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Bradley Allen M.D.,
Heart Surgeon, Clinical Physician,
Research Specialist
AND Jaclyn's Husband.

Read Dr. Allen's Bio


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Antioxidants work by scavenging (neutralizing) oxygen free radicals which can cause cellular damage, leading to the signs of aging. When our body uses oxygen, it produces free radicals, which are oxygen molecules with one less electron. These oxygen free radicals can then start a deadly chain reaction that damages cells. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" to terminate these chain reactions, and hence prevent and repair damage done by free radicals. Some skin experts believe all aspects of aging, including wrinkling, are caused by free-radical damage, and that if there is a fountain of youth, antioxidants are probably part of the formula. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that combinations of vitamins and antioxidants have additive effects that provide enhanced efficacy compared with individual compounds (antioxidants). That is why Jaclyn integrates a collection of antioxidants into her creams to take advantage of these powerful combinations.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is a vital ingredient that scavenges and destroys oxygen free radicals in the epidermis (outer layer of skin), and has been shown to provide marked improvement in aged or sun damaged skin. It provides protection against damage by UV (sun) radiation, and may even help prevent skin cancer. Vitamin C also improves skin elasticity, stimulates collagen synthesis (to reduce lines and wrinkles), reduces erythema (redness), and suppresses cutaneous (skin) pigmentation (lightening hyperpigmentation or sun spots). By stimulating collagen formation, Vitamin C actually treats wrinkles after they appear, whereas most antioxidants only prevent anti-aging effects (wrinkles) by neutralizing free radicals. Vitamin C helps regenerate oxidized Vitamin E (vitamin E that has interacted with an oxygen radical), and both Vitamin C & E have been shown in scientific studies to enhance protection against (photo-aging) sun damage from UVA and UVB rays, making them valuable additives to sunscreens.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E (chemical name tocopherol) is one of the most effective, well-known, and researched antioxidants. Topical vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to a) protect the skin from ultraviolet light damage and reduce free radical production upon exposure to UVA rays and other stress, b) increase the efficacy of active sunscreen ingredients, c) scavenge oxygen free radicals that can damage the skin, d) reduce water loss from the skin, and e) strengthen the skin’s barrier function. As important as vitamin E is for skin, it is usually best used in combination with other antioxidants, including vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, as there is increasing evidence that combining antioxidants provides enhanced efficacy compared with individual compounds.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10 or ubiquinone, is a natural compound found within every cell, and it has at least two important roles. First, CoQ10 helps generate energy (ATP) within a cell, and second it is a potent antioxidant. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less CoQ10. In most people over the age of thirty, levels of CoQ10 in the skin are already below optimum, resulting in reduced ability to produce collagen, elastin (both substances that support and give elasticity to the skin), and other important skin elements. In other words, with lower levels of coenzyme Q10, the skin has a tougher time renewing itself. In addition, CoQ10-depleted skin may be more prone to damage by oxygen free radicals, which are particularly abundant in the skin, since it is directly exposed to the elements including the sun. Thus, CoQ10 may help boost skin repair and regeneration, as well as reduce free radical damage.

Coenzyme Q10 is a small molecule that can relatively easily penetrate into skin cells. Studies now show that it can effectively counteract free radical damage and provide significant protection against UVA-induced depletion of the cell membrane. In other words, it will prevent damage to collagen and elastin production (two substances that support the skin) and help avoid HYPERLINK "" \t "undefined" wrinkles. Indeed, a study from Germany in 1999 demonstrated that daily use of topical CoQ10 for 6 weeks reduced crow’s feet (wrinkles around the eye) by 27 percent, and after 10 weeks, by 43 percent. A more recent study (2008) from Japan found that CoQ10 reduced wrinkle from solar (sun) radiation by inhibiting oxygen free radical formation, DNA (gene) damage, and protecting lower skin (dermal) components (fibroblasts), leading to rejuvenation (reduction) of wrinkles.

Green Tea

Green Tea isn't just for drinking; it's also good for the HYPERLINK "" \t "undefined" skin. Green tea contains polyphenols, and the polyphenols found in tea mainly belong to the subtype called catechins. These catechins are potent antioxidants; up to 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C and 200 times more powerful than Vitamin E in protecting against free radical damage.  Green tea also has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and a 2003 study showed topical green tea cream was as good as benzoyl peroxide in treating acne, with fewer side effects. These anti-inflammatory properties can help smooth affected areas, resulting in more even skin tone, soothed irritation, and reduction in redness. Lastly, topical green tea has been shown to reduce sun damage, presumably by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation.

