Feel like you've been hearing a series of letters rather than actual descriptors attached to the newest skincare products? You're not crazy: You've just been caught up in the swarm of "alphabet creams." BB, CC, and now DD creams first gained popularity in Korea, and have made similar waves stateside. But what do all those letters stand for, and what do these creams actually do? Dr. Rebecca Baxt is a board certified NYC dermatologist. She states that, “BB, CC, or any alphabet soup creams can be excellent all in one products for some women, but for many companies, the labels are just marketing. Check the active ingredients. Does it have a sunscreen? What is the SPF? Is it at least a 20 or 30 SPF? If your BB, CC, or any other over the counter cream is not working for you, seek help with a great Board Certified Dermatologist to solve your skin issues. They may be more complicated than just the ABC's! "
Board Certified NYC area dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt decodes it all.
How BB Creams Began
BB creams are short for beauty balms or blemish balms. They were first developed in Germany by a dermatologist who wanted a single cream that would protect skin and provide coverage after laser treatments. The all-in-one formulation became a sensation in South Korea and then spread throughout Asia. "The average woman in Asia goes through seven different steps taking care of her skin," says Dr. Baxt.
The BB Boom
BB creams started hitting U.S. store shelves in the spring of 2011. Today, almost every major beauty company has a BB cream, from drugstore brands that cost under $10 to high-end department-store lines that may be as costly as $100 or more, as well as lines that are only sold at spas or in doctors' offices. More are on their way. The NPD Group, a market research group, found that although only 2% of beauty shoppers have purchased a BB cream, nearly 4 in 5 of those who have, say they'll buy the product again.
What BB Creams Do
Many BB creams offer effective sun protection, with broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, the American Academy of Dermatology's recommendation for daily use. What's more, BB creams generally contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide, physical sun blocks that have some built-in water-resistant properties, Baxt says.
When it comes to skin treatment, you can find BB creams that contain:
•Anti-aging components, including peptides and antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, and C
•Moisturizing workhorses like hyaluronic acid and glycerin
•Ingredients such as licorice and arbutin that help even out skin tone
•Light-reflecting mica to give skin a luminous finish
•Silicone-based ingredients, such as dimethicone, that help smooth the skin, acting much like a foundation primer does
The Limitations of BB Creams
For all its benefits, if you expect a BB cream to be a miracle in a tube, you might be disappointed.
What is it? Packed to the gills with vitamins C and E, complexion corrector cream is similar to BB cream, but focuses on color correction.
What it does: Lighter than a BB cream, CC cream's primary purpose is to correct color-related skin issues, such as sallowness or redness. Like BB cream, it has SPF as well (number varies by brand).
How to use it: If you're acne-prone, have dull skin, dark spots or constant redness, CC cream is for you.
How it differs: Use CC cream to help with redness, acne, dark spots, sallowness and more. It's also lighter than BB cream!
DD Creams: What are they? Fresh to the alphabet cream craze, DD creams, or "dynamic do-all" are a super cream: They combine the power and benefits of both BB and CC creams. However, their primary focus is anti-aging.
What it does: The anti-aging specialty of the cream works to diminish wrinkles and fine lines throughout use. Additionally, DD cream will balance skin tone and protect the most sensitive areas of your skin.
How to use it: Supposedly, you'll really see improvements in your skin with continued use, so use often and incorporate it into your daily routine!
How it differs: DD cream's strongest selling point is their anti-aging benefits. If you're looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, this cream is the cream for you.
At the end of the day, each category overlaps to the point where the differentiation is almost non-existent. The upside is they are all great products that can be very beneficial for the skin. The downside is sorting through the many varieties to determine which would work better for you. (This just in: We now have a "GG" cream)
Where do you start? If discoloration is your primary concern then start with CC creams, because that’s their claim to fame so you will more than likely find a product that contains skin-brightening ingredients such as arbutin or daisy flower extract. If fine lines and wrinkles are the issue, then look for an alphabet cream full of ingredients like retinol, firming peptides or adenosine. If your skin is oily, then look for an alphabet cream that controls oil and has a lightweight texture.
About Rebecca Baxt, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.D.
Rebecca Baxt, MD, MBA, FAAD is a Board Certified Dermatologist specializing in both cosmetic and general dermatology for adults and children. Attending Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Baxt graduated Summa Cum Laude Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English Literature. She continued her studies at the University of Pennsylvania for medical school and completed an internship in Internal Medicine. She also obtained an MBA from the Wharton School of Management in Health Care administration.
Upon graduation, she moved to New York to train in Dermatology at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, where she was a chief resident and the recipient of the Morris Leider award for excellence in patient care. She continues to teach Dermatology at NYU where she is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology. She joined her parents at Baxt Cosmedical in 2000 in Paramus, New Jersey and most recently opened an office on Madison Avenue in New York in 2012. She is a nationally recognized certified Allergan Botox, Juvederm and Voluma trainer, and was part of the Voluma launch faculty in 2013. Dr. Baxt is on staff at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood NJ, as well as Bellevue Hospital in NY. She also volunteers at Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative in Hackensack in the Dermatology clinic.
Dr. Rebecca Baxt has been voted a Top Doctor for Dermatology in Bergen County, New Jersey for 2012, 2013, 2014 by her peers. She lectures throughout the country on treatment of acne and acne scars and has been on faculty for the ASDS and ASLMS meetings. Dr. Rebecca Baxt maintains many society affiliations. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, New Jersey State Medical Society, Bergen County Medical Society, and the Dermatological Society of Greater New York, as well as the American Medical Association. She is a member of the Skin Cancer Foundation, and always volunteers free skin cancer screenings yearly.
Dr. Rebecca Baxt treats both adults and children, and specializes in cosmetic consultations and procedures. She also has a particular interest in acne and rosacea. She performs Botox injections, Chemical peels, Intense Pulsed Light Photorejuvenation/Photofacial procedures, Isolaz Acne Treatments, Laser Hair Removal, Facial Filler injectables (Juvederm, Restylane, Perlane, Sculptra, etc.), Leg Vein injections, Smooth beam Laser, Photodynamic Therapy, Vbeam Laser, Fraxel Laser resurfacing and Ultherapy. She treats all skin conditions and she performs Skin Cancer screenings and treatments.
For more information, please visit www.cosmedical.com.