Looking younger is an eternal wish, and 2020 has inspired an additional goal: looking healthy. “There’s a movement toward skincare that’s part of wellness, immunity-boosting and staying healthy,” says Dr. Victoria Cirillo-Hyland of the Cirillo Institute in Bryn Mawr. “It’s one of the silver linings of the pandemic.”
Without visits to doctors’ offices for Botox and fillers from March to June, patients had to make do at home. “Just as we turned to YouTube and other sources for exercise options when the gyms closed, we were looking for different options for skincare,” says Dr. Michele Ziskind, whose practice is based in Paoli.
The unscheduled hiatus from injectables seems to have made an impact on anti-aging skincare. “We saw how we really look without enhancement,” says Dr. Stacey Turner of Turner Dermatology in Bryn Mawr. “We have a long life to live in this skin. I want my patients to look more natural, anyway. There’s beauty in looking healthy.”
That emphasis on DIY health spurred Audubon’s Dr. Janine Darby to produce her own supplements. At her practice, Lifestyle Changes, she guides patients through weight loss and maintenance. While a lot of that is done through food choices and exercise, Darby knows patients need extra support.
Following a year of research and development, Darby released her Lifestyle Changes line in September 2020. In addition to multivitamins for adults and kids, Darby offers supplements for sleep, energy, bone health, blood sugar and allergies. There are also bloat- and belly-busters and protein powders. “My supplements help with vitamin deficiencies, gut health, sleep health,” she says. “[They also] reduce inflammation that contributes to chronic diseases.”
Lifestyle Changes products are free of gluten, yeast, dairy and soy. They’re vegetarian and made without artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives. “I partnered with a team of naturopathic doctors who create the supplements based on research and real clinical evidence,” Darby says. “I also wanted a facility registered with the FDA that follows good manufacturing practices.”
Local dermatologists have similar standards for their products. The medical-grade Turner MD line began with Peel Pads that contain 20 percent glycolic acid. They’re used once or twice a week to reduce fine lines, pore size and hyper pigmentation. Over several years, Turner expanded her private label to include other items unavailable over the counter, including a neck cream that firms with antioxidants and plant and flower extracts.
Made with fractionated hyaluronic acid, Turner MD’s Pure HA Serum has a smooth, light consistency that absorbs quickly into the skin, providing a layer of hydration that, after just a few uses, eases dryness and adds vibrancy to skin. Turner’s Vitamin C Brightening Serum provides a similar layer of smoothness as it improves skin tone.
Turner MD’s Circles cream remediates the dreaded under-eye darkness that comes with stress, insomnia and age. It’s made with kojic acid, a byproduct of the fermentation process used to make sake and rice. Among other dermatological magic tricks, kojic acid reduces hyperpigmentation—both redness and darkness. It’s too expensive to put in most over-the-counter products. That explains why Circles is $110 for .5 ounces. But a little dab will do you. “A small application produces big results,” says Turner.
For her Simplicity By Michele line, Ziskind wanted an easy-to-follow regimen. “I wanted to put all of the good stuff together in one set of products that works,” she said.
The line has just three products, including a restorative eye cream, a daily antioxidant facial serum and a renewal facial cream. Obviously custom made, they have a different feel than over-the-counter brands, gliding onto skin before being quickly absorbed. Only small amounts are needed to produce big results. “Companies that produce large quantities just have to add a drop of a something and it gets listed as an ingredient,” Ziskind says. “Because I make smaller batches, I was able to put more into each product.”
Cirillo-Hyland went with the same philosophy when she established her private label in the 1990s.
She worked with a pharmaceutical science team and compounding pharmacy to get stable and efficient formulations packed with retinoids, peptides, plant-based growth factors and hyaluronic acid. The Cirillo Cosmetic line has a plethora and be customized for individual skin types. “The goal was to create cost-effective, medical-grade skincare that meets different needs, but is also simple,” she says. “If you want people to be compliant with their skincare regimen, it can’t involve 50 different things.”
Anti-aging isn’t the only goal. Turner and Cirillo-Hyland also offer products that treat acne. “We evaluate every person and figure out his or her skin type and issues, then we customize a routine,” says Cirillo-Hyland. “This is not a one-size-fits-all product line.”
But there are no magic potions that work for everyone in the same way. “If we see an order come in and it’s from someone ordering the first time, we’ll contact them to make sure they are getting exactly what they need,” Turner says.
Turner and the others also emphasize that their products won’t produce the same results as injectables. Ideally, patients getting injectables will use medical-grade products to maintain skin health. “It’s really two different approaches to anti-aging,” says Ziskind. “The bottom line is that healthy skin is beautiful skin.”