Category Archives for Beauty Products & Supplies

Hands on with iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+ (Before & After Pictures)

I decided to take the Super Serum Advance + product for a 14-day trial…

Here are my results! (Skip down to see my before/after picture).

If you want the short version here it is:

I actually loved using the super serum advance + and I plan to continue using it even though my skin doesn’t show too many changes over the 14-day period

I have a feeling that it will continue to improve and I don’t think the pictures do it justice!

I’ve noticed that my skin is brighter and I’m breaking out less than before which is great. 

My Experience with iS Clinical Super Serum Advance +

I’m a big fan of iS Clinical products including both the active serum and the super serum advance +

I use the active serum on a regular basis but not the super serum. 

Which is why I wanted to create this post. 

Ever since I had my boy, I’ve been dealing with hormonal acne and lots of comedones which have been such a bear to get over!

I’ve been doing lots of skin related therapies including microneedling, peels, and even enzymes. 

These therapies have been working a little bit, but not quite to the degree that I wanted them to which is why I started the super serum. 

This is my experience using this product!

If you want the short version here it is:

Before & After Pictures (14 days)

So, did it work for me?

I think a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is my before/after picture: 

katrina super serum advance before and after

It may be hard to appreciate but you can see an improvement over the 14-day period for sure. 

I personally noticed a significant reduction in comedones under my skin (not quite pimples but just congestion of oils/debris)

I also noticed a change to my skin as well (it’s hard to appreciate the lighting in this photo). 

One of the only downsides is that I noticed it does burn if you have any open wounds! So be careful when you apply. 

During this time I also got an enzyme peel (blueberry) which certainly helped as well. 

What is Super Serum Advance + Designed to Treat?

Ok, so now that you have seen my experience we can talk more about this product. 

So what exactly is the Super Serum Advance + product by iS Clinical?

I think it’s best to consider this a product designed to nourish the skin with high doses of Vitamin C and copper tri-peptide growth factors. 

These ingredients are particularly useful if you have any of the following conditions: 

  • Hyperpigmentation (Melasma)
  • Aged skin
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Scarring
  • Acne
  • Stretch marks
  • Uneven skin tone

The reason I chose this product to try out on my skin is that it contains a combination of more than just Vitamin C. 

If you aren’t familiar, Vitamin C serum is absolutely great for your skin and may be one of my most favorite skin products. 

Vitamin C serum (assuming it’s high enough concentration) dramatically improves the skin by reducing pigmentation, reducing wrinkles, and by providing nutrients and moisture directly to the surface of your skin. 

It’s hands down one of the most important products for any skincare routine. 

The only downside to using Vitamin C serum is that it can be expensive and it doesn’t always contain any extra or added ingredients. 

My favorite brand (Obagi C serum) only contains Vitamin C by itself, and while it’s great, I really wanted to try out the copper peptides to see if they would make a difference on my skin. 

Super serum contains an almost equivalent dose of Vitamin C (your skin can’t use more than 20% concentration) at 15% but also contains copper peptides, hyaluronic acid, and mushroom extract

I felt that the addition of these 3 ingredients probably outweighs the downside to dropping only 5% potency in the Vitamin C. 

Ingredient List

Super Serum is definitely loaded with ingredients all designed to help improve your skin. 

While it will most likely work for any skin type, I do think the ingredients below are particularly useful if you have hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and/or aged/damaged skin. 

My personal opinion is that this product is probably better for older skin (40+) but it can still definitely be used if you are younger (like in your 20’s to 30’s). 

In fact, using a product such as this, when you are younger, will definitely help your skin to age gracefully. 

The active ingredients in super serum do the majority of the heavy-lifting, while the inactive ingredients simply act to carry and stabilize the active ingredients. 

Active ingredients (These are the ingredients that make the product work): 

  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) 15% concentration – Designed to lighten, brighten, and firm up the skin as it increased collagen and elastin precursors in your skin. 
  • Copper tri-peptide growth factors – Helps regrow damaged skin and protects your skin against damage. 
  • Hyaluronic acid – Helps bring moisture to the skin helping to keep your skin plump and round. 
  • ArbutinNatural lightening agent which treats hyperpigmentation.
  • Mushroom extract – Another natural lightener to help even out skin tone. 

Inactive ingredients (These ingredients help stabilize the active ingredients):

  • Water
  • Pentylene Glycol
  • Urea
  • Glucose
  • Guanidine
  • Calcium Pantothenate
  • Asiaticoside
  • Asiatic Acid
  • Madecassic Acid
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Glycerin
  • Phenoxyethanol

How I used it

Because super serum is really a Vitamin C serum with more advanced ingredients, I used it predominately at night. 

The logic here is that Vitamin C is particularly sensitive to light and the light can damage and reduce the effectiveness of the Vitamin C as it’s on your skin. 

If you apply it at night, right before you go to bed, then you will minimize the sunlight that hits your face which may increase the potency of the product. 

In addition, I tend to wash my face and tone it at night right before bed so it just seemed like the perfect time to use it!

You can probably get away with using it in the morning if that works better for your schedule (many people do this), I just seem to think it works better at night.

*Note: this is how I approach using any product with Vitamin C in it

The only thing you really need to do is to make sure that your face is cleansed and toned prior to applying it. 

Any sort of gentle cleanser will work (including the gentle cleanser by iS Clinical if you like that one). 

The only downside to using it at night is that there is a theoretical risk that you might be losing some of the product to your pillow as you sleep and roll around!

I don’t think this to be a big deal with me as long as you let it dry before you go to sleep but it’s certainly worth considering, especially if you are an active sleeper. 

My Thoughts & Will I Continue?

The answer is definitely yes. 

I plan to continue using Super Serum advance + for another 6 weeks (to round out 8 weeks total) and I will update this blog post with another picture to compare my initial photo to my 8 weeks after photo. 

I have a feeling that I will continue to experience even better results as I use it, especially since many skin changes take at least 4 weeks to kick in. 

I was just really excited and wanted to write down my thoughts as soon as possible. 

With that in mind, here is what I’m going to do over the next 6 weeks or so. 

My future skin care routine: 

  • Continue with Super Serum Advance + each night
  • 1 Enzyme peel each week x 6 weeks
  • Increase the amount of water I drink each day (I’m really bad at this but I know my skin needs it!)
  • Cut back on my sugar intake (Sugar really interferes with my hormones and I know that my acne is predominately caused by hormone issues)
  • Continue with my cleanser/toner each day

Where can you get Super Serum Advance +?

You have a couple of options if you are interested in trying out this product. 

The first place is on Amazon. 

super serum advance on amazon

You can get the real deal at this link here (link to Amazon). 

If you want to use a different route you can also get it through an authorized retailer of iS Clinical facial products. 

This will usually be available at a cosmetic dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or med spa closest to you. 

I would definitely recommend that you call before you head in, though, just to be sure that they carry it. 

While I am very happy with my progress and I definitely love it so far, but I’m not sure if I will continue it daily after the next 60 days or so. 

The reason has to do with the fact that I want to limit the number of products I put on my skin and I want to give the Active serum a shot to see if that works better for my skin. 

I have to keep experimenting to share what I find with you guys! 


Super Serum Advance + is a great product and one that I will continue to use. 

My main reason for using it?

Hormonal acne, oily skin, and congestion. 

I am very happy with my 14-day progress and plan to continue using it each and every day for another 60 days (I will post another picture at that time). 

I would definitely recommend this product especially to those women who are suffering from hyperpigmentation, aged skin, and acne!

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you ever used super serum advance +?

If so, what was your experience?

Did you like it? Why or why not?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Benefits & When to Use It

Ever wonder why so many skin care products contain pumpkin in them?

The answer has to do with the special enzymes and acids that pumpkin contains. 

These enzymes help refine your skin, exfoliate the skin, and chew through dead skin cells. 

This article will teach you why pumpkin is so beneficial for your skin, how to use, how to make your own home-made mask, and how to purchase a high-quality product over the counter.

Let’s jump in: 

What is Pumpkin Enzyme?

You’re probably familiar with pumpkin but what you may not realize is that some of the acids that pumpkins contain can actually be very beneficial to your skin. 

And this is important for more than just its effects on your skin!

Pumpkins, otherwise known as Cucurbita pepo, are a rich source of naturally occurring chemicals which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, improve wound healing, act as anti-oxidants, and even fight off certain infections. 

These benefits come from the bioactive components inside of pumpkins, especially the seeds

And this is not some sort of trend or fad either, pumpkins have been known to have these benefits for many many years. 

pumpkins contain ingredients which can improve your skin

So how can you use pumpkin to help benefit your skin?

The best and easiest way is to apply a mask or to use the enzyme in pumpkins as a peel. 

But what exactly is an enzyme?

Enzymes are special proteins found in certain plants (you have tons inside of your body) that perform very important tasks. 

Most notably, and relevant to this article, is how they influence your skin. 

When you place an enzyme on your skin it acts to digest dead skin cells on the surface of your skin or epidermis. 

Doesn’t this sound great?

By reducing the number of dead skin cells you can leave your face feeling refreshed and sharp as you remove the dullness provided by dead skin cells. 

In addition, enzymes also help to open up pores and allow for easier extraction of solidified sebum (blackheads) and in this way they also act as an exfoliant. 

All enzymes work in this way, but certain fruit and plant enzymes are better for some conditions and worse for others. 

And that’s why we are going to talk about pumpkin enzymes today!

Pumpkin enzymes are ideal for all types of skin (compared to other enzymes such as papaya which is better for sensitive skin). 

We’ll talk more about who should use pumpkin enzymes in a minute, but for now, let’s talk about peels and masks. 

Using Pumpkin as a Mask & Peel

So, what exactly is a pumpkin enzyme mask?

An enzyme mask (whether it’s used with pumpkin or some other enzyme) is the act of placing a highly potent enzyme directly on the face and allowing it to set in and get to action. 

You can think of pumpkin enzymes as acids that are essentially dissolving the dead skin cells on your face. 

The longer they sit on your skin and face the more dissolving they will do. 

You can also adjust the relative potency of these enzymes based on the percentage of acid that the product you are using contains. 

The higher the percentage the more acid and the stronger your mask will be. 

