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What is Skin Actives' return policy?

If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your purchase, ​Skin Actives will provide a refund of the purchased product price upon request within 15 days of order delivery. Skin Actives may require the return of the product prior to processing the refund. Refund will be processed within 48 hours of product return. Shipping charges cannot be refunded.

Who do I contact if I want to cancel my order? 

If you want to cancel your order please email or call 480-813-5633. 

What is Skin Actives' raincheck policy for coupons and deals?

If your order was placed within 5 business days of a coupon or deal being activated and that offer would have applied to your order, you may contact us to adjust your order accordingly. The changes to your order will be left up to company discretion.

How much is shipping? How long will it take to get my package?

We ship five days per week, Monday through Friday excluding holidays. Most orders ship within 36 hours of being received though our system. Additional delays may occur when multiple orders are place, changes to the order are requested, or non-standard payment methods are utilized.

Zone Method Charge Notes
USA USPS First Class, USPS Priority, or UPS Ground $6 Flat Rate Includes delivery Confirmation, Guaranteed
USA Expedited UPS $20 Flat Rate UPS 2nd Day Air does not count weekends and instead refers to two business days.
If you do not receive your package within three weeks of shipment and delivery is not confirmed on the USPS web site we will reship your order at our cost. We may request that you purchase additional insurance for the second shipment, however.

If you do not receive your order but delivery is confirmed, we may provide a replacement at reduced price at our discretion. Please contact your local post office to file a complaint first if this does occur. If you wish to request an alternate shipping method, please contact us. In most cases we will request a minimum $6 shipping charge.
Canada USPS First Class $10 Flat Rate Now includes tracking.
Canada UPS International Express $30 Flat Rate Expedited with tracking.
International shipping takes approximately 4 weeks on average. The Canadian customs service may add additional import tariffs based on the value of your order (these charges are usually small). Please contact them directly for additional information. 
Worldwide UPS Mail Innovations $10 Flat Rate Includes tracking to some countries. International shipping takes approximately 4 weeks on average.
Worldwide UPS $30 Flat Rate Expedited with tracking.
UK VAT and handling charges are applied by customs. Local distribution is available from
Italy Customs problems are frequent. Order from if possible.
Spain Customs problems are frequent on large orders. Order from if possible.
Russia USPS Priority $30 Flat Rate Expedited with tracking. First class mail is unavailable due to frequent theft.
South America and Africa Please contact us prior to placing an order so that we can determine the best way to ship your order.

Please go to and UPS for additional information. Flat rate shipping within the US also applies to orders including bulk purchases. International orders including bulk items may incur additional shipping charges. Please contact us for a quote.

Contact us at for additional information or for alternate shipping options.

Skin Actives cannot accept credit card payments from OFAC countries. Please contact us for more information



What is an "active"?
We define an active as a substance that scientific research has shown helps skin in one way or another. This is a very broad definition but one that has been useful to us in our daily work. Among our actives you will find natural plant extracts, synthetic oligopeptides, chemicals purified from algae, and lots more. The only thing all of these have in common is that they have been shown to benefit the skin, and that the data has been published in scientific journals that are in the public domain, most of them in peer-reviewed journals. What we do not include are ingredients whose only support data have been obtained by other commercial companies.
What are preservatives and why do you use them?
Nobody likes to use preservatives. They don’t help your skin or make you look younger, but preservatives are a necessary part of skin care formulations to prevent the multiplication of bacteria and mold in the product. If it were just a matter of throwing away a half-used product because there is some mold growing in it, we would not bother using them. However, it is more important than that. Even when you start with a perfectly clean product, spores and nasty bugs capable of causing very dangerous infections are floating in the air and could grow in the product unless the correct preservative, or mixture of preservatives, is included. So we at Skin Actives Scientific use preservatives in our products to give us the peace of mind that our products should not harbor these microbial contaminants.

