Advanced Skin Care


I have never truly suffered from acne but I have also never been very confident about my skin. If I am lucky, I go a week or two without giving it much thought…but that is rare. Short of going on Accutane (which I’ve considered), I’ve tried everything, including minocycline (which I DO NOT recommend) and ProActiv. I have also seen half a dozen dermatologists and many more facialists. I am willing to spend money on my skin, but not for things that don’t work. For the past year or so, my friend Stella Schnabel repeatedly advised me to see her “lady.” I was tired of being disappointed in my skin and afraid to hit another (expensive) dead end. After seeing Stella’s own complexion dramatically improve (actually, she had me at “My facialist, Isabelle, did Jacqueline Onassis”)—and with an eye towards my impending wedding—I decided the time had come to head uptown to Advanced Skin Care and really get a handle on things.

I knew I was in good hands after my first consultation. Anna, Isabelle’s colleague and a co-owner, recognized several problems with my skin—linked to medical conditions that I hadn’t even told her about. My liver function is sluggish for someone my age (due to a pretty bad eating disorder suffered during my teen years). I also have wacky hormone levels due to an ovarian cyst (I had it removed late last year). These issues, combined with over-active oil glands and moderate stress levels, were causing my pores to clog and become inflamed. This happens very easily, and it has been, and will continue to be, a slightly uphill battle. One Anna and I are willing to fight.

Now, after five facials over six months, my skin is an entirely different story. By the date of my wedding, over Easter weekend, I looked good and felt like I’d finally gotten a handle on things.

More than anything, Anna helped me understand my skin: why it acts out, how to prevent problems, and what to do when they do occur (without being aggressive). For example, because of my liver issue, Accutane would do way more harm than good for me. Anna and I have a long-term plan, a big part of which is consistently taking probiotics. I take Natren Healthy Trinity capsules, available at Whole Foods. What else?

Day and night, I clean my face with Bioderma Crealine H2o Ultra-mild Non-rinse Face and Eyes Cleanser—the only thing I kept from my previous regime. At night, I follow with the Epicuren Clarify Cleanser. I also take CosMedix Clarity pills, morning and evening.

I moisturize, day and night, with a combination of Epicuren creams; I mix a few together based on how my skin is feeling. If my skin is dry, I use the Colostrum Cream. I always use lots of the Brazilian Propolis Lotion because it is not only moisturizing but anti-inflammatory, too. In the past, if my skin was oily, I would refrain from using any cream at all, which apparently is a huge mistake because the oil is a sign that the skin is trying to correct itself.

In the morning, I use Epicuren’s Zinc Oxide Sunscreen, which actually works as a moisturizer on its own. And throughout the day, I spray myself with Osmosis Clear Facial Conditioner; I keep it in my handbag.

Twice a week, I use the Knutek Omega Peel to exfoliate. This product is magic: you put it on as a gel and, in 30 seconds, it turns to liquid. Then you scrub it off with your fingers in circular motions and watch as all the dead skin comes off.

As needed, I use the Epicuren Bulgaricum Probiotic Mask Powder, which is a topical probiotic mask—you mix the powder with Epicuren Aloe Vera Calming Gel and it becomes a paste. It dries on your skin after about ten minutes and then you wash it off. Easy. If I do get a blemish, I use Epicurean’s Drying Lotion.

It may look like a lot of work on paper, but there is a lot of freedom within my regime. And when I travel, I simplify. None of these products—save the Colostrum Cream, which I don’t use every day—are too terribly expensive and they never seem to run out at the same time, which is helpful.

I recently had my makeup done by Aaron de Mey (lucky me) and he immediately noticed the improvement. Turns out he is also a client at Advanced Skin Care. Aaron was sent there by his friend, the model Trish Goff. Edita Vilkeviciute, Karolina Kurkova, Maryna Linchuk, and Emma Watson also frequent the quiet midtown offices. The so-called "spa" looks more like a doctor’s office, which I find reassuring—I don’t need to be pampered, just fix me! That said, manicures, waxing, laser hair-removal, body wraps, and massage are all on offer. And I will say Isabelle does a mean eyebrow wax.

Floored with my own results, I sat down with Advance Skin Care founders Anna Antal and Isabelle Anton for a chat about how their practice came to be.

