Hydrating Serum

by PCA Skin  
Price:
$86 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:
1/6/2012
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

Essentially this is an overpriced, somewhat interesting, serum. It isn’t all that hydrating, so those with dry skin will definitely be left wanting (and needing) more emollients. This is best for normal to oily or breakout-prone skin.

Many of the ingredients in this serum help attract and bind water to the skin’s surface as they replenish intercellular substances, and it contains niacinamide. The formula is not the most elegant, but it’s a plus that, unlike many of PCS Skin’s products, this doesn’t contain fragrance (synthetic or natural, both of which are a problem for skin).

Pros:
  • Provides lightweight hydration without fragrance.
  • Contains some helpful water-binding and skin-repairing ingredients, including niacinamide.
Cons:
  • Expensive for what amounts to a missed opportunity for a well-rounded serum.
  • Lacks antioxidants beyond the mild antioxidant kick from aloe and wheat germ.

Contains components of the skin's natural moisturizing factor to replenish hydration for a healthier complexion. This incredible formula plumps the skin with moisture, leaving it younger-looking, healthier and more comfortable.

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Fructose, Glycine, Sodium Lactate, Inositol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Polyacrylate, Gluconolactone, Urea, Sodium Benzoate

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.

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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:

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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.

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