Tag Archives: wrinkles


The Next Generation of Anti-Aging: Retinoid Esters

All about our Retin+Erase: the Next Generation of Retinoid Esters. Click here to Shop It Now.

Editor’s Note, September 2017: This product is now launched and ready in its permanent packaging- a beautiful glass yet airless bottle.  It will look pristine on your shelf but most importantly will help your skin look pristine.  There has been some confusion in the industry as to the difference between using a concentration of the raw material versus what that translates into an active ingredient.  We use 10% of the raw material GranActive Retinoid, which translates into a 1% active retinoid ester.  In Canada, the legal limit for retinoid and retinol esters is 1% active in the final formulation.  If a company states they use 2-5% of GranActive Retinoid in their formulas, they legally cannot be using 2-5% of the active retinoid. Instead, they are using 2-5% of the material and are getting .2-.5% of the active, which is within the limits of what Health Canada allows.  At a 1% active concentration, we are using the highest concentration possible and yet we’ve had no reported adverse reactions in terms of irritation.  As you’ll read below, our unique dispersion allows us to use 1% active retinoid safely with excellent stability. People who have never tried retinol or a prescription retinoid have been able to use our Retin+Erase with no to minimal irritation.  We also only have 4 simple ingredients in our product so no undesirables.  Read about how this product was developed below and send us any questions to info@cyberderm.ca! All the best, Sara.

If you had asked me two years ago would I ever consider including a retinol product in our line, I might have brushed it off.  “Retinol? Yawn.  If retinol worked well, there would be no more wrinkles in the world because it’s in everything!”

It’s true, retinol is ubiquitous in high end lines through to mass ones.  It’s always been plagued with causing irritation, stability issues and efficacy.  Retinol needs to be converted in the skin into an active form in order to function so high doses are necessary to really function but then irritation and side effects become an issue.  At the end of the day, retinol was the sad sibling of prescription retinoids. Sure they were part of the same family but one was an underperformer and if you could work with the gold star of anti-aging, as prescription retinoids are often called, then why tango with the lacklustre understudy.

Unfortunately, as starlets go, prescription retinoids have their own bits of drama as well. They have had availability issues in the past couple of years with one brand or another being on back order.  On closer examination, the formulas available in Canada also have parabens included in their non-medicinals.  It can be odd how we can scrutinize cosmetics for their ingredients but then never take a second look at pharmaceutical products.  Certainly, if a drug is life saving or critical to ones health, you tend to focus on the active ingredient.  However, for pharmaceuticals for cosmetic use, it makes sense that we apply the same level of stringency as we would our other personal care products.  This put our sister clinic in a tough position between maintaining their precepts about avoiding endocrine disruptors while delivering the best results possible.

When we drilled down a bit more though, a lot of our hesitancy disappeared and our resolve to create something better strengthened.  It turns out that while our sister clinic had been prescribing a significant amount of retinoids when we gently questioned our patients, many of them admitted to neglecting to actually use them.  They just could not stand the irritation and the dryness on a daily basis.

This brings us to Retin+Erase.  On a trip to the lovely Barcelona, my father and I were attending the annual and amazing In-Cosmetics show.  Raw material suppliers from all over the world fill a space triple the size of an arena and showcase the best and the brightest of their wares.  To be honest, I was pregnant, jet lagged, and mostly hungry so not in the best frame of mind.  My father, however, had attended a presentation on a new generation of retinoid esters.  I’d heard of different retinol esters and again was not very interested but my father insisted that he thought the science had merit and so we stopped to discuss with the scientist who did the original discovery of this unique molecule.  Their clinical photos were promising so we arranged for a sample to be sent to our genius chemist and would wait to see what he thought.

Our chemist agreed the material was intriguing and had known the supplier and their excellent products for a while.  Our challenge to him was to use a high percentage.  Health Canada limits cosmetic products to 1% active so that was our threshold.  Our chemist returned a prototype that admittedly looked like nuclear yellow pudding but on application was light, hydrating and transparent.

However, the product’s real innovation lies at its simplicity.  Our Retin+Erase has four ingredients on its list.  Just four, simple and non-controversial ingredients.  It turns out that we are currently the only manufacturer to use the material at a 1% concentration.  Others had elected to use lower concentrations, perhaps due to cost since it is a premium ingredient but also due to formulation considerations.

Loosely borrowing from the idea of micelles found in micellar cleansers, we found a way to render the retinoid ester into very small and evenly dispersed molecules.  Their uniform entry into the skin minimizes irritation, allowing the 1% active to work in its full glory.  The formula contains no added water so no preservatives were needed but also means that water does not contribute to the degradation of the retinoid ester.

Our results to date have shown that even those who had abandoned their prescriptions due to irritation can use our Retin+Erase.  Although we recommend to start by using a couple of times a week and then increase frequency of use as toleration builds, most have been able to use it nightly from the beginning with no issues.

So there you have a glimpse of how our R&D process can take shape- find a problem that we as industry insiders experience every day and then find the right material with the right science to address it.  Pair that with deceptively simple formulations based on decades of experience and a willingness to try new things and presto- you have a new product that will hopefully change people’s skin for the better.

Look out for its public launch in 2017 and stay tuned with us for updates.

botox, cosmetic, beauty

Doing the Math When It Comes to Beauty Interventions

botox, cosmetic, beauty

What Can We Expect from Beauty Interventions?

How much improvement can you really expect from a cosmetic? How many years should you shave off your appearance with regular use of something like a facial filler or a regular IPL?

