White Lightening Complex

Price:
$130 - 1.25 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Retinol Products > Lighteners Without Hydroquinone
Last Updated:
3/19/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

This skin lightening serum comes with claims that make it seem like the end all, be all for those with brown skin discolorations. Unfortunately, the formula fails to impress and ends up being overpriced for what you’re not getting.

This claims to exfoliate skin, but the natural ingredients this contains (which, by the way, are not “pharmaceutical grade botanicals”—there’s no such thing) do not function as exfoliants. For example, willow bark is related to salicylic acid (BHA) but doesn’t work in the same manner. And sugar cane extract isn’t’ the same as proven AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) like glycolic or lactic acids.

What about skin lightening? This contains an intriguing mix of stabilized vitamin C along with skin lightening ingredient alpha-arbutin and a couple of plant extracts that might help lighten brown spots and improve an uneven skin tone—but wouldn’t you rather use a skin lightening/brightening product that contains a greater amount of proven ingredients backed by published research? At this price, you should expect great results but this product simply cannot deliver.

What this can do is help skin look and feel smoother while supplying it with antioxidants. There is anti-aging benefit to be had from White Lightening Complex, but significantly improving discolorations and exfoliating skin aren’t in its bag of tricks. If you decide to try this (though we urge you to think twice before spending this much), it is suitable for all skin types except sensitive (due to the orange oil fragrance).

Pros:
  • Contains stabilized vitamin C in an amount that may improve skin discolorations.
  • High amount of hyaluronic acid helps repair skin’s surface.
Cons:
  • Needlessly expensive.
  • Cannot exfoliate as claimed because it doesn’t contain AHA or BHA ingredients (though the pH is in the correct range).
  • Most of skin lightening ingredients this contains have scant research attesting to their efficacy in the amounts used.

A distinctive formula that safely and effectively brightens and lightens skin with beneficial moisturizing properties. Utilizing an innovative blend of proprietary lightening ingredients and pharmaceutical grade botanicals, this high performance formula concentrates on not one or two but all five mechanisms that address hyperpigmentation. By disrupting communication between melanocytes and keratinocytes, decreasing melanin with tyrosinase inhibitors, exfoliating, reducing inflammation, and providing strong antioxidant protection, White Lightening™ Complex is a powerful formula for lighter, healthier skin.

Water, Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Vaccinium Mytrillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Glycerin, Squalane, Imperata Cylinerica Root Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Alpha-Arbutin, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-8/SMDI Copolymer, Triethanolamine, Polyporus Umbellatus (Mushroom) Extract, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Dimethicone, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ctirus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA

From a marketing point of view iS Clinical is trying to be yet another "cosmeceutical" line of products designed by physicians and pharmacologists. The owners of iS Clinical claim to have assembled a "world renowned" team to bring consumers the best in anti-aging skin care and what they describe as "anti-aging medicine," even though iS Clinical products aren't about medicine any more than a spoonful of sugar is about medicine (with apologies to Mary Poppins).

The "iS" in the brand's name stands for "innovative skincare." Couple this with the "clinical" portion of the name and it's hardly surprising that lots of consumers concerned about aging skin are wondering yet again if this is the final frontier for their older looking skin. We'll cut to the chase: iS Clinical isn't the anti-aging line to beat, buy, or borrow. In many ways, several of their products are either dated, antiquated formulations or basic one-note products. Overall, their products don't hold up to lots of other products with far superior formulations, many of which cost a lot less, such as Clinique, Estee Lauder, and Paula's Choice to name a few.

The prices for iS Clinical products are definitely on the high side, which is one reason why it's critical that you know which ones are worth the splurge and which ones are a must to avoid, not only for the sake of your beauty budget but also for the health of your skin. As usual in such lines, there are a handful of outstanding products to consider, but there also are a lot to watch out for.

Back to the team behind this brand: If they're indeed preeminent men and women in their fields, it's truly embarrassing that they've created products whose claims are not based on proven, substantiated scientific research. For example, instead of using thoroughly researched exfoliants, such as glycolic acid or lactic acid, iS Clinical went back to the 1990s fad of including mixed fruit and sugarcane extracts for exfoliation. Think of it as using a typewriter instead of a computer; why would you ever go back to a typewriter?

Another shortcoming is their Active Serum for acne, which contains a lot of skin-damaging alcohol and menthol (both really bad for skin), while being void of ingredients proven to benefit blemish-prone skin.

One more point: iS Clinical promotes, under their "Integrity" header on their Web site, the idea that they "…strive to dispel myths in the skincare industry by disclosing and clinically validating all of the ingredients we use." However, there is absolutely not a shred of clinical validation anywhere to be found. It seems that iS Clinical wants you to think they're doing the consumer a favor by providing ingredient lists on each product, but disclosing ingredient information is required by law and has been in the United States since 1976—it's not a discretionary decision cosmetics companies can sidestep, although some have tried! Besides, the company's site only lists key ingredients (those they want to play up) so you're still not getting the full story.

It's almost funny, but not really, that as a way to explain the rationale behind their formulas, they have a section on their Web site called "Clinical Opinions." Well, "opinions" are not the same as scientifically validated research, and that's precisely what is lacking. In fact, the information presented has little to do with skin care. It's actually bizarre because the only thing they provide is a set of the same tired before-and-after pictures and improvement charts for certain products; but, without knowing key details about how the tests were performed and under what conditions the pictures were taken, they aren't just opinions, they are misleading.

For more information about iS Clinical, call (888) 804-4447 or visit www.isclinical.com.

Note: Now this was a first! When my team contacted iS Clinical to inquire about their animal testing status, we were told that they do not make this claim because they believe human beings are animals, and of course, their products are meant for people. We have no idea what that means.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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