Age-Less 15 Skin Signaling Serum
1 fl. oz. for $175
Category:Skin Care > Serums
Last Updated:03.06.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Unknown
Review Overview

Age-Less 15 Skin Signaling Serum is the product that Cellex-C approached actress Joan Collins to endorse, allegedly because she is such a fan that she wrote the company a letter proclaiming this serum took years off her face. (Yeah, right, and Dynasty was just a low-budget soap opera nobody watched, without a script, producer, or director!) For the record, Collins has denied having had any plastic surgery. Having met Joan Collins years ago in a TV green room, even back then it was self-evident she had been nipped and tucked, wore a wig, and had her own makeup artist and hairstylist in tow. This woman was divaesque all the way (and gorgeous and elegant by the way). Regardless of the “has she or hasn’t she?” issue, it is clear that Cellex-C thinks her visage is the perfect advertisement for their latest antiwrinkle marvel and Joan is on the dole to prove their point.

What is supposed to be so special about this product is its Phyto-Glycan Complex which claims to supply the skin with several cell-communicating ingredients that, are you ready for this, can tell skin cells how to be young again. Plastic surgeons look out, because according to Cellex-C, before too long, sagging, wrinkles, and faulty skin cells are reduced to the point where a person in their 40s looks 15 years younger (hence the “15” in the product’s name). Although this serum was supposedly 18 years in the making, a contention we strongly doubt given no one knew about cell communicating ingredients as it relates to skin care products, it is all just flash and dance because at this point, the possibility of the ingredients in this product telling skin cells to act 15 years younger is bogus for many reasons. First, skin doesn’t look “older” because of “years,” rather what we think of aging is the effect of sun damage on skin. So 15 years “younger” is meaningless. Also, if a 40-year-old would end up looking like a 25-year-old, how do the cell communicating ingredients know when to stop? If these worked, would a 25-year-old using this end up looking like 10-year-old?

The other issue is the ingredients in this serum (other than water) are glycosaminoglycans, soluble proteoglycans, and chondroitin sulfate. While these are good for skin, the age-reversing claim doesn’t hold water. These substances occur naturally in our skin, and topical application helps restore what skin loses due to external factors and topical irritation and dryness. Proteoglycans are a type of glycoprotein that works with glycosaminoglycans in our skin to modulate and regulate cellular factors that affect inflammation, healing, and immune defense. Glycosaminoglycans also help skin retain moisture, and both they and the proteoglycans appear to have a cell-signaling role in wound healing—but, remember, wounds are unrelated to wrinkles or changes in skin we relate to aging. It is also important to point out that a huge range of other ingredients can help skin in this manner; these two are an option, not THE answer they are being portrayed as. Chondroitin sulfate is a type of glycosaminoglycan that is a major constituent in various connective tissues, so the comments made about glycosaminoglycans above apply to this ingredient as well.

(Sources: Archives of Dermatology, May 2007, pages 606–612; Wound Repair and Regeneration, March-April 2007, pages 245–251; Peritoneal Dialysis International, Supplement, June 2007, pages S104–S109; Connective Tissue Research, 2006, pages 249–255; and Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, September-October 2001, pages 151–161).

While a disruption to the production or a natural depletion of these substances can affect the collagen matrix in skin, these are not the only substances that affect that process (ceramides and vitamin C are but two examples). And there is no evidence that topical application of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, or chondroitin sulfate can reduce signs of aging, especially not nearly to such a specific, but arbitrary, number of 15 years. All of these ingredients and the additional antioxidants Cellex-C included in this serum have benefit for skin, but not to the dramatic extent of the claims.

It is interesting that for all the ballyhoo about this serum, Cellex-C doesn’t reference (nor did they make available) a single study pertaining to the product’s effectiveness. You’d think if they were really on to something they’d at least quote some impressive-sounding statistics; but, no, it’s just Joan Collins and her strangely unlined, visibly airbrushed face (not that I’m against photo-shop touch-ups, but let’s get real before we waste money on one more exaggerated, over-the-top endorsement).

Despite a lack of proof that this really works to “de-age” skin, there is no question it is a worthwhile (though very expensive) serum for all skin types because it supplies several cell-communicating ingredients and skin-identical ingredients (though retinol would have been a great addition to this formula as there is clear research that it can stimulate collagen production and restore skin’s natural supply of glycosaminoglycans). One caution: The clear bottle packaging means that you must take care to store it in a dark place so the cell-communicating ingredients don’t break down due to exposure to light.


Age-Less 15 Skin Signaling Serum is an exciting innovation in skincare technology that introduces a truly new approach to the maintenance of youthful looking skin. The development objective of Age-Less 15 and its proprietary ingredient formulation Phyto-Glycan Complex is to create a means to help the skin replenish the constituents necessary for healthy signaling in the extra cellular layer. Although the science of this accomplishment is intricate (and proprietary) it is not difficult to understand what it accomplishes - a significantly improved environment for cell signaling. And so it follows that better signaling should ultimately result in better skin, an assumption our extensive test results would seem to bear out.