Anna: I am from Transylvania, where skincare was an excellent profession. I studied at the Anna Aslan Institute in Bucharest and I came to the US as a political refugee in 1981.

Isabelle: I am Georgian. My grandmother had a pharmacy where she made all kinds of products: creams, lipsticks, rose oil, everything. During the Bolshevik Revolution, they became poor and she could no longer have her beauty products sent from France. When I went to University, I studied chemistry. But when I came to the US, my degree didn’t count—this was in 1977—so I decided to go into skincare. I got my license and started working at Georgette Klinger. I worked there for 9 years, and that is where I met Anna. My clients in the '80s included Jacqueline Onassis. She always came with her big scarf…so elegant and quiet. She always brought books for my kids.

Anna: Georgette only hired Eastern European aestheticians. She was from Czechoslovakia and she really brought the Eastern European skin care approach to the US. I think our aesthetic and approach came from our time with Klinger…but skincare has changed a lot since then. In the past five years even…came, for example, 'skinceuticals.' There has been so much research and development in the industry to create products that actually change the physiology of the skin. In the Klinger days, everything was topical. Now, they are going beyond skin deep. We can regulate skin aging from the inside. Like the Clarity pills I gave you.

Everything you see here in this case is a 'skinceutical.' They create a visible difference in your skin—not just moisturization but transformation. And all anyone talks about now is anti-aging. Now, we have two kinds—the internal aging on a cellular level and then environmental causes. Here, we emphasize tackling both. The first step is always to clean the skin regularly. We remove the toxins, so that all of the active ingredients we use can penetrate much better. Anyway, things are so different than they were when Isabelle and I started. But this is why I called our company Advanced Skin Care. I am always reading, going to conferences, staying on top of the new technologies. When we got together, the day spa industry was just rising up. We were really one of the first... Despite our age, we know that you cannot exist in this industry if you don’t keep up.

Isabelle: But we are always adding, not replacing. Keeping what we already know from all these years about the skin.

Anna: Our priority is to find the root of the problem. We are changing the physiology of the skin…cell function. And this is how you tackle aging, intrinsically and extrinsically.

Isabelle: I have very dry skin myself. But even in my age, I am producing my own oils because I take a lot of supplements to aid this.

Anna: Diet is also very important. There is a test, the Alcat test, which can tell you which foods are causing irritation/inflamation. We know that aging is inflammation in the mitochondria. So now I know, having taken the test, that gluten is not good for me. Rosacea, for example, is generally a dietary issue. People with this problem, I advise to avoid irritants such as caffeine and spicy foods.

Isabelle: Irish people often have this problem. We also advise them to keep everything at room temperature, even their showers. Nothing acidic. Nothing too hot or too cold.

Anna: A lot of the skincare brands we use here are focused on carriers. For example, we carry Osmosis which uses Zinc Finger Technology. Using this technology, they can actually penetrate very deeply into the second layer of the skin. If people start using products like this early on, and they have the financial capability to keep using them, they will produce more collagen on their own and age more slowly.

Me: But I must say that even within my budget, you have changed my skin drastically in three sessions over 12 weeks. I have spent about $200 each time.

Anna: In your case, we are tackling oily skin and that is less expensive to treat. Because you have oily skin, you will actually have a better time with aging. But we have skin lines here for any condition.

Isabelle: We have always used Epicuren, which is based on enzymes. We've been using it since 1992.

Me: What do you think of Accutane?

Isabelle: Well, it is being widely recalled. Now they are really only giving it to males. It has very serious side effects. And we see people who use it and then, a few years later, the problem returns. We try to avoid this approach.

Anna: Our approach is also deeply customized.

Isabelle: I could never tell you what kind of facial you will need over the phone. And each time you come back, your facial will be slightly different.

—Rachel Chandler Guinness

 [1] Tom Guinness and Rachel Chandler Guinness; [2] Rachel Chandler Guinness and Haider Ackermann; [3, 4] Advanced Skin Care photographed by Rachel Chandler Guinness. Advanced Skin Care is located at 140 West 57th Street, Suite 3C, New York, NY 10019, (212) 758-8867.

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  • Guest

    That wedding cake! Absolutely fabulous. Makes a girl want to renew her vows...

