Strength Matters: Why You Need to Know More About Ingredients in Your Skincare Products

How much do you know about the strength and quantity of the ingredients in your skincare products?

Sure, you may read articles that tell you what ingredients to look for, but what about how much of that ingredient is in the product? Or what other ingredients are in that product that may counteract it?

A study reported from Italy titled “A Prospective Study of Anti-Aging topical therapies using a Quantitative Method of Assessment” concluded that the value of “unbuffered” (aka: low pH) Glycolic Acid has been verified and scientifically substantiated to be more beneficial compared to: Vitamins A, C, E, Coenzyme Q10, Lipoic acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Kinerase and Pyruvic Acid.


Because the antioxidant Glycolic Acid, in its proper strength, has the smallest molecular size, enabling it to penetrate the skin the deepest, rendering it the most effective!

Another study performed on burn patients proved that Glycolic Acid decreased the healing time by 50%. Once again, proving that the antioxidant Glycolic Acid not only protects against free-radical damage, but stimulates new cellular growth faster than any other skin care ingredient.

Be mindful however that the FDA study indicated that all ingredients are not equal. The strength of these products vary dramatically by not only percent but even more importantly by pH.

More is not always better. Here at Academy by Candy, we are always open and honest about the strength of our Glycolic Acid. We use 10% unbuffered Glycolic Acid with a pH of 1.5 in our products. This is why our customers get the best results. (In-office Glycolic Peels are 70% unbuffered Glycolic Acid with 0.5 pH.)

What is the Real Cause of Under Eye Circles?

The causes of under eye circles can be as diversified as the cure. The remedy should not and cannot be determined nor corrected without knowing the actual cause. The most important part of this discussion is the diagnosis. 

Cause #1 Weakened Lower Lid Muscle

By far, the most common cause of our dark circles are caused by fat pads protruding through a weakened lower lid muscle. This creates a puffiness or “bags” under the eyes, which in turn can also cause a shadowing making you look tired, unwell, and much older.

To date, there are NO cream remedies. A surgical procedure called a lower lid blepharoplasty will remove excess fat and skin as well as tighten the muscle. The procedure can be performed by either making an inconspicuous incision along the lash line or by making an incision inside the lower eyelid. The results will yield a healthier, younger look.  

Cause #2 Hyperpigmentation

Some causes behind the formation of dark circles are hyperpigmentation of the lower lid skin, which can be caused by many different things such as heredity, aging, stress, lack of sleep, and illness. If the skin is actually hyperpigmented, I recommend my patients use a very light amount of a skin lightening crème. Crème products that contain licorice extract are usually the most effective when combined with a transporting agent such as glycolic acid. Our Hydro Light Plus-10 contains the four most effective ingredients today with the power of glycolic acid. The 10% unbuffered glycolic acid enables licorice extract, salicylic acid, resorcinol, and lactic acid to do their jobs. Without a transporter, the ingredients are lost.

The delicate lower lid skin should always be treated gently using the crème sparingly. Because each individual responds differently to the treatment, the user should be in complete control of how much and how often the crème should be used. The range can be from twice a day to just 3 times a week. Always use just a pea-sized amount.

What is Collagen? And is putting it on your face working?

What is Collagen? Why are there so many skin care products formulated with Collagen?

Let’s take a look at what Collagen really is and why it plays such an important role in keeping our skin looking youthful.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein part of the connective tissue that helps the skin maintain firmness, suppleness, and elasticity.

As we age, the outer layer (or keratin layer) of the epidermis becomes thick, clumpy, irregular, flaky, and dull looking. Conversely, the live (or dermal layer) becomes thin, losing its Collagen and elasticity. When skin loses Collagen, it wrinkles. When skin loses elasticity, it sags.

Can you apply Collagen to your face for results?

With these proven facts, it seems logical to assume that actually applying Collagen to our skin would help reverse some of this aging process, right?

Guess what? It doesn’t! Yet, many cosmetic companies continue to imply that their Collagen-filled skin care products can achieve this anti-aging miracle.