You have two basic options when it comes to enzyme masks:

  • Use a highly potent acid and leave them on for a short period of time (better for immediate results but may require a visit to an aesthetician just to be safe)
  • Use a lower potency acid and leave them on for a longer period of time (ideal if you are planning to use pumpkin enzymes at home!)

The stronger the acid the smaller amount of time you want to leave it on your face because too much of a good thing can be a bad thing! 

Chemical peels basically follow the same concept. 

Who should Use a Pumpkin Enzyme Mask?

Should everyone jump on the pumpkin enzyme bandwagon?

Not necessarily. 

Pumpkin enzyme is ideal for those with the following types of skin: 

  • Those with normal skin
  • Those with combination skin
  • Those with resilient skin (it is powerful and may cause peeling)
  • People suffering from acne
  • Those with sensitive skin

You can make pumpkin work for you pretty much regardless of what skin type you have based on other ingredients you choose to combine it with…

Combining Pumpkin Enzyme with Other Ingredients

I find that you can get even better results when you combine pumpkin with other fruit enzymes or acids. 

The combination of natural fruit enzymes with stronger acids can get you better results in a shorter period of time. 

I find that orange pairs very well with pumpkin and the two can be added together. 

Orange naturally contains a high amount of Vitamin C as well as naringenin which is a powerful anti-oxidant. 

We already know that pumpkin contains bioflavonoids and anti-oxidants as well as acids which act on the skin. 

By combining these two fruits together you get even better results. 

The pumpkin enzyme that I use is only available for professional use but I found an over the counter version that has great ingredients as well. 

This pumpkin mask contains pumpkin but also contains Vitamin C and retinol, both of which can help treat acne, refine the skin, reduce pore size, and help with exfoliation. 

If you want to try a pumpkin mask (pre-made) then this may be the best option (link to Amazon). 

pumpkin enzyme mask

The application of this mask will be different when compared to the home-made mask (discussed below) because it also contains other ingredients. 

So just be sure to follow the instructions because the potency of the enzyme will determine how long you need to place it on your skin. 

If you prefer a more natural/organic-based product then the pumpkin mask from Eminence may be a better option for you

organic pumpkin enzyme mask

This combination pumpkin mask contains both pumpkin and yams and is ideal for all skin types. 

In addition, it also contains more natural ingredients such as food-based oils, pineapple enzyme, papaya enzyme, white willow bark extract, lavender oil, and other essential oils. 

This combination would be ideal for those with more sensitive skin types who want an organic product. 

Home-Made Pumpkin Mask

If you are seriously health conscious and you want to avoid placing any sort of chemicals on your skin then I have the solution for you. 

Instead of purchasing a pumpkin enzyme and placing the mask on your skin yourself, you can also create your own home-made pumpkin mask. 

The only thing worth considering if you opt for this route is the fact that your mask may not be as potent. 

Which means you may need to use this mask 2-3 times per week (for several weeks in a row) to get your ideal results. 

That’s perfectly fine, I just you to be aware!

You can compare this to more potent pumpkin masks which can give you results after just 1 or 2 sessions. 

If you want to make your own pumpkin enzyme mask then here are the directions:

  • 1 tablespoon of cooked pumpkin flesh (you can also use pumpkin out of a can as long as it is cooked). You can purchase a pumpkin, take the seeds out and then bake/boil cubed pumpkin flesh until it is tender (like cooking a squash). Add the cooked pumpkin flesh into a blender or a bowl. 
  • Add raw honey (1 teaspoon should do) to the mixture.
  • Add some Vitamin E oil (if you have it) to the mixture.
  • Mash with a fork or blend ingredients until you have created a paste (you may have to add more pumpkin depending on how much oil you have). 
  • Once it is a paste then apply it all over your face and neck. 
  • Leave the mixture on your face for 15 minutes then wash off, be sure to tone afterward to balance your acid mantle. 
  • Repeat 2-3 times per week (don’t leave it on for more than 15 minutes) and observe how you do over the next 3-4 weeks!
  • The mixture will be quite orange but it won’t dye your skin so don’t worry about that. 
  • Note: 1 medium pumpkin should provide you with several months worth of face masks.  

You can use this for all skin types but you can further adjust your regimen based on your own personal needs!

For instance…

If you have mature or damaged skin then a lemon zest enzyme may be ideal. If you have sensitive skin then a papaya enzyme may be ideal and so on. I plan to create a fruit enzyme guide in the future so be on the lookout for that! 


Pumpkin enzyme masks can definitely stand to benefit the skin of many women (and men!).

Most of the benefit probably stems from the fact that pumpkin has natural anti-oxidants and because it helps to naturally exfoliate the skin without damaging it. 

It can be used on all types of skin and you’ll probably find it in many skin care products (you can’t miss it because of the smell). 

I am a personal fan of pumpkin enzymes and peels and it’s one of the masks I use on my own face (I have combination dry/sensitive skin which is slightly prone to acne). 

You can use pumpkin enzymes either by purchasing a high-quality enzyme which is pre-made or by simply making your own home-made mask. 

You’ll probably get faster results by using a pre-made mixture but if you like the all-natural approach then you may prefer the home-made version. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you used a pumpkin enzyme mask before?

Did it work for you? 

Why or why not?

Leave your comments or questions below! 

Papaya Enzymes: Benefits for your Skin & Digestive System

Did you know that using papaya directly on the skin can help reduce irritation, redness, and make your skin even brighter?

It’s true! Papayas contain natural enzymes which can be used in several different places on and in your body. 

I want to talk about how I recommend using this amazing enzyme and how it can benefit both your skin and your gastrointestinal tract. 

In short:

Enzymes are great for acneic skin, for those with very sensitive skin, and for people who are looking to brighten up their skin. 

This article will help you understand all of the benefits of papaya enzymes, how you can start using them, what conditions they are good for, and more

What are Papaya Enzymes?

Papaya enzymes are the enzymes found inside of the papaya fruit. 

These enzymes have some very interesting benefits, especially when used in the right way. 

Natural papaya enzymes can help improve your skin and even treat digestive tract disorders. 

But what exactly are enzymes?

papayas contain natural enzymes

Enzymes are proteins that are required in every single cell in your body. 

These enzymes break down cellular products, refresh cellular contents, and help your body absorb nutrients. 

And they do different things based on where they are found. 

Enzymes in your stomach and gut help you break down the food that you consume so that you can properly absorb nutrients

This is important because not everyone can break down their food as easily as others!

Those people who have indigestion or heartburn may be able to find relief by taking extra papaya enzymes. 

But what about on your skin?

Enzymes help break down proteins when they are directly placed on your skin. 

And, because papaya is a fruit, it also contains powerful anti-oxidants that can be absorbed. 

The net effect is that these enzymes help break down dead skin cells, help refresh your skin, directly provide nutrients to the skin, and help hydrate your skin in the process. 

Let’s talk about the different ways you can use these enzymes and how they can seriously impact your skin and body! 

The Different Ways to Use Papaya

There are two basic ways that you can get papaya into your body to impact both your cells and your digestive tract. 

The fruit is to consume the papaya directly and the other is to place it topically on your skin. 

Before we get into the specifics, it’s important for you to understand that depending on how you use it will determine how effective it is for your body. 

If you want to use the papaya enzymes to help impact your skin then you must place it topically (directly on your skin)!

While eating healthy is obviously great for your skin, it’s simply not going to cut it by eating papaya fruit. 

The reason?

Before the papaya enzymes actually make it to your skin they are going to be broken down in your gastrointestinal tract and used to absorb nutrients before they are absorbed and transferred into your body. 

By the time it gets to your skin there is very little left. 

So, just make sure you understand that if you want to use papaya for your skin then you must place it topically on your skin. 

I’m going to give you some natural therapies that you can use to get it there below (which you can skip to if you want) as well. 

If you decide to use papaya for your digestive tract then you have a couple of options. 

The first is to consume papaya the fruit directly and the other is to take supplements which contain papaya enzymes such as papain. 

Either option may work well, it just depends on your preference for natural therapies and how you like to get it into your body. 

If you don’t like the taste of papaya then you can still get the benefits of its enzymes by taking pills. 

Using Papaya For your Skin 

If you aren’t familiar with fruit enzymes allow me to fill you in…

Each fruit enzyme has a different benefit and effect on your skin

Some are more potent than others, some are better for acne than others, some are better for dry skin, and so on. 

It’s up to you to match the fruit enzyme you want to use to your skin and your personal issues!

You can do this yourself with a little bit of knowledge or you can find someone to help guide you. 

So, how does papaya enzyme fit into the equation?

Papaya enzyme happens to be great for sensitive skin, for skin that is red or irritated and for those suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rosacea. 

It’s not like papaya enzyme is the only fruit enzyme to help these conditions but it’s much more likely that you’ll have success with it if you use it for those conditions. 

Papaya enzyme can also be safely used on normal skin if your goal is to exfoliate, to slow down the production of sebum (oil), and to provide valuable natural fruit-based anti-oxidants directly to the superficial layer of your skin. 

Another benefit to using papaya enzyme on your skin is that it can calm down inflammation and reduce irritation or redness. 

This is particularly helpful if you suffer from inflammatory conditions such as acne, post-acne hyperpigmentation, rosacea, contact dermatitis and so on. 

Papaya contains powerful enzymes that help soothe down the skin by providing anti-oxidants to neutralize free radicals. 

Using Papaya Enzymes for your Digestive Tract

Papaya also has tremendous benefit as an enzyme which can impact your digestive tract in a positive way

Papaya contains a load of different enzymes but the most well-known include Papain and Caricain. 

Both enzymes serve different functions depending on how and where they are used. 

Papain is often used to tenderize meats because it helps break down protein bonds. 

Caricain, on the other hand, helps break down gluten proteins (up to 80%!) and can be used in people who have gluten sensitivities (but probably not Celiac disease). 

Enzymes also play an important role in regulating the type and amount of bacteria in your gut. 

We know, for instance, that certain skin diseases can be triggered or caused by imbalances in gut bacteria concentration. 

Using enzymes may therefore also help regulate your gut bacteria! 

If you want to use papaya to help in digestion then I recommend a supplement such as this

papaya enzyme supplement

The ideal way to use it is either right before you eat or directly after. That way it can help you break down the food that you just ate!

Please note that taking a supplement by mouth will not help your skin, though! 

Papaya Enzyme Peel

We know that you can use papaya directly on your skin, but how do you actually go about doing that?