Exfoliation: The Basics

The Basics The skin you see is actually dead skin cells. These cells are continually flaking off, and in fact, you lose about 35,000 dead skin cells each minute. In the course of 1 year each person sheds around 10 pounds of skin cells, which accounts for most of the dust in your home. Our skin continually exfoliates itself about every 28 days, a naturally occurring process that slows down as we age. Many people over the age of 30 develop dull, lifeless looking skin because their stratum corneum (topmost layer of the skin consisting of mostly dead cells) becomes too thick and uneven with mounds of dead skin. The rough uneven texture is almost like stucco on a wall or ceiling. Those same dead cells can also accumulate brown pigment and discolor your skin. The result is dull, drab, older looking skin.

Exfoliation accelerates skin turnover by removing the thickened accumulation of dead cells on the outer surface of the skin (a.k.a. stratum corneum) to expose fresher mostly living cells, smoothing out the skin, and giving it back luster and brightness. Exfoliation also evens out the color of your skin, and helps prevent and treat acne by unclogging pores. It is a noninvasive way to diminish the appearance of fine lines, while helping to restore a smoother texture, and making your skin healthier. Besides fresher, brighter looking skin, exfoliation allows better penetration of active ingredients in skin care products, and for people with excessively oily skin, a varying degree of reduction in oil secretion. Ordinarily, exfoliation is more commonly used to remove the buildup of dead cells in older skin, and in younger skin, more for excess oil and to unclog pores. The potential side effects include irritation and increased sensitivity to the sun.

In general, exfoliation can be accomplished by either using chemical or physical agents. Physical exfoliants (scrubs) remove dead cells through friction, whereas chemical exfoliants remove dead skin cells by dissolving the "glue" that binds them to other cells. Both are effective, but commonly, physical exfoliants are better for sensitive skin, and chemical for people with acne. It is important with physical exfoliators not to over scrub, but to massage and “polish” the skin. With chemical exfoliators, you usually need to build up a tolerance, as the low (acid) ph and high concentration of chemicals needed to be effective (see below) can cause skin irritation.

Jaclyn chooses to use a physical exfoliator in her routine, because she feels physical exfoliation is better for her sensitive skin, and because she is already using Retinol, which also helps exfoliate or shed dead surface skin. Moreover, with her sensitive skin, Jaclyn is worried that using both retinol and a chemical exfoliator would cause too much skin irritation. Jaclyn certainly does not want to reduce her use of retinol, as independent studies have shown that retinoids overall are much more effective at reversing the signs of aging and stimulating growth of new collagen than the hydroxy acids used in most chemical exfoliators. Nevertheless, women with very oily skin and/or acne problems could consider using a glycolic acid (chemical) product to exfoliate instead of the physical exfoliator Jaclyn prefers. In that case, they should probably use the chemical exfoliator in the morning, and reserve the retinol product for night to help limit excessive skin irritation.

The most common chemical exfoliators use alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) to breakdown surface skin cells. The major difference is that AHAs are water soluble, while BHAs are oil soluble. In general this means that BHAs can better penetrate the oil in pores, making them superior for treating acne, whereas AHAs are better for treating thickened dry skin where breakouts are not a problem. However to be effective and work properly, the hydroxyl acids must be used in adequate concentrations (AHA 8-10%, BHA 1-2%), and the pH must be acidic (pH>3.5). For many people, this makes these substances irritating, especially women with sensitive skin. If the pH of the AHA or BHA cream (or cleanser) is not acidic, or lower concentrations are used, they won’t work nearly as well to remove the dead skin. Therefore, be careful about using a chemical exfoliator that promotes the beneficial effects of glycolic acids without knowing the concentration and the pH of the product. Moreover, AHA and BHA’s must be left on the skin for a period of time so they can be absorbed into the skin, where they work over time to loosen the “glue” that binds the skin cells. This means that cleansers that contain AHA or BHA’s probably provide little benefit, as they are washed away almost immediately when you rinse your face.

In general, most women only need to exfoliate their face once or twice a week. Rarely, women with extremely sensitive skin may want to exfoliate still less (every 14 days), and even people with oily skin seldom need to exfoliate more than 3-4 times per week. After this, the dead skin has been removed, and the effects are diminished. An effective sunscreen is also mandatory if you exfoliate, as it can sensitize the skin to the sun. However, sunscreen should really always be used regardless of if you exfoliate, as sun damage is the number one cause of aging skin.

