Saturday, September 10, 2011

No more Brazilian Straightening Treatments?

Maybe not. Time will tell, but the FDA has finally started paying some serious attention to these products.

In a nutshell, here is the problem; The preservatives used in the products are relatively safe for the most part, and can be found in most common cosmetics & personal care products, but when heated to the smoke point, the chemistry changes, and they turn into poisonous formaldehyde fumes. And since it's floating in the air all around you as you're getting your hair done, you inhale it. Which is bad. Really bad. At the very least, everyone should wear a gas mask during the treatment, especially the stylists who perform them daily. But how ridiculous is that? Ugh. What some people will do for beauty is scary sometimes. Nothing is worth risking your health like that, if you ask me.

Another thing I have a problem with is that these keratin straightening treatments often advertise that they are formaldehyde free, which is kind of true, but also not true because of what I mentioned above. The unused product in the bottle is technically formaldehyde free, but it's sneaky and dishonest for them to say that, because the process of using scorching high heat irons to cure the protein (required to perform the treatment) creates formaldehyde. And as it turns out, it's apparently at levels that far exceed the Cosmetics Ingredient Review Expert Panel 's safety standards. Sooo... can they really say it's formaldehyde free, when technically the process can't be done without those 450 degree hot irons that cause the release of the formaldehyde?

But wait, there's more bad news. 450 degrees is crazy hot, and it will most likely scorch your hair too. Under the keratin, your hair could be damaged so badly that once the protein wears off your hair could just literally fall out. The keratin can often hold it together for a while, but especially after multiple treatments, it could be curtains for your locks. Don't believe me? Turn your oven on to 450 F and stick some hair in it. See how long it takes for it to singe. It doesn't take long.

Addicted to these treatments and don't know where to turn now? It's not the end of the world. There are other options, like the Babyface Pure Protein treatment. Not to be confused with the keratin straightening treatments mentioned above, this protein treatment does not require the use of high heat. The Pure Protein doesn't straighten your hair, but at the same time won't make you sick or damage your hair, either. In fact, it does the opposite of damage your hair - it strengthens the hair and prevents breakage! If you haven't yet tried the Babyface Pure Protein treatment, I highly recommend it. It's safe and effective. It gives your hair that great feeling you get from the added protein reinforcement, and makes hair manageable and reduces breakage.

Anyway. If you want more information on it, check out this article from

Try the Babyface Pure Protein today!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words....

I get e-mails all the time from clients who have had great success with our products, and I'm always thrilled to hear from them. It's one thing to talk about something via e-mail though, and quite another when they send pictures.

Obviously I know that everyone's needs are different, and what might be a miracle cure for one person might not do anything for another. Genetics, environment, and the extent of the damage also play a role in how well your cells will respond to certain ingredients. And let's face it, there are a lot of us who are simply not patient enough to wait for results (I've been guilty of that myself!) For some though, their skin responds very well, and if they are consistent in their daily routine and stay the course and give it enough time, results can be drastic.

Below are two examples of great results obtained from some of our most popular products; the Massive Hydration Hyaluronic Acid Serum, and the 45% Matrixyl 3000 Serum. These photos were sent in from real users, and have not had any retouching.


Above, in Miriam's before picture, there are some crows feet and fine lines.

Below, a much smoother appearance of the lines, a youthful/dense look to the skin, and a beautiful healthy glow! She looks like she's 22! :)

Next, we have a happy user of the popular


Above, Maria's before picture, taken 6 months ago.

Below, Maria's after picture.
She had been using the 45% Matrixyl 3000 for about 4 months

As always - we love pictures! If you have good before & after pictures that show results obtained after using a Babyface product, send them in and get a free full-size bottle or jar of your favorite product!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Summer is near - Time to talk about Sun Damage

There will always be a need for the correction of the visible signs of aging in the skin, and although there are now numerous treatment options available, the first step in treating any skin concern is determining what is happening within the dermis and epidermis that is causing the symptoms. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are the No. 1 cause of visible aging, hence the popular term “sun damage.” By identifying the breakdown that occurs when the skin is exposed to the sun’s damaging rays and which ingredients can be used to limit or repair this breakdown, more deliberate treatment and product choices can be made.

