Ingredients Guide

Algae Peptides 

Peptides are small molecules that can penetrate the barrier of the epidermis and have an impact on the dermis, or deeper layer of skin. These have the advantage of producing rapid, visible changes in the appearance of the skin. Specifically, they can cause tightening and the appearance of firming in the skin. Algae peptides are a unique extract from the Hawaiian Sea that have a component called hydroxyproline, an unusual amino acid that is rarely found in the skin except within its own collagen.  Algae peptides are particularly impressive in their moisturizing and firming properties when applied to the skin. 

Peptides are the chemical name for a chain of amino acids – and cosmetic chemists differentiate between the peptides that are not proven beneficial to the skin and peptides that are. When a peptide has proven in laboratory testing to have beneficial effects on the skin, it is classified as an active peptide. The family of active peptides is wide ranging – and when applied topically to the skin they can produce dramatic results. In one study of peptides, more than 30% of the people who used them saw an immediate improvement in their skin, while an additional 5% saw improvement after several hours. Almost 70% of users reported tightening and firming within two weeks. 

Aloe Vera

Many scientific studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of Aloe Vera in soothing irritated skin.  With so many anti-aging products comprised of various acids-- which are truly irritants used in a controlled fashion to exfoliate and plump the skin-- Aloe Vera has become a hard-working ingredient and natural calming agent. Aloe Vera increases the availability of oxygen to the skin and strengthens skin tissues. The anti-burning properties of Aloe combined with SPF factors make this an excellent skin care product. 

Alpha Hydroxy

The chemical description for the group of acids that includes glycolic, lactic, and malic acid is Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHA’s. By far the most commonly used of the AHA’s is glycolic acid. Lactic acid is also an effective exfoliant, but since it is not as popular, partially because glycolic is considered the more effective.  Glycolic is actually the smallest alpha-hydroxy acid and therefore seems to penetrate the best of all the AHA’s. 

When you incorporate glycolic acid containing products into your skincare routine, you will generally see improvement in the appearance of fine lines, the tone of the skin, and a lessening in the appearance of pore size. 

Alpha Lipoic Acid

This antioxidant ingredient protects against the unsightly skin changes that we see with cellular oxidation, the breakdown that occurs when molecules known as free radicals form in the skin as the result of a variety of environmental insults, including sun exposure, pollution, smoking and alcohol use. Free radicals contribute to cell aging and increase cancer risk, due to changes in the cellular nucleus. 

An ingredient as that has “antioxidant activity,” helps prevent the appearance changes we see with aging of the skin, including lines, uneven tone, and sagging. 


(Alpha Lipoic Acid, Beta Carotene, Green tea, Panthenol, Topical Vitamins A, C and E.)

These ingredients protect against signs of skin "oxidation" (the term used for  breakdown) that occurs when ”free radicals” are formed in the skin as a result of a variety of environmental insults, including sunlight, pollution, smoking and alcohol use. When free radicals form in the skin, there is accelerated aging and an increased risk of cancer due to these oxidative changes that occur in the skin.

When an ingredient is referred to as having “antioxidant activity,” it prevents the signs of skin aging. Popular antioxidants include alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, CoQ10, green tea, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (tocopherol), and retinoids.


This ingredient specifically lessens the appearance of "dynamic facial expression lines". These lines are the crow's feet, frown lines, lip lines, and horizontal forehead lines.  Argireline has become quite popular in recent years because it helps to reduce the appearance of furrows and facials lines that are treatable with injectable Botox.

Even injectable Botox is not always 100% curative of dyanamic lines; studies with the 10% Argireline show that there may be up to a 50% reduction in the appearance of certain dynamic lines.
Use neuropeptide products on areas where Botox cannot be injected, usually around the eyes (closer to the eyes than the so-called crow’s feet), lips and neck. In conjunction with Botox , they can also be very effective. Many younger women who certainly should not yet dream of doing Botox Cosmetic injections, are using topical neuropeptides with good results.

Beta Carotene

This antioxidant helps to reduce the appearance of aging changes that result from a variety of environmental insults, including sun exposure, pollution, smoking and alcohol use. Since this botanical antioxidant ingredient (derived from carrots) tends to be slightly organish-pink, products that have a high concentration of this ingredient will have a pinkish hue. 