Finally, to avoid a source of frequent confusion on this topic, chemical exfoliation is not the same as a chemical peel, even though both may use the same hydroxyl acids (AHA or BHA). Deep chemical peels are aggressive treatments done infrequently and usually by professionals. Their mechanism of action is different; they are not simply intense versions of exfoliation. Compared to over the counter chemical exfoliators, deep chemical peels use a much higher concentration of glycolic or hydroxy acids. The idea behind deep chemical peels (along with laser peels) is not to strip the dead cells from the epidermis (as happens with exfoliation), but to create controlled trauma to the dermis, the deeper layer of skin responsible for structural integrity. The subsequent wound healing response and skin remodeling in the dermis then helps to lessen and/or remove some wrinkles

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic Acid: The ability to retain and hold moisture is one of the secret to youthful, healthy, vibrant skin. However, aging robs us of this innate ability to hold in moisture. As we get older our bodies produce less and less hyaluronic acid, a natural substance that helps retain moisture. The drop starts at around the age of 20, and after the age of 40 the reduction becomes readily apparent. Middle-aged adults are estimated to have less than half the Hyaluronic Acid they had in youth. The skin starts to lose its elasticity and lines and wrinkles appear.

Hyaluronic acid is virtually unmatched in hydrating the skin because of its ability to retain water more effectively than any other natural substance. Indeed it can retain over 1000 times its weight in water. This makes it a great humectants and moisturizing ingredient for skin care. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to pull moisture from the atmosphere and trap it on the surface of the skin, and it has been shown to penetrate the outer layer of the skin and actually enter the epidermis (top layer of the skin). Moreover, because it helps trap water, it hydrates without making the skin feel greasy. Hyaluronic acid provides increased smoothness, softening, elasticity, and decreased facial wrinkles by plumping the skin. It retains facial skin hydration and lubrication, provides nutrients and removes waste from the cells that do not have a direct blood supply, such as dead or wrinkled skin. This is why hyaluronic acid is an important element in every one of Jaclyn’s creams.

Polypeptides (or peptides):

A polypeptide is a small protein made up multiple linked amino acids (building blocks of proteins). Depending on the chemical structure of the peptide, they can help build collagen (fibrous tissue that supports the skin) lost to aging, retain moisture, reduce wrinkles, and a host of other effects. So peptides can be very potent anti-aging ingredients. Jaclyn’s crèmes incorporate two powerful clinically proven polypeptides, Syn®-Coll and Haloxyl™.


(Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Glycerine), is a relatively new small peptide developed in Switzerland that mimics the human body’s own mechanism to produce collagen (substance that helps support the skin), which is needed to promote youthful looking skin. In other words, it helps the skin rebuild the collagen lost to aging, as a loss of collagen can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. In vitro (in cells) testing showed Syn®-Coll increased collagen synthesis in human fibroblasts (cells that make collagen) by 119% and in vivo (in people) clinical testing showed this led to a 350% reduction in the appearance of wrinkles after only 3 months! (Joe and Jeff: We can put the pictures or links to the pictures of the wrinkle reduction in the test subjects here if you think it is advisable. I sort of like the idea) Therefore, when used daily, Syn®-Coll is very effective at helping rebuild new collagen and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Haloxyl™ is a peptide that has been shown to be clinically effective in reducing dark under eye circles, which can add to the appearance of aging. Dark under eye circles are not caused by lack of sleep but by fragile vessels under the eyes that leak hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying chemical) from red blood cells. The hemoglobin then breaks down, resulting in the purplish (or dark) under eye circles. Haloxyl™ was created to target the root cause of dark circles by doing three things: eliminate the by-products of the hemoglobin, increase the skin's density to better support the microvascular (blood vessel) network around the eyes, and alleviate inflammation which can lead to vessel fragility. In one study of volunteers, daily Haloxyl™ use for 2 months led to a 40-60% reduction in dark circles in most women

Retinol (Vitamin A): Retinol and retinyl palmitate (a.k.a. retinol palmitate) are among the most widely used active ingredients in skin care, but they are often misunderstood, and are not equivalent in producing beneficial effects on the skin. It is important to understand the basic differences between retinol, retinyl palmitate, and retinoic acid (Retin-A), so you don’t get misled when evaluating different crèmes.

Retinol is the whole vitamin A molecule, and is therefore just a fancy name for Vitamin A, whereas retinyl palmitate is an ester (chemical form) of retinol combined with another chemical called palmitic acid. Retinol (Vitamin A) can be broken down or converted into smaller components, one of which is the active substance retinoic acid (Retin-A), and it belongs to the family of chemical compounds known as retinoids; which many consider the “gold standard” of anti-aging products. According to an article by the beauty editors of Allure magazine, “We’ve looked at more close-up before and after pictures than we ever thought possible, and the one family of ingredients that reduces wrinkles and firms skin is retinoids”. One of their editors goes on to state that they have tried just about every new anti-aging product, but the creams that earn a permanent place in their medicine cabinets all have one thing in common, retinoids.

