C-Quench Antioxidant Serum

by PCA Skin  
$74 - 1 fl. oz.
Poor Read Member Comments
Add To Faves»

Want to buy this product?

Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:
Jar Packaging:
Tested On Animals:

This serum has a lot going for it, including a useful amount of vitamin C along with several other antioxidants and some intriguing ingredients to help repair the skin’s surface. Unfortunately, the good ingredients are overshadowed by several irritating ingredients, making this serum one to avoid.

Leading the list of irritants is the first ingredient, witch hazel water. While not as potent as pure witch hazel or the distillate form, it still contains irritating components and doesn’t start this serum on a great note. Other irritants include small amounts of orange and grapefruit oil, both of which can make skin more sun-sensitive (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). Most likely, these were included for fragrance. All in all, there’s really no reason to go for this serum when there are others that provide an equally brilliant range of helpful ingredients minus the irritants. Please see More Info for details on why irritation is such a problem for skin.

  • Contains vitamin C (ascorbic acid) plus several antioxidants.
  • Intriguing plant-based fatty acids help repair skin’s surface.
  • Expensive.
  • Main ingredient is witch hazel water, a skin irritant.
  • Contains fragrance in the form of two citrus oils known to be irritating.

More Info:

Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients. Although this serum contains several ingredients that help stimulate collagen production and repair skin, there are other products that do the same thing, but without the downside of irritants to keep the good ingredients from providing their maximum potential benefit.

Hydrates and nourishes the skin, helping to minimize fine lines and wrinkles without irritation. Vitamin C is well known for its skin strengthening abilities, helping to enhance production of collagen, a supportive fiber in the skin. This lightweight serum also contains humectants that attract and bind water to the skin for lasting comfort.
Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Water, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glycerin, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Proline, Alanine, Serine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Resveratrol, Glutathione, Ergothioneine, Maltodextrin, Syringa Vulgaris (Lilac) Leaf Cell Culture, Phytosterols, Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, Squalane, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Ripes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum

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.

Member Comments

Write A Review»

No members have written a review yet. Be the first!

You May Also Like These Products From Paula's Choice

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

View Media Highlights


The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

585623-IIS1 v1.0.0.367 1/26/2015 12:47:00 PM
Skip to Top of Page
20% Off AHA & BHA Exfoliants | FREE Shipping on $50+

Create an Account

Create Account»
  • »

New Customers

You will have the option to create an account after you have submitted your order.