Fashion & Beauty

A Real Skincare Challenge

June 20, 2017

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A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO the LittleBirds received an email about a skincare presentation.

The skincare line was SkinMedica, and the email came from the offices of plastic surgeons Craig Dufresne and Christopher Chang. Two of us LittleBirds flew out to the office in Fairfax, Virginia (the docs also have an office in Chevy Chase, Maryland), listened, learned and then plunked down cold hard credit cards to take home what we’re hoping is more than just hope. (Revlon founder Charles Revson famously claimed to be selling hope in a jar. I’ve always interpreted that to mean these products can perform miracles.)

The SkinMedica line is from big pharmaceutical company Allergan (the company that also produces Botox, Juvéderm injectable gel filler and Latisse eyelash stimulant). These are Science Age products, human hormone hoo-hahs and subdermal what’s-its. The brochures show lots of before-and-afters—we can see changes, though they seem to be pretty minimal (but there’s always plastic surgery!).

We bought the hope in a jar anyway, but we’re not going to suffer in silence if these things don’t work. We have taken ugly, close-up snapshots of our main skin concerns—Kathy’s frown lines, my crepey cheeks and the lip lines of both of us (mine worse than hers, for what that’s worth). And we’ll keep on taking pictures so that our progress, if any, will be discernible. And believe me, we’re not out to sabotage this experiment: We want improvement just as much as the attractive, albeit  fillered-up SkinMedica rep who made the presentation does.

We both have pledged to be scrupulous in keeping to our new skincare regimens.

Kathy, who in fact has gorgeous skin, has in the past used the Obagi line of skincare products but was finally tired of having to use a series of something like seven products. I, who once had a decent complexion, have stuck to the department-store makeup counter, most recently for Lancôme’s serum and then Creme de la Mer moisturizer and concentrate.

Now we’re both in the “medical distribution channel,” sales-speak for products sold primarily through doctors’ offices—examples include Obagi, SkinCeuticals, GlowBiotics MD and others—although we both harbor the suspicion that your skin improves if you do anything at all to it on a regular basis.

Morning and night, I am using the TNS Essential Serum, a rejuvenating treatment that promises to improve skin texture and soften lines and wrinkles, and HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, which adds back moisture. Kathy is more ambitious and is using the TNS serum morning and night; in the morning she adds Lytera, a skin-brightening treatment aimed at lightening dark spots and evening tone; at night she also uses the HA5 hydrating cream. During the day she uses Total Defense and Repair, a SkinMedica sunscreen. (I use one of the sunscreens as well; I bought a tinted version to use as a kind of foundation.)

You probably know without my telling you that these treatments ain’t cheap. Retail price on the HA5 hydrator is $178. Two ounces of Lytera will run you $130. One ounce of the TNS Essential Serum tops the charts at $281. The sunscreen Total Defense and Repair, Tinted, is $68, which seems like a lot to pay for sunscreen, but whatever.

Anyway, we’ll report back, in words and pictures, in about a month, and then a month after that. Here’s hoping that hope now comes in a pump bottle!

—Nancy McKeon

7 thoughts on “A Real Skincare Challenge

  1. Sheila Heaviside says:

    Any updates on the SkinMedica skincare challenge in the June 20, 2017 edition?

    1. Nancy McKeon says:

      You’re a mean person, ya know that!? Here I sit staring at my lip lines–not to mention the scowl between my brows and the network of crinkles on what used to be apple cheeks–and wondering why I wasted about a thousand dollars. I’ve been thinking we should take new photos–and I promise that we will–but every time I think I will, I look, sigh and turn off the lights.

  2. Kamer says:

    Await results eagerly. Thanks.

  3. Nancy says:

    I’ve been a skin care junkie for decades, and am afraid to stop doing what I’ve been doing for so long. But the product cost has upped over the years incredibly as I have also moved into the “medical distribution channel” too. There are some websites where you can buy this stuff, frequently with discounts and free shipping. But the things that have made the most difference are some judicious Botox and Juvederm, and a series of IPL treatments which did wonders for ridding my face of all kinds of brown spots and really smoothing my complexion.

  4. Alexa says:

    Yes! On the coconut oil. Soothes bug bites, too!

  5. Molly says:

    For your next experiment, you may try high quality organic coconut oil on the skin, especially on the lines. Rub the oil in until it is absorbed, then wipe off the excess. Appropriate diet and purified water will help from the inside out. Be ready for the pleasant surprise!

  6. Jan Kaufman says:

    Looking forward to seeing the results! I’ve tried several approaches to buying skin care products, recommendations from the book”Don’t Go to the Make-up Counter Without Me,”magazine recommendations, department store counter recommendations & expensive serums from my dermatologist’s office. Sadly I haven’t seen much improvement. The aging process seems inalterable & stronger than any product. Of course they may be better than nothing & I haven’t been brave enough to try that. Hope springs eternal.

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