Should you use papaya enzymes directly in facial products? Should you use a concentrated papaya enzyme blend for a prolonged period of time?

Which is best?

It turns out that probably the best way to use papaya for your skin is in the form of a peel. 

Peels are therapies which involve leaving certain products directly on the face for a set period of time. 

They are often extremely helpful because they contain concentrated amounts of enzymes or proteins which help break down dead skin cells, refine the skin, and reduce inflammation. 

Using papaya in a peel is probably the single best way to use it directly for your skin. 

You can do this in one of two ways:

  • The ‘natural’ way by crushing up papaya directly and then applying it to your face.
  • Or by purchasing a concentrated papaya enzyme peel and then placing that directly on your skin. 


Papaya is predominately helpful for those suffering from acne, redness, blotchy skin, normal skin and it’s very effective at removing dead skin cells and reducing oil production in the skin. 

Homemade Papaya Enzyme Peel

Did you know that you can actually just take fresh papaya, crush it up, and apply it to your face?

If you prefer to do things the natural way then you might find this homemade enzyme peel ideal. 

How to do it:

  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of fresh papaya (the greener the better) to a blender. You can also mash it together with a mortar and pestle. *Note: you can also add fresh pineapple and/or honey to the papaya to get an added benefit. This creates a stickier mask which can be left on for longer.
  • Apply the mixture directly to your skin (it will be mushy) and let it sit for 10-15 minutes or until dry. Remove immediately if you feel a tingling sensation or if it starts to burn. 
  • Wash your face off and apply a toner to your skin. 
  • Repeat this process up to 3 times per week. 
  • If you don’t see benefit using this method then you may want to try a cosmetic grade papaya peel (see below).

The only downside to using a homemade peel is that it may not be as effective as cosmetic grade peels. 

Cosmetic Grade Papaya Enzyme Peel

If you don’t want to try the homemade papaya enzyme peel then you always have the option of ramping up the effects by using a cosmetic grade peel. 

Cosmetic grade peels are often much more powerful than natural plant-based peels because they are more heavily concentrated with enzymes. 

Imagine this:

A cosmetic grade peel can have the power of 50+ entire papaya’s because all of the concentrated enzymes can be placed directly into the cream!

You simply can’t get this kind of concentration and power when using fruit. 

This doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to use a cosmetic grade peel, but it is important to understand the difference. 

There may be situations in which you want to get the benefits of papaya enzymes but you may not see them while using a fruit-based peel. 

papaya enzyme peel

You can get a papaya chemical peel from most estheticians. 

Cosmetic papaya peels often come combined with other fruits. 

The peel that I often recommend comes complexed with coconut or pineapple and contains no chemical ingredients! Just the pure natural fruit enzymes. 

Using peels is quite easy once you have the product. 

All you need to do is wash your face, tone your skin, and then directly place the peel on your skin. 

You then let it sit for a selected period of time. 

Sometimes this can be as short as 10 minutes and in some cases, it can be left on overnight (it just depends on the concentration of the enzymes and peel). 

What to Expect When using Papaya Enzymes

When using papaya enzymes (cosmetic grade or homemade peels) it’s important to have the right expectations. 

Using enzymes is not an immediate results kind of therapy (compare that to something like microneedling which is). 

You will most likely need to use the peel at least 2-3 times each week in order to get the benefits you are looking for. 

You should start to notice some improvement by week 3 (if using 2-3 times per week) and your results should persist after that. 

By week 3 you should start to see a brightening of the skin, your skin tone should be more even, and you should notice a reduction in oil production on the skin. 

If you are trying to treat more advanced conditions such as wrinkles or age spots, then you might have to look to more powerful therapies such as retinol, vitamin C serum or niacinamide


Papaya is a fruit which contains several important enzymes. 

These enzymes can naturally improve both your skin and your digestive tract depending on how they are used. 

My favorite way to use papaya is directly on the skin, either by crushing up natural fruit or by concentrating it into a peel. 

Using it on your skin can help reduce irritation, reduce hyperpigmentation, and may be helpful for those with irritated or red skin. 

Taking it by mouth, on the other hand, can help break down your food and reduce indigestion. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Did you know about all of these benefits of papaya?

Do you plan on giving it a try for your skin? What about your GI tract?

Have you ever used it before?

Did it work for you? Why or why not?

Leave your comments or questions below! 

Is Hydroquinone Safe to use Long-Term on your Skin? (+ Alternatives)

If you suffer from hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) then you are probably looking for any treatment to help lighten up your skin. 

If you fit into this situation then you’ve probably at least heard about hydroquinone.

But is using hydroquinone actually safe to use?

In this article, we are going to explore that very question. 

If you want the quick version then here it is:

Hydroquinone is an effective skin lightening but it comes with a lot of risks and there are better options available that don’t damage the skin

So is it safe? Sort of, it depends on how long you use it

Is it effective? Yes, but there’s also more information there as well. 

Let’s dive in to demystify the topic…

What Does Hydroquinone Do?

If you aren’t really sure what hydroquinone is allow me to fill you in. 

Hydroquinone is a topical agent that you can put on your skin and it is primarily meant to lighten your skin. 

This may sound like a godsend, especially if you have hyperpigmentation, but don’t get sold on it right away. You need to have some more information before you determine if it’s worth using. 

Hydroquinone works by reducing the number of melanin in your skin cells. 

It does this by inhibiting an enzyme known as tyrosinase which blocks the production of melanin into your cells. 

hydroquinone cream example

Melanin is the natural pigment that your skin cells produce and it is this ingredient which helps determine the color of your skin. 

When you go out and tan the sun sends signals to your body to increase the number of melanin in your skin (predominately to protect your cells) and this causes your skin to become tan. 

But that’s not why people use hydroquinone!

It’s most often used to treat hyperpigmentation disorders which result in blotchy and uneven skin tones. 

Conditions such as acne, melasma, keratosis pilaris, darkening of intimate areas, and the yellowing progress which occurs with aging are all reasons that people want to use skin lighteners. 

It’s often prescribed by Doctor’s and dermatologists who want to help patients, but usually because they don’t know about better options. 

It’s also particularly attractive if you are on a budget. 


Because prescription medications are often much cheaper than more expensive beauty products which contain natural skin lighteners (we will talk more about those later). 

Is it Safe?

But, the real question here is whether or not hydroquinone is a viable option for those suffering from hyperpigmentation. 

After all, it’s important that something works but it’s also equally important that it doesn’t do more harm than good!

And, while hydroquinone is definitely effective (make no mistake that it will lighten your skin) the side effects of using it may be less than desirable. 

First of all: 

The melanin in our skin serves as a protective barrier to prevent skin cancer!

If you suddenly suppress the ability of your cells to produce melanin, the very thing that fights off cancer, doesn’t it make sense that this might put your skin at increased risk?

The answer is not exactly clear, but we do know that it probably does increase (slightly) your risk of skin cancer with prolonged use. 

In addition, it also frequently causes irritation whenever it is placed on the skin

Because of this, Doctors frequently don’t recommend that you use it on a consistent or daily basis. 

In fact, they like you to only use it for weeks to months at a time and require that you take frequent breaks in between. 

Granted, the irritation from hydroquinone may actually be due to the fillers/binders/dyes in the cream itself and not the medication, but it’s still worth discussing. 

Part of the problem with getting your skin care products through pharmaceutical companies is that they aren’t really concerned with your skin so much as they are the main ingredient of their medication. 

They often put ingredients to help increase absorption and stabilize their medication and these ingredients are often caustic to the skin. 

Beauty product lines, on the other hand, usually take great care to try and avoid harmful chemicals inside of their products. 

Hydroquinone is also not the best option to use for skin lightening because it can potentially damage and kill off your melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin). 

You may want to slow down the production of melanin, but you definitely don’t want to unnecessarily kill off these important cells. 

Are There Better Alternatives?

Are you doomed to have pigmented skin for eternity?

The answer is definitely not!

In fact, there are many different options that are available to you that work almost (if not just as good) as hydroquinone and that carry far fewer negative side effects. 

The only downside to these products is that they are often much more expensive than other the counter or prescription hydroquinone. 

skinceuticals niacinamide serum

But, when you consider that your skin is worth the investment, it makes purchasing these ingredients a no-brainer. 

I’ve created a list of skin lighteners that work very well and which are available over the counter (without a prescription) below: 

  • Kojic Acid – Kojic acid is another natural ingredient which is formed during the fermentation process of rice. It works to lighten your skin by inhibiting tyrosinase. Kojic acid is often found in soaps, face washes, and other products which means it can be used on your entire body. If you are attempting to lighten more than just your face then kojic acid may be the best option for you. 
  • Arbutin – You can think of arbutin as a natural hydroquinone. It works by blocking the same enzyme as hydroquinone but it doesn’t come with all of the irritation that people get with hydroquinone. It’s also not as powerful which means it can be used more frequently and you don’t need to take breaks. If you want to use a product with arbutin in it then I recommend a product such as this
  • Vitamin C serum – Vitamin C is a naturally occurring vitamin which has skin lightening properties. Using Vitamin C serum (high-quality ones) can help lighten your skin naturally and improve skin texture as well. If anti-aging and taking care of your skin is your primary goal then vitamin C is probably your best bet. I personally love this vitamin C serum
  • Niacinamide – Niacinamide is vitamin B3 which can be formulated and added to beauty products. Vitamin B3 is incredibly important for your skin and it has been shown to act as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps reduce pigmentation by naturally reducing the aging process. Products which contain niacinamide are often expensive but also benefit your skin in other ways. I recommend looking into products such as this one

Big Reasons to Avoid using Hydroquinone

Let’s put all of this information together…

While hydroquinone is definitely an effective tool for helping to lighten your skin, there are safer alternatives which work just as good. 

I deal with skin on a daily basis and I can tell you that I frequently recommend against using hydroquinone and here’s why: 

  • It’s only meant to be used temporarily – 
  • It may cause reactive hyperpigmentation when you stop using it
  • It may cause irritation and damage to your skin
  • There are more gentle skin lighteners available

Is It Safe for Children? 

We don’t have much information about using hydroquinone for children, but there have been some case reports of kids who consume hydroquinone and suffer from side effects such as seizures

One of the potential reasons that hydroquinone can cause these issues is that it can sometimes contain mercury which is a known toxic heavy metal. 

