welcome to SKINCARMA!

These are the musings of a skincare junkie + writer + brand guru with 25+ years of product wisdom put into action to demystify skin care. 

You can change your skin’s destiny.™


I’m brimming with dust. No, I’m not dead inside, I’m packing for my move to Brooklyn in ten days! The whole thing came together so quickly. But it was time. And though I thought I’d make the move years sooner, it was meant to happen now. In fact, the new Sky Pad is atop the first luxury residential tower to go up in Downtown Brooklyn more than ten years ago. When it first opened, my friends and I would joke that I should move there. I guess the fact that it took ten years negates any premise that it all happened so fast. This is another glaring lesson that the Universe presents you with challenges and opportunities on its time, not yours.

Nearly as important as finding the right living space for Orpheus and me was finding good pizza nearby! What would Friday nights in the Sky Pad BK be without a delicious, piping hot pizza pie? Honestly, I didn’t have too many mandatories. There were really only three. First, was a bright, sunny, south-facing apartment that I knew Orpheus would love. He bathes himself in sunlight as much as possible and a south-facing apartment means there will be constant sun. (All the more reason why I always have sunscreen on.) And, great sunlight is important for the Skincarma product pix, too! Dark, cloudy, sunless days make the worst backdrop for anything but a charcoal mask. Next, I needed to have a gym in the building or very close by (like right next door).

Will Pipitone’s be my fave pizza on a Friday night?

Will Pipitone’s be my fave pizza on a Friday night?

Last was the was the pizza. Hey, it may not be the most important thing to consider in a move, but a good pizzeria is life itself for a New York Italian. And, how fortuitous that there are literally two classic “Brooklyn Italian” pizzerias up the block from the new building. Funny, they’re even next door to one another. As crazy as that sounds, I know it’s fine because they both have their fans.

Will Luv N Oven be my fave pizza on a Friday night?

Will Luv N Oven be my fave pizza on a Friday night?

New Yorkers are very territorial about their pizza. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me where the “best pizza in New York City” is. I haven’t tried them all, but I know my New York pizza! So the battle of the two adjacent Brooklyn pizzerias begins in just over a week. I’ll be sure to report back.

Umm, isn’t this a blog about skin care?

Yes! Since this isn’t a blog about food, let me get back to the skin care.

Serious dermatologist brand Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare makes some of the best skincare products on the consumer market. I’ve long been a fan of three in particular that remain a part of my regular skincare regimen. The Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 has been a sunscreen staple for at least three years now. Maybe four. It was the first really well-formulated mineral sunscreen I came across. It’s simply an outstanding formula that leaves no discernible white cast — at least on my light skin. And, I recently reviewed the Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum here. Because it’s got a gel-like texture, you can use it closer to your eye area without worrying it’s going to seep into your eyes.


But, the Dr. Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster is a true go-to. I use it every single day as my Hyaluronic Acid serum applied at the outset of my multi-serum skincare routine. Look, I’ve tried dozens of HA serums over the years. Some are thicker and pulpier with a higher molecular weight, meaning they don’t penetrate the skin barrier as well to carry the Hyaluronic Acid as deep into the skin as possible. You need Hyaluronic Acid to perform its miraculous function as a humectant that seals and holds water in the skin layers. Thinner, more watery HA serums can penetrate more deeply and hold more water throughout the skin’s layers. That’s why this one is a fave. It’s formulated with a low-molecular Hyaluronic Acid and absorbs instantly. It’s also more easily layered in the morning when time is more tight. I reviewed it in my recent blog about my whole AM regimen here.


Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel

What makes Dr. Gross’ skin care products stand apart is that they’re conceived and formulated by a dermatologist who knows what skin needs — and how to deliver that effectively. Dr. Gross’ new Clinical Grade range elevates the formula potency to more closely mimic the kinds of treatments that you’d expect to get at the derm. The new Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel is a powerful, dual-phase liquid peel treatment that features a hearty concoction of Alpha Hydroxy Acids that effectively resurface the top layer of the skin.


In fact, a close look at the ingredient lists of the two distinct products in the RLP treatment tells me this is one of the most powerful resurfacing peels on the market. As I recall, there are six AHAs used in skin care — and all six are included in the phase one serum at high levels. They are Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid, and Tartaric Acid. Dr. Gross didn’t stop there. In addition to these tried-and-true resurfacing AHAs, there are a slew of other acids, many of which I’m familiar with, many I’m not all that hip to — including Salicylic Acid, Phytic Acid, Pyruvic Acid, Gallic Acid, Ellagic Acid, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, and Linoleic Acid.

This is an acid powerhouse!

So, how do you manage the new RLP system without burning your face off? Hey, that’s a very real possibility with these serious at-home treatments. As with all AHA resurfacing products, I always follow the directions to a tee — and often leave them on for less than the recommended amount of time at first.


Here, Dr. Gross recommends applying step one, the peeling serum, with a cotton pad and leaving on for two minutes. I closely monitored my skin’s reaction — as you can see in my YouTube video here. There was quite a bit of, let’s say, warmth — especially on my forehead. That’s the most sensitive part of my face and the area I was most concerned about. I had shaven barely an hour earlier so I avoided the lower part of my face this time. But, I did swipe the serum over my neck. My biggest skincare regret is not taking better care of my neck all these years. Don’t make the same mistake I did. You’ll pay for it later!

After two minutes, I was ready to deactivate the acids. Doing so is as simple as dispensing the serum in step two on a fresh cotton pad and swiping over all the same areas. The step two formula contains a slew of common irritation soothers including Centella Asiatica Extract, Colloidal Oatmeal, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) and Glycerin. It really did the trick. The relief was nearly instantaneous.


How effective is the new Dr. Gross Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel? Put it this way, it took all of five minutes for me to smooth out and ignite my complexion!

The product clinicals speak for themselves:

Clinical Results: In a clinical study after just 2 weeks: 
- 100% of subjects showed improvement in skin radiance 
- 95% of subjects showed improvement in skin texture 
- 83% of subjects showed improvement in the appearance of pores

I can’t wait to try it again — this time for a bit longer, maybe three minutes. But I’m afraid it will have to wait until Orpheus and I get to Brooklyn.

Back to packing…


Someone still hasn’t started packing.

Someone still hasn’t started packing.



The Ingredient List of the Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel, Step One:

Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycolic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Bromelain, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid, Phytic Acid, Pyruvic Acid, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Tartaric Acid, Gallic Acid, Ellagic Acid, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate, Hexylresorcinol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Soy Isoflavones, Copper PCA, Zinc PCA, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Glycerin, Lecithin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Citrate, Polysorbate 20, Menthyl Lactate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate. 

The Ingredient List of the Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel, Step Two:

Water, Polysorbate 20, Methyl Gluceth-20, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Centella Asiatica Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Colloidal Oatmeal, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ubiquinone, Resveratrol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Copper PCA, Sodium PCA, Zinc PCA, Octoxynol-9, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.