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Straight Blog about Skin Care

Plant stem cells in skin creams

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS December 12, 2013 6 comments

As you are deluged with advertisements for various skin care products, you might come across those that advertise "plant stem cells".  What the heck are these, you might ask...and why are they in my skin care products?

The companies that say they use these ingredients make all sorts of claims that these provide miraculous changes to the skin.  Here's the truth...

It is impossible to put plant stem cells in skin care products.  Stem cells are living material and if they could be isolated and added to your product, they would certainly die during processing.  But no company is really trying to add live cells...or any cells at all.  

Here's the science behind this scam....

Plants are powerhouses that make all sorts of chemicals to protect themselves from the environment.  Since they can not walk out of the blistering sunshine and find the shade of a neighboring tree, they need to produce their own sunblock.  That's why plants have such deep and rich colors.  Those colors are the sunblocks and antioxidants that protect plants from UV damage.  Plants also have evolved protections against heavy metals that might be in the soil.  

Many of those chemicals are concentrated in the "stem cells" of those plants...(no stem cells are NOT the cells in plant stems, but some companies seem to have forgotten that one, too...).  So, if stem cells are isolated from the remainder of the plant cells and the chemicals they produce are concentrated and collected, this concoction is called the "stem cell extract".  That is what many of these companies allegedly put into their skin care products.

Now, when we look at these extracts, three questions come up...  First - what is the concentration of the extract in the product and second - what is the mix of chemicals in the extract, and third - do those chemicals actually do something for your skin...

Since stem cell extracts are a virtually nebulous concept and since no company will divulge how much of these they actually put into their products, you, the consumer, are left with many questions...and empty wallets if you purchase.

I prefer to use real ingredients with many scientific papers documenting that they actually do work...in real clinical situations.  That means that when you squirt that stuff onto your hands and rub it into your face, you can expect real results.  

I'm all for the advancement of science, but consumers need to beware that fraud lurks on many shelves...even in the fanciest of stores...

(C) 2013 Arthur W. Perry, MD

Winter Skin

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS November 16, 2013 No comments

It's getting cold outside.  I wonder why I live in the Northeast and not in Southern California.  And my skin asks me the same question.  The change of seasons is the time that your skin really begins to suffer.  The low humidity and low temperatures cause drying and cracking, particularly around the mouth and on your hands.  If you let this continue, you'll be miserable right around New Years Eve, when temperatures are at their lowest.  My products can help you fight these winter blues.  My CleanThyme will not irritate your skin and should be used twice a day.  And ths is the time of the year that I recommend my SoftThyme moisturizer.  SoftThyme contains those all important ceramides, which improve the skin's integrity and barrier function.  SoftThyme should be used after washing your face in the morning and after washing your hands.  Don't forget to put a little around your lips and on the outside of your nostrils.  This is particularly important if you develop a cold, since Kleenex can be very abrasive on your skin.  

Niacin in skin products

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS August 1, 2013 2 comments

Vitamin B3 - that's niacinamide - is a wonderful skin care ingredient. When I created my former product, called Dr. Perry's DaySkinR, I was one of the first in the country to include niacinamide. Now, with my DayThymeTM, I kept this as a key ingredient. Here's why...

Niacinamide is a nonirritating skin rejuvenator. It's key function is to bolster the barrier function of the skin. That means it lowers water loss and makes the skin more resistant to things that destroy its barrier - mainly soaps. With niacinamide, the skin looks less red.

Niacinamide also brightens the skin in a way that is very different from most skin brighteners. Along with other brighteners like vitamin C and licorice extract (in my NightThymeTM product), it's the "One-Two Punch" to make the skin look better.

Niacinamide is particularly useful for diabetics, because it is the only substance that can reduce the yellowing of skin that plagues diabetics. This unique function is apparent as early as 4 weeks and peaks at 12 weeks of use.

Niacinamide's benefits continue with improvement of photo aging - texture improves, oil production decreases, pore size decreases and wrinkles are improved as early as 4 weeks, with a 5% improvement at 12 weeks.

Niacinamide is not destroyed by UV light, making it a great ingredient to use in the morning. And as a final bonus, niacinamide reduces irritation caused by vitamin A products.

So now you have it - and you understand why I included this wonderful vitamin in my skin care....

Your soap is poisoning you

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS July 6, 2013 No comments

The average American poisons their skin twice a day...every day.  I'll bet you do, too.  But you don't know you're doing it.