Do you remember when you have to wear gloves when dealing with mercury in chemistry class?

Sometimes people put mercury in skin lightening agents because it is known to bleach the skin

The only problem is that mercury is toxic and should absolutely not be handled with your hands or ingested. 

Mercury toxicity is the very thing that causes mad hatter disease and causes problems with the brain! 

If you are interested in using it for your child then it’s probably best to use something that is safer and won’t cause any damage! When in doubt you can always talk to your pediatrician as well. 

Hydroquinone and Pregnancy

Can you use hydroquinone if you are pregnant?

It’s probably not a good idea, but technically it may be safe. 

When it comes to pregnancy and putting medications on your skin, you always need to be concerned about how much is being absorbed into your body. 

When you put hydroquinone on your skin, about 35 to 45% of the dose that you use will be absorbed and some of that may make it to your baby. 

There have been limited studies which test to see if hydroquinone is dangerous so we don’t have really good information

When in doubt it’s probably best to avoid it in favor of more natural options that don’t carry any potential risk for your baby!

Why would pregnant women want to use hydroquinone?

It turns out that one of the most common hyperpigmentation conditions stems from pregnancy and it’s known as melasma. 

Melasma is triggered by excess estrogen stimulation on your melanocytes and excess estrogen happens to occur secondary to pregnancy!

So many women suffering from melasma may be tempted to use hydroquinone to slow down this process. 

If you are pregnant and you are suffering from melasma, there are many other options that you can use to try and normalize your skin tone. 


Hydroquinone is a skin lightening agent which is effective but not necessarily safe to use, especially for long periods of time. 

While it does work, there are various other natural products which can be just as effective and which don’t carry the same potential risks!

Using hydroquinone long term can potentially exacerbate hyperpigmentation disorders and cause local irritation to the skin. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you using hydroquinone?

Did it work for you?

Did you have any negative side effects?

If so, what did you experience?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

5 Reasons to Use Eyebrow Gel (+ Which ones to Use)

Want to know why I love my eyebrow gel and why I will never go a day without it?

You’re in the right place!

Use this article to find out why you should be using eyebrow gel, how it can enhance your face and look, the benefits of using it, and which ones I love: 

Eyebrow Gel Magic

If I could only have two makeup products one would be eyebrow gel and the other would be mascara. 


Because in terms of the amount of benefit you get from the effort put in, nothing beats it. 

Also, the cost to benefit ratio is incredibly valuable considering how cheap eyebrow gel is. 

By applying gel to your brows first thing in the morning you can have beautiful looking brows all day long. 

I promise it will help you look and feel amazing. 

As someone who spends a lot of time making eyebrows look beautiful with microblading, I feel like I’m entitled to talk about the pros and cons of this magical tool. 

No one wants to get nappy brows, so if you aren’t already using eyebrow gel then it’s time to up your game. 

I actually asked my husband what he thought about eyebrow gel and he was totally confused. 

Once I dragged my eyebrows downward and told him to look he totally got it. 

So, with this in mind, let’s talk about the benefits of using eyebrow gel and why I think it’s a must-have in your makeup arsenal. 

#1. It Automatically Thickens your Brows

Well, it doesn’t actually thicken them but it gives them the appearance of being bigger and thicker. 

Adding gel can give you the “look” that your brows are thicker then they really are which is great if that is the look that you are going for. 

This probably happens as the gel causes your brows to stick together giving them the appearance that they are thick. 

This benefit will obviously fade as you take off the gel at night! 

#2. It Cuts Down on ‘Get-Ready’ Time in the Morning

Want to get out of your house but still want to look good? (Don’t we all…)

Well, eyebrow gel may be the answer. 

There are plenty of mornings when all I can do is slap on some gel and put on some mascara. 

But even just doing these two things can make it look like you’ve spent a lot longer getting ready than you really did. 

#3. It can Add Tint to your Current Brow Color

Another benefit of using eyebrow gel is that they can come in tinted colors. 

This can help add dimension and color to your existing brow color. 

Say for instance that you are blonde…

Maybe you want to darken up your brows to help draw attention to them. 

You can do that by purchasing tinted eyebrow gel which will give your brows a darker color. 

It’s more difficult to “lighten” up your brows though because darker colors tend to push through other colors. 

But, having said that, you can still augment your existing look and give them a tamed look if that is your goal as well. 

Moral of the story?

There are eyebrow gels for all types of brows, including light and dark colored brows. 

#4. It May Make your Brows Grow (Debatable)

I’m including this benefit because it is something that many eyebrow gels claimed, but I still remain skeptical. 


Because there are so many reasons why your brows might be sparse or not growing well and plenty of these reasons have nothing to do with what you are putting directly on your brows. 

Conditions such as nutrient deficiencies, hormone disorders (I’m looking at you thyroid), stress, and even medications. 

By the way, you can find a complete list of conditions which cause your eyebrows to fall out here

Just putting on some gel won’t solve your thyroid problems or your stress. 

Does that mean they won’t help your brows grow? 

Not necessarily, but it’s not something that I would bet a lot of money on or go out of your way to purchase. 

If your favorite eyebrow gel happens to make that claim then great! Continue using them. 

But don’t spend a ton of extra money on a gel which claims to help your brows grow. 

#5. Keeps Bushy Brows Tame All Day Long

Ok, so another big reason to use gel is that it can help keep your brows tame all day long. 

What do I mean?

I mean keep them in their proper place!

If you accidentally put your hand on your face, rub your eyebrows the wrong way, or mess with them in any way, you know that they can get “Jabberwocky“. 

The right gel can keep your brows exactly where you want them to be and where you put them in the morning! 

My Favorite Eyebrow Gels

The good news is that most eyebrow gels are very affordable and range somewhere between $10 and $30. 

The tube will last on average a few months (depending on how much you use) so you won’t have to pay very much if you average the cost each month. 

Like other beauty products, you really get what you pay for though, with some of the more expensive products being the best. 

Luxury Eyebrow Gel

One of my favorites is the gel by jane iredale called PureBrow gel. 

It comes in 4 color options: auburn, blonde, brunette, and clear. 

I love products by jane iredale because they are organic and contain very few inactive ingredients or toxins. This makes them light and easy to use on the skin!

This is probably the best option if you want the best product, the safest product, and the most high-quality option. 

You might not like this option if you are very active and tend to sweat as you may sweat off the product over time. 

But if you enjoy light exercise every now and then, then this product should work great! 

jane iredale eyebrow gel

Budget Eyebrow Gel

Another good option is the clear great lash eyebrow gel listed below. 

It’s not my favorite because it only comes in clear and it doesn’t have all organic materials, but it’s certainly an option if you are on a tight budget. 

One downside to this product is that it doesn’t last all day long (like the jane iredale gel) and may only keep your brows in place for a few hours. 

Another benefit is that it is more waterproof (probably because of the added chemicals) so it may be a better option if you tend to sweat regularly. 

great lash eyebrow gel

Tinted Eyebrow Gel

This may be a great option if you are suffering from sparse hairs related to thyroid dysfunction or hair loss from any other cause. 

The tinting in this gel will allow you to fill in your brows which will make them look bushier and more full. 

This is probably the best product if you need or want to exaggerate the look and feel of your brows. 

Just be careful! The darker color may not look great on all skin types, especially for those of you with light skin. 

queen of the fill tinted eyebrow gel


Eyebrow gel is probably my most favorite makeup item that I use on a daily basis. 

I love it because it can really add to your face with minimal time and minimal cost. 

You can use eyebrow gel to help enhance your existing eyebrows, make the look bushier, help keep them tame all day long, and even tint or darken your existing color. 

It may take you some time to figure out what works best for you and your skin type, but it shouldn’t be hard to figure out over a few weeks. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you using eyebrow gel each day?

Do you love it as much as I do?

What type do you use?

Leave your comments below! 

The Many Benefits of Using a Microneedle Roller at Home

Will using a microneedle roller really help to improve your skin?

Will it help reduce wrinkles, age spots and treat acne scars?

All of these topics and more will be covered in this guide. 

We will discuss what microneedling is, the different types of microneedling that you can get done, who should use it and more

What Exactly is a Microneedle Roller?

In order to understand what a microneedle roller is (and how it works), you need to learn the basics of microneedling. 

Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure used by cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons to help provide dramatic changes to the skin

The idea behind this procedure is to take advantage of the skins innate ability to heal by providing targeted and specific damage to the upper layers of the skin. 

This is done by poking and prodding the epidermal layer of your skin with tiny little needles!

A microneedle roller is a barbaric looking device used to do just that. 

These rollers contain hundreds of needles on a tube-like device that can be tracked over the skin to literally poke holes into your skin

It sounds barbaric and crazy but it actually works. 

We are going to discuss the benefits of this strange procedure including how you can take advantage of the benefits at home using certain devices…

What it does to your Skin

Microneedling actually provides MANY different scientifically proven results to your skin. 

These results tend to come from the damage to the skin (discussed more below). 

#1. Promotes Collagen Growth

The first, and perhaps one of the most important, benefit is that microneedle rollers cause an increase in collagen growth

You might not know about collagen so let me fill you in. 

This protein is responsible for keeping your skin looking young, tight and wrinkle-free. 

Collagen is the protein that provides strength to your skin. 

And collagen is the thing that DECREASES with age, with sun exposure and with certain bad habits (like poor diet and smoking)

So whenever we can increase collagen, with any procedure, it is something we want to take seriously. 

Increasing collagen WILL help your skin look younger and more beautiful. 

The more collagen you can stimulate the better. 

One of the BEST ways to produce collagen is to stimulate your skin to naturally produce it by itself

This is opposed to taking supplements or serums to try and improve the production in that way. 

Microneedling has been proven to increase collagen and help reduce aging. 

#2. Improves skin Texture and Quality

Another benefit of microneedling is that your skin will LOOK and FEEL better. 

This will be seen as an overall improvement in the quality of your skin. 

Skin quality and texture tend to fade over time with the aging process. 

It’s not uncommon for pimples, sun damage and other normal processes to cause negative changes to how your skin looks.

I’m not talking about wrinkles here, I’m talking about the texture or smoothness of your skin. 