This antioxidant helps to reduce the appearance of aging changes that result from a variety of environmental insults, including sun exposure, pollution, smoking and alcohol use. Since this botanical antioxidant ingredient (derived from carrots) tends to be slightly organish-pink, products that have a high concentration of this ingredient will have a pinkish hue. 


Ceramides and glycolipids are naturally occurring skin lipids, a layer of natural protective fats that are abundant in a newborn baby’s skin, but are diminished by sun exposure and time, and by extensive exfoliation. For the best anti-aging and hydration, I recommend incorporating a product with these into your daily regimen.

 Lipids can keep your skin hydrated, and looking younger. However, they are not absorbed into the dermis; instead, they sit on the top layer of the stratum corneum and protect it. from water loss and the appearance of dry wrinkles on the skin. 

 Many factors are responsible for depleting natural skin lipids.  All methods of exfoliation, where we are accelerating the loss of the dead cell layer, resulting in less skin lipids.  A drier climate, or even just the dryness caused by a dehumidifier or air-conditioning, will also lessen skin’s natural lipid compliment. 

As we age, skin lipids lessen.  We recommend replacing them once you have reached your early twenties.


This daisy-like flowery botanical is ultra soothing, aroma-therapeutic, calming and soothing to the skin, and helps reduce redness and irritation. 


Advanced fade ingredient that decreases the appearance of uneven pigment and age spots while being photoprotective. Chromabright® is 50% more effective at skin brightening than kojic acid.


CoQ10 is a very powerful antioxidant, capable of preventing, neutralizing, and even repairing damage done by free radicals. A by product of the natural process of cellular oxidation, free radicals are unstable molecules that scavange and damage the cells with which they interact.

Free radical damage is known to be the basis of many health problems, particularly those most associated with aging. Topical application of this anti-oxidant promotes a healthier, more vital and younger appearance to the skin. 


This rice-derived peptide works by inhibiting the enzymes that break down skin integrity, causing wrinkles.  It is referred to as a MMP (Matrix metallo Proteinase) inhibitor.  You may have read about these in the beauty magazines, as they are truly the cutting edge, excellent, state of the art anti-wrinkle ingredients.
Continued use of products with Colhibin will noticeably hydrate the skin, decrease the appearance of skin roughness, increase appearance of smoothness, and lessen the appearance of wrinkles.

Copper Enzymes (Peptides)

Copper peptides are extremely anti-inflammatory. Copper can reduce or eliminate irritation and help maximize anti-aging treatment benefits. This beneficial ingredient stimulates skin tightening, and leads to improved skin tone & texture. 

Cucumber Extract

Has a soothing, calming effect on the skin, helping ease appearance of puffiness and swelling. 


Imparts a silky feel to the skin and gives product its “slip”, making it glide easily across skin. 


This plant-derived ingredient that helps rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. Elhibin helps to mask the unslightly skin changes caused by irritation, sun exposure, skin dryness, or environmental stress.  Each of these stresses on the skin contribute to increased skin wrinkling, blotches,  and sagging (loss of firmness even tone to the skin).
Elhibin has the ability to replenish the skin and also to reduce irritation and increase hydration.   Like colhibin, it is called a MMP inhibitor and, as such, is one of the most written about of all the anti-aging ingredients on the market today.

Eucalyptus Extact

This is a marvelously versatile extract with intense skin soothing properties. 

Evening Primrose Extract

Softens and helps protect skin by boosting its ability to retain moisture. 

Eyeliss (includes dipeptide-2, palmitoyl tetrapeptide)

 This trademarked ingredient is a recipe of active peptides which lessens the appearance of dark circles and shadowing under eyes. Additionally, other active substances in Eyeliss can minimize saggy appearance and restore smoothness and  firmness to the skin. 


Most common in cleansers, and other “wash-off” products. Glycerin has an amazing water-trapping quality that normalizes water balance and restores structure to the top  layer of skin (the stratum corneum). 

Glycolic Acid

This ingredient ranks as the most popular of all the anti-aging ingredients, and with good reason. It is one of the AHAs, and a big part of its popularity is based on effectiveness -- to which most glycolic acid users will attest.

Studies from Dr. Eugene Van Scott at the Temple University Department of Dermatology have proven glycolic acid to be a very effective skin rejuvenator, working to exfoliate almost immediately.

People who use glycolic acid products notice a new “glow” to their skin. This reported glow is explained by the fact that dead cells no longer cover the living cells, and so the skin surface looks more radiant. What’s more, the living epidermal cell layer will thicken over time, further restoring a more youthful appearance to the skin.