  • Lolita

    This was incredibly helpful! I'm trying to deal with my acne at the moment, which has flared to epic proportions, and I'm happy to see this site covering this common issue- not everyone has picture perfect skin like those covered in most of your interviews!

  • erika stalder

    Finally, some Epicuren love on ITG!

  • Isabe

    Wait, so Irish people should avoid anything too hot or too cold, or only Irish people with rosacea? :S

    • advanced skin care day spa

      everyone should avoid anything that is too hot or too cold and too spicy as well !!!!! especially someone who has fair complexion .....

  • Cay

    Yay! Thank you for covering this! I adore this website, but sometimes it is hard when it is article after article about French girls who are like "I have good skin because I don't wear makeup." Some of us can't really get away without foundation and/or concealer (or at least feel comfortable about it). It's nice to know that there are others who struggle with skin too.

    • Lily

      Oh dear, I can totally relate. I'm french but I do struggle with skin problems too and can't for the life of me go out without some concealer and foundation on. The french girls featured on here with so called "perfect skin" are nothing but liars. They're all priviledged women who have the financial means to spoil themselves with high end aesthetic procedures. So YES you can get away with foundation and the likes when you splurge $ 500 every month on mesolift or hyaluronic acid injections (just to name a few). Gah ! *rant OFF* ^^

  • Michelle

    Love the idea of internally resolving skin probs. I need to do the test they mention. I do take a supplement designed by a naturopath, "Vitanica: Skin Assist," which I like. I am really curious about the supplement they sell-- I couldn't find the ingredients on their website.

  • beautyidealist

    I really wish I had found them when I was suffering from really bad acne. It's refreshing to hear professionals actually say they try to avoid Accutane when all of my previous dermatologists put me on it right away (I did multiple rounds and have terrible memories of bone/joint pain, weight gain, nosebleeds, monthly blood work, etc.) so yes reading this makes me a little sad that I didn't find them because I was more than open to making lifestyle changes if it would alleviate my acne.

  • Dana

    Ah! If Rachel is possibly reading this it would be so helpful! I just stopped minocycline after 4 weeks because it--according to urgent care--may have induced lupus in my body. I was taking it for my skin and my joints blew up like balloons. Crazy! I would love to know if she stopped taking it for similar reasons.

  • katie chambers

    I've been on minocycline on and off over the years(currently on), and have had no trouble with it. What's she referring to, does anyone know?

    • Kattttt

      She replied to the comment above!

  • Sarah

    Yes! I just "love" how facialists love to ignore scientific facts.

    Plus, Accutane is teratogenic, so a woman really needs to be on a birth control pill.

  • freudianslippers

    as a pro-choice feminist i have no idea what you are talking about (although i do agree that the iPledge thing is a bit much). also, referring to "males" tends to refer to their biological sex, which is relevant here in terms of medication, rather than their gender. i actually appreciated very much the appropriate use of the term here.

  • Anne

    This is very wrong.

    "Following numerous reports of adverse events – and after doctors noted potential dangers with the drug and the FDA issued a black-box warning, Roche recalled Accutane in 2009"

    The iPledge thing was a result of an effort to prevent the very real risk of birth defects. "In fact, among Accutane-exposed pregnancies, 42 percent of infants suffer from birth defects."

    • lady_ann_sercombe

      please. is a medical litigators' site. they provide no non-conjectural source for the claim that accutane was recalled, and try to bury the fact that, by roche's own account, "the decision was not related to safety concerns but was an economic decision based on generic brands of the medication taking over the market." why should we believe otherwise? evidence, please.

      peep the site's 'about' page. it aims to facilitate your medical lawsuit, nothing more. it is an artifact of a venal, fact-free industry.

      of course accutane causes birth defects. the problem is, iPLedge doesn't work, and it's insulting and invasive for women, as well as a likely obstacle to access for uninsured people who cannot afford monthly blood tests or an extra prescription. (or, commonly, women who are simply deemed to be 'of child-bearing age' by doctors.) people have gotten pregnant on accutane at pretty steady rates, since the early 1980s; do a nytimes search, if you have access. "The federal government has undertaken more than 40 efforts over the last 23 years to prevent women from becoming pregnant while taking Accutane...Nothing has worked."