Retinol (retinoids)

Retinol (retinoids) helps bring the skin back to a normal pH, and has the ability to penetrate the skin and increase elasticity. It makes the skin look smoother, reduces pore size, and improves wrinkles. Retinol aids in the resurfacing and rejuvenating of skin, helping to impart a clearer, more vibrant complexion for all ages and skin types. It removes the top layer of dead skin, while also generating collagen (the skin’s structural fiber) in the skin. As we get older, collagen breaks down, creating lines and large pores. Retinol penetrates deep into the skin, where it becomes fully operative as the enzymes in the skin convert it to retinoic acid. Wrinkles and lines are gradually smoothed, moisture and elasticity increase, pore size is decreased, the complexion glows and damage is diminished.

Now it is important to understand that only retinoic acid (a small component of retinol) is active, and has a direct effect on the skin. Unfortunately, pure retinoic acid (Retin A) requires a prescription, is relatively expensive, and often causes skin irritation, which limits its use. Fortunately, our skin cells have enzymes (chemicals) which can easily convert retinol and to a lesser extent retinyl palmitate to retinoic acid. As a result, retinol and retinyl palmitate can deliver the same well established skin benefits of retinoic acid, while in theory, producing fewer side effects. In fact, studies conducted by Drs. Kang and Voorhees at the University of Michigan indicated that retinol mimicked the activity of retinoic acid without the irritation often seen with pure retinoic acid. However, retinol and retinyl palmitate are not equivalent, as the conversion to retinoic acid (the active substance) is much easier (shorter) for retinol compare to retinyl palmitate (see below):

Retinyl Palmitate <= = > Retinol <= = > Retinoic acid

Therefore, compared to retinol, much more retinyl palmitate is needed to produce the same amount of retinoic acid. So in general, if you are looking to maximize the benefits of retinoids, you should most likely use a cream that contains retinol, not retinyl palmitate. Furthermore, to be effective, a cream should probably contain at least 0.2% retinol, whereas for retinyl palmitate, the amount would need to be significantly higher, because of the reduced conversion rate. Lower concentrations of retinol and retinyl palmitate may still improve the skin’s appearance, but it will take longer. Therefore, when purchasing a creme promoting the effect of retinol, it is important to know the concentration, as well as the type of retinol used. Be careful if the concentration is not listed, as it is probably low, especially if it is near the end of the listed ingredients.

Liposomal Retinol:

Liposomal Retinol: Jaclyn uses both pure and liposome encapsulated retinol (vitamin A), since liposomal encapsulation has been shown to exhibit greater stability and diminished toxicity compared to retinol alone. In theory, this allows the use of higher concentrations of Retinol to maximize its beneficial actions, while limiting the irritation that can accompany these higher doses. Liposomal micro-encapsulation is also thought to enhance delivery of the Retinol to deeper layers of the skin, increasing its effectiveness. Furthermore, the greater stability allows the Retinol to remain potent for long periods of time, thereby helping to prevent any reduction in the creams effectiveness once exposed to air.

Retinol Precautions:

Retinol can cause mild skin inflammation (redness) and/or flaking until the skin becomes accustomed and builds up a tolerance. This is especially true for people with sensitive skin, who should consider initially using a retinol cream only every other night until they build up a tolerance, and determine the effect on their skin. The appearance of mild redness is usually not serious, and just represents the effect of the retinoic acid working to repair the skin. However, if inflammation (redness) develops, it is important to either significantly reduce the quantity of retinol cream applied, or temporarily discontinue its use (and use a more gentle night cream) until the redness is gone. You can then resume using retinol, but alternate it with a more gentle cream (without retinol), and slowly build to using it more often.

It is also important to use an effective sunscreen when using a retinol cream, as retinol increases the skin’s sensitivity to sun exposure. Of course, using an effective sunscreen every day should be mandatory if you seriously want to avoid aging your skin further, as the sun’s rays are the main culprit in skin aging.

Sunscreen and Sun Damage- The Basics:

The best products in the world will do little to help you look younger if you continue to damage your skin in the sun. Besides causing all the signs of aging, including wrinkles, dryness, and pigmentation, sun damage also leads to skin cancers. The first and foremost best defense against wrinkles and age spots is the daily use of an effective, well formulated sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher, enriched with several antioxidants. This is why an effective sunscreen with a combination of antioxidants is an essential part of Jaclyn’s Day moisturizer.

