Tested on animals:No
At $235 for 1 ounce of product, you would expect the Bio Serum Intensive Treatment to be truly groundbreaking. Unfortunately, what’s housed inside this pump-style container is a shockingly average collection of amino acids, a few antioxidants, and a small amount of Neocutis’ trademarked PSP, or “Processed Skin Proteins” blend. There isn’t much to say about PSP, as on closer inspection there is scant research demonstrating it has much benefit at all for skin (check out the More Info section for additional details on this ingredient).
Adding to this serum’s allure are its strangely nebulous marketing claims—with a promise to “restore a youthful, firm and supple look to skin.” There is no explanation beyond this to indicate what results to expect, or how Bio Serum Intensive Treatment is actually going to accomplish those results. If one is going to pay this much, you would think Neocutis would be more specific about what you can expect to get in return. Maybe they’re hoping the brand’s medical positioning will be enough reason for most consumers to open their wallets.
What you shouldn’t expect in return is for your wrinkles and sagging skin to vanish miraculously, as amino acids and antioxidants just aren’t capable of having that kind of effect on signs of aging. Amino acids such as those included here—arginine, proline, glycine, and glutamine—can help improve moisture content and speed the healing of damaged skin, but that’s a benefit shared by many cosmetic ingredients.
We should mention that Neocutis also sells this formula in a smaller, click-pen container at $94 for 0.13 fl. oz., but neither size is strongly recommended.
For the above reasons, this truly earned its AVERAGE rating—whatever intensive impact Neocutis is hinting will result from the use of Bio Serum Intensive Treatment isn’t supported by research, and certainly can’t compare with the benefits of many well-researched ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and others.
If you truly wish to treat your signs of aging more aggressively, consider a potent retinol formula like those recommended on our list of Best Retinol Products.
- Includes a beneficial array of water-binding ingredients and a few antioxidants.
- Packaged to protect its ingredients from air and light.
- There isn’t anything “intensive” about this ordinary mix of ingredients.
- The use of PSP, or “Processed Skin Proteins,” in skincare isn’t well-supported by research.
- Outrageously expensive for what you get.
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 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.