06.20.2014
1
9
Youth Code Day Lotion SPF 30
Rating
1.7 fl. oz. for $24.99
Last Updated:06.20.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

If the claims for L’Oreal’s Youth Code products and their GenActiv technology sound familiar, that’s because Lancome (which L’Oreal owns) claimed almost the same thing in 2010 when they launched their Genifique products. No one on the Paula’s Choice Team was surprised when Youth Code was announced, as it isn’t uncommon for L’Oreal and Lancome to offer similar products whose only significant differences are price and retail location.

Before we discuss the “breakthrough claims” and the technology behind this product, you need to know that this product is merely a lightweight daytime moisturizer with an in-part avobenzone sunscreen (the avobenzone is stabilized by octocrylene, which is great). L’Oreal got the critical UVA protection issue right this time, something they often leave out of their formulas here in the United States. Other than that, this product, which is best for normal to slightly dry or slightly oily skin, doesn’t break any new ground. In fact, the overall formula is average when compared with the other options you’ll find on our Best Moisturizers with Sunscreen list.

The crux of Youth Code is the claim that it stimulates genes in your skin that supposedly are responsible for its regenerating power.

It is absolutely true that there are genes in our skin responsible for generating proteins. These proteins create antioxidant pathways that protect skin from intrinsic (internal) and external signs of aging. As we age (actually, as we accumulate more sun damage from years of exposure), these genes become less able to “express” themselves in a healthy manner. That leads to oxidation within the skin and a decreased ability for the gene-generated proteins and enzymes to handle oxidative stress. The result of these deficiencies is damaged collagen, inflammation, and unwanted changes to skin texture, such as roughness, increased sensitivity, and, yes, wrinkles (Sources: Planta Medica, October 2008, pages 1548–1559; Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, February 2008, pages 79–88; and Free Radical Biology & Medicine, August 2008, pages 385–395).

What is L’Oreal’s solution—a yeast ingredient known as bifida ferment lysate. The problem is that there’s no research proving that this specific form of yeast has any anti-aging, regenerating, or gene-stimulating activity when applied to skin. You’d think that after 10 years of research, L’Oreal would publish their findings, but they haven’t. Of course, there’s also the issue that treating aging skin depends on more than a single ingredient or even one group of ingredients.

Getting back to the bifida ferment lysate, there is limited research showing that yeast ferment filtrate (a compound different from bifida ferment lysate) reduces oxidative skin damage in the presence of UV light, but this research also showed that many other antioxidants have a similar effect (Sources: Archives of Dermatological Research, April 2008, pages S51–S56; and Journal of Dermatological Science, June 2006, pages 249–257).

In the end, despite all the gene-stimulating and youth-regenerating claims, this isn’t a must-have product for skin of any age, although the sunscreen is certainly capable of providing broad-spectrum protection.

Claims

After 10 years of research, L’Oréal scientists unlock the code of skin’s youth by discovering a specific set of genes that are responsible for skin’s natural power of regeneration. With L’Oréals breakthrough GenActiv Technology, this powerful daily moisturizer can increase skin’s power of regeneration so it regains the qualities of young skin. See smoother, youthfully luminous and rested skin emerge. Plus, skin is protected with broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 to help prevent future signs of damage. The lightweight, oil-free texture of this lotion leaves a smooth and velvety soft finish on your skin.

Ingredients

Active: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (2.7%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%). Other: Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Sucrose Tristearate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate-61, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Carbomer, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Triethanolamine, Dimethiconol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Limonene, Potassium Sorbate

Brand Overview

L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.

Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.

L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor—if there are any at all.

L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.

The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.

Unfortunately, despite the brands’ enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit.

For more information about L'Oreal, call (800) 322-2036 or visit www.loreal.com or www.lorealparisusa.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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04.07.2013
Bought By Accident

First time I've needed a daytime moisturizer and thought a combo product would be a good idea. Bought this by accident (don't ask.) I've only been using during winter and early spring and it seems ok (I only need light daytime moisturizing). Despite Cosmetic Cop info saying it doesn't come in jar packaging, that's the ONLY way it does come. Next time, I'm going for Regenerist UV defense lotion SPF 15 - 2.5 fl oz per bottle vs 1.7 for others. More bang for the buck and a better product.

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Heather J
04.08.2013
Beautypedia Team Response

Thank you for your comments! The product we reviewed comes in a pump, at least as far as we've encountered. For review purposes, we only categorize products as truly being jar packaged if they come in a jar and fingers have to be dipped into the container in order to use the product. Hopefully this clears up any confusion!

—Paula's Choice Research Team
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