. It contains some good emollients, it's got jojoba oil. Some great antioxidants in there.
00:27:00 The Strobe Cream has that slight shimmer finish, so if you aren't a fan of that than the answer would be don't bother with Strobe Cream at all. But if that doesn't bother you or if you like the subtle cosmetic brightening it provides, then give it a go. You don't need a fragrance-free eye cream. You can go ahead and just use a fragrance-free moisturizer, especially if you find that the Strobe Cream bothers you.
00:27:30 A lot of companies will say, "Well, we recommend our eye cream. It's specially formulated for use around the eye, and it's very gentle, and it's fragrance-free." Okay, that's great; but the logic that always makes us scratch our head, at least when we hear that explanation is, so you are saying that the eye area should be treated gently and shouldn't get fragrance, but that's fine for the rest of the face, and then neck, and on down? And apparently it is because a lot of facial moisturizers and body moisturizers contain fragrance, but the eye creams don't.
00:28:01 You can find facial moisturizers and serums that are fragrance-free and that absolutely can be used around the eye area. So if you want to give this Strobe Cream a try, even though it has got a little bit of fragrance, give it a go. If you notice any signs of irritation or stinging, obviously stop putting it around the eye area and check out Beautypedia for some additional options that don't contain fragrance.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay. Before we move onto the next question, I just wanted to let Stephanie know that we will send her our Almost the Real Thing Self-Tanning Gel. I forgot to mention that when I was answering her question.
00:28:36 So now we move onto Veneta on Facebook. And she says, "What PC product or any other brand should I use for uneven skin tone? I am Asian."
Bryan Barron: Oh, uneven skin tone. There are several options; that's the good news. But I guess it is also the bad news because when you here that there are several options your next natural question is, okay, which do I pick? Or, okay, which one is the best?
00:29:02 Which one you pick - you can go the exfoliant route, because no question exfoliating with an AHA, alpha hydroxy acid such as glycolic acid, or a BHA, beta hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid, will help increase skin cell turnover. Will definitely help promote a more even skin tone. If you combine those with a proven skin lightening ingredient, such as hydroquinone, that is even better.
00:29:32 So in terms of the Paula's Choice product that you could use, either our Resist Remarkable Skin Lightening Lotion, which has 2% hydroquinone, the gold standard and the maximum amount allowed in over the counter products. That also contains glycolic acid, so you get the skin lightening plus exfoliation. Or you could also go for the Resist Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel. That's a lighter weight formula.
00:30:02 They are both for all skin types. Generally speaking, though, if you have got uneven skin tone, some oiliness, maybe some breakouts, you will want to go with the gel. And if you have normal-to-dry skin, and some other signs of sun damage, you will want to go with the lotion. The gel also contains the 2% hydroquinone along with 2% salicylic acid. The other key element to help improve uneven skin tone, and keep it from getting worse, is daily sun protection. Generally speaking, you are going to want to go for SPF 30.
00:30:35 The reason for that - it isn't that SPF 15 isn't worth using. It's not that SPF 15 isn't effective. The issue comes down to application. Most of us aren't applying enough sunscreen - not as much as what is needed to get the SPF stated on the label. So, the current mode of thinking in dermatology circles is to recommend that everyone use SPF 30, particularly if discolorations are a concern, because generally speaking we are applying about half as much as we should be, therefore SPF 30 is really netting us about SPF 15.
00:31:09 If you are using an SPF 15 product, and you are applying it liberally, which is generally about a teaspoon, maybe a little bit more for your entire face and neck, and if that sounds like a lot you are probably not applying enough sunscreen; but if you have been doing that with an SPF 15 product and you are getting minimal daily sun exposure, I wouldn't say, "Yes, you need to jump up to SPF 30."
