Lancome maintains that this heavily advertised serum is “Much more than a wrinkle corrector” because it also addresses the concerns of large pores, red marks, and uneven skin tone. The claims are enticing, but the reality is this is not an advanced product in the least; it’s more potentially skin-corrupting than skin-correcting thanks to the amount of alcohol and the fact that its LR 2412 ingredient (discussed below) isn’t the miracle antiwrinkle breakthrough it’s made out to be.
This has a silky texture just like most serums, but the amount of alcohol is cause for concern. Not only is there more alcohol than there are state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients, given the amount of alcohol present, your skin faces potential free-radical damage and collagen breakdown with daily use—even if you cannot see or feel the irritation taking place.
It’s important to note that all the marketing language Lancome uses in their ads and on their web site for this product never directly states what this product does for your skin. Like thousands of products, it claims to have clinical results of happy women who thought their skin looked better, but that’s not science because we have no idea what these women were basing their results on, or what questions were part of the questionnaire. Often these types of cosmetic clinical studies don’t allow a woman to make a negative comment of any kind. When you read between the lines, the language in the ads is mostly smoke and mirrors.
So, what is Lancome’s LR 2412 ingredient (allegedly being used at a 4% concentration and now followed by a "Cx" designation)? LR 2412 is derived from the jasmine plant. Lancome maintains that this ingredient is a molecule “designed to propel through skin layers.” As it does so, it “triggers a cascading series of micro-transformations.” Sounds like a magic wand for your skin, doesn’t it? And Lancome’s constant reminder that this ingredient is protected by 20 patents makes it seem even more remarkable—but a patent has nothing to do with efficacy; it is only about a unique way to use any ingredient. A patent can be obtained simply by presenting an idea, not proof that the idea actually works.
As it turns out, simply “propelling” an ingredient through skin is not a guarantee of anything beneficial happening, and it may even make matters worse. For example, many ingredients, such as sunscreen actives, are meant for and should stay on the skin’s surface; you don’t want them to penetrate through multiple layers of skin because they need to protect the skin’s surface. Also, lots of ingredients can “propel” through skin and cause beneficial changes along the way, such as most antioxidants, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, ceramides, retinol, and numerous other repairing ingredients whose daily use helps improve skin’s appearance and healthy functioning. In essence, Lancome’s claim makes LR 2412 sound innovative, when it’s really nothing new or all that exciting. But the ballyhoo sure makes it tempting!
On the ingredient list for Visionnaire, LR 2412 is listed as sodium tetrahydrojasmonate, which, as mentioned, is derived from the jasmine plant. Part of the original formula but now gone is another part of the jasmine plant, tetrahydrojasmonic acid. Both of these ingredients, in their natural state, are lipids (fats) that help the jasmine plant signal when repair is needed and that control the life cycle of the plant’s cells (Sources: Plant Physiology, April 2010, pages 1940–1950; and PLoS Biology, September 2008, page e320).
Lancome wants you to believe that these lipids, which in the jasmine plant repair environmental damage and control cell behavior, can somehow have similar effects on your skin, such as improving wrinkles, reducing large pores, and fading red marks when applied to skin via their bioengineered LR 2412 molecule. Unfortunately, there isn’t a shred of published research to support their assertion. More to the point, even if these jasmine-derived ingredients were miracle workers for wrinkles, large pores, and red marks from acne, the amount of alcohol in the formula (it's the fourth ingredient) likely will harm your skin in the process, so any potential benefit is muted.
Of course, you also have to ask yourself: If LR 2412 is able to tackle the major concerns mentioned, why is Lancome selling so many other antiwrinkle products that don’t have this ingredient? Shouldn’t they just admit that LR 2412 is the best and stop selling their antiwrinkle products that don’t include it, or at least add LR 2412 to all their anti-aging products?
There really isn’t much else of note in Visionnaire. It contains a small amount of the cell-communicating ingredient adenosine, but so do many other products, although many of those other products also provide a range of anti-aging ingredients, which is what skin really needs. Skin is a complex organ (the body’s largest) that requires a range of beneficial ingredients to be at its healthy, youthful best, not just a derivative of jasmine or adenosine, especially not for this amount of money. In the end, for all of its promotion, Visionnaire isn’t all that visionary!
- Silky texture makes skin look smooth, while the mica adds a subtle radiance (even though shine isn’t skin care).
- Expensive but not impressive enough to warrant the splurge.
- Contains more skin-damaging alcohol than beneficial anti-aging ingredients.
- The jasmine-derived LR 2412 ingredient is unproven for addressing wrinkles, red marks, or large pores.
- Lacks the range of proven anti-aging ingredients that all skin types need to look and act younger.
Irritation from alcohol, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, which impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to minimize or eliminate as much as possible your exposure to products with alcohol, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include this problematic ingredient.