Over time, skin to which glycolic acid products are applied will also start to make new collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.  Sometimes the cosmetic improvement to the epidermal layer from use of glycolic acid products is significant within days, but the dermal changes—like reduction in the appearance of fine lines -- usually takes at least two weeks.

Our glycolic products have a lower pH level than most retail brands. The pH level by itself is an independent factor influencing how effective at anti-aging a product will be. One study, published in 1993 by Dr. Walter Smith, a well-respected independent cosmetic chemist, showed that for every drop of 2 in the pH level, the increase in cell turnover rate (one measurement of skin rejuvenation) was about 30%. If your doctor has a product with a pH of 4 (doctor’s products generally have pH’s around 3.5) and a store brand has a pH of 6, you can expect about a 30% greater results from the doctor’s product solely based on the more acidic nature alone.
And, if you really improve with at-home glycolic products, you can always consider getting an in-office glycolic treatment (which will have a higher percentage of glycolic and a lower pH) at a dermatologist’s office. For example, many in-office glycolic products that are applied and then washed off –in the form of glycolic peel, will have pH’s closer to 1 to 2, so you can expect a much more dramatic improvement in the glow of your skin, unclogging of pores and lessening of rough texture and excess pigment build-up after some in-office glycolic treatments. 

Grapefruit Extract

This botanical has a purifying and energizing effect with a moisturizing and cleansing action on the skin.  

Green Tea Extract

This renowned botanical extract helps prevent signs of skin aging to promote a younger, fresher appearance.  

Hyaluronic Acid

This amazing humectant holds one thousand times its weight in water. You can think of hyaluronic acid as a wafer sponge that fills and plumps out your skin.

As an ingredient in skincare, it is unfortunately too large a molecule to travel into the dermis of the skin- so it sits only the surface layer or the epidermis, where is a good moisturizing ingredient.
You will also see a lot of FDA-approved injectable hyaluronic acid products on the market, given as wrinkle treatments at dermatologist and plastic surgeon's offices.  These are marketed under the names of Restylane and Juvederm.


Jojoba (pronounced "ho-ho-ba") is easily absorbed into the skin. Although it is very moisturizing, it will not block pores. It is an excellent moisturizer and because it is so easily absorbed, it is very effective in decreasing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Skin may feel more supple and feel smoother and softer after use.

When Jojoba beads are added to a skin care product, the round botanical beads gently polish skin's surface without causing irritation or abrasions (unlike harsher particles used in many common skin scrub preparations).

Lathering Ingredients

The most commonly used lathering ingredient in cleansers is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  Studies have shown that this ingredient actually dries and reddens skin when it is used on a regular basis.  All of our cleansers are FREE of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  They are formulated with non-irritating and non-comedogenic foaming ingredients that will not cause redness or acne breakouts.  For this reason, our cleansing products are ideal for acne-prone and sensitive skin.


The only double action antioxidant to protect skin from both nitrogen and oxygen free radicals, this anti-pollution ingredient is also the strongest antioxidant made.  It is eleven times stronger than Idebenone.

Micro-Dermabrasion Particles (Aluminum Crystals)

These are usually aluminum oxide crystals and when a cream containing them is used they feel like fine grains of sand on your face. These particles are found in at-home microdermabrasion creams, but dermatologists apply these same crystals in microdermabrasion machines for buffing or dermabrading the outer layer of skin, to smooth out and lessen the appearance of shallow acne scars, give tired skin a glow, or to minimize the appearance of fine lines.

Caution: If you are too aggressive with the microdermabrasion creams, you will turn red (or, in extreme cases, bruise), but you will see any potential irritation immediately and should stop as soon if there is some redness. If this should happen, do not apply any AHA’s (glycolics) or retinoids to your skin until any redness subsides.

Micronized Zinc Oxide

This Zinc ingredient is nearly invisible and doesn't impart a pasty or white look when applied to the skin. There is certainly nothing new about using zinc oxide for sun protection. You may remember going to the beach and seeing a lifeguard’s lips or nose coated with that gooey white stuff. And there’s nothing new about using zinc oxide for redness and irritated skin. If you’ve ever had a baby with diaper rash, you probably used zinc oxide. It’s the active ingredient in almost all diaper rash ointments. 