00:31:31 But, if you have an uneven skin tone and you have got some brown spots that you are trying to fade and that you don't want to get worse, I would go with at least SPF 25, maybe even a 30 or higher, especially if you are not sure that you are going to apply enough of it. There are other options from other brands, Veneta, and you can check out our best skin lightening options list on Beautypedia. The other thing that I wanted to have you keep in mind is that with any skin lightening ingredient, whether it is hydroquinone, retinol can help to a certain degree, various forms of vitamin C, licorice, niacinamide, numerous plant extracts such as arbutin -
00:32:14 Not everyone's skin is going to respond equally well. Dermatologists know this. Women and men who have experimented with various skin lightening options know this. Sometimes uneven skin tone from sun damage, those brown spots, they can be stubborn. And, again, as I mentioned earlier, you absolutely have to be diligent about daily sun protection and taking steps to avoid intense sun exposure. That doesn't just mean sunscreen. It means the hats. It means the sunglasses. It means the long-sleeve shirts. It means not sitting out in direct sun if you can help it. And I know that might sound a bit Victorian, and who wants to go through all of that trouble?
00:32:58 But if you are serious about making those dark spots go away and preventing new ones, especially if you live in a climate that gets a lot of sun throughout the year, there's no other way. I mean, you know, there's only so much you can do. And if you are going to continue to get that sun exposure, you absolutely have to use the sun protection, too. You will not see the type of improvement that you want to see, regardless of the formula or the claim, or the price. And that is true for our products as well. If you are skimping on the sun protection and hoping to see those brown spots go away, you can't blame the product that you are using if it is one that you know contains supposedly effective ingredients.
00:33:40 You have to make sure that you are being almost neurotic about sun protection.
Desiree Stordahl: All right. Bryan, take a big gulp of water because this next question is a long one but a great one. This one comes from Tonia on Facebook. And she says, "Hi Paula and team. My question is how can I reduce the size of pores on my legs? I am very fair, with noticeable red circles on my legs. I was told they are enlarged pores/hair follicles. My overall skin type is normal-to-dry sensitive, and my legs are especially dry in the winter, often with a tight feeling and some flaking.
00:34:13 My routine - I shower daily and switched from bar soap to a Paula's Choice Body Wash that did not make a noticeable difference regarding the dryness. I probably should, but I do not moisturize my legs at all. I rarely shave, especially in the winter because my hair is very fine and light in color. I am not stingy about replacing razors, so when I do shave it isn't a dull blade. Not sure if it matters, but some areas on my shins tend to be very shiny, especially after shaving and not matte like the other areas of my leg. Thank you in advance for answering my question."
Bryan Barron: Okay. Tonia, first, it doesn't matter about the shiny shins. The shine likely comes from removing that superficial layer of top skin with the razor. And the skin along the shin bones is a bit thinner than elsewhere on the leg, so it is more prone to that shiny, slightly waxy look.
00:35:05 You can follow up with a good moisturizer afterwards to help rebuild that barrier disruption that occurs from the shaving. In terms of the redness: I have had this myself. I have fair skin and I have seen this on other people with various skin colors. It doesn't just have to be fair skin. What I have found personally makes a huge, huge difference is regular use of a body lotion with salicylic acid.
00:35:37 I use the Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA every day, sometimes every other day, on my thighs, and pretty much all the way down to my feet. And it keeps that redness that you get along the hair follicle - hair follicle/pore, kind of interchangeable. But it is easier to call it a hair follicle on a part of your body where you can actually see that it is growing hair.
00:36:04 Whereas women typically don't see that too much on the face. They will look at their cheeks and say, "Oh, it's a pore." They are not saying, "Oh, it's a hair follicle," because they are not seeing the hair sprouting. But, you can absolutely consider that to help reduce the inflammation which is likely where that redness is coming from. Sometimes it is just genetic and because of the color of your skin and the circulation, you are just seeing that. Some people have more of a translucent, almost papery thin type skin where everything that is going on underneath is just more visible.
00:36:38 Whereas someone who has more melanin or skin pigment, what is going on underneath is more masked. You could also be dealing with a condition known as bacterial folliculitis. And essentially all that means is that that little area, the hair follicle, right when the hair starts coming out of the skin, you get some inflammation there.
00:37:02 You get some bacteria build up and the skin tends to be unusually sensitive and you get some redness that can basically look like diffuse dots all over the skin. You can try using a product with a topical disinfectant such as benzoyl peroxide. And, Desiree, let's send Tonia some samples of the Weightless Body Treatment so that she can try that out. And then let's send her a full size of the Clear Acne Fighting Treatment with the 2.5% benzoyl peroxide.
Desiree Stordahl: Got it.
