Fashion & Beauty

Buffing Up Dull Skin


YOU HAVEN’T heard of Glyderm? That’s no surprise. While the company has been around for 20 years, it has never advertised, though it has been featured in articles and on talk shows. Until recently the line, developed by a doctor for his patients, has only been distributed through dermatologists and skin care professionals.

When Glyderm approached MyLittleBird editor Janet Kelly about giving the products a try, she agreed. “I was interested in what the fuss was about glycolic acid,” she said. But in her short trial, she found them too irritating for her skin.

So the experiment was turned over to me, the gardening columnist. Having skin in the game, and a bathroom full of serums and creams, I was curious to see how just three products could handle my aging skin issues: dryness, uneven tone, a corrugated forehead, minor sprays of wrinkles around the eyes and that blasted sag at the chin line.

For my skin concerns, I was assigned a trio of Glyderm products: Gentle Face Cleanser, a soap-free cleanser with .2% glycolic acid ($28, Dermstore); Cream 5, a night cream that contains 5% glycolic acid ($37, Dermstore); and Hydrotone, a moisturizer for dry to normal skin ($39, Dermstore).

Three weeks in and my daughter, who hadn’t seen me in a month, noticed my skin looked different, “hydrated,” she said. The wrinkles were still there, but I had a glow.

My husband also noticed, and he doesn’t notice much. In just a week he said, “Why do you look so cute?” The idea that I look cute makes my skin crawl, but I share it in the interest of honest reporting.

It has now been close to six weeks and I’ve noticed a few stubborn dark spots have completely faded and my pores appear smaller. Also, my face is very clean—with zero blackheads, a frequent problem given that I rest my fingers on my cheekbones when mulling, and mulling constitutes a large part of my day.

I’m also pleased that none of the products has a scent. None. And despite the size of the 1.5 ounce, pots of cream (which run close to $40 each on Amazon), they last a long time.  I still have half of each of the creams and have only used a quarter of the bottle of cleanser.

Unfortunately, there’s no diminishment of the wrinkles or sag.

“In time you will get firmer,” said Mary Nelson, senior business manager of Mission Pharmacal, the company that produces Glyderm products. Plumpness and firmness come  from stimulating collagen and elastin under the surface, which is what glycolic acid does.

“What you’re really going to see is a change in tone and texture, that healthy glow. Some patients with rather sallow skin tone lack luster; the glycolic acid will expose a brighter healthier skin tone.”

The 5% cream I’ve been using is the baby step. My face took to it with no problem, though others—like Janet—might need to work up to it, Nelson said, starting with once a week and building to nightly use.

As the skin becomes acclimated, I could graduate to a 10% or 12% version of the night cream, which would accelerate results, making my skin more receptive to additional treatments and serums.

For instance, you can use it with Retin A, which is still considered the gold standard for wrinkle repair creams. “The two are the dynamic duo,” she said, “but you cannot layer the products.”

“They must be used 12 hours apart, one in the evening the other in the morning, or used on alternate days.”

“But,” said I, “aren’t you supposed to use Retin-A only at night?”

“Slather on the sun screen and wear a hat, which you should be doing anyway,” she said.  “There shouldn’t be a problem.”

Glyderm also has a professional peel series (ranging in strength from 20 to 70 percent glycolic acid) “that’s amazing,” said Nelson. “The peels quickly address fine lines, pigmentation problems and that lackluster skin. They’re also great for acne.”

Touted by celebrity dermatologic surgeon Dr. Patricia Wexler on CBS in a segment called “Skin Secrets of the Stars: How to Get That Red Carpet Glow,” the powerful, 70% glycolic acid peel, is not available for home use, but should you suddenly be up for an Emmy Award, it will get you looking fabulous fast.

—Stephanie Cavanaugh

In addition to being our garden guru, LittleBird Stephanie is always game to try new beauty products. 


MyLittleBird often includes links to products we write about. Our editorial choices are made independently; nonetheless, a purchase made through such a link can sometimes result in MyLittleBird receiving a commission on the sale, whether through a retailer, an online store or


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