Total Strength Serum: FAQs

If you weren’t able to join us during our live Facebook Q&A session with Dr. Ivana Veljkovic on Monday, August 26, 2013, we have compiled all of the questions about the newest product in the PCA SKIN line into one blog for you. Enjoy!

Question: Did Total Strength Serum replace another PCA SKIN serum?

Answer: No, Total Strength Serum did not replace any other serum in the product line. This is a brand new, full-face anti-aging serum with a host of advanced corrective ingredients to address a multitude of aging concerns.


Question: What are the key ingredients in Total Strength Serum?


  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38 – a peptide that stimulates collagen I, III and IV; fibronectin; hyaluronic acid; and laminin 5 to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) – aids in the proliferation of healthy skin cells and improves the appearance of aging skin
  • Glycosaminoglycans (GAG) – important hydrating components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) that also provide MMPi action
  • Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice – a lipid, mineral and fatty acid-rich emollient agent
  • Silybum Marianum Extract – a potent antioxidant from milk thistle
  • Tocopherol and Tocotrienols – fat-soluble antioxidant vitamins and emollient ingredients
  • Sodium Hyaluronate – a naturally occurring GAG with exceptional lubricating qualities; it has the ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water and plays an important role in skin hydration


Question: Is Total Strength Serum safe for pregnant or lactating patients?

Answer: Yes, Total Strength Serum is safe for patients who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or who are lactating, though we always recommend patients check with their OB/GYN.


Question: How does Total Strength Serum pair with other PCA SKIN serums?

Answer: Although there are myriad ways to pair Total Strength Serum with other PCA SKIN corrective serums, we have compiled what we feel will provide the most benefits to patients with age-related concerns:

Total Strength Serum + ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum

  • Spot treat areas of fine lines and wrinkles with ExLinea®, followed by full-face application of Total Strength Serum, each of which utilize different peptides. For optimal benefits, use this pairing morning and evening.

Total Strength Serum + C-Strength 15% or 20% with 5% Vitamin E

  • Apply in combination or layer twice daily to address fine lines and wrinkles, and to promote an even skin tone.

Total Strength Serum + Intensive Age Refining Treatment™: 0.5% pure retinol night

  • Apply Total Strength Serum in the morning and combine or layer with Intensive Age Refining Treatment™ in the evening to reduce hyperkeratinization, photodamage and textural variances.

Total Strength Serum + Hydrating Serum

  • Pair Total Strength Serum with Hydrating Serum morning and evening for those suffering with dehydrated skin, fine lines and wrinkles.


Question: Will this product be available online and at the upcoming tradeshows?

Answer: Yes, Total Strength Serum is now available for purchase online, by calling in to our Practice Development Group and at all of our upcoming tradeshows.


Question: Can I use Total Strength Serum with PCA SKIN products containing retinol?

Answer: Yes, using Total Strength Serum along with your PCA SKIN retinol products is safe, and will assist in minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Question: Can a patient use Total Strength Serum right up until receiving a peel?

Answer: Yes, using Total Strength Serum right up until the day of a peel is safe. The patient may resume use of their daily care routine after three to five days of using The Post-Procedure Solution, or once the skin returns to baseline.


Question: Do I still need to use ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum and C-Strength 15% or 20% with 5% Vitamin E if I use Total Strength Serum?

Answer: Yes, ideally you are pairing Total Strength Serum with ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum, which is used primarily as a spot treatment for areas of laxity, fine lines and wrinkles. Total Strength Serum is indicated for full-face application and contains a completely different peptide. C-Strength 15% or 20% with 5% Vitamin E also pair well with Total Strength Serum due to the added antioxidant and skin evening benefits vitamin C provides.


Question: Who do I sell this product to?

Answer: Total Strength Serum is indicated for patients concerned with laxity, wrinkling and enlarged pores. It can be used as a preventative anti-aging corrective or added to a current anti-aging regimen.


Question: How does this product fit in with other PCA SKIN correctives?

Answer: Total Strength Serum is unlike any other PCA SKIN corrective serum. Its benefits include full-face application, facilitating the synthesis of collagen I, III, IV; fibronectin; hyaluronic acid and laminin-5. Due to the thin, serum-like consistency of this product, it should be applied before gels and creams.


Question: How is epidermal growth factor derived?

Answer: rh-Oligopeptide-1, or epidermal growth factor, is produced in a lab using vector DNA. Vector DNA is a fragment or piece of a signaling molecule that is responsible for producing epidermal growth. The vector DNA is completely identical to the signaling molecule responsible for human epidermal growth factor, but is synthesized and is in no way derived from a human or animal source. The vector DNA is then inserted into bacteria, which is then fed glucose, or sugar. The bacteria act as a “factory,” creating exact replicas of the vector DNA signaling epidermal growth. This process maintains efficacy and consistency while also upholding the highest ethical standards.