There has been a lot of bad press regarding parabens, and we feel pressed to come to their defense. Why? Because the arguments against parabens are bogus when the "evidence" is examined. Parabens have some estrogenic activity, but so do thousands of chemicals which we consume daily in our food. What matters is how strong the estrogenic activity is that a chemical has. In this case, strength is measured by the concentration of the putative analog required to displace the natural ligand, in this case estrogen. If you need very high concentrations of the estrogen-like chemical to dislodge the estrogen from the receptor, then the activity is very low and unlikely to be of significance in real life. This is what happens with parabens: they have very low affinity for the estrogen receptor.

Parabens have a long record of safety. They are non-allergenic, effective at very low concentrations, and they don’t contribute a smell to the finished product. Smell is one of the problems of natural preservatives containing a mixture of extracts from oregano, rosemary, and more. The smell can be a overpowering (at least to my nose), and several of the extracts are allergenic. In the words of Dennis Sasseville, "the history of preservatives goes back to the 1930s, and ironically, the parabens, which the industry has sought to replace with 'safer' alternatives, are still the most frequently used biocides in cosmetics and appear to be far less sensitizing than most of the newer agents."

We (people who do like parabens) may eventually lose the "media war," as more people are convinced to avoid parabens. In this case, the general public will suffer because there are no good substitutes for parabens that will work for all products. Because preservatives are essential to keep skin care products safe, the result will be new preservatives coming to the market without enough testing. Then, in two decades, or even sooner, we may start seeing side effects from unproven preservatives.

It is worth mentioning that preservatives are just part of the equation. It is important to start with a clean product, i.e. to limit the bacterial and fungal presence as much as possible. It has been shown that the concentration of parabens required to inhibit fungal growth depends on the initial concentration of the organisms. In short, if you are planning to make a product, work clean! Disinfect everything you will use with rubbing alcohol and let it air dry, do not blow on the utensils. Then, add the preservative at the time of preparation, NOT as an afterthought one week after making the product.

What does it mean for something to be "Organic," "Natural," or "Synthetic?"
Scientists learn to use words carefully. Marketing people use words carelessly. This difference does not matter much unless you dislike paying too much for a product or being fooled into choosing a certain product.
Organic conveys a meaning of wholesomeness. The FDA has some rules about how to use the word for food products. When used for food, it means that the crop has been grown without adding synthetic fertilizers and that no pesticides have been used. When it comes to cosmetics there are no rules as to how the word "organic" can be used, and many irresponsible people will take advantage of this to fool the consumer (no rules means no punishment). My advice: whenever you see the word "organic" on a skin or hair care product, look at the ingredient list and make sure you know how to read it. Some manufacturers have no problem disguising the true ingredient with more "organic sounding" names.

What is "natural?" Dr. Sivak's definition: natural is something that has been taken directly from nature and has not been modified chemically.

Why is "natural" a marketing word? It sounds good. But in reality there is nothing that makes a natural chemical better than a synthetic one. In other words, a chemical is not defined by how it was obtained, but by how the atoms are arranged in the molecule. There is no way to differentiate between a synthetic and a natural chemical. Moreover, whatever the feeling the word natural conveys, natural can be bad. Just think "poison ivy." Again, if you are faced with a product that is advertising "all natural", read its ingredient list.

If we look at things taken from nature directly as natural, then things that are derived from natural items (chemically or otherwise) are by definition artificial or synthetic. Many laboratories have been able to stabilize and emphasize elements in natural products, developing stronger, more efficient synthetic actives. In fact, most manufacturers use synthetic chemicals that have been optimized for use in cosmetics after many decades of testing. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as customers are not lied to.

We at Skin Actives Scientific use many natural products, and some of them are organic. But we do not want to reinforce the idea (wrong, in our view) that natural is good and synthetic is bad, so we don't emphasize the origin of the chemical.


Why aren’t your COAs online?