Understanding UV Sun Damage

External factors, such as sunlight, are responsible for many of the visible changes that take place in the skin. Although some minor alterations would occur regardless of the amount of sun exposure, research indicates that up to 85% of visible aging is due to external factors. The following are among the most common presentations of sun damage.

Deep wrinkling. This is not associated with the normal aging process; fine lines are normal, deep wrinkles are not. The sun’s UVA rays penetrate deeply into the dermis and cause the breakdown, disorganization and cross-linking of collagen. Cross-linking refers to what occurs when collagen fibers break down and fuse back together in a crisscross pattern. This process leads to reduced support and structure and, in the end, deep wrinkling. In addition, collagen and elastin breakdown is accelerated by an overproduction of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes. Important MMP include collagenase and elastase, which break down collagen and elastin, respectively. Studies have found that MMP are increased within minutes of UV exposure, making any time spent outdoors potentially destructive to the skin.

Coarsening. This refers to keratinization of the skin, or the abnormal buildup of keratinocytes. Coarsening is responsible for the dull, thickened and rough-textured appearance often seen in more mature skin. Many refer to coarsening as an orange peel or leather like appearance. UVA and UVB radiation can cause an overproduction of epidermal cells, and the skin’s thickness can double as a result of repeated sun exposure. This obvious, rough-textured appearance only occurs in certain cases of sun damage.

Dehydration. This is common in nearly all cases of sun damage. Dehydration of the skin involves a lack of water moisture. Many incorrectly believe that sebum production decreases with age. In fact, the dryness that is common in clients with aging skin is due to a decrease in the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF). A drop in NMF levels occurs naturally with age, but is worsened by environmental exposure. Even the smallest disruption in this hydrating group of substances can significantly decrease surface moisture levels, and slow the natural shedding and cell turnover process. Additionally, hyaluronidase, which is another MMP responsible for the degradation of hyaluronic acid, increases in response to the inflammation caused by UV rays and free radical damage. Skin that is suffering from sun damage may experience a thickened, dry surface that appears flaky, dull and rough.

Hyperpigmentation. This is one of the most common concerns for mature skin. The melanogenesis, or pigment-producing process, generates melanin in response to inflammation, and UV exposure significantly increases inflammation levels throughout the epidermis and dermis. Sun-induced hyperpigmentation most often appears as random, sporadic freckling that may be more prevalent on the higher, more exposed areas of the face, such as the top of the forehead or the bridge of the nose.

The culprits

Overall, there are five crucial changes responsible for accelerated visible aging:

The degradation of collagen and elastin

The overproduction of MMP enzymes

A decrease in the skin’s NMF

An overproduction of epidermal cells

An increase in melanin production

The solutions

Now that you know what needs to be addressed, it is much simpler to choose effective ingredients for prevention and correction. The collagen-stimulating and exfoliating benefits associated with chemical peels and microdermabrasion will significantly accelerate results. Research also indicates that alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), salicylic acid and retinoids/retinols also stimulate the production of collagen when applied to the skin. In addition, each acid either dissolves dead skin cells or dissolves the bonds that hold them together, which will decrease surface buildup, increase cell turnover and support NMF retention. Microdermabrasion has also been shown to stimulate collagen production, and the mechanical exfoliating properties will smooth textural changes, such as wrinkling, and encourage healthy cell turnover rates. Peptides added to your daily routine can also help boost the collagen repair process, smoothing and firming the damaged skin.

Practice prevention

Although it is true that each person will continue to age, there are measures that can be taken to limit the severity of visible skin aging. Prevention is, of course, ideal, and people of all ages should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen each morning. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are also important preventative products you can add to your daily routine. Once the damage is done, it is not too late. Those with sun damage should use a combination of corrective ingredients that address multiple concerns simultaneously for the fastest possible results.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Got Bacne?

Since the warm weather is just around the corner and shirts will be soon replaced by tanks and bikini tops - or no shirts at all depending on gender or geographical location - it's time to talk about back acne, aka "bacne."

I just received an e-mail from a client inquiring about what treatments she could get for her son's acne, so I thought I'd kill 2 birds with one stone, and post the answer here too, just in case anyone else has the same problem.

Q: My son has bad acne/large pores/ blackheads on his back. I was looking at the MENS CLEAR SKIN BLACKHEADS ACNE FACE BACK EXFOLIATOR for him. What would be the best treatment cream for him? He also wants to get rid of scars.

