Tested on animals:No
Probiotic + C Renewal Cream contains a nice array of moisturizing ingredients (primarily from plant-based fatty acids) and skin-identical ingredients (glycerin, squalane, and hyaluronic acid), making it a good choice for those with normal to dry skin. Andalou Naturals added their usual blend of antioxidants from non-fragrant fruit juices (their “Berry 8 Complex,” which shouldn’t be listed as it is; we explain why in the summary for this brand), along with vitamin E, goji, and white tea, just to name a few!
True to the product’s name, you will find a series of probiotics (alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, polymnia sonchifolia root, and lactobacillus) as well as a form of vitamin C known as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. While there is no doubt about the benefits of vitamin C for the skin, probiotics are somewhat lacking in research around their benefit when applied topically rather than when consumed orally. Still, there's some good research showing that they likely have promise, so shouldn't be dismissed outright, assuming they survive the manufacturing process cosmetics go through.
This moisturizer, like most of those from Andalou Naturals, contains fragrance from citrus oils, although the small amounts are unlikely to be a problem for most people.
However, it wasn’t the fragrance that kept this from earning a better rating. Despite the presence of ample antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients, Probiotic + C Renewal Cream is packaged in a jar—so the anti-aging and skin-repairing actives will break down quickly with exposure to air and light (see More Info for additional details on the problems with jar packaging).
It’s interesting to point out that this product gets its name from one of its ingredients: Lycium barbarum Glycopeptide, from the goji plant. As a plant extract, goji can be a good antioxidant and certainly has cult status, as far as drinking the juice or eating the plant itself.
However, the benefits of the glycopeptide version are less clear. There is some research, on cells in labs or on animals, showing it to have some benefits, but they are not related to skin care. Most likely, this is not bad for your skin, but whether it’s worth a headline is mostly a guess, not established science.
One last note: Please totally ignore the claims made about the fruit stem cell ingredients (see More Info if you wish to read the considerable details explaining why). While these ingredients aren’t harmful or irritating to the skin (and can have antioxidant benefit), there is no research to support the claims of regenerating skin or functioning like your skin’s own stem cells, which would push this product from its status as a cosmetic to a drug. The notion that plant stem cells can “renew dormant cells, repair damaged cells, or regenerate healthy cells” may be true for a plant, but it isn’t for human skin.
Rather than compromising and accepting the jar packaging, we recommend considering the alternatives on our list of Best Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime), all of which are packaged to protect their ingredients from routine exposure to air and light.
Loaded with an array of beneficial ingredients for normal to dry skin.
Contains several proven antioxidants.
Packaged in a jar, which exposes the delicate antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients to air and light, eventually reducing their effectiveness.
Contains some fragrance ingredients that pose a slight risk of irritation, particularly for sensitive skin.
Plant stem cells don’t renew or generate human cells of any kind.
Jar Packaging: The fact that this cream is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won’t remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you’re dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Stem Cells in Skin Care: Stem cells are cells in animals and plants that are capable of becoming any other type of cell in that organism and of producing more of those cells. Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. The claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to elastin repair and cell regeneration, so the temptation for consumers to try these is intense.
The truth is that stem cells in skin-care products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells. Once these delicate cells are added to skin-care products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless.
Plant stem cells, such as those derived from apples, melons, flowers, and rice, cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, but because they are from plants these ingredients likely have antioxidant
properties. Actually, it’s a good thing plant stem cells can’t work as stem cells in skin-care products; after all, you don’t want your skin to absorb cells that can grow into apples or watermelons!
There are also claims that because a plant’s stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or to survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is unrelated to human skin, and these claims are completely without substantiation.
Another twist on the issue is that cosmetics company’s claim they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable so they then can work as stem cells. This approach is not valid because stem cells must be complete to function normally. Even if you could isolate substances or extracts from these cells and make them stable, there is no published research showing they can affect stem cells in human skin.