Bryan Barron: Tonia, I want you to try the benzoyl peroxide product on one leg, and then follow with the sample of the Weightless Body Treatment.
00:37:48 And then on the other leg, just do the Weightless Body Treatment. So I'm having you do a little A/B test so you can see how it works, and which leg starts looking better. One caution about the benzoyl peroxide, especially if you are doing this at night: make sure that it is fully absorbed before you get into bed. Benzoyl peroxide can bleach fabrics including bed linens. If you are concerned about it, say you have, "Oh, I have these really nice sheets and I just absolutely don't want anything to happen to them."
00:38:18 Then go to sleep wearing some pajama bottoms that you don't mind if they get a little stained. That should solve the problem right there. The other point I wanted to mention is you - I'm not sure based on your question how long ago you made the switch from bar soap to a body wash. It's possibly that you have enough of that soap buildup that is clogging the hair follicles and causing a little bit of inflammation that you are just going to need some more time with a water soluble body wash to make sure that that works. You could also try a moisturizing but not really body wash, and by that I mean don't go for those that feel very creamy and then almost come out looking like a creamy moisturizer.
00:39:02 You want those that have more of a gel texture or that look somewhat cloudy. The St. Ives brand has several good options that you can try, and they're gentle. I'm not meaning to imply that if it doesn't moisturize your skin you are going to be left feeling dry. But you might need more of a clean rinsing type of a body wash. So take a look at what St. Ives has. Neutrogena has a couple of good options as well, but generally speaking if the formula of the body wash has a clear texture or is just slightly cloudy it isn't going to be too moisturizing and it is going rinse cleanly.
00:39:40 And you can check out the best body care products that we have reviewed on Beautypedia. Also look for the ones that we rated with a happy face, because there are some good ones there, too. It doesn't always have to be those that are rated Paula's Picks. We do have that "happy face" very good rating for those products that didn't quite make the Paula's Pick "best" mark, but they came close. And they are worth considering, especially there are some great budget buys in that group.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay.
00:40:05 Switching gears to a different type of question. We have Amy who is asking, "Have you looked gel nail polish and the UV exposure from the hardening lamps? Should I be concerned?"
Bryan Barron: Oh, Amy, I like that question. And that is a very topical one. I just read some information about that online and heard a little bit about it on our local news.
00:40:27 I don't have a definitive answer for you, but my gut at this point is that, yes, you should be concerned.
Desiree Stordahl: Really?
Bryan Barron: Yes. The reason is because the way the gel manicures are applied, and the way that that polish needs to cure s that it can last as long as what gel manicures are known for. And, Desiree, correct me if I am wrong, but the gel manicure is synonymous or somewhat synonymous with the Shellac Manicure.
Desiree Stordahl: Correct. Yes.
Bryan Barron: Okay. I thought so. So, what essentially has to happen is that in order to get that to cure properly your nails are exposed to much more intense UV light and they are exposed to it for a long period of time than if you were just using a traditional nail polish at a nail salon and they were drying you under the UV light.
00:41:19 So I do think that as more information comes out about this that it will be cause for concern. If you really like the results from the gel or Shellac type manicure and want to keep getting them, my best advice is to use a really good hand cream with sunscreen. And you are going to want to apply that before your manicure.
00:41:39 And here's the catch: you want to be careful about not getting that on the nail itself. So it is going to demand a bit more careful application, not just a squirt on the hands, rub, rub, rub, and you have got coverage. You want to make sure that you don't get it on the nails because unless your manicurist is really good about cleaning your nails ahead of time with acetone or something similar so that they are very, very dry. Any excess moisture or slipperiness on the nails is definitely going to affect any sort of a manicure.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay. Next up we have Suzanne from Facebook. She says, "I'm 44 with combination skin and I have not been able to get rid of milia under my eyes, nor the persistent breakouts on my chin. I have tried the Clear 2% BHA, but it felt funny and seemed to increase bumps on my chin. Right now I am using the following: in the morning Hydralight Cleanser, Resist AHA Smoothing Treatment, Olay Regenerist Serum with SPF 50, and makeup during the week.
