Tested on animals:No
Bio-Gel Bio-Restorative Hydrogel is marketed for those with oily to combination skin types who may or may not be prone to breakouts. In that respect, this formula certainly lives up to its marketing claims—it’s light gel formula is irritant- and fragrance-free, lacking any commonly problematic ingredients for those battling blemishes. Unfortunately, it’s lacking in nearly all other categories as well. For $160+, you get a bottle that contains of 99% glycol, glycerin, and thickeners.
Such ingredients should serve as the beginnings of a well-formulated gel moisturizer for oily to combination skin, but it’s as if Neocutis decided to stop there! Bio-Gel Bio-Restorative Hydrogel is missing the proven ingredients—like antioxidants—that can help ward off free-radical damage, heal skin, and soothe inflammation.
It does contain hyaluronic acid and Neocutis’ trademarked PSP (“Processed Skin Proteins”), but that isn’t enough to redeem this formula, as they’re listed after the preservative phenoxyethanol in the ingredient list. Phenoxyethanol is to 1% in cosmetics, and that’s something to pay close attention to here because that means that the potentially beneficial ingredients included—hyaluronic acid and PSP—make up less than 1%. As there’s no research indicating how much PSP a product should contain to provide benefits, you’re left to guess that less than 1% is sufficient.
Their PSP, or “Processed Skin Proteins,” blend is in that group that makes up less than 1%, but even if it were present in greater amounts, PSP isn’t the miracle Neocutis makes it out to be (check out the More Info section for additional details on PSP).
Aesthetically, this will feel nice for those who are seeking a light gel formula with minimal moisture. However, BioGel Bio Restorative Hydrogel with PSP earned an AVERAGE rating because it is average—and handily outperformed by even the simplest drugstore moisturizer due to the near total absence of beneficial ingredients.
At this price, you really should expect far more—like what you will find in any of the well-formulated alternatives on our list of Best Moisturizers Without Sunscreen.
- Contains basic moisture-binding ingredients (such as glycerin).
- Pleasant aesthetic for oily to combination skin is the full extent of this product’s abilities.
- Lacks the comprehensive antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients to improve signs of aging.
- The use of PSP, or “Processed Skin Proteins,” in skincare isn’t well-supported by research.
- Unbelievably high price for a bottle of water-based glycol and standard thickeners.
Processed Skin Proteins: “Processed Skin Proteins,” or PSP, is a blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances featured in many Neocutis products that they claim “….harnesses the power of human growth factors and cytokines.” You may have also heard that a component of this anti-aging blend is human fetal cell tissue—which is correct.
In 2006, a Swiss study published in Cell Transplantation found that biopsied fetal cell tissue could be used for tissue engineering—replacing elements of damaged tissue to aid in the healing process of injuries (Cell Transplantation, 2006). Those biopsied cells were stored in a cell bank, and today, Neocutis uses cell tissue grown from that original cell line; that is, no other fetuses have been biopsied for cells that are destined for use in the PSP blend in Neocutis products. Rather, they continue to grow cells in the lab from the original cell line.
Cellular reengineering of wounds does not translate into how the Neocutis PSP blend is used in their skincare products—and there isn’t much research on this proprietary blend. What does exist regarding skincare application of the Neocutis PSP blend was conducted on a small group of 12 patients, and only four showed improvement (8% or less is hardly impressive) in collagen production (Journal of the Academy of Dermatology, 2008). There was no comparative data on how PSP performed against other well-researched ingredients such as vitamin C, green tea extract, resveratrol, retinol, or niacinamide.
The bottom line: While some of the proteins and amino acids that make up PSP do have some benefit for skin, it’s minor in comparison to the benefits of well-researched alternatives that you’ll find in abundance in some products from other brands. There isn’t any reason to buy into the belief that PSP is the “miracle” ingredient you’ve been waiting for, and the research certainly doesn’t support the claims made around its use in Neocutis skincare products. Remember, skincare is never as simple as one ingredient, however great (or seemingly great) it may be.