The healing process initiated by microneedling causes a robust reaction in the skin which releases growth factors which can rejuvenate the skin

#3. Treats Acne Scars

Another huge benefit (for some people) is that microneedling can actually help to clear up acne pockmarking and scars

This is also true for OTHER causes of scarring on the face as well. 

But how does it work? 

The tiny little needles of the microneedle roller “poke” through the scar tissue and release the contracture beneath the skin. 

If you feel scar tissue you will notice that it is bump and irregular and this is how scar tissue tends to form. 

This formation can cause “pock marks” on the skin as the scar tissue beneath the skin pulls down the upper layers of the skin

Poking holes into the scar tissue can release the scarring beneath the skin and release the tension. 

This results in an improvement of how scars look, especially on the face. 

Up until now, there are only a few other ways to actually reduce scar tissue (such as lasers). 

Microneedling (especially medical microneedling) is a scientifically documented and proven way to improve and reduce the appearance of acne scars on the face. 

Treating scar tissue can take multiple sessions, however, so don’t expect immediate results if you use a microneedle roller once or twice! 

#4. Reduces Pigmentation

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could even out your complexion and reduce the hues of blue and red in your skin?

These color changes are referred to as pigmentation and it is one of the most important aspects of making your skin look older. 

Pigmentation associated with aging is actually more important than wrinkling (believe it or not). 

Because you can cut back your wrinkles but this pigment will still make your skin look “old”. 

Microneedling can help even out skin tone and complexion, probably through activation of growth factors and the healing process

This makes microneedle rolling one of the best anti-aging procedures out there. 

How it Works & Is it Too Good to be True?

The answer is no, microneedling is NOT too good to be true. 

It may sound that way at first, but once we unpack how it works it will make more sense. 

You also have to realize that there is a big difference in results when we talk about microneedling at home with a roller vs medical microneedling done at the office. 

So how does microneedling work?

The idea is that by poking holes into the superficial layer of your skin you are causing a large amount of superficial trauma to the skin. 

This trauma looks worse underneath the skin than it does on the top of the skin. 

You can imagine this because the needles will come it at different lengths and angles, but they are only going through tiny holes on the surface. 

These holes damage the underlying skin cells (which don’t have much blood supply) and without going deep enough to hit the dermis. 

This damage triggers a chain reaction which causes your body to release powerful growth hormones and healing factors to help repair the damage. 

In addition, both collagen and elastin are stimulating in an attempt to improve structural integrity to the skin. 

These changes result in the skin healing completely within just a few days to a week, but the healing process causes the skin to tighten and even out both in terms of complexion and pigmentation

You can imagine this process by comparing it to muscle growth in your body. 

You work out to break down and tear your muscles slightly only to have them recover and grow in the process. 

We are basically doing the same thing, but with microneedling, it’s happening to the collagen and elastin in your skin. 

Make sense?

In this way, you can think about microneedling as an exercise for the skin! (Well, sort of anyway…)

At Home Microneedle vs Medical Microneedling

Remember when I said there was a difference between medical microneedling and at home microneedle rolling? 

It’s time to learn more about that difference. 

Microneedling in an office is usually done with the use of a mechanical pen-like object which vibrates at a high rate. 

This pen is basically a motorized way to help poke more holes in your skin. 

A microneedling pen will have 10+ needles of the tip which vibrates at a very high rate. 

As the pen is vibrating it is dragged across your skin to deliver thousands of holes into your epidermis. 

Microneedling with a microneedle pen allows more penetration, deeper penetration, and therefore better results when compared to a microneedle roller. 

The microneedle roller is basically a cheaper way to allow yourself to get the microneedle experience (and some of the benefits) without paying hundreds of dollars for the microneedle procedure

Microneedle rollers do NOT penetrate deep into the skin and they do NOT provide the same results when compared to medical microneedling. 

But does that mean you shouldn’t do it?

Not necessarily!

Microneedle rollers can be used as a cheaper alternative, especially for those on a budget, to help at least get some results. 

In addition, it can be used as a trial or stepping stone to determine if you like the idea of getting the real deal. 

You can start out with microneedle rolling and then jump to medical microneedling when/if you are ready. 

How to get Started & How to get Results (The Best at Home Roller)

If you are ready to jump into microneedle rolling then you need to know a few things: 

#1. All rollers differ in the number of needles that they have(in general the more they have the better your results will be).

#2. Rollers may differ in the length of the needle(which will determine how far into your skin they go).

#3. Rollers may be made out of plastic material which may not last very long(meaning you will have to constantly re-purchase microneedle rollers over time).

microneedle roller for at home use

With these in mind, I recommend using a dermaroller such as this one

This dermaroller will easily get you started and its high enough quality for several uses. 

For even better results you can also combine dermarolling with a vitamin C serum

When I use a microneedling pen on my clients I always finish off the procedure with a high-quality Vitamin C serum which helps to improve the healing process, tighten the skin and enhance your results

To start with you probably don’t want to roll over your skin more than 3x per week (you should probably start with just 1-2 sessions per week). 

You can do this at night after you’ve cleansed your skin. 

Finish off the procedure with Vitamin C serum which you can leave on your face overnight. 

Wrapping it up

Microneedling is a great procedure which can be used to improve the overall quality and texture of your skin. 

The main benefit from this procedure seems to stem from stimulation of collagen, elastin and growth hormones from the skin

You can obtain these benefits by using a microneedle pen or by using a microneedle roller. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you used a microneedle roller before?

Did it work for you? Why or why not?

Have you had medical microneedling done before?

Did it work for you?

Leave your comments below! 

The Best Makeup Mirrors with Lights for Beginners & Professionals

Are you looking for better lighting in your house or bathroom?

Are you a professional that relies on pictures for your living?

If so then you may benefit from a makeup mirror with lights – learn everything you need to know including which product you should purchase in this guide:


Why use a Mirror with Lights?

Lighting may be one of the most important aspects of illuminating the face, especially when it comes to the application of makeup. 

Have you ever had your pictures taken by a professional photographer?

Remember how intense they are about lighting, the time of day, light reflection and so on?

This is because THEY know the importance of proper lighting!

Lighting can help illuminate the skin, may be able to help hide imperfections and can alter the end result if you are taking pictures. 

Lighting is especially important if you are a professional (make-up artist, instagramer, youtube creator, professional photographer and so on). 

But even if you don’t fit those categories you can still benefit from proper lighting because it can help you take pictures and get a more even application of your makeup. 

Benefits of lighting include:

  • Illuminate all aspects of your face
  • Helps improve the quality of pictures (especially helpful for professionals but also helpful for selfies if that’s your thing!)
  • Helps you see imperfections such as acne or blemishes
  • Helps visualize hyperpigmentation or areas where coloring is “off”
  • Cut down on the time it takes you to get ready

Bad lighting may lead to: 

  • Discoloration of the skin and not visualizing imperfections in the skin or in your makeup
  • Low quality pictures
  • Unprofessional photo quality

So how do you solve the issue with poor lighting and picture taking?

Well you have a couple of options:

The first is to illuminate your mirror with lighting around the base. 

The second is to leave your mirror alone and purchase other products such as ring lights which you can use in addition to whatever lighting you have in place. 

One is not necessarily better than the other, but you should consider each based on your individual circumstances. 

The Best Makeup Mirrors with Lights & Where to get Them

The pricing for makeup mirrors with lights can vary from $20 up to $200. 

The cheaper products tend to have less options and don’t tend to have the best quality lights. 

The higher end products tend to come with a combination of both natural and white lighting which you can change with a click of the button (my personal favorite). 

Why would you want both colors?

Natural sun lighting may help you to know what your face will look like under “normal” conditions. 

White lighting on the other hand may be better if you want to take a selfie or want to film yourself. 

White light adds a more ethereal look which makes your pictures stand out and capture attention. 

If you don’t want the double option then you are probably fine going for a cheaper option, but if you want to do both then I recommend a product such as this: 

Option #1:

This option has natural lighting and a smart touch screen that you can change the color from natural to white light. 

It contains 12 LED bulbs which means that it should have NO problem adding a significant amount of light to your current vanity, bathroom or bedroom. 

It’s also quite large coming in at 19 inches by 14.5 inches which makes it great for viewing more than just your face and for taking pictures. 

makeup light with mirrors for beginners and professionalsSee more reviews for this Mirror + Light combo

Option #2:

This option is much cheaper than the first version but not quite as powerful or as big. 

It’s not ideal for professional use or if you want to do videos, but it works great if you are only interested in your own personal makeup. 

It comes equipped with mirrors that help magnify up to 10x (and also includes views with 3x and 2x magnification). 

It also has LED lighting and is very compact and is therefore portable!

Start with this option if you are only using your mirror for personal use: 

budget makeup mirror with lightsSee more reviews for this Mirror + Light combo

Both options work well and one is not necessarily “better” than the other – instead try to find something that works for your budget and for what you plan to use it for. 

What if you want to add mirrors to your existing set or what if you just want to make your room look good?

If you fall into this category then you can make your own vanity by purchasing and placing your own lights on an existing mirror.

This DIY project runs around $150 but will take a lot of time as well (so don’t forget to factor that in!). 

If you have plenty of time on your hands and want to spruce up your room then this may be the best option. 

It all comes down to taste!

You can learn more about the DIY project here which walks you through building your own lighted vanity step-by-step: 

Makeup Mirrors with Lights for Professionals (Microbladers, Makeup Artists and so on)

If you fall into the list of professsionals (see list below) then perhaps the best (and most affordable) option is to get a ring light. 

List of professionals who may benefit from ring light include: 

  • Medical aesthetician for before/after pictures
  • Cosmetologist
  • Makeup artist
  • Permanent tattoo artist
  • Microblading artist
  • Photographers (situational)
  • Youtubers or those who film and create content
  • Instagramers or those who take pictures of themselves for social media

The list of people who would benefit from using these types of list goes on and on, I’ve just included some of the most common professionals. 

If you create content, take pictures or if you rely on before/after pictures for marketing and for your living then you’ll need to invest in some sort of equipment to help produce high quality images. 

So why use a ring light?

Ring lights are ideal, especially for beginners, because they are cheap, easy to move around and very effective. 