Every shipment of every ingredient we receive comes with a Certificate of Analysis (COA) and we create a COA for every batch of product made. To remain accurate we would have to repost each one as we change out each lot of each ingredient we stock and create. Because we make small batches of product to keep them at their absolute freshest, that is a huge undertaking. We do maintain all COAs in our files, and specific requests for COAs can be sent to
Why don’t you use fancier jars?
We spend money on actives, and some of them are terribly expensive. As part of our mission we want to keep our prices as low as possible, and this includes using simple packaging. The bonus to you is that this simple packaging has allowed us to maintain pricing at low levels, both in terms of production and shipping.
How do I know which products are best for me and my skin care needs?
Use the categories and search bar on the website to narrow your product choices to exactly what you’re looking for can help. But don’t forget to take a look at the forum and newsletters for information and ideas on what might work for you. If in doubt, write to us at


Myth #1: The skin is impermeable

If the skin is impermeable, you clearly need a delivery system consisting of fancy marketed nanoparticles designed by that famous scientist in Switzerland. Unfortunately, that famous scientist in Switzerland does not exist, or never published anything in a reputable scientific journal. Even worse, they are lying about skin properties. The skin is not impermeable and you don't need any delivery system to get an active into your skin. It may help if you apply serum after a shower, but that is more or less it. Whatever you apply to the skin, it will be absorbed, for better and for worse.
Myth #2: There is a magic solution
There is no magic solution and no ingredient is going to rejuvenate your skin ON ITS OWN. Your skin is a very complex system and has complex requirements. As we age, our body starts to "short change" the skin, even when you have a healthy diet and take your multivitamins. Simply, there are fewer blood vessels reaching your dermis and they are delivering fewer nutrients to the skin. Just one ingredient will not make a big change. Why? Because as soon as your skin has enough of ingredient A, another ingredient, B or C, will limit the capacity of your skin to regenerate. Remember to take care of your skin and give it the nutrition it needs for overall long-term health.
Myth #3: Everyone’s skin care regiment needs to have a cleaner, toner, and moisturizer
Everyone has unique skin – which is why we support and encourage making your own products. Skin Actives aims to suite a variety of skin care needs whether you’re using Ready Made products as is, customizing Ready Made products to suit your needs, or creating your own custom skin care.

Now, cleansing is important to keep skin clear, even if you do not live or work in a polluted city. Try our Creamy Facial Cleanser for dry or normal skin, and Salicylic Wash for oily or acne prone skin.

You should forget about those alcohol rich toners, as they will only damage your skin. If you feel that you need a toner after your cleanser, give our Marine Toner a try, but it isn’t a necessary step for most people.

As far as the moisturizer step goes, you need a lot more than that! Use a cream or serum that will help your skin to keep water in and pollutants out as well as providing beneficial nutrients and actives. Silicones (the ingredient that gives a "silky feel" to creams and lotions) is perfect for keeping moisture in but will do nothing else for your skin, and may even slow down absorption of valuable nutrients. Using a nutrient rich cream like Antioxidant Day Cream, or a moisturizing serum like Dermagen will help your skin long-term. And if you are planning to live a long and fruitful life, you will need your skin to do its job for quite a while so you'd better think long-term. Think nutrition and then choose the cream or serum base that provides the right amount of moisture for your skin’s needs.
Myth #4: DNA and stem cells will help your skin
Any skin care product that includes these is trying to take advantage of what is in fashion. Your cells have your own DNA, which you inherited from your parents. Your cells will express certain genes that correspond to that organ (in this case, skin) and time in your life (a baby does not express the same genes as an adult).

When applied to the skin, DNA that belongs to other animals will fortunately not be used to make the proteins of the other animal. Our immune system will not let anything get to the nuclei of your living cells, otherwise it would wreak havoc. Havoc is what happens when foreign DNA does actually get to the nuclei of your cells: it is what happens when a virus cheats your immune system and manages to get in. It will take further action from the immune system to eventually get rid of the foreign DNA.