Water, Glycosaminoglycans, Soluble Proteoglycans, Chondroitin Sulphate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta Glucan, Phenoxyethanol, Glucuronic Acid, Ellagic Acid, Anthocyanins, Phyto-Glycan Complex

Brand Overview

Cellex-C At-A-Glance

Strengths: A worthwhile line to consider if you want to zero in on topical vitamin C; some effective AHA products that feature a blend of acids within the correct pH range.

Weaknesses: Irritating anti-acne products; lackluster sunscreens; expensive; pervasive use of jar packaging, which completely ignores the stability issues critical to the efficacy of vitamin C; mostly boring moisturizers that, for the money, should be brimming with state-of-the-art ingredients.

As you may have guessed from the name, the story of Cellex-C has to do with vitamin C. The company has a long-held, ongoing belief that the complete form of this vitamin (ascorbic acid) is the key to reducing the signs of aging skin, including wrinkles, loss of firmness, and discolorations from years of sun exposure. Although the folks behind this brand have done their own research to support some of their claims for vitamin C, their studies are not that impressive because the conclusion anticipated was that Cellex-C would come out on top. The effects of ascorbic acid weren't compared with the effects of other beneficial, well-researched ingredients. For example, it would have been interesting to see how Cellex-C compared to a product with retinol, salicylic acid, or even a serum with multiple antioxidants (Source: Archives of Otolaryngology, October 1999, pages 1091–1098).

The good news is that published, peer-reviewed research has proven that topically applied ascorbic acid has benefit for skin. Before we get to the benefits vitamin C can bestow on skin, it needs to be stated up front that vitamin C is not the answer to your skin-care concerns, nor is it the be-all and end-all antioxidant that cosmetics companies such as Cellex-C assert it is. There is no conclusive or even vaguely convincing research indicating that a single antioxidant is the best among the hundreds and potentially thousands that exist. In fact, there are lots and lots of potent antioxidants, and vitamin C is just one of them (Sources: International Journal of Pharmaceutics, July 14, 2005, pages 153–163; Journal of Pharmaceutical Biomedical Analysis, February 2005, pages 287–295; and Journal of Molecular Medicine, August 2000, pages 333–336).

Research shows that vitamin C does have numerous benefits, including the following: It's a potent antioxidant, particularly in regard to protecting skin cells from UV-induced damage. It delays tumor formation after (animal) skin is exposed to extensive UV damage. It has a low risk of skin sensitization at concentrations up to 10% in the form of ascorbic acid (although some Cellex-C products contain more than 10%, increasing the risk of irritation without providing a statistically greater benefit). In addition, vitamin C reduces transepidermal water loss, thus strengthening skin's barrier response; promotes collagen production, and has the potential to thicken the dermis; it also reduces inflammation. Ascorbic acid at levels of 5% and above has been shown to have a positive effect on hyperpigmentation, but in this area the results are not as impressive as those with hydroquinone, suggesting that a combination of the two would be optimal; however, Cellex-C does not use hydroquinone. Vitamin C also improves the appearance of sun-damaged skin by strengthening skin's repair mechanisms, and enhances the effectiveness of dermatologist-performed procedures such as peels and microdermabrasion.

(Sources for the above statements: International Journal of Toxicology, volume 24, supplement 2, 2005, pages 51–111; Experimental Dermatology, September 2005, pages 684–691 and June 2003, pages 237–244; Dermatologic Surgery, July 2005, pages 814–817; Nutrition Reviews, March 2005, pages 81–90; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, November-December 2004, pages 298–303; BMC Dermatology, September 2004, page 13; International Journal of Dermatology, August 2004, pages 604–607; and Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, March-April 2003, pages 145–149.)

Despite the benefits of topical vitamin C, it is important not to get hung up on any one antioxidant, regardless of its history. Aging is more complicated than just the loss of or need for vitamin C—or any other vitamin, enzyme, protein, peptide, fatty acid, amino acid, or lipid in the skin. Although vitamin C is clearly an effective ingredient for skin, many other antioxidants are just as good, including beta-glucan, vitamin E, vitamin A, green tea, grape extract, selenium, curcumin, lycopene, superoxide dismutase, and on and on. Moreover, there is extensive research about each of those and lots of others and their benefit for skin. Furthermore, many researchers studying antioxidants and their effects on the human body believe that the best plan of attack is to use multiple antioxidants rather than narrowing your choices to a few well-publicized options, or staying with the mistaken belief that there is a single "best" antioxidant (Sources: Archives of Dermatologic Research, April 2005, pages 473–481; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, February 2005, pages 515–528; Photochemistry and Photobiology, January-February 2005, pages 38–45; and Mutation Research, April 2005, pages 153–173).

Beyond the information above, it's also important to keep in mind that, for all its posturing, Cellex-C has remained primarily a one-trick pony. In contrast, competitor Skinceuticals has expanded beyond vitamin C to offer their customers a greater variety of effective ingredients in proficient amounts. Skinceuticals products are priced similarly to Cellex-C's, but in the Skinceuticals line you'll find intelligent use of retinol, more intriguing antioxidants, and less jar packaging. Skinceuticals has its drawbacks and blatant similarities to Cellex-C, but at least more of their products take a well-rounded approach, providing your skin with more than just vitamin C.

For more information about Cellex-C, call 1-888-409-9979 or visit www.cellex-c.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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