Benefits of using a ring lighting include:

  • Full and even illumination of the entire face – You can tell if someone has a ring light because you can see that characteristic lighting in their eyes
  • Portability – Easy to move around the house! Which means you can take it to a clients home, move it to your own home, move it to a studio, etc. Mirrors with lighting are much less portable
  • Cost – Professional lighting equipment can be expensive but the ring light is the perfect starting tool as you build your business and your portfolio
  • Perfect for doing self videos, tutorials or selfies
  • Heigh can be adjusted to fit your needs – Height can be adjusted easily so that you can use it while sitting, standing or some combination of the two
  • Has the ability to hold your phone – If you use your phone as a video recording device or as your camera then the ring light comes with a built in holder which helps keep recording steady

ring light for professionalsSee more reviews about ring lights here

The cons?

While ring lights are great for beginners they may not include all of the essentials that some professionals need. 

The lighting may not contain the perfect balance of white and yellow to mimic natural sun light. 

This may change how warm or soft the lighting is, especially if you are a stickler for perfection. 

It may also turn the skin a slight orange-ish color with some make up and colors. 

This shouldn’t be a problem for 90% of people, but it’s worth knowing if you stick to very high end production. 

Final Thoughts

Once you add extra lighting to your mirror you will never go back. 

It’s one of those things that you don’t know how valuable it is until you have it!

If you only want it for makeup then you should be good to go using a basic mirror with lighting. 

If you are a professional needing to produce high quality videos or images such as before/after pictures then a ring light may be better for your situation. 

Now I want to hear from you:

What lighting have you used and what worked best?

Have you used any other tricks to help improve your lighting when doing makeup?

Leave your comments below! 

Is SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum Worth the Insane Price Tag?

How can any cosmetic skin care product be worth over $280 per bottle?

It’s a good question and it’s what we are going to answer today…

In this guide we will dive into one of the most expensive cosmetic products on the market: SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum

This guide will help determine if this product is ACTUALLY worth its large price tag and help you determine if it’s something you should purchase


What is SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum? 

So what exactly is the TNS essential serum?

It’s actually two products combined into one (part of the reason for the large price tag). 

It contains two chambers which are hidden inside the larger tube, but as you express the product it will deliver a combination of both products and combine it on your behalf. 

This technique allows for the contents of the chambers to stay safe and preserved until treatment. 

Why is this important?

Because not all ingredients react well or play nice with one another!

Other ingredients need certain “conditions” to stay safe and effective (like Vitamin C). 

So if you have two separate chemicals that both require different pH conditions or stabilizers then putting them together render one inactive. 

This problem can be solved by placing them in two separate chambers and only combining them when necessary. 

Pretty cool, right?

That’s the idea behind this product. 

But which products does it contain?

TNS recovery complex by skinmedica

It actually contains two separate products: TNS Recovery Complex and APS Corrective Complex. 

We will go over the ingredients in detail below but for now just realize that the recovery complex helps naturally promote skin care growth and the APS corrective complex contains a host of special anti-inflammatory agents, peptides, growth factors and vitamins (tons of GREAT ingredients). 

Why it Works

This essential serum is often recommended as one of the best products to help reduce the appearance of your skin, but why is it so effective?

The secret (well not really a secret!) to why it works has to do with how it is formulated and the ingredients that it contains. 

The effectiveness of any skincare product always boils down to the ingredient list. 

And while this may seem like a no-brainer it’s not something that most people truly understand. 

The reason for this has to do with how cosmetic products are packaged and how they are labeled. 

Most producers make their product labels seem similar to one another in an attempt to confuse the consumer (in this case you). 

They will occasionally use deceptive marketing such as not showing the concentration of a certain ingredient or by calling an ingredient by a different name. 

For instance:

There are many ways to formulate Vitamin C in products but the most effective formulations of Vitamin C include Ascorbic acid and tetrahexyldexyl ascorbate. 

Often you will see other formulations identified as “Vitamin C” even though they are nowhere near as effective as the forms mentioned above. 

This is further complicated by the fact that formulating ingredients (such as ascorbic acid) in the right way is very expensive. 

So some products may look abnormally expensive when compared to others even though they “state” they have the same ingredients. 

Hopefully this is making sense! 

The main idea here is that the TYPE of ingredient, the WAY it is formulated and the CONCENTRATION all come together to help make the product work. 

The essential serum discussed here is so effective simply because it contains ALL high quality ingredients and a great combination of anti-oxidants, vitamins and growth factors. 

How effective is it?

No product is perfect and no product (no matter how good it is) will work on all skin types. 

But even with this in mind you can expect this essential serum to work in about 80-90% of people who use it. 

The 90% value that I am referring to is based on testing done with the company itself (which may be slightly biased). 

But if you contrast those results with unbiased reviews around the internet you will see that they are probably fairly accurate. 

Because we don’t have unbiased data I would say it’s probably more realistic that it will work for about 80% of people. 

Most high quality products work in about 70% of people who use them which is about 7 out of 10 people. 

Anything higher than that is considered VERY good. 

With that in mind let’s talk about the actual ingredients…

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum Ingredient List:

Compared to most cosmetic products this essential serum contains at least 11 different active ingredients (not including inactive ingredients). 

This is about 5-6x more active ingredients than most other high end cosmetic products. 

Even some of my favorite products, such as iS clinical active serum, contain 3-4 active ingredients. 

So in this case you really get what you pay for. 

Let’s break down the ingredients by the chambers. 

Ingredients in Chamber 1

The first chamber contains the exact same ingredients in the Recovery complex also sold by SkinMedica. 

Ingredients in Chamber 2

This second chamber contains the APS corrective serum which contains probably the most important ingredients. 

As you can see each of the ingredients listed here has clinical studies backing their use and showing that they are effective. 

If you are new to using high end products then I would take a minute to dig through some of the posts and really read and research the ingredient list so you know just how beneficial each ingredient actually is

Complete Side Effects: 

This essential serum is generally very well tolerated because most of the ingredients listed are Vitamins and plant based. 

Having said that some people with sensitive skin may react to certain products. 

This doesn’t happen very often, however and if it does it can often be treated by allowing your face and skin time to adjust. 

Some common reactions include: 

  • Red, itchy skin or dermatitis
  • Flaking of the skin
  • Sensitivity or pain
  • Sensitivity to the sun after exposure

If you experience any of these side effects simply reduce the frequency with which you are using the product and they should fade over time. 

You can then start back up with a smaller amount and use a less frequent dosing schedule (something like every other day). 

Where to Purchase TNS Essential Serum

TNS essential serum can only be sold through authorized retailers only. 

Because of this there is a risk of purchasing counterfeit or fake products if you buy them from a non authorized source. 

The SkinMedica website has a list of unauthorized retailers which I’ve included below

unauthorized retailers for skinmedica products

Basically if you find a product from any of the places listed above you risk purchasing a fake product that has been diluted or manipulated. 

For this reason it’s best to avoid them all together. 

So where can you buy them?

Well, you still have a couple of options:

#1. Purchase them from a cosmetic dermatologist, medical spa or plastic surgeon. 

#2. Or, the better options, purchase it from an authorized seller on Amazon which has been vetted by Amazon. 

You can now purchase SkinMedica products from Amazon provided they show the “professional beauty” or “luxury beauty” tag underneath the price. 

If you prefer to purchase it directly from your dermatologist or plastic surgeon you can definitely do that too!

Just make sure you find the route that you feel comfortable with. 

If you don’t mind purchasing online I’ve provided a direct link to an authentic product below that you can use as well: 

Skinmedica TNS essential serumSee more reviews for TNS Essential Serum here

How to use it effectively: 

Applying and using TNS essential serum is actually very easy. 

When to use it – It’s best to apply in the morning AND the evening after both cleansing and toning your skin

Cleansing will help exfoliate your skin and allow better absorption of the ingredients. 

Toning helps bring back the acidic pH of the skin which ensures proper vitamin C usage. 

Where to apply – You should apply directly to your entire face and neck/chest/back of hands if desired. 

The serum will work anywhere you have damaged skin so don’t be afraid to put some on the back of your hands and upper chest area. 

How to apply – 

You can directly dispense the ingredients into your hand but make sure to “blend” the ingredients together before applying to your body. 

It’s helpful to give the ingredients a few swirls in your fingertips to ensure proper mixing of both chambers and ingredients

Using it this way daily for at least 4 weeks should result in noticeable improvement in your skin. 

Skinmedica TNS Essential Serum vs Recovery Complex: Is there a difference? 

The main difference between these two products is that the TNS essential serum contains the entire recovery complex product PLUS the APS corrective complex. 

The main difference is that the TNS essential serum ALSO contains the APS corrective complex in one of its chambers which is combined with the recovery complex when using it. 

When looking at both products you should determine which one works best for your skin. 

So who should use the TNS essential serum vs the recovery complex?

The best way to break it down is by age and by the maturity of your skin. 

Because the Essential serum is so effective for anti-aging and replenishing collagen/elastin in the skin it’s probably best to use this product if you are over age 50 or have severely sun damaged skin. 

The recovery complex is probably better to use if you are younger (less than 40) and interested in keeping your skin looking younger for longer. 

Remember that the essential serum contains the APS recovery complex which is really just a combination of growth factors which help stabilize the skin and further help reduce the signs of aging and skin damage. 

Ingredient List for the Recovery Complex:

  • Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (TNS)

Back to you

The bottom line?

TNS Essential Serum may be one of the best anti-aging and all around cosmetic products available on the market. 

The reason for this has to do with how it is formulated and the 11 major clinically tested ingredients that it carries. 

But just because it works well for most people doesn’t mean it will work well for you (or that you even need it!). 

The people who will benefit the most from this essential serum include those with mature and damaged skin. 

But even if you are in your 20’s you will still find value in using this serum daily!

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you using this essential serum?

Does the price have you second guessing the purchase?

What products are you using that are working for you?

Leave your comments below! 

Do Skin Tightening Creams & Skin Firming Products Actually Work?

Are you looking to naturally firm up or tighten your skin?

Have you noticed that your skin is sagging as you get older or that it just isn’t as plump as it once was?

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about skin tightening creams and skin firming products including which ones work, which ones to avoid and how to use them properly.

Let’s jump in: 


What are Skin Tightening & Skin Firming Creams?

Nowadays it isn’t uncommon to see cosmetic products that claim to “firm” or “lift” the face and skin. 

This group of cosmetics is commonly known as skin tightening and skin firming creams and lotions. 

