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Changing The Face of Skin Care ~ The Story of the $800 Face Cream that Didn’t Work.


DISCLAIMER: The “Clinical Study” that is described below involves products that are NOT available at SkinScience Clinic. The purpose of this study was to see if the client’s routine was working for her skin and still generating visible skin improvement. Names have been changed to respect privacy.


From time to time, clients come in for their initial 1-hour consultation, wondering if the products they have been using are still working for them. This represents a legitimate concern, since many skin care products in the market come at a premium price, and 99% of the people who sell them to you do not track improvement (or lack thereof) through consistent and reproducible computer-based photo analysis. 


Think about it:

❌ Drugstores don’t track. ❌ 

❌  Department stores don’t track. ❌

❌  Specialty stores like Sephora, Holt Renfrew, and Ulta don’t track.  ❌

❌  Spas and medical spas usually don’t track. ❌

(with a few exceptions that actually track before AND after results) 


So how do you know if the products you spend your hard-earned money on actually work for you and give you visible improvement? 


One of the best ways to do it is to do before and after pictures with a Visia Skin Analysis Platform, a system that qualitatively and quantitively tracks skin firmness, texture, pores, congestion, diffuse redness, inflammation, broken capillaries, luminosity, hydration, acne, acne scars, visible brown spots and underlying sun damage. At the same time, it is important to control as many of the variables as possible to ensure unbiased, positive treatment outcomes and visible results. 


I’ve been using the VISIA Skin Analysis System for over 12 years, and have personally performed over 5,000 skin consultations and followups. When the products and procedures are carefully chosen, we can be confident that the after pictures will yield positive results 97% of the time.


Claire’s Story


Back in June 2018, Claire came in to SkinScience for her initial skin consultation. She had been using the same products from a very high end french brand for many years (a brand known for the cult following of its toner and NOT available at SkinScience) and while her skin seemed well hydrated, she wondered if the products were still working for her. Moreover, the products came at a premium price, so she wanted to make sure that her investment was worth it. 


She was also getting bi-monthly facials (at the spa she bought her products from), and her therapist used products from the same line during the treatments. 


For the record, Claire is in her 50s, menopausal, with no history of cosmetic injectables, no current prescription medications and overall in good health.


Claire’s Skin Care Routine Before Her Consultation 

(products + brand not available at our clinic)

AM // PM

Milk Cleanser ($70) // Milk Cleanser ($70)

Cult-Following Toner ($84) // Cult-Following Toner ($84)

“Matrix” Serum ($150) // Anti-glycation Serum ($153)

“Hydrating” Serum ($178) // “First Milk” Serum ($125)

Yam + Soy Cream ($320) // Yam + Soy Cream ($320)

SPF25 // “Newborn Biofilm” Masque ($190)


Total Investment in current (June 2018) skin care routine: $1,270


Since the client had a LOT of each product left, we decided to keep her current routine as is, with the EXCEPTION of replacing the AM Moisturizer to yet another product she had recently purchased from that same brand, but had not started yet: a $800 moisturizer, that claimed to be the “ultimate anti-aging product and latest breakthrough in the skin care industry”


Updated investment (June 2018): $1,270 + $800 = $2,070 


Claire’s “New” Routine After Her Consultation 

(products + brand not available at our clinic)


AM // PM

Milk Cleanser ($70) // Milk Cleanser ($70)

Cult-Following Toner ($84) // Cult-Following Toner ($84)

“Matrix” Serum ($150) // Anti-glycation Serum ($153)

“Hydrating” Serum ($178) // “First Milk” Serum ($125)

Ultimate Unbelievable Cream ($800) // Yam + Soy Cream ($320)

SPF25 // “Newborn Biofilm” Masque ($190)


We took pictures at baseline of the left, centre and right side of her face and used the VISIA Skin Analysis System to track the following:


  • skin firmness
  • texture
  • pore size
  • pore congestion
  • diffuse redness
  • inflammation
  • broken capillaries
  • luminosity
  • hydration
  • acne
  • acne scars
  • visible brown spots
  • underlying sun damage 


We booked a 3-month follow up, and made sure that the client did not have any other treatment nor procedure during the 3-month “clinical trial” period, not to influence the outcome of the study and to be able to know if the current routine (including the new $800 product) was still generating an improvement in skin quality. The client was not planning on traveling to sunny destinations until her follow up. 



Claire came back to the office on October 10, 2018 for her followup consultation. After a skin cleansing using Reversa Micellar Water, we proceeded to do before and afters using the Visia Skin Analysis Platform. 


