Vit-A-Plus Illuminating Serum combines the benefits of AHAs (15%) at a pH of 4 with a good complement of antioxidants, all in packaging that keeps them stable during use. This fragrance-free product is highly recommended for normal to dry skin not prone to breakouts (the plant oil and wax may prove problematic for blemishes). The AHA content is likely to be problematic for those with sensitive skin.
The Vit-A-Plus Illuminating Serum rapidly diminishes the appearance of skin discolorations with a soothing multi-action formula containing a natural botanical complex that visibly balances uneven skin tones. This revolutionary multi-action formula works beneath the surface where wrinkles begin. It dramatically reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And, the serum renews the luminosity of your skin, while increasing resiliency and firmness. Clinical Studies have shown a 60% reduction in the look of dark spots and discolorations, a 59% improvement in overall texture and tone, as well as a 48% reduction the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Water, Ammonium Glycolate, Glycolic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinol, Ceteareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Palmitoyl Hydroxypropyltrimonium Amylopectin/Glycerin Crosspolymer, Lecithin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Morus Bombycis (Mulberry) Extract, Clycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Ceresin, Microcrystalline Celllulose, Cellulose Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sorbitan Stearate, Allantoin, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Bisabolol, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Isohexadecane, Steareth-2, BHT, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
This medically oriented, spa- and salon-sold skin-care company has its roots in alpha hydroxy acids, and was selling products with these ingredients as early as 1983, years before the cosmetics industry at large began promoting AHAs as the latest antiwrinkle miracle. The AHA craze has long since quieted, but ongoing, substantiated research has proven what a valuable asset properly formulated AHAs can be for skin. MD Formulations uses glycolic acid and ammonium glycolate (an exfoliant and pH adjuster related to glycolic acid) as its chief AHAs. Glycolic acid, in particular, has the most long-term research establishing its benefit for skin. Its list of benefits for skin is impressive, and these include improving photodamaged skin, normalizing the surface of skin so it appears smoother and healthier, improving the function of the skin's outer structure so it protects skin and reduces dryness, eliminating a dull surface, and stimulating collagen production (Sources: Journal of Dermatology, January 2006, pages 16–22; Experimental Dermatology, 2003 Supplement, pages 57–63; Cutis, August 2001, pages 135–142; Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, July 2000, pages 280–284; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, March-April 2000, pages 81–88; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, May-June 1999, pages 111–119; Dermatologic Surgery, August 1997, pages 689–694; Journal of Cell Physiology, October 1999, pages 14–23; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 1996, pages 867–875).
This is exciting information, but it's critical to keep in mind that glycolic acid (and AHAs in general) is not the only answer for aging, sun-damaged skin. Luckily, MD Formulations thinks so too, because several of their latest products contain AHAs along with antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients (such as peptides and phospholipids), and retinol (cell-communicating ingredient and antioxidant). Research has shown that combining an AHA with retinol enhances its bioactivity in the lower layers of skin without altering the efficacy of the AHA (Source: Dermatology, 2005 Supplement, pages 6–13).
In many respects, next to the Lauder-owned lines, MD Formulations has a fantastic roster of antioxidant-laden moisturizers and serums. Even their toner is highly recommended, and we don't often get excited about toners (well, except my own, but that's another review). Surprisingly, for a company that is close to the cutting edge of creating state-of-the-art skin-care products, they still use jar packaging for many products whose ingredients are light- and air-sensitive. Those products should be avoided, especially for what MD Formulations is charging.
It's also distressing that half of their sunscreens lack sufficient UVA protection and a handful of products contain well-known irritants that don't promote healthy, intact skin (what were they thinking?). Due to the manner in which well-formulated AHA products work, sun protection is essential. As skin's outer, thickened layer is removed, the vibrant, "new" skin is more vulnerable to sun damage. It would be optimal if MD Formulations stocked a wider variety of effective sunscreens, and added as many antioxidants to them as they do to most of their moisturizers and serums. Still, plenty of other lines sell beautifully formulated sunscreens, so you can cherry-pick the suitable prime options from MD Formulations and fill in the sun-protection blank elsewhere (which isn't a bad idea—this is an expensive skin-care line).
For more information about MD Formulations, call (800) 451-3940 or visit www.mdformulations.com.