So what happens to the DNA that marketers get you to apply to your skin? Most of it will be washed away, some of it will be broken down and your skin may absorb the components: nucleotides, sugars, phosphate, etc. The same thing will happen to the stem cells from cow, horse, or whatever. If your immune system is working well, nothing will get in, unless it is broken down to skin food first.
Myth #5: Natural is good, synthetic is bad
Just two words: "stinging nettle". Two more: "poison oak". Plants can't run, and they have lots of predators, including humans. Their defense? Producing chemicals that will stop (or deter) animals from eating them. "Natural" has lately become a buzz word, often emptied of any content. For example: It is true that you can find allantoin in comfrey, but the ingredient used in skin care products is likely to be synthetic. Not that it matters, the chemical extracted from the plant cannot be distinguished from the synthetic one, but this approach only perpetuates the myth.
Myth #6: Your skin needs extra oxygen
No, it doesn't. Our skin gets more than enough oxygen from the air and through the blood vessels that irrigate the dermis. In fact, our skin gets too much oxygen and oxygen is partly to blame for aging skin. The "excess" does not result in more energy because our blood and mitochondria are saturated with oxygen (i.e. have as much as they need). The extra free radicals will age the skin, increase mutations in our cells' DNA, and break down the lipids in the cell membranes. If somebody else wants to sell you a cream with hemoglobin (cow's blood) tell them that dead, yucky protein will do nothing for your skin, and run!


What is the General Shelf Life of Products? Do they need to be refrigerated?
It is best to keep all serums and creams that contain proteins refrigerated, like our Collagen Serum and Restoration Cream. Proteins are more stable when refrigerated, NOT frozen. For serums and creams containing proteins, keeping them at room temperature will give you a shorter shelf life in regards to both quality and activity-level of the products. You can estimate about 1 year for most products, but this can very based on storage conditions. Powder actives are fine in a cool, dark place with the tubes closed. Some actives (like L-Carnitine) will absorb moisture more readily, so it is important that they are kept well closed. Most powder actives will last for years. There is a shelf life icon an each product and active page to indicate the estimated shelf life if stored in optimal conditions. Please remember that a product will not work unless it is applied to the skin, so don’t just buy Skin Actives products, USE them!
How do you layer products?
Exfoliators (acidic ones like Alpha Beta Exfoliator, protease-based like Pumpkin Enzyme Peel, or physical like our Enzymatic Exfoliation Powder) will increase skin permeability, so take advantage of this and apply our Collagen Serum immediately after an exfoliation. Additionally, after a shower or bath, the skin will be more permeable to water-soluble actives. Take advantage of this by using serums first. Then you can layer oil-based serums or creams on top.
Can I mix Ready to Use products together?
Our Ready to Use products are designed to work in concert with one another, but we do not recommend that you mix them together in one container to try and achieve a mega-cream or serum. Some products cannot be mixed due to their solubility differences, like water-based (Antioxidant Serum) and oil-based (Every Lipid Serum (ELS)). Also, the Ready to Use serums and creams have been specifically formulated to achieve the best possible outcome and make sure there are no unwanted chemical reactions. If you are interested in using a combination of products, it is definitely best to layer them on the skin, not mix them together.


What is the DIY Process Like?
Here is a description from one of our clients on the forum, Panda:

My best answer is sometimes it's hard and sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn't.

Start with a base that you like. That is the important part. Then mix small batches from there. As you prepare to add each active, do a search on the forum and see what issues others have faced when trying to incorporate this active - like does it need to be mixed with water or heated. Add your actives one at a time and try the mix out for a few days before you add more. Some find that Alpha Lipoic Acid stings, and some don't. If it stings too much you may need to reduce the concentration by adding more base mix. Some actives require a day or two to fully dissolve (Licorice Extract). Some actives can make the base cream thin (DMAE Bitartrate), some can make it gritty (Betulinic Acid), some can make it too thick (Hylauronic Acid), and some can give it a color that will stain your skin (Grape Seed Proanthocyanidins).