Question: Is there any new technology in the Total Strength Serum?

Answer: Yes, palmitoyl tripeptide-38 is a next generation peptide that was developed following a new concept in anti-aging. It stimulates multiple dermal components and provides chaperone proteins that organize the components, ensuring they reach maturation.


Question: When would a patient use just the Total Strength Serum?

Answer: Personal preference plays a role, plus the patient looking for just one optimal full-face anti-aging serum.


Question: What are the key ingredients in both Total Strength Serum and ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum?

Answer: The key ingredients in Total Strength Serum include palmitoyl tripeptide-38, a peptide that stimulates collagen, and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; and epidermal growth factor (EGF), which improves the appearance of aging skin. In ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum, we use acetyl hexapeptide-8, which works to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Learn more at


Question: Why would someone need to use the C-Strength 20% Vitamin C with 5% Vitamin E and/or the Intensive Age Refining Treatment™: 0.5% pure retinol night in addition to the Total Strength Serum? If someone between the ages of 30-50 were going to limit themselves to one of the three products for wrinkles, which would you recommend?

Answer: Vitamin C is best used in the morning while retinol is for nighttime use only; Total Strength Serum is for AM and PM use. All three products have different mechanisms of action and exert their benefits on different parts of the skin’s physiology. These three products are not redundant, but complimentary. Choosing one would be a matter of preference.


Question: Can you explain the difference between the Total Strength Line & Pore Minimizer and the new Total Strength Serum?

Answer: Total Strength Serum utilizes a primary peptide that is the newest generation of peptides, far superior to the peptide in Total Strength Line & Pore Minimizer. Additionally, the base, delivery vehicle and many support ingredients are newly formulated. Those using Total Strength Serum will notice much more dramatic results.


Question: Would you recommend Total Strength Serum for your male clients who currently use the Total Strength Line & Pore Minimizer?

Answer: Yes, Total Strength Serum is an optimal product for both male and female patients alike.


Question: I have a lot of clients who only want to use one serum. Could Total Strength Serum replace Rejuvenating Serum since Total Strength Serum has epidermal growth factor as well?

Answer: It depends on the patient. For younger patients looking for a more preventative serum, Rejuvenating Serum would be a great choice. For more mature patients with more laxity and wrinkling, Total Strength Serum would be a better option.


Question: Should Total Strength Serum be used only at night, or in the AM and PM?

Answer: Total Strength Serum should be used in both the AM and PM for optimal results.


Question: Will Total Strength Serum used in conjunction with ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum produce results comparable to Nerium AD?

Answer: Because Nerium AD is essentially only an antioxidant serum with some moisturizing properties, even Total Strength Serum used alone will deliver much more dramatic, visible results. If used in conjunction with ExLinea®, you can expect even more dramatic outcomes.


Question: Is the new serum beneficial for patients with psoriasis?

Answer: While Total Strength Serum can certainly be used for psoriasis, Hydrating Serum and Body Therapy would be better choices.


Question: How long will the full size serum last?

Answer: The full-size Total Strength Serum will last approximately two months give or take, depending on usage.


Question: Are you no longer selling the Total Strength Line & Pore Minimizer?

Answer: Correct, we have discontinued the men’s line Total Strength Line & Pore Minimizer. We are confident that patients who enjoyed that product will find even greater results with Total Strength Serum. All of the benefits patients saw using Total Strength Line & Pore Minimizer are exponentially increased with this new product.


Question: What is the growth factor in Total Strength Serum? How is it derived?

Answer: Total Strength Serum contains rh-Oligopeptide-1, which is a synthetically produced human epidermal growth factor that is identical to the growth factor found in human skin. The “rh” stands for “recombinant human,” which indicates the technology used to produce the growth factor. This is the same technology used to produce insulin, for example. This technology allows us to use human growth factor without having to source it from human tissue.


Question: Does Total Strength Serum contain stem cells? What are the three products that do?

Answer: Often stem cells are confused with growth factors. Human stem cells provide growth factors to the skin, while plant stem cells provide protective antioxidant benefits. C-Quench® Antioxidant Serum, Intensive Clarity Treatment™: 0.5% pure retinol night and Rejuvenating Serum contain plant stem cell extracts, while Total Strength Serum and Rejuvenating Serum contain epidermal growth factors (as well as some great antioxidants).


Question: I use Total Strength Serum at night before Intensive Age Refining Treatment™: 0.5% pure retinol night. Am I using it correctly?

Answer: Yes, that’s exactly how it should be incorporated into your nightly regimen. For optimal results, use Total Strength Serum during your morning routine as well.


For more information, please contact a member of the PCA SKIN Practice Development Group at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546] or email


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