Tested on animals:No
Jan Marini's C-ESTA Cream is a mix of excellent qualities and (unfortunately) a few negatives that outweigh its benefits for skin. Let's look at the positives first! This does contain a beneficial dose of vitamin C in the form of ascorbyl palmitate, along with a nice array of skin-identical and antioxidant ingredients.
C-ESTA Cream was previously packaged in a jar, but is now housed in a pump-operated opaque container—this reduction of air exposure is critical to keeping unstable ingredients (like vitamin C) from degrading before your skin has a chance to benefit from them.
Now, for the not so good news.
C-ESTA Cream contains more than a small amount of fragrance and other ingredients that are potentially irritating. When your goal is keeping skin looking younger, exposing it to potentially damaging ingredients like comfrey and rosemary extracts (just to name a few), isn't helping matters much! See More Info for additional details on why irritation is such a problem for skin. Fragrance and irritant extracts aside, C-ESTA Cream also contains the controversial DMAE (dimethyl MEA).
DMAE is controversial because research has shown it to have both positive and negative impact on skin. It seems to offer an initial improvement to skin, but these results are short-lived and eventually give way to destruction of the substances that help build healthy collagen. (Sources: Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, November-December 2007, pages 711–718; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, volume 6, 2005, pages 39–47). Given the potential drawbacks of topically applied DMAE, there is no reason to consider it over the long-established superstar ingredients such as retinol, niacinamide, peptides or the innumerable combinations of antioxidants.
Interestingly, there is a formulation challenge when including DMAE in skin-care products. To maintain the efficacy and stability of DMAE, the product's pH must be at least 10. A pH of 10 is highly alkaline, which isn't good news for skin because it increases bacteria content in pores, and causes irritation and dryness. However, as water-based moisturizers (including serums and eye creams) are formulated with a pH that closely matches that of human skin (generally 5.5–6.5, which is on the acidic side of the scale), in all likelihood the DMAE included in skin-care products cannot have any prolonged functionality. (Source: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Supplement 72, 2008, pages S17–S22).
When you consider the cost, you can find better options from many brands that don't have the significant drawbacks of Jan Marini's C-ESTA Cream. To see our top recommendations, check our list of Best Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime).
- Contains a good amount of vitamin C.
- A beneficial array of emollients and skin-identical ingredients.
- Packaged to maintain stability.
- Contains fragrance and other potentially irritating ingredients.
- Contains the controversial ingredient DMAE (Dimethyl MEA).
Why Irritation Is a Problem:Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).