When you wash your face, chances are good that the soap that smells so good is actually harming your skin.  Here's why.  No matter what soap companies tell you, all soap is artificial.  It has to be, because soap is the result of a chemical reaction between fat and lye.  Chemists call the reaction "saponification" and chances are pretty good that you heard about that in 10th grade and forgot it by 11th!  The soap reaction requires that the end product, that's the soap, is alkaline.  OK, your eyes are glazing over....but just for a minute remember that lemon juice is acidic, baking soda is alkaline, and water is right in the middle.  Your skin should be acidic, at a pH of 5.5.  But when you soap it up with those alkaline suds, the pH rises.  That rise makes your skin a playground for all sorts of bacteria and yeast, which have a hard time surviving at the normal acidity of the skin.  For 3 hours, those germs frolic and your skin becomes inflamed trying to restore its pH.  While the pH is off, your barrier is weakened, allowing other toxins to enter the body.

You might think that's enough, but add to that the usual cast of toxic characters that reside in your soap (like sulfates, preservatives, parabens, and other toxins), and you've got quite an assault on your skin.

When I designed my CleanThyme soap, the first thing I wanted was the correct pH.  That wasn't the hard part.  The hard part was making my soap perform nicely so that you would want to use it.  Acidic soap doesn't froth well without adding sulfates or other toxic substances called surfactants.  Sulfates are terrible irritants to the skin and also weaken the skin barrier.  Combined with the wrong pH, that's a pretty nasty "1-2 punch".  And in some people, it's a knockout, creating slightly red, slightly swollen, oily skin.  Skin that is doing everything possible to fight those toxins.  Do you think that's enough?  Add in toxic preservatives like parabens, and a  whole lot of toxins that if I named, you would stop reading this...

All those toxic chemicals make your soap feel and smell nice.  But I won't use them. Here's where science meets art...and a little cooking.  So, to create froth, I used the stuff that makes root beer foamy.  And I added glycerin for just the right amount of slip, oatmeal to give it body, and I held the bar together with beeswax, not petrolatum like most other bar soaps.  But no one would buy any soap wtihout fragrance, and despite the fact that I am very anti-fragrance, I had to use it in my soap.  So, I combined lemon oil without irritants, lavender oil and thyme oil and came up with an irresistible smell.

In the end, I hit a home run with my CleanThyme.  Yes, I'm biased, but I believe it is the best soap in the world. Once you try it, you won't be able to use your old toxic stuff again.

NightThyme skin care

By Arthur W. Perry MD, FACS June 28, 2013 1 comments

Night is a great time (thyme?) to rejuvenate your skin.  Why?  Because the two most studied skin care ingredients are most effective at night.  That's because vitamins A and C are destroyed by the ultraviolet light of the sun.  So when you step outside your house in the morning, the vitamin C and A levels plummet.  Vitamin C is a direct stimulator of collagen production.  Collagen is the major part of your skin - it is your leather.  And your collagen levels drop 1% per year after age 30.  It's asking a lot to maintain, no less increase, collagen levels.  But vitamin C is proven to do just that...only if it is in a 10% concentration, in the correct form (L-ascorbic acid), and at the correct pH (3.5).  And yes, NightThyme does vitamin C just right...  And vitamin A?  I call it the skin rejuvenator, because it is responsible for keeping the skin looking young.  Unlike vitamin C, vitamin A works in just about any form.  So I chose the least irritating form of vitamin A - called retinyl propionate.  It is converted into the active form within your skin.  

Apply NightThyme after washing your face - give it a few minutes to dry before going to sleep. I like the tingling feeling because I know that means it has the right ingredients at the right pH.   In the morning, you can actually taste the vitamin C as it washes off of your face in the shower.  But don't try and sip it...enjoy your vitamin C in your orange juice at breakfast...

Honest skin care ingredients

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS June 12, 2013 No comments

I spend a lot of time looking at ingredient lists for other skin care products.  I walk through those stores shaking my head and sometimes even laughing.  That's because so many products contain ridiculous ingredients.  Some have chemicals that are touted to do minor miracles, but the inventors forgot that the size of the molecule is too big to penetrate the skin...minor details...  Some other products contain forms of active ingredients that can't work in humans...  Like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a biologically worthless type of vitamin C.  Only L-ascorbic acid has been shown to be beneficial in humans.  Still others contain ingredients that are destroyed by light and should only be used at night.  Vitamins C and A are great examples of this.  Still others contain too little of the active ingredient to make a difference.  An example of this is 1% lactic acid, which is fairly useless with concentrations under 5%.  (Every drug or active ingredient has what is called a "dose response curve" - you would not take half a Tylenol because it takes 2 tablets to cure your headache...). Still other skin care products contain an enormous number of ingredients...kind of like the chemist got paid more if he had a really long list of ingredients.  The truth is that each and every ingredient has the potential to cause an allergic reaction.  So my goal is to have as short a list as possible.  I follow the rules we have in medicine - I use the least number of ingredients that does the job...and I use them in the lowest concentration that is scientifically proven to make a difference.