      • Sarah

        Just because nothing has worked doesn't mean the medical industry shouldn't try. iPledge is a means of education to most women. Just because you are very educated on this topic doesn't mean a vast majority of the general public is. I've seen what a lack of education can do to a woman and I think it's great that they try so hard to regulate the use of a potentially very harmful drug.

        • lady_ann_sercombe

          agreed - solid public education about how not to become pregnant, and widely-available, subsidized birth control are wonderful things, just great. they would make anything along the lines of iPledge unnecessary, and in fact would empower all u.s. women, not just those on accutane. but oddly enough, the dude responsible for iPledge has fought tooth and nail against these things, in any context other than iPledge, for most of his political career. it's worth thinking about the differences between education and initiatives meant to shame people and needlessly complicate their medical decisions.

  • YV

    This was very helpful! And I loved that I don't know a single brand mentioned in this article apart from Crealine. So tired of hearing about same, often toxic, hyped skincare products. Now where do I get Epicuren in Europe online?

    PS: Skincare and dermatology in The Czech Republic is a joke. I am still recovering from laser treatment (just skin defects) I did 3 months ago. The dermatologist missed three times! With a laser.

    • rachel

      Advanced skincare ships worldwide.

    • murt

      Epicuren is often available at spas and esthetician's offices - I buy their sunblock - which is very good - at a local spa.

  • Sarah

    You need to "pledge" to remain abstinent because Accutane will cause serious birth defects if you become pregnant and the pharmaceutical company wants you to be very aware of this for good reasons. It would be morally irresponsible for them to allow anyone not taking birth control to use this product because of the horrible consequences it has on a fetus.

    credentials: I'll be a RN in two months specializing in Labor & Delivery.

    • Kallie, Happy Honey & Lark

      No, you pledge to not get pregnant (not abstinent) while on the medication because of the side effects it would potentially have on a fetus.

      Also, have you ever seen the packet of pills? Its hilarious how many warning labels say "DO NOT GET PREGNANT" including hilarious little pictures of babys in red circles with x's through them like a no-smoking sign. They do their due diligence in warning you about the side effects. iPledge is just COMPLETE anti-abortion crap and its an incredibly offensive/shady website.

      credentials: former Accutane (Claravis) taker and female

    • beeswaxnoneofyour

      This is absolutely right. Way back in 1999 I considered Accutane for the first time (didn't do it) and was told this by my derm at the time - it was considered to harmful to a potential fetus that I would have been prescribed birth control and told to use a secondary source as well (condoms). Signing any paperwork to the effect of saying I was following this medical advice was due to potential legal comeback on the doctor should the patient decide it was ok to get pregnant during a course than any abstinence nonsense. When I considered it again the 2nd time (didn't do it, more than happy with topical version results), my UK derm merely stressed the potential effects on a fetus and was happy to believe that we did not want children and this was a longtime agreed decision, but would prescribe me additional birth control if needed if I decided to go the oral Accutane route.

    • Sarah

      My bad, I meant to say you have to pledge to not get pregnant. Slip of words in a hastily typed comment.

  • Aubrey Green

    I took accutane twice - accutane does require that woman use birth control (two forms - the pill and which ever other method you choose to use, preferably condoms), they also require a blood test every month to confirm that you are in fact not pregnant, cause as the medication explains in detail on the package "causes birth defects" hence the need for birth control. There have also been cases of liver damage and possible other issues within your internal system - I believe and don't quote me and freak out, but accutane includes a very high dose of vitamin A and even vitamins in a high dose are toxic - Clearly, I am proof that your acne can in fact come back after one round, this is dependent on each person's skin and hormones and not necessarily true for everyone. I personally haven't encountered any negative adverse effects and I was also lucky enough to not get the terrible 'normal' side effects while on the medication. Also, your dermatologist typically will not just prescribe accutane as the first option, it is a last resort option - you will have to go through other antibiotics and topical creams - which can be a process of up to 6 months - it might not be a bad thing to try other remedies first, such as in the post. Had I been more informed about other skin care options and treatments, such that are mentioned in this post, I would have been willing to try it - but, that doesn't mean I wouldn't take accutane again, g-d forbid I get really bad acne(again), if the other form of help didn't work. When you have really severe acne, I think the majority of the world is wiling to do ANYTHING to make it just go away - I don't think accutane, or other forms of antibiotics are the best option, but if it works, it works. Also, I will say that eating right and avoiding, or eliminating certain foods, such as gluten and diary are very helpful - these woman aren't wrong, or not looking at the scientific facts - it's that they don't think that is the best option to take, that's what I am taking away from this anyway -

    • Kallie, Happy Honey & Lark

      Actually they make males have a monthly blood test for the vitamin-A liver/internals connection you point out. They could just let women do a pee-on-a-stick test if it was only about pregnancy.