Here are our findings:

  • No improvement in skin firmness 
  • No improvement in fine lines and wrinkles // worsening of crows’ feet area
  • No improvement in diffuse redness and inflammation
  • No improvement in telangiectasias (broken capillaries)
  • No improvement in visible brown spots
  • No improvement in underlying sun damage
  • No improvement in congestion and pore size
  • No improvement in skin luminosity


Here are some of the before and after pictures of Claire’s “Clinical Trial”



Needless to say, Claire was very disappointed that she had spent so much time, energy and money into a full skin care routine that cost her over $2,000 (every 4-6 months) and didn’t work.

Marie designed a new skin care plan for her, that included multitasking, science-based skin care products and a treatment plan that included IPL, Advanced Facials and Microneedling. For a fraction of the price.

We are happy to report that Claire (and Marie) are already seeing significant results in Claire’s skin (face, neck and chest) – more pictures to come!


Moral of the Story


Get professional help when choosing skin care products.

Make sure the active ingredients included in your routine will address the specific skin qualities you wish to improve. 

Get professional to help you choose the RIGHT FORM of active ingredients, as well as the OPTIMAL CONCENTRATION for your skin type and sensitivity. 

Get a VISIA skin analysis before starting your new routine to track improvement over time.

Choose a medical spa that will not only track at the initial consultation, but also at 3-month or 6-month intervals to ensure your prodcuts and procedures are working for you and keep on improving your skin.

Remember that sometimes less is more, and that multitasking products are the best way to create a synergy between ingredients to deliver optimal and predictable results.


Need help to figure out if your products and procedures are working? Contact us at 403-287-1477 and let’s book your customized, 1-hour skin consultation!


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What Works for Your Friend Might Not Work for You (The Truth About Skin Care Products)


Every day, patients come in and tell us: “Well, I purchased this $250 product at a department store because it worked for my friend. I’ve been using it faithfully for 2 month now, and I’m not sure that I see results.”


Patients need to understand that everybody’s DNA is unique, and so their skin care should be. Nobody will age the same way, at the same rate, with the same symptoms. Aging skin looks differently on different people. Could be fine lines and wrinkles, lack of firmness, lack of elasticity, lack of radiance, brown spots and sun damage, redness, sensitivity, large pores, dark circles…. one person might be presenting one of visible signs of aging (ex: only wrinkles), another person might show 3 signs (ex: wrinkles, large pores and lack of firmness), another person 3 different ones (ex: brown spots, large pores, lack of radiance) and another all of them at once.

Since aging has a strong genetic component (also referred as intrinsic aging), people say that can look at your mom to have a good idea of how you are going to look later in life. It’s partially true, but that’s not enough to explain one’s aging – as the environment and lifestyle also has a strong influence on the long term aging of the skin (also referred as extrinsic aging). And even then, different people will be affected differently by different extrinsic causes.





So why is it that a product would work well for one person, and not at all for the other?

For one, it depends on what the product does, and that comes down to which active ingredient (or blend of ingredients) that is/are included in the cream/lotion/serum. Let’s say that an anti-aging product contains an ingredient like hydroquinone to work on pigmentation and brown spots. One person with brown spots and freckles will be a happy with the results, but if another person is using it as an anti-aging product (as it is labelled) but doesn’t have brown spots to begin with, and wants to work on her wrinkles, hydroquinone is not going to work for her wrinkles because it’s a lightening agent. For that second person to be happy about the results from the cream, it would need to contain ingredients that boost collagen, elastin, glycans, hyaluronic acid to work optimally on improving the appearance of wrinkles.

Making sure to have anti-glycation and anti-MMPs ingredients would surely be an added bonus, as they work indirectly on the skin’s fiber content. If a third person, showing signs of aging like wrinkles AND brown spots, was using that anti-aging hydroquinone-based product, she would be PARTIALLY happy with the results because that cream would work on evenness of the skin, but she wouldn’t be happy when it comes to wrinkle improvement.


I personally have found that a lot of people use anti-aging products that are not targeted towards their particular symptoms of aging.


A product can be labeled “anti-aging” because it contain Matrixyl 3000 (a well-known anti-aging peptide that boosts collagen) but if your wrinkles are caused by glycation, free radicals, inflammation and lack of elasticity, you will not see results from using a Matrixyl-based cream.

Since it is difficult to define the intrinsic causes of aging without a DNA-based test, and that the skin care industry is starting to understand that not all wrinkles are created equal, we see more and more multitasking products. In my experience, these so called “multitasking” products usually address 1-2 maybe 3 aspects of skin aging, but never all.

Another aspect to consider in a product’s activity on the skin is how it is formulated. An important aspect of skin care formulation is the pH (or hydrogen potential) – an indicator of the acidity or alkalinity of a product. It is based on a scale from 1-14, 1 being very acid, 7 being neutral pH and 14 being very alkaline. The pH of a product is important for the activity on the skin of certain active ingredients, such as glycolic acid for example.

Thirdly, it is common knowledge that different people can get very different results with the same product. Experts usually explain this fact by variations in individual body chemistry. Sometimes it is indeed true. However, quite often the truth is far simpler. Different people often get different results because they apply skin care products differently.


