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Skin Q&A
Skinterra always welcomes input from its readers and customers. On this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding products, ingredients and treatments discussed on this site.


Q: Should I expect any stinging or excessive dryness with any of the products?

A: If you have never used AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid), Retin-A or Vitamin C products, you may initially experience mild stinging that should subside after a week or so. Due to the exfoliating actions of AHA, you may also notice dryness in some areas of your face. If this occurs, use a moisturizer over the AHA product. If the dryness persists, use the AHA less frequently. Remember, more is not necessarily better.



Q: If I am using both Vitamin C and AHA products, when should I use which?

A: Vitamin C, in addition to helping diminish fine lines, is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from photo-aging (sun damage). It should be used in the morning under a moisturizer and/or a sunscreen. A great Vitamin C product for any skin type is iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+. AHA helps remove superficial layers of skin, thus improving the tone and texture of the skin. It is best used before bedtime and left on overnight. It is advisable not to apply these two products at the same time, one on top of the other.



Q: How do I know if I am a good candidate to use AHA or Vitamin C products?

A: Anyone from their early 20's and up can benefit from both of these products.
In our opinion, there are three important products that should be a part of everyone's long-term skincare routine: an antioxidant such as Vitamin C or coffeeberry extract, an AHA or retinol product (Retin-A, if well tolerated), and a good sunscreen. The younger you are when you start using these products, the longer you will stay looking youthful.



Q: When should I wear a sunscreen?

A: EVERY DAY. UVA or wrinkle causing rays are equally intense all year long and unlike UVB or sunburn causing rays they penetrate through window glass. Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to the development of skin cancer. Therefore, a sunscreen should be applied every day at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Contrary to our belief, most of us spend some time outside everyday. It is also known that most sun damage occurs in the first 18-20 years of life. During these years the skin doesn't have as much protection in the form of dead surface cells and it is more sensitive and prone to sun damage. You only see the damage later in your life in the form of age or "liver" spots, wrinkles or skin cancer.



Q: If I wear a sunscreen every day, will I not get wrinkles?

A: No. The sun, although a major contributor, is not the only cause of wrinkles. Wrinkles are a part of the aging process. The question is: how well do you want to age?



Q: Are all sunscreens the same?

A: No. It is very important for the consumer to look at the active ingredients of the sunscreen, not just the SPF rating. It is known that zinc oxide and avobenzone (Parsol 1789) provide the broadest range of UVA protection. Zinc oxide is a physical sunscreen providing both UVA and UVB protection while Parsol is a chemical sunscreen providing UVA protection only. These ingredients are the only ones that protect against wrinkle-causing long-wave UVA rays. Recent studies indicate that Parsol does not remain active on the skin as long as zinc oxide (it can be broken down by sunlight), therefore it should be reapplied frequently. Parsol may also be more irritating to the skin. Titanium dioxide is another ingredient with strong UVA and UVB blocking capabilities, but it is not as effective as either zinc oxide or Parsol.
For prolonged sun exposure, we highly recommend a sunscreen containing both, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, such as MDSolarSciences Ultra Mineral Screen Gel SPF50+.



Q: How high of an SPF do I need for everyday use?

A: SPF (sun protection factor) only represents the sunscreen's effectiveness in screening out sunburn causing UVB rays. It does not measure wrinkle causing UVA rays, which until not too long ago were thought to be harmless to the skin. Researchers have not yet been able to develop a reliable method for measuring the degree of effectiveness of a sunscreen in blocking UVA rays. This is precisely why you need to pay attention to the active ingredients of a sunscreen as indicated in the answer to the previous question. In addition, it is known that the higher a sunscreen's SPF, the more UV rays it absorbs. According to dermatologists, a broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen (broad spectrum means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays) is the lowest SPF you should consider for everyday use.



Q: Does the color of the skin determine the amount of sun protection needed?

A: Yes. The color of the skin as well as an individual's geographic location determine the amount of sun protection needed. In general, the fairer the skin tone, the higher the SPF number required. In addition, the sun is stronger at lower latitudes and at higher altitudes (i.e. UV levels in Vail, Colorado are 60 percent higher than those in New York City. Consequently, stronger everyday protection is required in Vail than in New York City).



Q: Is tanning in salons safer than tanning outdoors?

A: No. The beds in tanning salons use unfiltered, long UVA rays, the main cause of photo-aging of the skin. They cause wrinkles, "age" spots and can give the skin a leathery appearance. In addition, studies show that they contribute to the development of skin cancer. For these reasons tanning in salons is no safer then tanning outdoors.



Q: Is there anything I can do to improve uneven skin tone?

A: Yes. iS Clinical White Lightening Serum contains alpha-hydroxy acids to remove dead layers of skin as well as kojic acid and arbutin to help inhibit hyperpigmentation (discoloration of the skin). This product can also lighten age spots and reduce discoloration caused by acne. Best used nightly and followed with a moisturizer of your choice.



Q: Is iS Clinical White Lightening Serum safe to use on any skin color?

A:Yes. This product helps reduce the overproduction of melanin and lighten discolored areas. It will not make the skin any lighter than its natural color.



Q: Can I combine these products with those I am currently using?

A: It is not advisable to combine lightening products, Vitamin C, retinol or AHA products with other products containing similar ingredients or ingredients of similar actions (such as other lighteners or exfoliants). However, other products offered on this web site can be incorporated into your existing skincare routine.



Q: Are all AHA products the same?

A: No. Studies show that AHA products differ from one another in many ways. The effectiveness of any AHA product depends on several factors. For one, the higher the ph of the product, the weaker its action. For example, an 8% AHA with a ph of 2.8 will be much more effective than a 10% AHA with a ph of 4.0. Most store brands, however, don't reveal their ph levels on their packaging and raise their ph intentionally to prevent any possible irritation. That may work for someone with very sensitive skin, but the rest of us are not going to see significant improvements. For that reason, you should consider professional-grade products used in salons or doctor's offices because they do reveal the concentration of AHA as well as their ph. Its been shown that in order for a product to be effective, it should contain 10% AHA at a ph close to 3.0. Try DermaQuest Skin Therapy Glyco Lotion 12%.



Q: Is it OK to squeeze pimples at home?

A: No. This may cause the pimple to rupture internally and spread bacteria from the hair follicle into the surrounding skin, prolonging healing. It can also lead to scarring. Instead, apply some benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid once or twice a day directly to the pimple. Try DDF Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Gel.



Q: Is toner a necessary part of the daily skin care routine?

A: No. Toners are helpful in removing oil and impurities left behind by a cleanser. However, If you are using a deep-pore cleanser, you don't necessarily need a toner. Toners can also be helpful in removing surface dead skin when using stronger alpha-hydroxy, retinol or ascorbic acid products. Toners, however, do not reduce the size of pores, they only tighten them temporarily. When looking for the right toner, avoid those containing SD alcohol as they can over-dry and irritate the skin. Look for a toner containing an alpha-hydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, to help exfoliate the skin while refining its texture. Also, look for a dye- and fragrance-free toner. A great one to try is HydroPeptide Tone - Anti-Wrinkle Brightening Toner.



Q: Is it OK to cover-up breakouts?

A: Yes. As long as the foundation and the powder you're using are oil- and fragrance-free and non-comedogenic (will not clog up pores). You should always remember to wash off your makeup before going to bed. For more information on breakouts, refer to our Acne Skin section.