      • Aubrey Green

        The pee-on-a-stick test can be inaccurate, that's why they do the blood test. My point wasn't to say that it is only about pregnancy - I also didn't suggest that it couldn't/wouldn't cause liver damage. That is why I personally think it should be a last resort medicine to treat acne, which I also stated.Thank you for clarifying that men also have to take a blood test - this wasn't the case when I took accutane.

  • Prenouveau

    I took Accutane in the early 2000s, and I had no adverse effects, but the acne came back because it was hormonal. What finally helped me was Spironolactone. If you have cystic acne I think it's rare for topical treatments to really make a difference. I used to get so frustrated as a teen because I had friends who didn't even wash their faces and had perfect skin while I was using Retin-A and Clindamycin and still breaking out. I would always choose to see a dermatologist over a facialist for severe acne.

    • murt

      Just curious if you've had any side effects with Spironolactone - do you take it long term? I'm considering taking it - not for acne, but for hair loss. Thanks!

      • Prenouveau

        None at all, it just cleared up my skin. I took it for a couple years. If you're female I believe you have to take birth control with it. I didn't know it worked for hair loss too.

  • Sayaka

    Has anyone tried Osmosis? -looking into adopting a new skin care line and would love some feedback! Thank you :)

    • advanced skin care day spa

      hello Sayaka

      Osmosis is an exceptional product line and we've had excellent results. but we strongly suggest to have a consultation first. Remember! does not matter how good the line is if it is not the right line for you not only it will not work , it actually can harm you ..... We do offer consultations at our spa (free of charge) by Estheticians that are certified by the company

      We hope this helps

    • alicia

      Sayaka, I am an esthetician working with the Osmosis line in my spa in LA. And I can vouch for how amazing they work--but it is important to get a rec from someone face to face (trying to choose for yourself from the website is quite a challenge). The products are very active because they utilize a pharmaceutical delivery system that the majority of skincare lines dont except for a few (Arcona, CosMedix, Lotus Moon come to mind). Wherever you are located in the US or Canada, you can use their website ( to locate the closest skin center to you using their products. Best of luck

  • Holly

    Posted just in time! I'm making a trip to the dermatologist tomorrow and was considering asking them about minocycline. I also received an e-mail yesterday from Gunilla of Sweden (huge fan of the Lerosett Organic Clay Treatment) about their ClearPoint Clear Skin Supplements. I decided to order the supplement in place of the minocycline. So glad I read this... it just confirmed my gut feeling not to ask about minocycline!

    • Ms. Minnow

      I think it's great to try more natural stuff first but minocycline really did work for me. If you just need to break the cycle to get on top of things and then improve your skin care routine then anti-biotics can be very helpful.
      Do listen to your doctor. They will know what's best.

    • Roxana Farahmand

      Holly -

      I tried minocycline (in combination with spironolactone) and the different was day and night. Within a couple of days, all my cysts were gone (although they were noticeably gone after spiro, there were still many persistent/pesky ones that mino cleared).

      I've been on it for several months now and have had no noticeable side effects. What I should mention, as most people in this comments section have, is that it really depends on the person and it may no work for you. ALL medications have potential side effects, and all bodies are different, so it is always possible to have an adverse reaction or not have the medication work.

      That being said, minocycline is often given in combination with sprionolactone to women instead of accutane because hormones - and not necessarily overproducing oil - have often been cited in women as the reason for acne. Spiro works by lowering the amount of androgens in the body. Just like accutane, it may not work, or it may cause the acne to come back. I realize that once I stop mino or spiro my acne may come back, and that scares me. That all being said, I think it is worth giving mino a try. It has literally changed my face in a way I didn't think was possible after nearly five years of struggling with severe cystic acne. I hope it works for you!!