Real Talk

So what’s the real truth? The truth is that by the time we are 30, we will have lost about 30% of our skin’s collagen and elastin, creating wrinkling and sagging. (And as we age, that percentage obviously goes up.)

What can we do to boost Collagen? (AKA look younger!)

Reversing this damage can be achieved by stimulating, or smacking, new Collagen and elastin cells into regenerating.

Products must contain ingredients which are molecularly small enough to penetrate deep into the skin where these collagen cells live. (Those skincare products on the market today contain large molecules of Collagen that are impossible to penetrate your skin.) In addition, these ingredients must be formulated strong enough to smack and reawaken these very important cells.

Glycolic Acid, if formulated correctly and used consistently, is the most effective way to prevent, slow down, and even reverse the aging process of the skin. The key phrase here though is “formulated correctly.”

Always ask questions and study the ingredients of your skincare products. You’re likely wasting your money on products that don’t work.

Is Pollution Damaging Your Skin?

Researchers in Germany, Switzerland, and the USA recently published results on the impact of air pollution on aging in a group of 400 women. The aging of the women’s skin was assessed by a well-established skin aging score called SCINEXA (score of intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging), which showed clearly that exposure to environmental pollution is linked to skin aging and hyperpigmentation (age spots).

First, the small carbon particles in air pollution enter the body and stimulate our cells’ production of the pigment melanin. Several ingredients in skin care products have proven to block tyrosinase (the precursor to melanin). The most effective being Licorice Extract when it is combined with low pH glycolic acid. This combination provides a deep penetration which prevents tyrosinase from stimulating the melanin.

Second, and even more important, these polluted particles penetrate into the deep layers of the epidermis and even into the dermal layer of the skin causing inflammation. This increases the rate of collagen destruction, creating aging skin, loss of elasticity, and wrinkles. Remember, by the time we are 30, we will have lost approximately 30% of our collagen cells. So, whether we have skin damage due to the sun, pollution or simply real time aging our goal is to reverse this loss of collagen and slow up it’s destruction. To date the most effective way to stimulate new collagen cells and slow the aging process of the skin is to consistently use a low pH glycolic acid cream at least twice daily.

Third, since pollution actually leaves residue on the surface of the skin and even deeper into clogged pores, cleansing properly is critical. A good fragrance-free cleanser should remove all makeup and debris thoroughly, followed by a gentle buffing of the skin with a cool wet buff puff or sponge to assist in exfoliation.

Fourth, protect the skin from further damage by using a good sunscreen moisturizer daily as well as remembering to reapply when exposed to the sun.

These simple steps, if followed 2 to 3 times a day, will guarantee beautiful, glowing, and youthful looking skin.

Self-Love and Skincare (Ali’s Journey Part 3)

Ali finally showed up on April 17th (approximately a month after her second appointment). I was concerned we would never see her again.

Guess what though? She was nicely dressed and was even wearing some light makeup. Ali had been using the Academy Cleanser along with our Derma Buff and it was obvious that the little extra time she was spending on herself was making a difference, not only to her appearance but to her self-esteem.

So we’ve added Academy’s Hydro Light Plus-10 to her skincare regime.

She will cleanse, rinse, exfoliate, and pat dry before applying small amounts of Hydrolight to her entire face and neck.

Watch this video on how to use Hydro Light Plus-10:  Even stronger now Use Hydro Light Plus 15!!

Because Ali is using the Hydro Light Plus-10, the dull, dead skin on her face will shed. Her pores will become much cleaner and appear smaller. Her uneven, very discolored skin tones will become more vibrant and she will begin to look healthier.

What I love most is the smile on her face. She is no longer so distant, but much warmer.

Ali should return in about 3 weeks. Remember, we are not just selling products. Little by little this lady is going to like herself and when she does, she will become strong enough to deal with, as she stated, the “awful” parts of her life.

Catch up on Ali’s journey of self-love and skincare:

Ali’s Journey Part 1

Ali’s Journey Part 2