See why it is so hard to answer this question! But if you start slow and make small batches you can recover from most anything and end up with a beautiful result. I hope this helps!
Are there any health and safety concerns when mixing my own products?
If you have any medical problems, show your MD the ingredient list of the product you are planning to use. Just remember to be honest with yourself and your MD about your products, your skin care needs, and be patient when working towards your goals.

The main concern should be to avoid contamination and use the preservatives needed. Remember that Essential Oils (aka volatile oils) and some fragrances can be very strong, creating irritation if applied directly to the skin (as opposed to being diluted in a cream or serum). Use good judgment and remember that you are creating a small lab in your home and developing new and exciting skin care products. Treat your formulations with the same respect a regular lab would: clean your instruments and utensils, wear protective items when mixing (be it goggles, gloves, an apron, etc.), and use preservatives to make sure your creations are safe for immediate and future use.
How do I know which actives to use in a formulation?
Visit our Actives section where you can search ingredients for creams, water-based serums, and oil-based serums to find out what will work best for your creation. Also, don’t forget to take a look at the forum and newsletters for information, recipes, and more. If in doubt, write to us at
How do I know how much of an active to use in a formulation?
Please read the usage information on our website for each active you are planning to buy. This same usage information will also be on the packing slip with your order.
Are there any actives that shouldn’t be used together?
There are only a few hard rules here and the rest depends on the mixture. Be nice to proteins (like Epidermal Growth Factor, Keratinocyte Growth Factor, or Superoxide Dismutase) by keeping them cold (NOT frozen) and not mixing them with acidic solutions. There is a theoretical point about vitamin C derivatives and metals like copper and iron, so don’t add Copper Peptide to Vitamin C Serum. There is a wealth of information on our individual product pages, as well as our Forum. Join the community, learn, and share.
What is solubility and how does it work?
Solubility has to do with the ability of an ingredient to dissolve into a solution. Solubility can be affected by the chemical makeup of the ingredient, the solution, the quantities of both, the temperature of the mixture, and the implements being used to mix.

The Science:
We have no control over the solubility of our actives, because solubility depends on the chemical structure of the chemical/chemicals in that powder or liquid.

For Formulation:
Solubility is intrinsic to the chemistry of the chemical, so you have to work with the active rather than trying to push chemicals beyond what they are supposed to do. Most of our actives will dissolve in our Canvas Base Cream or European Base Cream because a cream contains several ingredients, giving the chemicals in an active the "option" of finding the right molecules to interact with.

Often, an active will dissolve in your solvent of choice, for example distilled water, but your mixture might still end up grainy. Even if the chemical is water-soluble, this does not mean "infinite solubility". You can add a bit of an easily soluble active, like Ascorbic Acid, and it dissolves…but if you keep adding more and more Ascorbic Acid to your water, eventually the crystals will remain in that form and just sink to the bottom of your solution. Even if you heat up the mix in the microwave, the solubility depends on temperature, so after cooling it down, crystals will re-appear.

Just remember to add a little at a time and do your research, and you will have great formulations.
What kinds of utensils should I use to mix my formulations?
Essentially, you will need a notebook, a scale, spatulas, scoops, and pipettes (2 pipettes, a spatula, and a scoop will be provided with your order of any active). Remember to always work clean, cleaning things with isopropyl alcohol to avoid contamination. Also, do your best not to cross-contaminate (i.e. dipping a scoop in one powder, then another without cleaning it in between). Take notes so you can duplicate formulas you love and know what not to do next time if something didn’t turn out quite how you wanted. Work slowly, patiently, and safely, and you will end up with great formulations.
What if my cream/serum doesn’t look/smell like it did when I mixed it? Is it still ok?
Maybe yes, maybe no. If you have added the right preservative in the right amount, then the changes in color and smell may have been caused by reactions between the many chemicals present in the complex mix. If you have NOT added preservative, the mix may be hazardous to your health. Many of the ingredients used in making skin care products are also great food for bacteria and mold, and some of these microbes can produce toxins that will hurt, not just your skin, but your whole body. When in doubt, throw the mix away.


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