      PS - Gunilla worked great the first week for me, then stopped being effective. I hope it works for you!

  • Genevieve

    I love Into the Gloss but I'm going to be a little critical here. It
    would be nice to see less of the beauty routines of the wildly
    overprivileged, and more diversity--of race, age, habits, geography,
    occupation, etc. And I don't mean 20-year-old "students" who live off
    trust funds or various species of fashion and entertainment world
    professionals either. I liked it when other types of beautiful people
    were featured. Remember the conch fishery woman who barely washed her
    face? And the gorgeous scientist who never wore foundation? It is nice
    to learn about the beauty habits of people who have a ton of money and
    time to give to their appearance, but, to me, more interesting to know
    about the many tricks and tips and idiosyncrasies of people for whom beauty is a more incidental (though still important) issue, and who approach it very differently.

    • Emily

      Amen sister!

      And as some other posters mentioned - Isabelle is completely wrong
      about Accutane being recalled. The generic medication (isotretinoin)
      is currently sold under several other brand names - Claravis, Sotret
      and several others. Isotretinoin is a retinoid compound just like
      Retin A (also on the market). Both Retin A and isotretinoin are highly
      teratogenic (meaning the lead to birth defects), hence they are
      classified by the FDA as Pregnancy Category X (along with numerous
      other medications, the statins being one of them). The iPledge program
      is in place to ensure that both women AND men are made aware each and
      every time the pick up a prescription for isotretinoin that if they
      were to get pregnant, it would lead to a baby born with potentially
      severe birth defects. As with so many things in life (periods, labor
      and delivery, etc), women have it a bit harder than men when it comes
      to iPledge. Men are required to agree to wear a condom during sexual
      intercourse or abstain completely. Women are required to use TWO forms
      of contraception - a condom on their partner and birth control, or
      abstain completely. The condom is needed as a back up method because
      birth control is not 100% effective. The only reason men aren't
      required to use two contraceptive forms is because there is currently
      no birth control pill for men.

      Credibility: I'm a pharmacist!

    • maiastras

      The article addresses the greater concern of what our skin truly reflects, but the 200 USD per not something I would personally deem as cheap. I guess the examples of the no-foundation scientist and bare bones beauty Ph.D. student are a bit extreme in that these women are quite minimalist, but I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of people on a pretty tight budget that manage to have a very colorful engagement with their beauty regime.

      One thing that we need to remember about ITG though, is that it is meant to reveal the behind-the-scenes of the a very glamorous industry. Given that, I see this article as a way in which we can understand how these immigrant women from Eastern Europe established a beauty practice in the United States. I think that it's fascinating that Anna who was a professional chemist in her country of origin found skincare as a way to build her career in a new country. Perhaps it's important to see that it's not just the perspective of the consumer that is represented here.

      • Genevieve

        Thanks, that is a really interesting point.

    • Jessica

      I don't know... I sort of agree with you but I love the aspirational nature of seeing what people choose to use when money is no object and they are simply going for what really works, without being limited by budget. It's nice to see a mix of people interviewed but I don't learn as much from the "real" people interviews.

      • deb

        Assuming those people are actually paying for it and not receiving it as a celebrity freebie. Which I think it often the case. Designers, manufacturers know that if celebrities talk about their products, the rest of us will buy it. One thing I've started doing when reading about products that an actress recommends, is to flip through the magazine and see if there is an ad there featuring that actress as the model/spokesperson. On quite a few occasions, there she is! Does a number on her credibility. Still, I enjoy reading the articles. I usually make mental notes and when I start seeing the same products mentioned again and again (Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Bobbi Brown gel eye liner, Maybelline big lash, Armani foundation, Skinceutials serums), that's when I buy!

    • advanced skin care day spa

      hello Genevieve

      our spa does not only cater to rich and famous .... we work with your budget. if you go to our web store you will see that our product prices are affordable . it is very important to us that our guest leaves feeling satisfied not reaped off ......

      twice a year we participate in spaweek , where we offer several treatments for $50 each .....

      • advanced skin care day spa

        correction to my earlier comment : what i wanted to say was " it is very important to us that our guest leaves feeling satisfied not RIPPED off " .....

        (really dislike auto correct!!! )

    • Couteau

      What you're saying is that ITG shouldn't be ITG. Then, maybe you should create a beauty blog devoted to people outside the industry.

