Tested on animals:Yes
Age Perfect Cell Renewal Day Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 15 is being heavily advertised in fashion magazines; its attractive gold packaging and promise of cell renewal may have caught your eye. Unfortunately in this case looks are deceiving because this can't live up to its promises and is far from the ideal anti-aging moisturizer.
On the plus side, this daytime moisturizer provides broad spectrum sun protection that includes stabilized avobenzone for reliable UVA screening. UVA rays are the sun's most aging rays, and sufficient UVA protection is critical to any SPF-rated product's ability to help your skin look and act younger.
This product's creamy texture is well suited for normal to dry skin. Several emollients are on hand, but their ability to be "deeply moisturizing" is compromised due to the amount of alcohol this Age Perfect product contains. Although the alcohol isn't likely to cause immediate dryness due to the emollient ingredients this product contains, we're still concerned about its irritation potential over the long term. This amount of alcohol can also increase the potential for irritation from its non-mineral sunscreen active ingredients, which can be sensitizing for some.
Things don't improve much beyond this point. We found this product's finish to be somewhat greasy (even for dry skin). You can apply makeup over it easily enough, but the unusual, greasy-ish finish can keep makeup from lasting as long as it otherwise would. If you have dry skin, you'll want to give this several minutes to absorb or you may not like how it feels. Those with very dry skin may not mind this, but there are other reasons to think twice about this day cream…
Another concern is the jar packaging. Unlike many L'Oreal day creams, this one contains some light- and air-sensitive antioxidant ingredients—but these beneficial ingredients can't retain their potency when they're exposed to air and light each time you open the jar. See More Info to learn why jar packaging is something we don't recommend.
As for L'Oreal's claims of surface cell renewal, you can attribute that to the form of salicylic acid this contains. Regrettably, the amount of this ingredient and this product's pH of 5.3 keep it from being an effective way to exfoliate skin's surface or prompt any kind of cell renewal. While this formula's broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect your skin from incurring further sun damage, today's best daytime moisturizers with sunscreen do that and a lot more with advanced combination of anti-aging ingredients.
Last, it's worth mentioning that although this isn't a strongly-fragranced formula, its fragrance does linger, and the ingredient list includes low amounts of several fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation.
In the end, Age Perfect Cell Renewal Day Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 15 has more negatives than positives. Although it will moisturize dry skin and provide reliable sun protection, its somewhat greasy finish can be problematic, the salicylic acid won't exfoliate, and alcohol plus fragrance ingredients conspire to put skin at risk of irritation. By most people's standards, that list doesn't come close to creating the perfect day cream! See our list of Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen for alternatives that run circles around this ultimately disappointing formula.
Note: The ingredient neohesperidin dihydrochalcone is primarily used as a fragrance and flavoring ingredient. It's not an ingredient we see often in skincare products; Nivea uses it to flavor several of their lip balms, but other than those and one other L'Oreal product, that's about it.
- Provides broad spectrum sun protection.
- Contains several moisturizing ingredients for dry skin.
- Amount of alcohol poses a risk of irritation and prevents this from being "deeply moisturizing" as claimed.
- Jar packaging hinders the effectiveness of the light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- Can leave a greasy-feeling film on face that may interfere with makeup longevity.
- The pH and amount of salicylic acid this contains are not within the ranges needed for exfoliation (what L'Oreal refers to as "surface cell renewal").
High Amounts of Alcohol in Skincare Products: A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see the Paula's Choice Research Team's Expert Advice article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.
Jar Packaging: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)