The only way to find a sunscreen that is going to maximally protect your skin is to understand the basics of how the sun causes damage, and the differences in sun blocking agents. In spite of what you may think, price really has nothing to do with how well a product protects your skin.

UV (UVA/UVB) rays:

Sun damage is caused by UV (ultra-violet) radiation, which has both a UVA and UVB (spectrum) component. The UV radiation that reaches the earth is comprised of approximately 5% UVB and 95% UVA rays. UVB rays penetrate only into the uppermost skin layer (epidermis), causing damage as sunburn (redness) or age spots. UVB rays are blocked by glass or clouds, and are less potent in the winter. Most sunscreens are very effective in the UVB range, and SPF is a measurement of the blocking ability only of the UVB rays. It is extremely important to remember that SPF says nothing about UVA protection, and UVA rays make up most (95%) of the damaging sun’s rays.


SPF or sun protection factor measures the length of time a product protects against skin reddening from UVB rays, compared to how long the skin takes to redden without protection. For example, if it takes 40 minutes without protection to begin reddening, using an SPF 15 sunscreen would theoretically allow a person to stay in the sun 15 times longer (or about 10 hours) before reddening. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends SPF's of at least 15, which block 93 percent of the UVB rays. Although many people may choose products with a higher SPF, the amount of additional protection is small, as an SPF of 30 blocks only 4 percent more (97% compared to 93% for SPF 15) UVB rays. Most importantly, remember, SPF says nothing about UVA protection.

UVA rays

UVA rays (as already mentioned) make up 95% of the suns UV rays, and have both a short and long wave component. UVA rays (especially UVA long) penetrate deeper into the skin, and are more cytotoxic (causing cell damage) compared to UVB. They are the more dangerous, aging rays. Unlike UVB rays, UVA long rays can penetrate glass and clouds, and are less affected by the season. UVA rays are more difficult to block, and SPF tells you nothing about the ability of the sunscreen to block UVA rays. Indeed, at present there is no FDA approved commercial reporting of UVA protection like SPF for UVB, despite that UVA rays make up for 95% of the suns UV radiation. Furthermore, sunscreen claims can be very misleading by stating they offer “broad UVA/UVB protection”. However, this does not mean they block both UVA long and short rays, only that they block some UVA rays, and unfortunately many only effectively block the short part of the UVA spectrum .

Currently the two best sun blocking agents for long UVA rays are Avobenzone and Zinc Oxide (Zinc oxide is the only substance that blocks the entire UVA and UVB spectrum), and one of these should probably be in your sunscreen. Other common UVA blockers include Titanium Dioxide, Mexoryl™, and oxybenzone (benzophenone-3). Mexoryl™ and oxybenzone provide good protection against UVA short rays, but miss a large portion of UVA long rays. Titanium Dioxide completely blocks both UVB and UVA short rays, as well as a portion of the UVA long spectrum. However, for complete protection against all the UVA long rays, titanium dioxide should probably still be combined with either Zinc Oxide or Avobenzone. This is why Jaclyn’s Day Moisturizer combines Zinc oxide and Titanium Dioxide with 3 other active agents to provide complete UVA and UVB protection.

Antioxidants are another critical element in protecting the skin from sun damage, and it is important that they also be part of any sunscreen. Abundant scientific research now shows how antioxidants, especially Vitamins C & E and coenzyme Q10, not only boost a sunscreen’s efficacy, but also play a role in mitigating sun damage by reducing free radicals and skin inflammation that sun exposure generates. In fact the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 has recently been shown clinically to reduce the appearance of wrinkles from solar (sun) ultraviolet radiation. Vitamin C has been found to provide marked improvement in aged or sun damaged skin, and is the only antioxidant that actually helps treats wrinkles after they appear. It further helps regenerate oxidized Vitamin E (vitamin E exposed to a free radical), to aid in protecting against (photo-aging) sun damage from UVA and UVB rays. Jaclyn incorporates this powerful combination of natural antioxidants into her day cream to help enhance its anti-aging effects, and scavenge oxygen free radicals produced by ultraviolet radiation.

One last point, it is important to apply a sufficient quantity of the sunscreen to be effective. Otherwise, the SPF factor (and UVA protection) goes down appreciably. This is why “SPF makeup” is unlikely to provide much protection, as the amount applied to the skin is usually inadequate. So if you want optimal protection, apply sunscreens liberally; the jar or tube is not meant to last 6 months.

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Liposomal Retinol   |    Polypeptides (or peptides)   |  Syn®-Coll   |   Haloxyl™   |  Retinol Precautions   |   Sunscreen And Sun Damage: The Basics   |  UV rays - UVA/UVB Rays   |   SPF
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