A: Yes, the Microdermabrasion Cloth is a good choice to help keep the pores clear (he can just wrap it around a back scrubber to reach his back) - I'd have him do that several times a week, if not daily. The cloth is a good product to use for those who have blackheads and clogged pores because it removes that top layer of dead & dying skin, which is what sticks to the sebum in the pores, creating blackheads. Since it will be used a lot, and you probably don't want to do laundry daily, I recommend just getting some anti-bacterial dish soap and he can use a drop or two of that to wash it after he uses it, and hang it to dry. Just lather it up well, and then rinse it thoroughly to remove the soap and dead skin. The dish soap also is good at cutting through the oils.

Next, I recommend something to help control the bacteria and sebum - the Babyface Acne Night Creme is specifically formulated with ingredients to control these two issues. And it's non-drying and won't harm the skin, like some other harsh acne formulas can. If he needs something for controlling excessive oil (only if the area is overly oily) then the T-Zone Serum is great for that.

I'd probably recommend only those for now - keep it simple, don't use too many things at once. The only other thing I might suggest is a Salicylic Wash.

Once the acne is under control, then you can address the scars. Doing chemical peels on the scars (applied with a Q-Tip to the scars only) then following by applying a collagen building product like the Babyface Collagen Building Serum with EGF & Marine Peptides to help stimulate new collagen is probably your best bet. The chemical peels remove the scar tissue layer by layer, and the collagen booster serum will promote new, healthy "normal" tissue to replace the abnormal scar tissue. This is really all you can do, aside from expensive laser treatments. And, laser treatments can sometimes make things worse - so if it were me, I'd try the peels first. Since you'd want to keep the area out of the sun, this is something that would be best done in the winter months.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Babyface Pure Protein, Q & A

Q: I have very fine, permed hair that is extremely damaged. I have tried almost every conditioner to add moisture to no avail. Will this help to add moisture to my hair? Also I use styling "creme" to help with the curls. Can I still use the cremes in addition to this product and will this product help enough so I do not have to use them anymore?

A: That is a very good question! YES this will help, and I'll explain why: If your hair is damaged, that means it is missing some - or a lot! - of it's natural protein (keratin) that typically coats the outside of the hair strand. The protein is what those conditioners and their much needed moisture ingredients stick to. You can use conditioners all you want, but without the protein to stick to, they simply rinse right out. If they do stick, like with a leave-in, they don't perform to their potential because of the lack of keratin. This is the same reason why some people's hair won't hold on to color, there isn't enough protein for the color to stick to. The Pure Protein is a treatment that replaces that lost protein. It doesn't add moisture to your hair (so no, it doesn't replace your conditioners) but it coats the hair with that layer of protein it needs, so that the conditioners can do their job. When you use this treatment, the richer the conditioner you use with it, the softer your hair will be. The protein deposit is not permanent, unfortunately, but twice monthly treatments will keep your hair protected so it's condition can more closely mimmic virgin hair.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Can you get rid of scars?

Q: I came across your store and wanted to try your products. I am 40, and have several acne scars, scars from attempted laser treatments, and a few age/sun spots starting. What would be your recommended product for those issues. I have not had any success yet...

A: Getting rid of scars is not easy. You can definitely reduce the appearance - but I'm not going to pretend it will be gone in a week or even a month. Basically, you have to replace the current, messed-up tissue, with new tissue. This usually involves the use of some sort of Retinoid, like the Babyface Night Renewal Creme, or if you have the stomach for it, applying frequent chemical peels to the affected area, like a 25% TCA. Next, you'll need something that promotes new cell regeneration, peptides that build new collagen & elastin, a booster agent to help the "work" happen as fast as possible, and nutrients to feed the skin below so it not only reproduces quickly, but as perfectly as possible. For this I recommend the Babyface Collagen Serum with Marine Peptides & EGF. Lastly, if you have an uneven skin tone, you can use the Babyface MAP Serum to even out the skin tone, and fade any areas of blotchy pigment, such as the sun spots.

For more information on scars, how to treat or prevent them, read on....

About Scars and Scar Tissue

Scars form when wounds penetrate to the deeper, thicker layers of skin (dermis and hypodermis). The scar tissue – made of tough, fibrous cells called fibroblasts – will differ from the skin it replaced in appearance and quality. It won’t be able to produce sweat or hair, and it will be more susceptible to sun damage. Scars are a natural part of the healing process. While not pretty, they keep our insides on the inside.

