Strengths: Products with retinol in packaging that will the retinol stable during use; the company provides complete ingredient lists on their Web site.
Weaknesses: Every product contains an irritating, drying, and ultimately skin-damaging amount of alcohol; no products other than those with retinol; retinol is hardly a cure-all ingredient (yet the company positions it as being capable of curing a wide range of skin issues, including shrinking of oil glands).
This strangely named line of products positions itself as a high-potency way to reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles and skin discolorations. The efficacy of the Green Cream products is all about retinol (the technical name for vitamin A), and each of the three options contains a different amount of retinol. The idea behind the “levels” of Green Cream has to do with the fact that retinol can be irritating, so a lesser amount of retinol is better for someone with sensitive skin, while tougher skin can tolerate more retinol.
Green Cream is part of the Advanced Skin Technology Company, which prides itself on offering retinol products that produce a wide range of positive results. To convey a medical image, which many of the anti-aging lines strive to achieve, the company features Dr. Nia Terezakis, the doctor behind the Green Cream products, on the Web site. She is a dermatologist who believes a simple approach to skin care is best. That isn’t a bad philosophy, but the Green Cream line is not the place to assemble any sort of a skin-care routine. For starters, the company only offers products with retinol. That’s it. There are no cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, toners, acne treatments, or anything else for that matter—only the retinol products. Given the line’s narrow focus, you’d think Terezakis would at least recommend some products from other lines so that someone using her products would still be able to wash their face and protect their skin from sun damage, but she doesn’t do that. Instead, they give you information about her professional credentials and provide press clippings about her being quoted on the benefits of retinol in a few fashion magazines.
What is more impressive is that Terezakis has co-authored a handful of studies on retinol. However, none of them were related to retinol’s role in reducing signs of aging. Instead, her studies were about the role of retinoids (including retinol) in promoting hair growth (Sources: Journal of Investigative Dermatology
, July 1993 Supplement, pages 138S–142S; Clinical Dermatology
, October-December 1988, pages 129–131; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
, October 1986, pages 890–893). Note that her most recently published research dates back to 1993, and let me tell you, we’ve discovered a vast amount of information about retinol since the early 1990s! Despite Terezakis’s lack of involvement in any current research on retinol, she still wants you to believe that her retinol products are the best. Simply put, they aren’t the best, not by any standard, and that’s because each also contains alcohol, disguised on the ingredient label by its technical name, ethanol. Alcohol will hinder retinol’s efficacy because it causes irritation and generates free-radical damage. Given that Terezakis acknowledges that retinol is a potential irritant, adding such an unnecessary irritating ingredient as alcohol was ill advised (Sources: “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,” Tufts Daily
, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal
, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis
, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis
, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm
). There are other ingredients at a chemist's disposal that can aid with penetration of active ingredients. Alcohol can work in that capacity, but the trade-off isn't worth it.