00:42:39 In the evening time, CeraVe Foaming Cleanser, Resist Toner, Clear 2% BHA, and I alternate the Resist serum and the Barrier Repair Moisturizer depending on my mood. I would welcome any advice on which BHA I should try or any other improvements that I can make.
Bryan Barron: So, first of all Suzanne, combination skin can be tricky. You know this. Most people who have combination skin know this. The desire is to want to put something all over our face, and when you have more extreme combination skin, which means that your cheek and jaw line area are dry, but the center of your face, forehead, nose, and chin are oily, possibly blackhead or breakout prone - you can't use the same products all over the face. It just doesn't work.
00:43:26 You have to either not apply the heavier product to the T-zone or not apply the light weight absorbent product to the dry areas because neither one is going to feel great over the opposing area. The persistent breakouts and the way that you have responded to the Clear 2% BHA, I'm assuming because you mentioned that you thought it felt funny. So I'm thinking that you are using the Extra Strength formula, and some people do find that that feels a little funny or tacky.
00:44:00 The ingredient in there that is part and parcel with why that is such an effective product, it is a penetration enhancer known as Methylpropanediol. It is a glycol-type ingredient. It is our alternative to formulating a BHA product with alcohol. There is only a limited number of ingredients that you can use to not only suspend salicylic acid and keep it effective, but also to hold the salicylic acid in the formula at the pH that's needed for exfoliation to occur.
00:44:32 So on that very, very short list, alcohol is an option but it isn't one that Paula wants to use because it causes a host of problems for skin that would pretty much defeat the purpose of using a well-formulated BHA product. So, we use this glycol-type ingredient. Also a different type of glycol is used for our Regular Strength Clear Exfoliating Acne Relief Toner. I may have gotten that name slightly wrong. But our customer service team will know which one I meant.
00:45:01 You can just say, "Bryan was talking about the Clear Regular Strength Toner." So, you might like that one better because it really does have a different feel. Another option that you could consider would be the 2% BHA lotion if you want to use that over the dry areas. And you can continue using the BHA liquid in the central part of your face. But here's the catch with the 2% liquid, the Extra Strength version that I think you have right now: you need to apply less of it.
00:45:35 People tend to go a little overboard with it, and if it is still feeling - if you can still really feel it on your skin the next morning, you probably used a little bit too much and you can step back on that. But, we will send you the Regular Strength Clear Toner, so you can experiment with that. And then the issue with the milia under the's tough. It really is.
00:46:01 Milia around the eyes, I'm not sure why they are so stubborn around the eyes. And they generally tend to respond better when they are on other areas of the face. Some of you listening know that we have a spot treatment coming out in the Resist line. It's known as BHA 9 for Stubborn Imperfections. It is launching later this year. We are hoping for October. Fingers crossed.
00:46:27 That product - it's essentially the Milia Buster. I mean, if your skin hasn't - if your milia haven't responded to 2% salicylic acid, I think you are going to be really surprised at the change you will see from this product. I wish it was available now and we could send it to you, Suzanne, but it's not. What you can consider in the meantime for the milia around your eyes is two things - both require a visit to a dermatologist. The first thing you could have them do is what's called lancing the milia, where they essentially take a surgical tool, they poke a small hole in the bump and they drain the contents. It sounds painful but it isn't.
00:47:09 And any good dermatologist will not only know how to do this, but has done it so much they can practically do it in their sleep. The other option, option number one that I just told you about should be the less expensive of the two. Second option would be to see a dermatologist or even an aesthetician who works in a medical facility, and have a salicylic acid BHA peel.
00:47:33 You want to make sure it has about 20% to 30% salicylic acid. You want to make sure that it is in a base that is safe for use around the eyes. And they will be able to tell you that. And that may help quite a bit to reduce the size of them and then that upcoming product I mentioned would most likely be excellent for maintenance.
00:47:56 Lastly, the stubborn breakout around your chin, that may be related to hormonal acne. And although all acne has a hormonal basis, if you notice that the breakouts on your chin get worse around your monthly cycle, that's a very good sign that there is some stuff underneath at play that you can keep under control to a certain extent with skin care, but you might want to talk to your doctor about taking a low dose oral antibiotic, or other prescription options.