Early wound care lessens the severity

It is far more difficult to get rid of scars than it is to prevent – or at least limit – their formation. First of all, keep your wound clean and covered. Infections lead to more severe scars. The bandage or covering will keep the wound moist, which has been shown to speed up healing. Allow the wound to fully heal before starting treatment and avoid picking at scabs. Once the wound has healed, moisturize the scar regularly with a hyaluronic acid serum or cream. Most importantly, protect the scar from the sun. Scars have less pigmentation, and a sun burn will put a stop to healing and make the scars much more noticeable, and the damage can be permanent (hyperpigmentation).

Smoking and Scars

Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood, which significantly slows healing. Furthermore, nicotine constricts blood vessels and thus reduces blood flow to the skin. No doctor worth her lab coat will allow you to undergo surgical scar removal of any kind until you quit, as it undermines effectiveness, complicates anesthesia, and increases the risk of infection. The good news is that if you quit, research shows that your body will begin to heal normally in as little as four weeks after quitting.

Massage can help get rid of new scars and prevent the buildup of scar tissue

This is one of the best ways to get rid of scars from surgery or accidents. Massaging with moisturizers will increase blood flow to the scar, which will speed up healing, increase collagen production, as well as ensure an even distribution of collagen. It will also keep the scar moist and prevent a loss in skin elasticity. Press on the scar until it becomes white and massage in all directions – vertically, horizontally, and in circles. Most topical scar treatments are massaged into the skin. As many double blind studies have shown, it is the massage, not the topical treatment (vitamin E, onion extract…etc) that gets rid of scars.

You may need to see a Doctor

With the amount of research underway, the medical landscape of scars and scarring is certain to keep changing in the coming years. If your scars require something a bit more intrusive, like surgical scar removal, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, steroid injections…etc – then a Dermatologist will be able to refer you to the right people. There are many procedures and operations that can effectively get rid of scars. Some treatments - including dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, and chemical peels – involve removing the outer layer of skin. Over a period of time, new, more naturally pigmented and contoured skin takes its place. Surgical scar revision involves actual removal of the scar. Yes, this will create a new scar, but its shape or direction should be less noticeable. Other options include collagen fillers, grafts, and steroid injections. On the horizon, more sophisticated lasers and drugs (Avotermin) are set to revolutionize scar treatment in the coming years.

Nothing mentioned above will completely get rid of scars however, so procedures should never be taken lightly. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, even when these procedures are performed correctly by a qualified professional, complications are possible.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Should You Avoid Parabens in Skin Care?

Babyface takes the decisions regarding ingredients in our products very seriously, and keeping our products safe for you is of highest importance when making those decisions. We think reasonable preservative use is safe, and we do use preservatives. As does every responsible producer of skin care or cosmetics. Don't believe for one second the claims of certain companies when they try and offer "preservative free" products. Whether you want to bury your head in the sand or not, the facts are, every skin care product either has a 3 day shelf life, or some form of preservative. If a product has even a trace amount of water it must be preserved by some method. There is no such thing as a preservative free cosmetic. Whether it is a cleanser, lotion, toner, blush, night cream or mascara, without preservatives these everyday items would become overloaded with bacteria, mold, and fungus, making them harmful to skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.

For some of our products, specifically those containing peptides/proteins, we believe the use of parabens is the best choice. Those products are always produced in small batches though, so the smallest amount of preservative can be used. Most of our products have a shelf life of under 1 year, and the protein products are around 6 months. When a lighter preservative can be used, we go that route instead of using a paraben. Occasionally I get a customer e-mail regarding preservatives, parabens being of the main concern, but some people actually believe you can use skin care products that have no preservatives in them. To those people I simply say I can't help you, and wish them luck -- both in finding the "preservative free" products, and also in after they find them and start slathering it on around their eyes and mouth. I'm sorry, but eww.

I know parabens have a reputation, but sometimes they are necessary. And the reputation is mostly based on rumor anyway. Some activists have twisted and manipulated the information so much over the years that now you can barely find two sources anywhere that say the same thing. Portions of scientific studies are often misquoted or taken out of context and become the source for what many people consider misleading information. Sometimes that information is used to convince consumers that preservatives are dangerous and that paraben-free products are safer and better than their preserved counterparts. For example, a 2004 study by Dr. Philippa Darbre is often misquoted as having literally determined that parabens cause breast cancer. Experts in the medical and scientific communities have since agreed portions of the Darbre study taken out of context have unnecessarily sounded an alarm that has since been difficult to reset. To date the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have all stated that when used appropriately it cannot be concluded that parabens cause cancer.

