A clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center and the author of Forget the Facelift (Avery/Penguin USA)
Most impressive product? “Eau Thermale Avene Mattifying Fluid. Unlike other mattifyers, this one actually minimizes the amount of oil the skin generates by acting on an oil-producing enzyme.”
What’s your fantasy product? “A dietary supplement that would make your skin age beautifully. It would moisturize and firm skin as well as protect it from the sun. Hey, I can dream!”
2013 Beauty Breakthroughs
The 14 most innovative products of the year don’t just address our most nagging beauty complaints—they obliterate them.
For years, the most effective defense against oily skin was microsponges, an ingredient added to foundation or primer to soak up grease once it surfaced, sort of like a tiny grounds crew racing onto a baseball field after a rainstorm. Now, Avène researchers have figured out that the best defense against shine really is a good offense: They’ve found an amino acid that helps short-circuit oil production within sebaceous glands before it can reach the surface. So over time, hyperactive oil glands calm down—way down.
HOW IT WORKS: Wash your face with the cleanser and follow with a thin layer of the mattifying fluid. An amino acid in both formulas called glutamic acid gets to work reducing oiliness by inhibiting the enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, that makes sebum production go haywire. In areas such as the cheeks, where everything is humming along normally, enzyme levels aren’t elevated, so the ingredient doesn’t have much to do. (The fluid, very thoughtfully, does deposit hydrating glycerin, since even oily complexions can be dry in these well-behaved spots.) In company studies, oil production was decreased by 15 percent within three hours of applying the duo. And after two weeks, 93 percent of test subjects said their skin was more matte.
WHAT AN EXPERT SAYS: “It’s an impressive innovation. The glutamic acid in this formula reduces oil production both gently and very effectively,” says dermatologist Doris Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. “My complaint with so many oil-control formulas is that they can leave skin too dry, but this one doesn’t do that.” Makeup artist Susan Giordano agrees: “It’s rare to find a formula that does a great job of moisturizing and mattifying. I found that it took down the shine just enough to give skin a perfect velvety texture.”