Sherry Klinger created her own skin moisturizer as a remedy after a bad experience at the cosmetic counter.
Klinger tries changing chemistry of skin care
In response to the never-ending quest for perfect skin, cosmetic companies are using ever more powerful ingredients, sometimes at the risk of doing more harm than good.
Sherry Klinger says she had perfect skin until she tried a department store sample moisturizer with disastrous results.
"My skin turned orange. I had pigmentation damage, my skin was discolored and it took a long time to repair," she said. Married to a physician at the time, they put the blame on alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids contained in the moisturizer.
"It taught me a huge lesson as far as reading labels and being an informed consumer. It's ironic that something you use to improve your skin could end up damaging your skin instead."
It was a cruel fate for someone who had long been a health advocate and beauty consultant. Klinger, co-founder of the BioSlim Weight Loss System, came up with a cream while trying to repair her skin that she hopes will work for others.
Klinger, who lives in California, visited Oahu recently on a market research trip for her Dermagenics Ultra-Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Beauty Moisturizer, currently available on her Web site. The moisturizer incorporates anti-wrinkle peptides, hydrating agents, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but just as important, she says, is what it doesn't contain: no alpha hydroxy or glycolic acids, alcohol, waxes, dyes, nor any other chemicals or fillers she deems harmful. These include silk or nylon fibers that some products use to create an illusion of smoother skin while ultimately clogging pores.
"The thing about it is that over the last 10 years, these ingredients have become rampant in products, not only in skin creams, but other personal products like shampoos," she said. "It's difficult to get away from it."
The ingredients are not dangerous per se, according to dermatologist Kevin Mott of Hawaii Skin Care and Photodamage Center. Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, for example, are fruit acids used for exfoliation, stripping away dead skin cell layers to increase cell turnover. Along with topical retinoids, derivatives of Vitamin A, AHAs and glycolic acid are some of the most effective ingredients in skin care, he said.
But Klinger contends, "It was one thing when people went to dermatologists or estheticians who used these products in a supervised way, but to use it every day can be very, very dangerous. People are using these products very casually. A lot of people will unknowingly wear alpha hydroxy on their skin as a moisturizer, just because it's in so many products, and go into the sun. It makes them more susceptible to sun damage, which makes it especially dangerous in Hawaii."
Although Mott disputes the claim that AHAs and glycolic acids increase sun sensitivity, he said, "If you're using skin-rejuvenation products to improve your skin's appearance, you're wasting your money if you're tanning. All these products need to be used with sun protection."
At Zen Spa & Medical Offices, Dara Chun, spa manager and lead esthetician also said she would not discount the benefits of AHAs and glycolic acids. She said she has seen people with rosacea able to use these products successfully at proper Ph levels and concentrations.
She said it is important for consumers to consult a professional for help in determining individual needs, making sure the exfoliation process is happening at a regulated, safe rate, as well as knowing when not to use such products, including after a chemical peel, after deep dermabrasion and on sunburned skin.
BEYOND THE ingredients list, Klinger also sought to streamline the skin-care process, going against the industry standard of offering multiple products by offering only one moisturizer for use day or night, for men and women, on eyes, face and neck.
"It has become far too confusing to figure out which skin products to use, and to purchase all the individual products that constitute a complete regimen is time-consuming and costly," she said.
The only other product she is offering is ingestible Dermagenics Oral Vitamins, aimed toward improving the skin's appearance by combating cell oxidation.
Sitting at a covered bar overlooking the beach at Royal Hawaiian Hotel during a recent visit and looking across a sea of sunbathers gives her the impression that developing a sunscreen product is a priority.
While she may one day introduce a natural cosmetic line, her immediate goal is simply saving people from the sun.
Using her own system, she's made it back to a point where she no longer wears foundation, only using color to enhance her eyes and lips.
"My skin has improved so much I feel I don't have to now, and when you're using a moisturizer that's so pure, it doesn't make sense to put on a concealer or foundation that's full of chemicals."
Dermagenics products are online at www.dermagenics.biz
at $59 for the skin cream and $32 for the vitamins.