      That said, I suspect Mrs. Chandler Guinness won't be paying for her facials in the future. But we all got that anyway.

  • Dana

    Thank you so much for responding, Rachel. I agree with you completely--everyone is different, and it's important to realize the factors involved. I have heard about the yeast imbalance as well. Even though I am anticipating my skin going back to pre-antibiotic quality, I'm hoping the lupus will go away. Skincare is no joke, I guess! Thanks again.

  • Kallie, Happy Honey & Lark

    iPledge was the WORST. It was so degrading to have to go back and forth for my blood work if I forgot to take that stupid quiz where they grilled me about my birth control methods.

  • Leetoki

    Was I the only one who melted at the sight of those two gorgeous ladies? Beautiful smiles and beautiful philosophies.

  • beeswaxnoneofyour

    There is actually a topical version of Accutane that doesn't have any of the side effects connected with the pill version - the only one is redness/peeling if you overdo it - which as someone with horrible oily skin and mild but persistent adult acne, I recommend highly. I wouldn't do pill Accutane due to all the possible effects and monitoring your are meant to have during your course and as my derm said, the big problem is that it isn't a cure for a lot of people, and your problems can come back, which makes it hard for people to cope with once they have had a little success, because they're really not meant to have a 2nd course (although I have heard people do). I maintain my skin with this topical version and and mild products like Cetaphil or Avene gentle cleanser, LRP toleriane cream, and always use spf50 when going out (as the topical version means you are even more sensitive to sun when going out).

  • ITGNick

    Hi there, We certainly understand we're not doctors--this is one woman's story about her skin, and the thoughts of two well-regarded estheticians, also not doctors. I don't think it's accurate to say we publish medical info as "gospel" here. That said, we'd love a post about Accutane from a MD. Email me!

    • rachel

      I will say that Ana earned a degree in biochemistry in Transylvania but her degrees did not transfer to the US when fled. She doesn't claim to be a doctor but I feel that after decades in her field she is qualified to say she has seen adverse affects from Accutaine and other medications. Also she and I feel that my skin problems are hormonal and so Accutaine may not work for me. What upsets me is how derms (many i have seen) give blanket prescriptions. For some people it may be just the thing! I, personally, would rather go a more gentle route than harsh meds but that's just me. Also I never had acne, just problematic skin so i didn't need to do something so severe.

      • Kallie, Happy Honey & Lark

        I went to the same dermatologist for about 8 years for my acne, we tried all natural routes, meds, creams, you name it. When I hit 22 and it STILL wasn't clearing up we discussed Accutane and I did it and it worked like a dream. I've been clear for 3 years after 1 year on the drug. It wasn't a blanket prescription, it was not a decision made lightly either because of the cost and potential side effects.
        Its unfortunate that there all doctors aren't as caring and careful as mine.

  • Guest

    Agreed. Patient compliance is key. I became as close as one can be to their dermatologist. Sometimes when my skin was particularly icky I would just go cry to her, get a cortisone shot or two and let her remind me that if I followed her instructions and took my meds that it had a good chance of working. If someone has a real medical condition (acne!) they should see a doctor.

  • caitlin willard

    ok: mini-rant here. i have been an aesthetician for 6 years now and am a believer in accutane. it saved my self esteem and skin 10 years ago. YES, there are some incredibly serious side effects that come with the medication. however, i believe that it is up to each individual and their physician to decide if it is the right choice for them. i also believe in the efficacy of less invasive drugs like doxycycline and spironolactone. i do believe that with the proper skin care, diet and certain lifestyle changes skin can transform. although i believe in my knowledge base and products, i am pretty damn sure i don't have the ability to cure grade 4 acne. at that point it is in an internal issue. so no, i will not be taking some poor soul in and feeding them lies about how vitamins and all natural skincare will cure their acne. at that point, i believe you need to be seen by a dermatologist and work on things from a different angle. i am not a pill pusher, nor do i think all natural products are worthless. i am only saying that this whole attitude that medical grade skin care and drugs are the most destructive things needs to stop. people need to be educated and form their own opinions about what they want to put on their skin and in their bodies, whether it be from whole foods or prescribed by a physician. a great article as always ITG. rachel seems very informed and her skin is stunning.

