More of a lightweight moisturizer than what would be considered a “serum,” this product contains a mix of different types of algae along with several standard thickeners and some emollients. It’s an OK option for normal to dry skin, but not as specialized as the name and claims state.
Sensitive skin needs proven anti-irritants to reduce redness, along with skin-repairing ingredients to rebuild and strengthen the skin’s surface. Glycerin, phospholipids, ceramides, and cholesterol are examples of the skin-repairing ingredients sensitive skin needs, and there are other anti-irritants that are more well-researched than the algae and other plant extracts included here. It’s nice that this is fragrance-free, but that’s the minimum you should expect from a product designed for sensitive skin.
This is suitable for skin troubled by rosacea, but there are better serums and moisturizers that cost less and stand a better chance of reducing redness. You’ll find those on our Best Sensitive Skin Products list.
- Contains some potentially soothing plant extracts.
- Lacks a good range of proven anti-redness ingredients to help calm and normalize sensitive skin.
- Lacks a roster of effective skin-repairing ingredients to strengthen the skin’s surface and help sensitive skin improve; what this does contain likely isn’t enough for sensitive skin to see much difference.
Contains aldavine, capparenols and bisabolol to reduce inflammation, redness and hypersensitivity. Ideal for use on sensitive skin, including rosacea. Promotes microcirculation, leaving the skin calm and evenly toned, helping to combat redness instead of simply covering it.
Water, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Dimethicone, Ethoxydiglycol, Panthenol, Ascophyllum Nodosum (Algin) Extract, Asparagopsis Armata (Red Algae) Extract, Capparis Spinosa Fruit Extract, Sodium PCA, Bisabolol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trideceth-6, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate
PCA Skin is a product line you may have seen at your spa, salon, or dermatologist's office. Founded by an aesthetician in 1990, the brand became relatively popular after developing a series of professional alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels marketed as "medical clinical aesthetics"; in other words, these products are sold to dermatology practices offering cosmetic services such as facials. More recently, PCA Skin has teamed up with a dermatologist and other medical professionals to develop skin-care products. The peels are for professional use only and, in fact, except for a facial scrub, PCA Skin does not sell exfoliants that consumers can use at home.
Not surprisingly, PCA Skin's medical and aesthetics background is supposed to be rooted in science. The company states that "we use rigorous research and science to develop safe, highly effective products that deliver healthy, beautiful skin." Although PCA Skin products contain many beneficial, research-supported ingredients, they also contain numerous problematic ingredients that cause irritation; somehow, that "rigorous" research overlooked those. Irritation is always a problem for skin, causing inflammation and collagen breakdown, and impairing the skin's ability to heal.
Chief among the irritants you'll find throughout the PCA Skin line are witch hazel, citrus and numerous other fragrant oils (whether synthetic or natural, fragrance is almost always a problem for skin), drying cleansing agents, and alcohol (we mean, really, alcohol?!). In our Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary, we provide detailed information on why each of these ingredients is a problem; for all of their talk about science, chemistry, and research, PCA Skin should know better.
If you remain intrigued by this brand (or find the sales pressure from your aesthetician too intense to ignore), there are some worthwhile products. It’s great that every SPF-rated product from PCA Skin includes reliable broad-spectrum sun-protection ingredients, and fans of facial scrubs should know this brand does offer a gentle option. Also, their eye cream and retinol serum are worth a look, and several products are fragrance-free, although you need to choose carefully because many of their products contain fragrant plant extracts or oils despite being listed as fragrance-free.
PCA Skin's science-based mission is admirable, but just because an aesthetician and doctor teamed up, the results for these products aren't going to be spectacular, or even all that helpful.
For more information about PCA Skin, call (877) 722-7546 or visit www.pcaskin.com.