When you look through the ingredient lists for my products, you will find that I follow my own rules.  I use only scientifically proven ingredients - in the right form and the right concentration.  And I try to keep the ingredient list as short as possible.  And that's how I arrived at the company's slogan:  you don't have to read the labels on my products...I do it for you...

Colors in products

By Arthur W. Perry MD, FACS May 18, 2013 No comments

Have you ever purchased a beautifully colored skin care product?  Like those blue shampoos, or green soaps?  Many of you do, because the marketing divisions of skin care companies know that you, the consumer, will always choose products wtih a pretty color over bland white or clear.  One well known liquid soap is available in both clear and beige colors...and no surprise, the beige one sells better.  Even doctors swallow this marketing - one of best selling wound dressings languished as a plain white dressing.  But when those Madison Avenue types added a bright yellow color to it, it became a best seller!

But color has absolutely no use in skin care products...unless you are using it as a makeup.  Those dyes are, for the most part, quite toxic.  They can be carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and skin irritants.  Of course, I would never color my products - I only use necessary ingredients...

Dr. Oz television show

By Arthur W. Perry MD, FACS May 9, 2013 No comments

I hope you enjoyed hearing and seeing me on the Dr. Oz television show today. It took a lot of courage for Dr. Oz to air that show. I have long felt that the chemical sunscreens are dangerous. My patients remind me that I've been harping on that issue for over a decade. It just doesn't make sense to fill our bodies with harmful chemicals, or even suspicious chemicals...particularly since a great alternative is available. As you may have guessed, my DayThyme SPF 20 broad spectrum sunscreen fits the bill. I used micronized zinc oxide and a variety of other substances that IMPROVE THE BARRIER FUNCTION of the skin. Most importantly, I included Vitamins B3 and B5. So, instead of a chemical sunscreen/moisturizer combination that so many companies produce, which irritates the skin and is toxic, I use a sunscreen that doesn't enter the body and substances that are not just nontoxic, but actually improve the quality of the skin.

NightThyme and CleanThyme getting rave reviews!

By Arthur W. Perry MD, FACS April 20, 2013 No comments

The first two products have now been available for a few weeks, and many of you have begun emailing, calling, and leaving Facebook messages telling me how much you like them. I appreciate your comments. If you really love the products, post your comments on your Facebook page also. Word of mouth has become "word of Facebook" and thousands of people can quickly read your comments. Thank you for your support. Check out this recent Facebook post from Diane Salamone: Dr. Perry...my savior! Within 5 minutes of meeting Dr. Perry he diagnosed me with the symptoms of chronic allergies. What!?! How could that be? I'm 42 years old and I think I would know if I am allergic to product. He was right! He also informed me that my so called dry skin was a result of the soap I was using on my face. I didn't understand why I was so dry in the morning and, so oily throughout the day. He was right! Upon further observation, I was most certainly becoming dry from my cleansing product. Well I am here to say Dr. Perry's Clean Thyme is truly fantastic! My skin is clean, not dry, not greasy but refreshingly clean. I love it! It is such a nice product....really. It's brilliant. A huge bar of soap that smells awesome, is completely affordable, and leaves my skin balanced! Dr. Perry is my new 'favorite person'!

Dr. Perry's First Blog Post

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS April 1, 2013 3 comments

It’s April 1. And after over a year of anticipation, I’m happy to introduce my first two products to you.

Many of you have used my products that I created for another company. About a year ago, I formed my own company, and set out to create the most scientifically based, safe, and honest products. The skin care industry is crowded with so many well-known companies. But most companies produce many products – they want you to fill your medicine cabinet with as many as possible. Most women will not stick to a complex regimen, and so I wanted to create a program that everyone can follow.

I wanted to create products that combined active ingredients, lessening the need for multiple products. This sounds great, but was a challenge from the chemistry standpoint. My NightThyme™ serum does combine great ingredients into one serum. You will love the high levels of vitamins C and A, as well as lactic and citric fruit acids. I added skin brighteners and potent antioxidants. And through a series of chemical and physical methods, I succeeded in keeping my water based L-ascorbic acid vitamin C product fresh longer than any I know of. I filed a patent for my system.

For 25 years, I struggled to recommend a good soap to my patients. I wanted one that was the right pH and did not have sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). While this combination was better for your skin, creating a product that performed well was a real challenge. I hit a home run with this product. CleanThyme™ lathers well because I added quillaja, or soapbark, to it. And I added glycerin for slip, ground oats for a nice feel, and lemon, lavender, and thyme oils for an irresistible fragrance.

In future months, I will be introducing my DayThyme™ SPF 20 skin protector, and my SoftThyme™ moisturizer. I hope you enjoy my products. I would love to hear your feedback.

Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS

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