  • rachel

    I am glad this got everyone talking. I decided to do the article because I couldn't believe my own results. I was also very interested in the story of Ana and Isabelle, their backgrounds, their age and how it all factors into their practice. I had seen many dermatologists in Los Angeles and New York both on and off my insurance plan and never had these kinds of results. I feel my skin has been changed from within. That said, I didn't have cystic acne or more serious issues. Just really fussy skin/pores. However I have seen EXTRAORDINARY results in other people who have gone to Ana. full disclosure they had big budgets. My treatments weren't $200 that was treatment + products (i was also happy to spend a bit more going into my wedding).

    i felt Ana really taught me about my skin and simply having this knowledge relieved my anxiety about it. Any doc i'd ever seen would suggest something or another and boot me out of their office in 10 minutes. I was trying to share something positive in my life.

    i am a doctor's daughter and I understand these women aren't doctors - but I have gotten some really bad advice from MDs.

    I hope people will get something else from this story. I like Nick's idea about doing an Accutane post!

  • Elise

    Rachel, I don't understand your opening line. Why would you consider going on accutane if you've never really had acne? What does that mean? All that I can glean from your post is that you have oily that what we're talking about? It would be helpful to have more of a sense of the skin issues you're trying to seem demure about really saying what it is you're dealing with and it helps to know what kinds of issues benefit from the products you're using.

    • cc

      Can't speak for Rachel obviously, but to offer another perspective, her opening line exactly describes how I feel about my skin: I've never had cystic acne or the kind of widespread acne where your whole face is covered, but I have had constant low-grade acne, super clogged pores, really oily skin etc. my whole life. My skin has never been clear, but I just wouldn't say I "really" have acne as a condition because there are people who do "really" have acne and they have it much worse than I do! Yet I still have considered Accutane because although my problems aren't that bad comparatively, they're still there and they just won't go away! Definitely going to look into a routine like Rachel's, would also like to know more about the specific skin issues she faces.

    • rachel

      Hey Elise,

      I just had problematic skin. "I have never truly suffered from acne but I have also never been very confident about my skin."
      It get's red easily, I get blackheads, visible pores. But not cystic acne. I considered accutane out of desperation and because I have seen people go on it who were starting out with even better skin than mine! Granted this could be because I work in fashion and people tend to be more extreme with their approach to their skin. I also really didn't mean for Accutane to be the focus of this post!
      My problem is as follows:
      "My liver function is sluggish for someone my age (due to a pretty bad eating disorder suffered during my teen years). I also have wacky hormone levels due to an ovarian cyst (I had it removed late last year). These issues, combined with over-active oil glands and moderate stress levels, were causing my pores to clog and become inflamed. This happens very easily, and it has been, and will continue to be, a slightly uphill battle."

      So what i was trying to say here is that Ana is very intuitive and was able to give me products that target my specific issues and stay within my budget.

      hope this helps!

    • Lana


  • guest

    Epicuren has changed my skin. I've suffered from acne for years. Proactiv helped a little bit for a little while. A facialist suggested Epicuren to me and I was able to visit my long distant boyfriend and attend a wedding feeling beautiful for the first time. I have extremely sensitive skin. Love love love Epicuren.

  • LGandaB

    The most exciting thing about this for me was learning that my pre-teen fashion idol- Trish Goff- was still a model. I guess this isn't exactly true as Google says she's now working as a real estate agent...

  • advanced skin care day spa

    hello Ash. here is something for you from EPICUREN

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    and has now been shown to protect and heal adults. It is not species specific,
    which means that the immunity transfer factor in Colostrum from cows can be
    easily assimilated and effective in humans. The molecular structure of the
    immune and growth factors in bovine Colostrum are very similar to those found
    in humans; therefore it can be safely consumed by humans. Epicuren Discovery Colostrum is collected from
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    process, using purely ethical and humane methods and practices. No animals are
    harmed during this process.

    • Megan

      But then they are taking something that is very imporant and temporarily available to the calves away and putting it in face cream? Right? That doesn't seem humane to me.

  • AIS

    Where is Rachel's beautiful blue dress from?

  • Charlotte

    minocycline is awful! it made my acne WORSE! Glad to hear that Epicuren works

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