So you can think of any lotion that makes the claim to firm your skin or make it tighter to fit into one of these categories. 

The main problem with these cosmetics?

They often are 99% hype and marketing and 1% effective. 

This may be bad news is you were hoping to find a skin tightening cream to help reduce the inevitable decline and youthful appearance of your skin!

But don’t get down because there are actually some skin firming creams and skin tightening serums that actually do work which we will discuss below. 

The trick to finding these products is searching out only high quality products that not only contain the right ingredients but ones that contain ENOUGH of the right ingredient. 

Do They Work?

The VAST majority of skin tightening creams do NOT work. 

Let me repeat that…

Most skin tightening and firming creams and serums do NOT actually work. 

Does that mean that all of these creams and serums are useless?

No, not by a long shot. 

But what it does mean is that you need to be careful what you purchase and look for certain ingredients. 

The cosmetic industry is not as tightly regulated as other industries such as the pharmaceutical industry. 

For instance:

If a pharmaceutical company says that a medication or drug lowers blood pressure they have to prove that claim with rigorous clinical studies. 

This check and balance does NOT exist in the cosmetic industry. 

Because the industry isn’t regulated pretty much any product can make a claim that they want. 

In addition they are not required to disclose how potent or how effective a product actually is. 

So some products may contain the right ingredient (let’s say ascorbic acid in this case), but they won’t disclose that the concentration is 0.1% when it really needs to be about 20% in order to be effective. 

See the difference? 

All of these factors are important when considering which products to buy or which to pass on. 

Ingredients You Want

So how do you know if you are using or looking at a high quality product?

The ingredient list will tell the tale!

High quality products are not afraid to list all of their ingredients and they aren’t afraid to list the concentration of these ingredients. 

If you are having a hard time finding the ingredient list or the concentration amount then whatever product you are looking at is probably trying to hide something!

I’ve created a list of high quality and potent ingredients that have been proven to be effective on the skin through several clinical studies (this means they HAVE been tested and proven to be effective!): 

  • Niacinamide – Niacinamide is a B vitamin that can be formulated and placed topically on the skin. Not only does niacinamide help keep the skin looking younger it also helps to improve the elasticity of the skin, helps reduce wrinkles and may even out skin tone and complexion. Just 12 weeks of a 5% Niacinamide product is enough to show significant and noticeable improvements to the skin. 
  • Retinol – Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that can be placed topically on the skin and may be one of the best vitamins you can use on your face. Retinol has been proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and even reduces photo-damage from the sun (another cause of aging skin). Retinol has also been shown to induce the production of glycosaminoglycan which helps your skin remain plump. 
  • Natural Anti-oxidants – The world is full of anti-oxidants that can help reduce the natural aging process by binding to and eliminating free radicals. Anti-oxidants are often naturally found in plants and many vitamins can act as anti-oxidants as well. You can think of anti-oxidants as scavengers that naturally help keep your cells working properly and fight off damage from the sun. They are found in Vitamin C, E, A, B3 and in most botanic based ingredients (plant based). 
  • Ascorbic Acid – Ascorbic acid is a formulation of Vitamin C and it is another very powerful ingredient. Vitamin C helps tighten the skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and clear up the complexion. The trick to using Vitamin C is to find it in the right concentration (up to 20%) and at the right pH. Low quality formulations do not work well. 
  • Zinc Oxide – Zinc oxide helps to block ultraviolet radiation and therefore damage to the skin. So while this ingredient doesn’t necessarily help tighten the skin it does help PREVENT skin sagging from photo-damage over time. It should never be used by itself, but it should definitely be a part of any complete skin care regimen. 
  • Products that naturally exfoliate such as alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids – Exfoliators help to stimulate the growth of collagen which helps build up and strengthen the integrity of the skin. These exfoliators include ingredients such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid and so on. Like Zinc oxide they should not be used by themselves for skin tightening but they can be used with the other ingredients listed above. 

Do you need to find a product that contains ALL of these ingredients in one?


In fact I’m not even sure such a product exists. 

But what it does mean is that you should find a product which contains at least ONE of the high quality ingredients listed above. 

And make sure that the product does not contain any knock off ingredients which are often cheaper to make than the real ingredients. 

Ingredients/Products to Stay Away From

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) the list of products to avoid is MUCH longer than the list of products that are actually beneficial!

Basically, you can think of it like this:

If the products listed on your skin tightening or skin firming cosmetic product does NOT contain any of the ingredients listed above, then there’s a good chance it probably won’t work. 

But in addition to this, you’ll also want to look out for products that fit into any of the following categories: 

  • Avoid any product that claims to have “instant and lasting skin tightening”
  • Avoid products that contain Vitamin C not in the Ascorbic acid form
  • Avoid products that are cheap (poor quality products ALWAYS have poor quality ingredients)
  • Avoid products that claim to work as well as cosmetic procedures such as plastic surgery (this is NEVER true)
  • Avoid products that have thousands of 5 star reviews (most are fake)

The most important thing to be cognizant of while searching for high quality products is to avoid all of the hype and marketing that companies use. 

You’ll notice a trend among high quality products:

They tend to have overall moderate reviews and they tend to cost more and you actually want both of these things. 

The reason is simple:

Not all skin care products will work for all skin types!

So on average cosmetic products will not work probably 20% of the time. 

If you see a product with 100 5 star reviews then you can count on most of them being fake because this just isn’t realistic. 

Make sense? 

Real Tips you can use to Tighten your Skin

Aside from using skin care and cosmetic products there are also other things you can (and should) be doing to help improve the quality of your skin. 

These tips should be combined with skin care products, and if you can’t afford skin tightening creams then you can at least start with these right away: 

  • Avoid unnecessary sun damage (wear a large brimmed hat and always wear sun screen) – The sun is the #1 cause of photo-damage and aging among women
  • Use a moisturizer daily – Moisturizing the skin will naturally help your skin look younger and help promote hydration
  • Hydrate with water EVERY day – Up to 1 gallon per day if you exercise regularly
  • Get a deep sweat every week – Sweating naturally helps the body detoxify and promotes the elimination of by-products that can harm your skin
  • Use only high quality and professional grade skin care products – Products that are formulated by physicians or that are “professional” grade often have the purest and highest quality ingredients
  • Ensure that any skin care products you use are stored in an airtight container which is also protected from UV light and moisture (this will ensure that they remain active long term) – Oxidation and moisture can damage active ingredients in skin care products
  • Eat healthy – Lots of fruits and vegetables contain natural anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory vitamins
  • Consider the use of bio-identical hormone therapy – Hormone therapy such as estrogen replacement (and progesterone replacement) can plump up the skin and reduce the signs of aging. If you are menopausal then you can discuss this option with your doctor. 

Remember that even if you do decide to use a skin tightener cream make sure that you ALSO use these strategies as well. 

They will only add to and improve your results further. 

The quality of your skin is a product of what you put INTO your body and also what you put ON your skin

The Best Skin Tightening Products

As I mentioned previously in this post you will find that most products that don’t advertise to be “firming” or “tightening” creams are actually the best products. 

It’s counter-intuitive, I know, but it’s how it is!

Below I’ve included some of the best products that fall into the “products that actually work” category due to the ingredients that they have. 

The first on the list includes those products that contain Vitamin C: 

#1. Vitamin C Serum containing products

#1 on the list is a “Liftactiv” cream by Vichy. 

It contains the combination of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and another simple sugar known as Rhamnose. 

While Rhamnose is less well studied than Vitamin C, they still do work quite well together. 

This cream is primarily designed to be used at night and may work better around the upper face including the eyes. 

vichy skin tightening cream with vitamin cLearn more about Vichy night time firming cream here

Second on the list is an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cream which can be used on the entire face (if that is what you are trying to firm up). 

It can also be placed on the neck, back of the hands and around the face (if these are your problem areas). 

This product contains the combination of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) but this time it comes with hyaluronic acid which helps moisturize and plump up the skin

Anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cream:

Anti wrinkle and firming cream with vitamin CLearn more about La Roche-Posay anti-wrinkle and firming cream here

#2. Retinol containing products

Vitamin C creams are very effective but so are Retinol containing creams

Remember when you decide which one to use that one is not necessarily better than the other. 

In fact Retinol and Vitamin C products compliment each other PERFECTLY. 

If cost is not an issue (and you are serious about firming and tightening up your skin) then you should consider the amazing combination of Vitamin C with Vitamin A (retinol). 

You can consider Retinol, Vitamin C and Niacinamide as ingredients that all carry about the same amount of weight in terms of how effective they are. 

So you really can’t go wrong in choosing one over the other. 

But even if you find one that works don’t be afraid to switch up to another product and alternate through them on occasion. 

This helps you determine which products work best for YOUR skin. 

I’ve written extensively about the benefits of Retinol, so if you want to learn more about how Retinol works you can check out this post

If you are ready to jump in to a retinol product then I recommend one like this: 

Obagi retinol for skin tightening and firmingSee more reviews for Obagi Retinol here

#3. Niacinamide containing products

Products that contain niacinamide can also be helpful for improving the overall quality of your skin

While these products definitely may help it might be worth a trial of Vitamin C and Vitamin A first before you jump into niacinamide. 

If you already have a retinol product (and/or a vitamin C serum that you use) then you may want to trial this product in combination with what you are already using. 

I recommend a product that has at least 4% niacinamide (this is the most well studied dose) like this one below: 

PCA skin clear skin with niacinamide for skin tighteningSee more reviews for PCA skin clearskin here

Skin Tightening for the Face & Neck

Does the product that you choose need to be specialized for a certain area of your body?

Not necessarily. 

One trick that you may find helpful is knowing that you can apply Vitamin C, Retinol and Niacinamide to other parts of your body such as your neck, face, back of the hands and so on. 

These products are usually marketed as being used for “under the eyes” or “around the lips” or so on, but that doesn’t mean they HAVE to be used in those places. 

The skin in your neck can still absorb and utilize the nutrients in these products just as well as the skin under your eyes and around your mouth!

So just remember that you can and should use these products on the trouble areas that you want to target. 

Skin Tightening After Weight Loss

Will these products and serums work for skin tightening after weight loss?

The short answer is probably not. 

The long answer has to do with how the sagging skin is created after weight loss. 

Aging results in a natural decline in collagen and elastin in the dermis of the skin which reduces the texture and quality of the skin. 