As necessary as preservatives are to the safety of cosmetics, they've had their share of woes over the years. In the ‘90s the concern was about formaldehyde–releasing preservatives; today parabens are the new pariah in the world of cosmetics. But do parabens deserve their bad, media-fueled reputation?

Should You Avoid Parabens?
In a word, no. Despite the media frenzy surrounding parabens, the published research is making that answer more and more clear: parabens, especially in the small amounts used in personal-care products, do not pose a significant health risk. Current research investigating how parabens act when administered orally, topically, and subcutaneously to rats has shown that "parabens are metabolized rapidly and to a large extent in living organisms and therefore cannot exhibit any adverse effects." According to these studies, parabens are "fully metabolized before they enter the blood stream." In a review of the estrogenic activity of parabens, the author concluded that based on maximum daily exposure estimates, "it was impossible that parabens could increase the risk associated with exposure to estrogenic chemicals." Mostly the paraben issue is overwrought and overhyped with lots of misleading information, but if you choose to avoid these ingredients a quick look at the ingredient label on any cosmetic will give you that option. Parabens may come in the form of butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben, and they have been linked distantly (meaning in limited studies and with only a handful of subjects or animal studies) to breast cancer due to their weak estrogenic activity and their presence in a tiny number of breast cancer tissue samples. That cancer connection, however distant, and the media firestorm surrounding parabens, has some people worried. Regardless of what you decide about parabens, you should know that there is no research proving parabens should be avoided when you shop for personal-care products for yourself or your family. Read on to learn more about parabens and the controversy surrounding their use.

Parabens vs. Other Natural Ingredients
We often think of plants as being benign and cast suspicion only on synthetic ingredients (often misbranded as "chemicals" when in fact every ingredient is composed of chemicals), but human endocrine-disrupting sources have their origin in plants, such as marijuana, or in medicines such as acetaminophen. Despite what many "natural/organic" brands lead consumers to believe, parabens actually have a very "natural" origin. They are formed from an acid (p-hydroxy-benzoic acid) found in raspberries and blackberries. What's ironic is that "natural" brands often have to resort to using more synthetic preservatives to avoid using parabens—a direct contradiction to their own marketing! The fact is that "natural" doesn't inherently mean safe and "chemical" doesn't mean dangerous. What really matters is the research. A study conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston investigated the estrogenic effects of licorice root, black cohosh, dong quai, and ginseng. The results showed that "Dong quai and ginseng both significantly induced the growth of MCF-7 [cancer] cells." Another study concluded that "Commercially available products containing soy, red clover, and herbal combinations induced an increase in the MCF-7 [breast cancer] proliferation rates, indicating an estrogen-antagonistic activity...". Despite this evidence, when was the last time you read a media report or received a forwarded e-mail about the breast cancer risk from soy, licorice or ginseng? In contrast, you've likely seen media reports or emails regarding parabens and their link to estrogenic activity.

Parabens and Estrogen
Even if parabens have an estrogenic effect on the body what would that mean? Any estrogen, including the estrogen our bodies produce, may bind to receptor sites on cells either strongly or weakly. So, if parabens were to blame, the thinking is that they can either stimulate the receptor to imitate the effect of our own estrogen in a positive way, or they can generate an abnormal estrogen response. Ironically, plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens (such as those found in soy), also produce chemicals that mimic estrogen, and to a much greater degree than what research on parabens has shown. It is possible that a weak plant estrogen can help the body, but it can also be possible that a strong plant estrogen can make matters worse. For example, there is research that shows coffee to be a problem for fibrocystic breast disease. The reason for this is thought to be because coffee exerts estrogenic effects on breast cells. The same concerns have been demonstrated for plant extracts such as dong quai, flax, and lavender, to name a few.

We hope that helps with many of your questions about “WHY PRESERVATIVES.” There is enough info out there to practically write a book, but I think this is enough info to at least cover the basics. At Babyface, we believe we have made the right decision for your safety and the FDA agrees with us.