This moisturizer's claims are deceptive. The product boasts of its Growth Factor Night Complex, which consists of "17 extremely effective ingredients totaling 34.8 percent of the formula that works to support skin's natural repair mechanisms while plant stem cells help skin recover elastic properties." While this product definitely contains some good ingredients that can help skin, the rest of the claims concerning plant stem cells are exaggerated at best.
Three of the ingredients that could be considered stem cells in this formula—Nicotiana sylvestris leaf cell culture, orange stem cell callus culture, and phytoecdysteroids—have no research showing they do much of anything for skin over and above what other plant extracts do. They definitely do not grow more human skin the way you think stem cells should work, and they definitely do not improve elasticity (see More Info to learn more about stem cells in skin-care products).
We could go on and on about the claims, but in the long run it isn't necessary because this product comes in a jar, which won't maintain the effectiveness of air-sensitive ingredients once it is opened (See More Info to find out why jar packaging is a problem).
Back to the Growth Factor Night Complex for one more moment: There are many types of growth factors, all of which occur naturally in the body and are responsible for a wide range of functions that govern cellular growth, development, and healing, among other functions. In a healthy body, growth factor action is automated and carefully controlled; an overproduction could lead to problems such as excess cell proliferation, which is the starting point of cancer. Without getting too technical, there is no valid research proving topical application of growth factors has any anti-aging benefit on skin. Topical application of some growth factors can help heal wounded skin, but wrinkles and sagging are not wounds (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy, March 2013, ePublication; and Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, October 26, 2012, ePublication).
Putting aside the claims, this product does contain some great ingredients for skin and would be worth recommending if it weren't for the jar packaging, which renders everything for naught.
- Makes skin feel soft and smooth.
- Contains some intriguing cell-communicating ingredients and antioxidants.
- The growth factor claims are at best exaggerated and misleading.
- Jar packaging limits the effectiveness of the light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- Way overpriced for what you get.
Why Jar Packaging is a Problem: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Why Plant Stem Cells in Skin Care Cannot Work:
Stem cells are cells in animals and plants that are capable of becoming any other type of cell in that organism and of producing more of those cells. Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. The claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to elastin repair and cell regeneration, so the temptation for consumers to try these is intense.
The truth is that stem cells in skin-care products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells. Once these delicate cells are added to skin-care products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless. It's actually a good thing that stem cells in skin-care products can't work as claimed because one stem cell study has revealed that they present a potential risk of cancer.
Plant stem cells, such as those derived from apples, melons, flowers, and rice, cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, but because they are from plants these ingredients likely have antioxidant properties. It's a good thing plant stem cells can't work as stem cells in skin-care products; after all, you don't want your skin to absorb cells that can grow into apples or watermelons!
There are also claims that because a plant's stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is unrelated to human skin, and these claims are completely without substantiation.
FIRM™ Firming Night Moisturizer, straight from the PTR research facility, contains 34.8% Growth Factor Night Complex™. This youth activating night moisturizer helps firm, tone, moisturize, and improve the appearance of elasticity and bounce.
Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Isocetyl Stearate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Panthenol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Propylene Glycol Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Caffeine, Dimethicone, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Rh-Oligopeptide-1, Hexapeptide-3, Tripeptide-3, Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Callus Culture Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Nicotiana Sylvestris Leaf Cell Culture, Zizyphus Jujuba Seed Extract, Phytoecdysteroids, Jania Rubens Extract, Meristotheca Dakarensis Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Carnosine, Butylene Glycol, Dimethiconol, Lecithin, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanyl Palmitate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Sodium Lactate, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Allantoin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octyldodecanol, Sucrose, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Xanthan Gum, PEG-8, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Phytate, Silica, Sodium Propoxyhydroxypropyl Thiosulfate Silica, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearyl Alcohol, Polyurethane-40, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Mica, Phenoxyethanol.
Unique in the world of spa and salon specialty lines, Peter Thomas Roth is a large but straightforward line with mostly uncomplicated formulations that, for the most part, are quite good and state-of-the-art. Unlike many product lines, most of the acne, AHA, BHA, sunscreen, and moisturizing products contain what they should to be effective and helpful for skin.
A novel aspect of this line is that there are few (if any) nonsense ingredients. Roth products conspicuously lack the exotic, potentially irritating, sensitizing, and often unnecessary plant extracts and the irritating, fragrant plant oils that show up in most pricey skin-care lines, especially spa lines. Many of these products don't have fragrance, and they lack the long lists of ingredients that are often unnecessarily complicated. Even more impressive are the well-formulated cleansers, sunscreens, AHA products, and skin lighteners. The moisturizers have improved somewhat, and most are now packaged so that the light- and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable. In fact, Roth's packaging deserves special mention because it is exceptionally utilitarian and gender-friendly. No pretty pink bottles, sexy curved jars, or bejeweled caps—all of which reinforce the clinical nature of Peter Thomas Roth. Overall, this line should be admired for its simplicity and, for the most part, for its well-thought-out formulations.
After all that glowing praise there are a few embarrassing missteps to avoid, such as products that contain hydrogen peroxide, which can cause free-radical damage and hurt skin; irritating acne products that contain sulfur; unimpressive masks (odd for a spa-oriented line); and a bumper crop of products claiming to affect expression lines and wrinkles in a manner similar to cosmetic corrective procedures.
For more information about Peter Thomas Roth, call (800) PTR-SKIN or visit www.peterthomasroth.com.