Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc.
Age Intervention Enlighten Facial Lotion
1 fl. oz. for $89
Category:Skin Care > Retinol Products > Lighteners Without Hydroquinone
Last Updated:03.25.2013
Jar Packaging:False
Tested on animals:No

The main lightening agent in this product is the emollient kojic dipalmitate. This ingredient is not the same as pure kojic acid, a skin-lightening agent that some cosmetic companies use as a substitute for hydroquinone.

Although kojic acid isn’t the most reliable skin-lightening agent, it does work. However, it has some negative research associated with it in terms of causing problems for skin. Hydroquinone has some negative research as well, but considerably more positive research (including safety and toxicity studies) to support its efficacy and ongoing use. In contrast, kojic dipalmitate has only one published study, and that merely examined how to detect the ingredient in cosmetic products, not whether or not it actually worked to lighten skin discolorations (Sources: Talanta, April 2008, pages 407–411; Analytical Biochemistry, June 2002, pages 260–268; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2000, pages 261–268). Still, because kojic dipalmitate is related to kojic acid, it may have some lightening effect, but it’s not a sure thing, and for the price Marini is charging, you should expect a product that lightens.

The other skin-lightening agent used here is hexylresorcinol. This ingredient is considered an antimicrobial agent, and the only research pertaining to its effect on melanin (skin pigment) has to do with treating fresh shrimp during processing to prevent black spots (melanosis) that would undoubtedly decrease their visual appeal at the local seafood counter (Sources: Journal of Food Science, April 2008, pages S124–S133; and Journal of Food Protection, January 2005, pages 98–104). This is definitely a novel blend of skin-lightening agents, but it is a stretch that either one will be the answer to your skin discoloration issues, as human skin cells and the skin of dead shrimp are not exactly related.

Marini also references the retinol in this product as being capable of suppressing excess melanin production, but that ability isn’t reflected in the body of research for this vitamin A ingredient, at least not when used by itself and not when compared to tretinoin (the active ingredient in Renova and Retin-A). Instead, retinol’s role in skin lightening tends to be more as a co-factor when paired with skin-lightening agents such as hydroquinone, vitamin C, or glycolic acid (Sources: Cutis, December 2007, pages 497–502; and Cosmetic Dermatology, January 2005, Supplement: “Revisiting Retinol”).

In the end, this skin-lightening product isn’t all that enlightening. In fact, it should be noted that this porduct contains some irritating plant extracts that your skin doesn't need. Meanwhile, the salicyli acid won't help your skin because the pH of this product is too high for it to function as an exfoliant. Please see our list of Best Skin-Lightening Products for better options.


Age Intervention Enlighten is a remarkable new composition that brightens and encourages the uniform appearance of facial discoloration – even stubborn hyperpigmentation. Enlighten contains a combination of two exceptional topical agents that address the appearance of facial discoloration. Plus, we have included Retinol, a superior retinoid that discourages the production of excess melanin and assists in resolving the appearance of existing facial discoloration. Retinol is also a potent anti-aging tool that provides a more refined, resurfaced and illuminated facial texture. Enlighten combines exceptional brightening technology with de-aging agents that result in the refined, rejuvenating and illuminated skin we all want.


Water, Kojic Dipalmitate, Ethoxydiglycol, Butylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, C12-C15 Alkyl Benzoate, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Potato Starch Modified, Salicylic Acid, Soybean Oil, Glycerin, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hexylresorcinol, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Spanish Pellitory Root Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Emulsifying Wax NF, Polysorbate 60, Linseed Seed Oil, Aminopropanediol Esters W/ Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Japanese Green Tea Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Dipotassium Gylcyrrhizate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea

Brand Overview

Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc. At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance- and colorant-free; excellent AHA and retinol options, including an AHA combined with sunscreen; the water-soluble cleansers.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some categories contain ingredients (growth factors, hormones, and interferon) with unreliable track records or whose long-term risks, if any, remain unknown; sunscreens that lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; jar packaging; Marini Lash isn't as exciting as Marini’s former lash-enhancing products.

Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc., was founded, of course, by Jan Marini, who originally started out marketing products for M.D. Formulations. Thus, it isn't surprising to find that her own line is also aimed at dermatologists, aestheticians, and plastic surgeons, much the way M.D. Formulations is. In direct contrast to many of the other skin-care lines in this niche market, Marini’s line stands out with its selection of far more realistic and varied skin-care products. First, there are no spiraling-out-of-control ingredient lists where everything is thrown in except the kitchen sink. Then, and more important, you will find some well-formulated products that include sunscreens, skin-lightening options, vitamin C products, and good glycolic acid–based alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) products, along with some outstanding retinol options.

It is interesting to observe that Marini attributes the research for her "topical form of lipid (fat) soluble Vitamin C that is stable and able to be absorbed" to the form "developed in conjunction with physician researcher Nicholas Perricone, M.D." Of course, Perricone has his own version of vitamin C products, which are quite similar to Marini's in that they also contain ascorbyl palmitate. That being the case, given that he claims his are the best ever with the highest concentration of the stuff, we wonder if she would now agree with his findings? At least compared to her former partners at M.D. Formulations, Marini's information about vitamin C is more accurately based (it's backed by published research) and there's only a minimal amount of hyperbole. In fact, when it comes to the information Marini and team present to the professionals who retail their products, this line wins high marks for its close-to-accurate information about how skin ages, what can be done to minimize and prevent future signs of aging, and the effects various products have on skin. Of course, you're supposed to believe her products have all the answers, but that's what the reviews below will elucidate.

For more information about Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc., call (888) 695-2611 or visit www.janmarini.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia 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 Begoun herself.

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