Generally, the following optimal conditions apply:

1. CLEANSE: Before applying skin care products, make sure your skin is properly cleansed. The best time to apply skin care products is after you are fresh out of a warm shower or bath because not only is your skin clean but it is also thoroughly moist and should better absorb whatever you apply to it.


2. EXFOLIATE: The uppermost layer of the skin, called stratum corneum, is composed mostly of dry, dead cells. If this layer becomes too thick, as in aged or poorly maintained skin, active ingredients of a skin care product have trouble penetrating deeply enough to have an effect. The skin needs to be well exfoliated to be able to absorb active ingredients better.


3. DAMPEN SKIN: Moist, hydrated skin absorbs active ingredients better because active ingredients can penetrate better when they are dissolved.


4. SHORT FIRM STROKES: Use short, firm strokes to apply skin care products (it is best to use the middle finger). Do not stretch the skin. Do not rub. After applying, gently tap the area with your fingers for half a minute.


Finally, your lifestyle (or how well you control the aspects of potential extrinsic aging). You can use the best products for wrinkles and brown spots, if you continue smoking, lounging in the sun, not using sun protection, not staying hydrated and eating high glycemic foods, you will not see optimal results from your skin care cream and procedures.




Got questions on how to best address the specific symptoms YOU see in the mirror? Looking for the best products and procedures for YOU, and stop wasting money on products that don’t work?

Your 1-hour personalized consultation awaits. We look forward to seeing you soon.  403-287-1477



Win A Fabulous SkinScience Experience for Your BFF!

Contest 3 in our ‘Summer of Contests’ is in full swing and this one has a twist; you don’t win the prize, you win the prize for your BFF!


Each of us has that friend, the one that has saved us, the one that is there no matter what. This is your perfect opportunity to thank that wonderful human being that you rely on and makes your life so much better!


The prize includes:


1 Hour Comprehensive Consultation

This in-depth consultation is the heart of what we do.  In it we spend a full hour listening, analyzing, educating and making customizations specific to your (or in this case your BFF’s) needs.  To read more about our consultations; click here



$250 in Skin Care Products

As part of our consultation, we will make recommendations for skin care products that help you achieve your goals.  We only carry the best brands, from companies that have the highest standards for quality control that use ingredients that have been scientifically proven to work. Brands like Dermaquest, Skinceuticals and Neocutis to name a few.


Advanced Dermaplaning

Our Advanced Dermaplaning is a very popular treatment – it removes dead skin buildup quickly and comfortably and in 30 – 45 minutes, creates skin that glows and is smoother and softer than can be imagined! After dermaplaning all those amazing products work better, and more effectively for skin that can start the transformation process, becoming what you really want it to be.



At SkinScience we do our best to listen carefully and thoughtfully to each person that walks through our doors.  We want every person to feel cared about and validated. We take our time to really learn where each person is coming from, what their history is and where they want to be. When your BFF comes in, you can feel confident that she will have a WONDERFUL experience!


Click to enter to win this lovely prize package for your BFF on Instagram

Or click to enter on Facebook


If you just cannot wait for your own consultation, or you’d like to buy a gift certificate you can reach us at


(403) 287-1477

What’s Holding You Back from Having Amazing Skin? A few Things You Might be Doing.

In the spirit of it being January and January being a time for new beginnings, we have created this list of a few commonly observed practices that keep people from having truly amazing skin.  If you are feeling like your skin is not where you would love it to be, scan this list and see if maybe there is something that you identify with, that is unknowingly holding you back. (Reader tip: Self-awareness needed!)


The overzealous skin zealot.

You might be an overzealous skin zealot if you have more skin care in your bathroom than we have in the clinic.  This might be you if you use 17 different products, 3 times a day and are always on the lookout for more.


The reason it’s not working for the zealot:

Too many products, too many times a day means your skin lacks consistency.  It is constantly in flux mode, and can’t keep up. It normal to have a product or two that you alternate, or adjustments you make for the season or extreme weather.  However, if you can go a week and not use the same skin care product twice, it’s time to pair back.


The best intentioned (but unrealistic) client.

You might be a best-intentioned client if you currently are low to zero maintenance.  You currently own the same facewash that you purchased from the drugstore in college and use it when you remember. You use whatever hand-cream you have by the sink when your face gets real dry.  You recognize the value of good skin care and have the desire to be someone that has a consistent routine, but have never developed the habit. You might even come in to the clinic wanting a 6-step skin care program and have the best of intentions to use it, but have trouble following through when life happens.


The reason it doesn’t work for the best-intentioned client:

This client is not realistic about what they can commit to in a skin care routine.  If the daily habit is not already there, it won’t suddenly be there because you purchased a 6-step routine. The good news is it’s an easy fix.  We can design a basic routine that is simple and easy, but will still give results. So that you can build the habit!