00:48:30 Particularly with oral antibiotics - there is a growing amount of research showing that rather than the traditional amount that is prescribed to handle acne all over the face which pretty much not only gets rid of the bad bacteria but it also kills a lot of the good bacteria. If you put a patient with acne on low dose oral antibiotics for a longer period, you are not destroying all of that good bacteria that your body and your immune system needs to keep you healthy, but it is enough of a kick to keep the acne under control.
00:49:06 So worth asking your doctor about. See about the option of either having those milia lanced and drained. And then after that is done you will want to keep using a BHA product in that area as well as the rest of your face to prevent those bumps from coming back. That is the other fly in the ointment, so to speak, about milia is that not only can they be stubborn to treat, but once you get them, you tend to keep getting them. And some people are just more prone to them than others.
00:49:35 So unfortunately in some ways it is like other types of breakouts where you can't just treat it until you are clear and then, "Woo-hoo, stop using products to keep those away. I can go back to my cleanser now! And I'm done!" Ah, I wish it was that simple. It isn't. You need to be persistent or those skin problems can come back to haunt you.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay. This next question is in regards to a Dr. Oz show. And this comes from Nicole.
00:50:01 She says, "I just watched the Dr. Oz Show regarding purchasing skin care according to skin type. And I copy and pasted exactly what type of product I should be looking for, and I quote, ‘To help fight blotchy skin and age spots, choose a skin lightening agent that is hydroquinone-free and contains retinol to aid in the turnover of new skin cell.' I was first wondering why, and second what your opinion is? And third, do you know of such a product?"
Bryan Barron: Oh, Dr. Oz. We love Dr. Oz.
00:50:30 Gosh, you know, one of the frustrating elements about skin care advice on talk shows, and Paula has said this herself when she has done appearances on Oz's show, and on numerous other talk shows, is that sometimes there isn't enough time between everything they have to cover and the commercial breaks, there isn't enough time to tell the whole story. So what the audience, especially the viewing audience at home gets is little snippets of information that sometimes are put together in a way that they are not - I don't want to say that they are a lie. I'm not going to go that far, but sometimes they can be misleading because you are just not getting all of the information that you need.
00:51:17 And this is a classic example. I'm not faulting Dr. Oz. I'm sure that his, or the producer's, or whoever's intentions were good, but I have a feeling that this bit of advice came at the expense of needing to get to the next commercial break, needing to get to the next special guest and the next topic. Here's the truth: absolutely hydroquinone is considered the gold standard skin lightening ingredient, first and foremost. Some people can't use it because it bothers their skin. Some people are uncomfortable using it because of research that has come out showing that it can be a problem. When it is properly formulated and used in amounts approved for use in over-the-counter products it isn't a problem.
00:52:02 It's not a dangerous ingredient. And it absolutely works to help...well, I shouldn't say that it absolutely works, because some people won't respond as well to it, but for many, many people, and this has been true for the past 50, 60 years, it is the best ingredient to help fight those brown spots, also known as age spots. So, choose a skin lightening agent that is hydroquinone-free is what was said, and contains retinol.
00:52:31 The retinol portion is great because retinol can do numerous, amazing things for skin of any age but when you are dealing with brown spots, red or brown marks from past acne breakouts, along with wrinkles and loss of firmness, retinol can help quite a bit to bring skin back to functioning in a more normal, healthier manner.
00:52:58 I'm not exactly sure without consulting some of the research how to explain the way retinol works in terms of melanin and lightening skin discolorations, but we know that it does have an effect. It would be even better if it was mixed with hydroquinone, which is why one of the most effective skin lightening products that unfortunately is no longer available was called Tri-Luma which was prescription-only. It had 4% hydroquinone as well as tretinoin which is the prescription form of retinol. And that was a nice powerhouse formula.
00:53:33 Now you can still get 4% hydroquinone from your dermatologist, but if you want to use tretinoin, too, that has to be a separate prescription and you've got to mix them. There is some confusion though, just to wrap this up, about how retinol works. And a common misconception is that it is an exfoliant. It isn't. Where it gets confusing is that retinol for some people can cause flaking and some dryness that can also be associated with using AHA or BHA exfoliants.