We tend to think of these zinc products as heavy and almost sticky. The good news is that both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have become available in so-called "micronized", cosmetically acceptable forms during the last decade.  Why is Zinc Oxide such a valuable sun blocker?  It is a wonderful physical blocker, meaning that it simply reflects ultraviolet light off the skin surface, a mechanism which many dermatologists prefer to the so-called "chemical UV blockers" which work by actually absorbing the UV radiation into the molecules as they sit on the skin.  Also, zinc is among the very best of ingredients to block out the UV-A rays, which are responsible for most of the skin aging changes that we see.


This ingredient is derived from Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which is exactly what the skin converts it to when panthenol is applied to the skin. In skin care, it is a humectant – or an ingredient that traps water into the skin and therefore smooths the surface.  

Papaya Enzymes

In skincare formulations, papaya works to dissolve dead skin from the surface and in the pores. This tropical fruit contains the enzyme papain which is also used as a meat tenderizer. Papaya preparations work best if you massage them into skin and leave them on for several minutes and then rinse off. 


Peptides are chains of amino acids. Cosmetic chemist differentiate between peptides that are beneficial to the skin and those that are not. When a peptide is proven in laboratory testing to improve the skin in some way, it is classified as an active peptide. Among these are algae peptides, colhibin, elhibin, eyeliss and neuropeptides. 

Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)

This has been shown to improve the appearance of skin elasticity, and brighten skin tone. It represents the best-tolerated form of topical Vitamin A and it is known to reverse some of the more obvious signs of skin aging. 

Salicylic Acid 2%

Known as a beta hydroxy acid, or “BHA”, salicylic acid first appeared in acne treatments because it is so good at cleaning out the pores. It is also a very effective exfoliant of the skin surface, making it an ideal ingredient for skin rejuvenation.

In general, salicylic acid is non-irritating and well tolerated. You may like to use a cleanser, or toner to help exfoliate the skin surface, decreasing the appearance of skin pigmentation (as in age spots and melasma). It is also extremely effective to help minimize enlarged pores and reduce acne lesions. Generally, you can expect to see a noticeable skin improvement in pore size and lessening in skin dullness within several days of starting your salicylic acid-containing products.


This light diffusing mineral disperses light across the skin, immediately improving the appearance of the skin and fine lines. It is also helpful in facilitating the even spread of ingredients in ultraviolet blocking formulations like sunscreens. 

Spearmint Oil

This purifying, refreshing botanical extract that instantly imparts a fresh and clean feeling.  

Sphingolipids (Glycolipids)

Sphingolipids are naturally occurring glycolipids. They are the layer of natural protective fats that cover a newborn baby’s skin. They are diminished by sun exposure and time, and by extensive exfoliation. I recommend replacing them with a product that contains them.

Lipids can keep skin hydrated, and looking younger. But they are not absorbed into the dermis; instead, they sit on the top layer of the stratum corneum and protect it. Many factors are responsible for depleting our natural lipids. All methods of exfoliation, where we are accelerating the loss of the dead cell layer, result in less skin lipids. A drier climate, or even just the dryness caused by a dehumidifier or air-conditioning, will also lessen skin’s natural lipid compliment.
As we age we our lipids lessen, and certain drugs also can make skin noticeably drier and rougher. These can be topical medications, like prescription retinoids or pills, like the cholesterol lowering pills. 

Tamanu Oil

Derived from a tree native to Polynesia. This extract has various skin benefits from stimulating skin firmness to reducing skin redness.  


Revitalizing yeast extract that repairs and detoxifies to restore the appearance of tired, dull skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential (water soluble) vitamin, meaning that your body can’t store it. You need Vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin. This is why Vitamin C is a great anti-wrinkle ingredient! Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, along with Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and many other plant-based nutrients. Antioxidants block some of the damage caused by free radicals. The build-up of free radicals over time may be largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of health conditions such as cancer. Smoking cigarettes lowers the amount of Vitamin C in the body, so smokers are at a higher risk of deficiency.

Vitamin C benefits to your skin include:

  • Protecting skin cells and skin’s support structure from UV-related damage
  • Improving the appearance of sun-damaged skin
  • Strengthening skin’s barrier response
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Promoting collagen production
  • Enhancing effectiveness of peels and microdermabrasion 
  • Lessening hyperpigmentation
  • Boosting the efficacy of sunscreen actives 

Vitamin E

This antioxidant and free radical fighter helps diminish the appearance of environmental skin damage.