The a lil’ dab will do you client.

You might be a lil’ dab will do you client if you apply your products just the teeniest, tiniest dab at a time, and often will try to only apply it in the “needed” areas. You will use the same serum, two times a day for a year and not run out. Often the motivation is trying to make products last as long as possible, in order to avoid replenishment.


The reason a lil’ dab will not work:

Skin is a network, the skin on your face is all interconnected, spot treating wrinkles or sagging or dullness means you are not treating a lot of areas that need it.  Think of your skin like a net.  If the entire net needs to be tightened, would you focus your efforts on just a small section and then hope to see it work better?  Nope, you would work on the entire net.  Make sure you apply facial serums and moisturizers evenly over your face, massaging in for a few moments. The same holds true for eye creams, apply enough to cover the entire lower eye contour.


The take a stranger’s advice client.

You might be a take a stranger’s advice client if you have ever started using a product on the advice of your 3rd cousin twice removed, co-worker, bus seat mate, great aunt Sally or an article you read in your doctor’s office waiting room.  You heard that so and so had great results using a product they found at such and such a place and immediately you want to try it.


The reason stranger’s advice doesn’t work:

To be clear, it has nothing to do with the quality of the product, or intentions the person giving it.  It’s simply that the person giving the advice, likely doesn’t have the years of training and experience that SkinScience does, nor have they analyzed your skin to determine what your skin needs.  Even the most perfect product on the wrong skin type can be an absolute disaster.



The I only want what my girlfriend had client.

You might be an I only want what my girlfriend had client if you come in and only want the same treatment that your girlfriend, sister, brother, wife or co-worker had.  You heard them rave about how amazing this treatment was and how it transformed their skin! You totally want the exact same thing and are determined to get it. You are not interested in hearing about other options, because you want the same thing.


The reason I only want what my girlfriend had doesn’t work:

The short answer is, you have different skin.  Not all skin needs the same treatments.  In addition to that, each client has different priorities in what changes they want to see in their skin.  We love when clients come in with an idea of what they want!  The first thing we will do is assess your skin and see if the treatment that you want will help get you to your goals.  Having said that, we won’t perform treatments that are not safe for you, or will not help get you to your goals.




We hope none of these resonate with you, but if they did, hopefully you now feel better equipped to reach your goals of having fabulous, glowing skin!  For further advice on how to have the complexion you have always wanted, call us!  We would love to coach you through to having the radiance you have always wanted!


(403) 287-1477


12 Months of Skin Care: The Year You Start Taking Care of Your Skin

January is a VERY rewarding month for us at SkinScience, for lots of reasons.  But the two reasons that stand out as unique to January are two types of visits we see more  of in January:


1)New Years Resolutioners

New clients coming in because they have made a new year resolution to take care of their skin


2) Returning Resolutioners

Clients coming in for their 12 month follow up from the previous January, following up on their new year resolution from last year.


The New Years’ Resolutioners

Every January, we get a number of new clients who have made it their resolution to take care of their skin.  Many of you don’t know where to begin, others of you have tried before, but had little success so are looking for coaching.  Either way, it exciting for us to be the launching point for your individual resolutions. It’s exciting for us to be front row center as you learn to take care of yourself and invest in you, then see the rewards.


Rewards come in many forms, we see two most frequently.  We see the reward of a client with glowing, healthy skin and we see the reward of the client that has grown emotionally because they have taken the time to invest in themselves.


Our initial consultation is designed to educate you, inform you of how your skin functions and set you up with a routine at home that will give your skin the ingredients that it needs. We try hard to listen to what your individual concerns are, but also listen to the individual that is you. Listen to what your life is like, what is realistic for you.  The plan we create needs to fit your life as well as your skin. Small things can impact your long-term success, things like working night shifts, running after small children, travel etc. We take the time to really listen to all these little things so we can find your recipe for success.


Last Years Resolutioners Return

This one is so exciting for very different reasons!  January is also the month that those of you that started this journey with SkinScience a year ago are returning for your 12-month follow-up.  This is where real, long term changes in your skin, changes that will last, can be seen.


When clients come in during that first consultation, one of the questions often is asked is “How long until I see results?” Most people will start to see results relatively quickly, around 6 weeks.  But at 6 weeks, you are only seeing the beginnings of what is to come.  A full 12 months spent investing in your skin, and in yourself, is when you will see some deep-down changes – especially if you have paired your skin care with some in clinic treatments.


The 1 year follow up is awesome.  We get to see how much your skin has improved.  We get to discuss what worked for you and what was a challenge.  We get to discuss which treatments you liked the best and which ones you felt made the most difference, as well as plan for the future.


If you are seeking one on one skin coaching, give us a call!  We would love to coach you into having healthier, more radiant skin!


(403) 287-1477