00:54:06 So what happens is somebody starts using a product with retinol and they see some of that superficial flaking and they think, "Oh, it's the dead skin cells coming off. Retinol is doing what it's supposed to do. It's exfoliating." That is not what's happening. It is most likely an irritant response that is part and parcel for some people of acclimating to retinol. And the best way to get around it, unless you are noticing that it keeps getting worse, is to reduce frequency of application until your skin adjusts and adapts to the retinol.
00:54:37 And for a lot of people it will. I'm one of them. I cannot use a retinol product every single night, day after day after day. I do really well every other night using a retinol product. And I'm also careful to not apply too much at once. Very common with retinol and pretty much any anti-aging products for people to think if a little is good, more must be better.
00:55:01 So they are really slathering on the retinol. And then maybe they are following with a prescription retinoid product underneath their exfoliant. Or underneath is the exfoliant. And then all of a sudden the skin is like, "Whoa, too much at once. I'm going to start flaring up. This is just too active for me. You need to scale back." So you need to pay attention to how your skin is reacting. What retinol does is it helps to influence how new skin cells are formed. We are talking about brand new living skin cells that are formed in the dermis and gradually make their way to the surface where in route, and by the time you see them on the surface as skin, those cells are dead.
00:55:44 So, retinol is affecting how those new cells are produced. Exfoliants like AHA and BHA affect how those dead cells are slopped off the skin. And to a certain extent in an indirect manner they do help influence some things that are going on beneath the surface of the skin. We know that Alpha and Beta hydroxy acids help stimulate collagen production. That's not the same thing as them influencing new skin cells being formed. So, ideally, for blotchy skin and age spots, what the advice should of said was to use a product with a skin lightening ingredient that has been proven t work, as well as something to increase cell turnover such as AHA or BHA.
00:56:27 And then the retinol is just icing on the cake.
Desiree Stordahl: Good answer, and a thorough one at that. Well I think, we only have a couple minutes left, so not enough time to take another question. But we can give listeners an idea of what is coming up for the next shows. As Bryan mentioned earlier, Dr. Brandith Irwin is going to be one next week with the newest anti-aging devices and treatments. So be sure to call in. If you have any questions for her as a dermatologist, or just want to know more about the treatments that are available out there.
00:56:56 She's a great resource for that. The next week we will be rebroadcasting the popular "Beauty risks versus rewards."
Bryan Barron: Oh, that was a great show.
Desiree Stordahl: Oh, one of my favorites ever. And then the following week, May 8th, it is going to be "Ten skin care tips to transform your skin." And of course you can always listen to archived shows via iTunes,, or on BlogTalkRadio anytime, anywhere.
Bryan Barron: Absolutely. And I want to thank everyone on Paula's Choice Facebook page as well as Twitter who sent in their questions. As usual I wish that we could have gotten to all of them. And as any of you listening know, I do tend to go on a bit about these skin care questions because there is just -
00:57:41 I'm passionate about it and there is often a lot to say. And there are so many myths to dispel. It really can be confusing. We do our best to help you sort through the confusion based on research and sometimes from our own experience. We don't mind being the guinea pigs for you from time to time. So I hope you have enjoyed the show. We will do it again in the future. We have got so many active Paula's Choice fans and customers on Facebook.
00:58:09 If you have not joined that page, I encourage you to do it. If you are one of the 800- and god only knows - how million people around the world that go to Facebook and you are interested...and even if you are not interested in Paula's Choice Skin Care, there are some great Q&A's on the site for just questions in general, so check it out when you get the chance. And then "like" us if you want to stay involved.
00:58:35 Again, I'm Bryan Barron. You have been listening to "Be Beautifully Informed with the Paula's Choice Research Team" which absolutely has to include Desiree Stordahl.
Desiree Stordahl: Thank you.
Bryan Barron: I will be talking with you...Desiree, I will miss you when you are in Korea.
Desiree Stordahl: Don't miss me too much.
Bryan Barron: Who am I going to go to trivia night with?
Desiree Stordahl: Ben.
Bryan Barron: I'll have to go with your husband and my husband. And we will see if we do any better. But, I will be talking to all of you next week with Seattle dermatologist Dr. Brandith Irwin. Tune in for that show. I am really looking forward to it. Dr. Irwin is going to share some great new tips and information to help us all look our healthy, younger best. Everyone have a great night. We will talk with you next week.
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