Skin sagging after weight loss is the result of stretched skin which is a completely different mechanism. 

By far the most effective treatment to tighten skin after weight loss is to use cosmetic procedures such as cool sculpting, radio frequency and surgical removal of excess skin

Other therapies such as fasting may also help to tighten the skin. 

But I don’t recommend the use of these products on extra skin if it’s from rapid weight loss. 

Other Skin Tightening Procedures

Is there anything else that you can or should be doing in addition to using creams, serums and gels?


By far the easiest (and cheapest) way to firm or tighten your skin is with cosmetic products but there are also other ways to tighten up your skin. 

These other therapies are often offered by medical spas and cosmetic dermatologists and include any of the following (note that they aren’t all the same in terms of how effective they are): 

These procedures range from $50 per session all the way up to thousands of dollars per session (CO2 laser). 

The idea here is that the more money you are willing to spend the faster you will achieve the results you are looking for. 

But before you think you need to use laser therapy to tighten your skin consider this!

Sometimes undergoing 6-8 sessions of microneedling in combination with cosmetic products listed above may be enough for you to notice a significant improvement in your skin. 

So make sure you find out what works best for your budget and your time frame and then go with that. 

Wrapping it Up

The bottom line?

It is definitely possible to tighten and firm up the skin around your face, eyes, neck and other places of your body. 

When you look for products make sure you avoid products which make claims that seem too good to be true. 

If you avoid those products and stick to products that contain Vitamin C, Retinol and Niacinamide you will be much better off long term!

As always, make sure that you tailor the products you use to YOUR skin and make sure to combine cosmetic products with lifestyle changes for best results. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you using skin tightening or firming creams?

Are they working for you?

Which ones work best?

Leave your comments below! 

Does Kojic Acid Soap Work? Pro’s and Con’s of Using this Lightener

Do you have dark skin on your body that you wish you could lighten?

Are you suffering from hyperpigementation on the face or other areas of the body?

If you fall into either of these categories then kojic acid soap may be a potential solution. 

Learn more about how kojic acid soap can naturally help lighten the skin, you’ll also learn how to use it and who should use it in this guide:


What is Kojic Acid?

Kojic acid is a special ingredient (chemical really) which acts to reduce the pigment of your skin. 

I’ve explained how kojic acid works in great detail and why you should and shouldn’t use it, in this post here

If you aren’t familiar with kojic acid I would definitely start there first!

As a quick primer…

Kojic acid is created from the fermentation process when creating rice wine and is extracted from this process. 

It’s then concentrated and placed into cosmetics because it helps to reduce pigment and skin color when placed topically on the skin. 

Basically it helps lighten your skin by reducing certain enzymes and functions in the melanocytes of your cells

Decreased melanocyte action = decreased melanin = decreased pigment = lighter skin. 

Usually kojic acid is placed in creams and gels and then placed on the skin. 

In this way it’s VERY effective at treating age spots, freckles, hyperpigmentation, sun damage and so on. 

But it can also be placed into soap products and then used across the ENTIRE body. 

It can also be used in certain areas where it wouldn’t be a good idea to use expensive serums. 

Who should use Kojic Acid Soap & Does it actually Work?

So why would you consider using kojic acid soap over other kojic acid products?

The answer is simple: 

It depends on what your goals are. 

If you are only interested in using kojic acid on your face then it makes much more sense to get a serum or cream because it’s easier to manage and you don’t need quite as much. 

Why is that?

It’s because kojic acid serums and creams tend to have a stronger and higher percentage of kojic acid when compared to kojic acid soaps. 

So if you have a LARGE surface area of the body which you are trying to lighten then it just makes sense to use a soap. 

Soap can more easily be placed on the entire body (if that’s your preference) or even over large areas of the body such as your chest, arms, legs or intimate areas. 

But what if you have a darker skin tone over your entire body?

What if you have a Fitzpatrick skin type IV +

What if you have areas on your body that are darker than your normal skin color (areas like your underarms, intimate areas, back of the legs, etc.)? 

This is where using kojic acid soap really shines. 

Soap may be the preferred option if you answered YES to any of the questions above. 

Who should use consider kojic acid soap?

  • Those who want to lighten a large surface area of their body (more than just their face)
  • Those who want to lighten underarms, neck area and intimate areas (such as the anus and genitals) of the body (creams and serums may not be appropriate for these areas due to other ingredients)
  • Those who are on a budget! (Kojic acid soap is generally cheaper than serums and creams)
  • Those with sensitive skin who don’t tolerate stronger kojic acid products

Kojic Acid Cream vs Kojic Acid Soap

Is it possible that you may need to use both kojic acid cream and kojic acid soap?

The answer is yes! And many people do this (depending on their needs). 

One of the biggest cosmetic issues that you can deal with is uneven skin tone which is often caused by the aging process or through sun damage. 

This type of discoloration WILL occur throughout your life, it’s only a matter of time. 

This makes hyperpigmentation or discoloration a big complaint and big issue. 

For this reason Kojic acid and other skin lighteners are often included in cosmetics to help even out skin tone and color. 

In fact you may even be using kojic acid or some other lightener like Arbutin in your existing cosmetic products without even knowing it. 

In this way I often recommend some skin lightener as a “base” or “necessary” anti-aging skin care product in your daily regimen. 

Soap on the other hand is not quite as necessary and tends to have specific uses. 

Perhaps the best way to think of it is like this:

Kojic acid based creams and serums tend to be used for anti-aging to help you keep radiant and younger looking skin, while kojic acid soap is more for people who desire SPECIFIC results (such as those listed above). 

But can you use kojic acid soap in place of kojic acid creams and serums?

You probably can but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are on a budget

Generally you want to use a high quality cleanser on your face which contains nourishing ingredients such as Vitamins C & E along with some acid which helps to exfoliate dead skin cells. 

It’s difficult to find all of these ingredients in a “soap” product so you may be missing out on these benefits if you jump to a soap and skip a cleanser. 

But it can probably be used in a pinch

Kojic Acid vs Hydroquinone – Which is best?

What about hydroquinone? Can it be used in place of kojic acid?

If you aren’t familiar with hydroquinone let me fill you in. 

Hydroquinone is another skin lightener and is probably considered to be the most potent and powerful skin lightener around

The problem with hydroquinone is that you usually need a prescription to get it (unless you find it online somewhere) and it comes with some potential side effects. 

So while it is the most effective skin lightener it’s probably not the best to use unless you suffer from a serious or difficult to treat hyperpigmentation syndrome such as Melasma

Hydroquinone works by blocking the enzyme tyrosinase but it also may cause melanocyte cell death (not ideal). 

In addition, long term use of hydroquinone may actually CAUSE hyperpigmentation once you stop using it (known as rebound hyperpigmentation) which is also not ideal. 

Because of these side effects it’s often best to start with an over the counter lightener such as Arbutin or Kojic acid and then move up the ladder if you don’t respond to these first. 

In addition, another downside to hydroquinone is that it isn’t always appropriate for use over your entire body. 

Pros of using Kojic Acid Soap

  • May help to lighten large areas of your skin
  • May help to lighten intimate areas of the skin such as 
  • Works usually in a matter of weeks (fast acting)
  • Usually very safe and very well tolerated
  • Pricing for kojic acid soaps is cheaper when compared to other products such as serums and creams
  • A very safe and effective alternative to prescription skin lighteners

Cons of using Kojic Acid Soap

  • Is not a permanent skin lightening solution (will fade once you stop using the soap)
  • May not work for all skin types
  • May not be tolerated by people with sensitive skin
  • May result in irritation in certain areas of the body (such as intimate areas)

Side Effects to watch out for

Usually Kojic acid soap is very well tolerated. 

This means that MOST of the people who use it will NOT experience any negative side effects. 

However some people, especially those with sensitive skin, may experience irritation, redness, dry skin or a rash while using this product.

These side effects tend to fade rapidly once you stop using the product. 

In addition, you may find that if you present with these symptoms that simply reducing the frequency with which you use the product may solve your issue. 

Others may find relief if they simply don’t use the product in intimate areas (such as the anus or vaginal area). 

When using kojic acid soap make sure to play around with where you use it and how frequent you use it. 

Some people may find that using the soap once every other day may be sufficient to maintain skin lightening while others may need to use it daily!

Don’t be afraid to change up how you use it. 

The Best Kojic Acid Soap Products

So which products are considered the “best”?

Luckily there aren’t many options to choose from (compared to other cosmetic products) and the ones that are available are considered high quality, cheap and effective. 

Most of the time kojic acid soap can be purchased for under $10 a bar and a bar should last you several weeks. 

You can compare this to kojic acid serum which may cost more than $50 (or even up to $100) and can only be used on a small surface area. 

If you’ve read through this post and you are ready to try kojic acid soap then stick to these products: 

#1. Marie France Original Kojic Acid Soap

Marie France is one of the better of the Kojic acid soaps available and has good reviews to back it up. 

This product contains pure kojic acid and papaya fruit extract which help improve skin lightening and help exfoliate the skin naturally. 

Marie france can be used in intimate areas such as the butt, underarms and bikini area. 

How to use:

Lather up the soap in your hands, apply generously to the areas you want to lighten. 

Let the soap work for a few minutes before washing it off. 

Use daily for 2-3 months. 

You should start to see results within 3-4 weeks. 

marie france kojic acid soapSee more Marie France Kojic acid soap reviews here

#2. Kojie San Skin Lightening Soap

Kojie san is another great soap product and it is used basically the same way as the Marie France product. 

Both work quite well but the Marie France soap may be slightly better. 

Kojie san is slightly cheaper though, so if you are on a budget it may be a better option for you. 

kojie san kojic acid soapSee more Kojie San Kojic Acid soap reviews here

Wrapping it up

The bottom line?

Kojic acid soap can help naturally lighten the skin, especially in certain areas of the body that may have you feeling self conscious. 

If you are interested in anti-aging or improving the complexion and tone of your face then you may be better off using a kojic acid cream or serum. 

While kojic acid soap will probably not turn your skin several shades darker it will reduce and lighten your skin tone and may help improve your self confidence. 

If you decide to use it make sure you use it DAILY for 3-4 months. 

By this time you should see the full effect and benefit of the soap. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you used kojic acid soap before?

Did it work for you?

Why or why not?

Leave your comments below!