In my years running a cosmetic and OTC (sunscreens are considered drugs in Canada and the US), I’ve developed a rough personal metric for how I evaluate a product or active ingredients level of effectiveness. I’ve also worked in proximity to our sister dermatology clinic and have a rough short hand for what people can reasonably expect for any of the numerous options out there. I’ll go through some of the possible options below- when I say % of improvement that can be expected, I generally mean how much do the visible signs of aging like wrinkles, laxity, pore size, dryness, discolouration seem to improve from before to after use. In terms of how this % of improvement translates into actually visibly looking younger- it gets to be an even less exact science. Having said that though, while it’s not exact it seems intuitive and I’m betting something that most people if they were forced to quantify could agree on.

A Caveat about Prevention

None of these metrics speak to prevention because how do you quantify something that didn’t happen? It would be impossible and yet prevention is invaluable and one of the main reasons we go to these great beauty lengths.

Anti-Aging Beauty Intervention Degree of Intervention and Interval of Use Reasonable % of Improvement that can be expected Translation into Years of % Improvement
Cosmetic Minimal intervention/Daily Use 10-30% 0-3 years
OTC/Prescription Skincare Minimal to Moderate/ Daily Use 20-35% 1-4 years
Spa based Treatment (facials, microdermabrasion, mild peels, IPL) Minimal/ Seasonal 10-30% 0-3 Years
Medical Based Light Treatment Moderate/ 1-3 x sessions up to annual or seasonal use for maintanence 30-50% 3-5 years
Botox and Fillers Minimal-Moderate/Seasonal or Annual use for maintenance 30-60% 3-7 years
Medical Based Light Treatments Intensive/ 1-2x per lifetime 50-85% 7-10+ years

Cosmetics and OTC/Prescription Skincare

When I’m researching a new active to potentially formulate with, I reasonably expect that within 2-3 months of regular use, a customer will see roughly 20-30% improvement of whatever I’m trying to target. A bare bones moisturizer will still always help minimally, let’s say 10% or less- hydrated skin looks better than dry skin. However, a really great cosmetic means that a customer should actually see a noticeable difference in their skin- enough that someone might remark, “Hey, what have you been using? Your skin looks nice” or something to that effect. They might not be able to pinpoint exactly what is different but something catches their attention. I’d say you can expect a slightly more pronounced effect with OTC or prescription based skincare but you typically will also have more side effects to manage like irritation. Proportionate pain still equals proportionate gain.

Spa Based Treatments

I’m not meaning to malign spa-based treatments like facials, microderms or light peels by saying they have comparable effects to daily use of cosmetics. It just stands to reason that something you might have done in an hour treatment, even if done 3-4 times per year should have relatively similar effects to a less potent but daily treatment. Spa treatments also have the added value of relaxation, which is inestimable in its worth.

Medical Based Light Treatments

Fraxel Duo, sun damage, laser, cosmetic

Before and After with Fraxel Duo to improve sun damage

I’m lumping in a wide range of light based treatments into one category. Most of these will have some amount of downtime associated with them- from a day or two of looking a little nightmarish to 2 weeks plus. Some will use them as an intervention based treatment- for example the 45 year old woman who wants to clear up significant sun damage. Normally, this requires a more aggressive treatment plan but then with a good skincare plan in place (including sunscreen) minimal intervention afterwards will be needed. Some will start earlier and they will proceed with less intervention but will keep it up over their lifetime for maintenance. Then again as my mom is fond of saying- it’s all maintenance after 40.

You can get some nice and noticeable results from the less aggressive approaches to some real wowzer ones that absolutely look like you’ve Benjamin Buttoned back five years.

Botox and Fillers

botox, fillers, Soft Lift,

Before and After Soft Lift TM (combination of Botox TM and Injectable Fillers)

Botox and fillers on their own or in combination with something like the Soft Lift TM technique can produce some results with real impact with less downtime, which is why they are so popular. Of course, they can have the reputation for making you look like a Real Housewife Of … with bizarre contortions of lips and puffed up cheeks. I’ve never thought that was how they are intended to be used. You should still look like you.

Medical Based Light Treatments- Full Resurfacing

wrinkles, anti-aging, sun damage, laser procedures

Before and After Full Resurfacing

I thought this one deserved its own category since it’s still the most jaw dropping but also most intense treatment on the block. Full Resurfacing is more art than pure science so should only be done by a very skilled professional. There is also significant downtime and post-care and you need someone with experience to guide you through it. I call this procedure though the magical eraser because it is intended to buff out the deepest of wrinkles and photo-damage. We’ve had women in their 70’s+ have this procedure done and you want to do a little communal dance with them after recovery because they really do look 10-15 years younger.

The End Goal- Being Ageless

There is a reason I named one of our most popular Regimen Packages, Be Ageless- in mind my it’s what we are all after and I mean this from a purely superficial and shallow way. I won’t even attempt to discuss the importance of an ageless soul or mind- that is for theologists and philosophers far smarter than me to tackle. I mean from a purely looks-based assessment we still all want to get to the point were we transcend age. It becomes about more than shaving off years. I don’t think anyone wants to look twenty when they are fifty. When you look at women like Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, you can’t pinpoint their age and you don’t care to either. How do you get to be ageless? There is a magic mix of genes, lifestyle, prevention but probably some degree of the above beauty interventions too. Sometimes a lifetime of great skincare will do the trick! If you have your magic mix, let us know in the comments and share your secrets!

All the best,