03.12.2015
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Resurfacing AHA Concentrate
Rating
1.02 fl. oz. for $45
Category:Skin Care > AHA Exfoliants > AHA
Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
pH:3.50
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This AHA fluid exfoliant contains a potentially helpful amount of lactic acid formulated at a pH to ensure it works as an exfoliant. The citrus extracts it contains are an indirect source of the AHA citric acid, but these extracts contain fragrant components that make this exfoliant too irritating to recommend. Even without the fragrance, the amount of alcohol in this exfoliant is cause for concern. Alcohol isn't needed for an effective AHA product, and in fact it is a pro-aging ingredient because it destroys skin's protective barrier and causes free-radical damage. There's no mistaking this product's alcohol and citrus-y scent, and no mistaking the fact that under no circumstances would we recommend anyone purchase it.

Claims

A concentrate formulated to resurface the skin and renew the complexion giving a radiant, youthful glow. A complex of Glycolic, Lactic, Tartaric and Citric acids promotes skin-cell turnover leaving skin looking revitalised, brighter, smoother and more healthy.

Ingredients

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Water, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Leaf Extract, Alcohol Denat., Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Passiflora Quadrangularis Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Rhizobian Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bisulfite, Limonene, Linalool.

Brand Overview

Ren At-A-Glance

Strengths: Good toner; some worthwhile moisturizers and masks (but not the anti-acne formula); a bounty of products for dry to very dry skin; some products contain especially high amounts of known antioxidants.

Weaknesses: Expensive; repetitive formulas that aren't nearly as natural as they're made out to be; several products contain irritants with no established benefit for skin; very irritating products for those with acne; no skin-lightening options; unappealing products for oily skin.

Hailing from the United Kingdom, the Ren line was developed by two businessmen who are, according to company information, "evangelical" about skin care. The story goes that Robert Calcraft and Anthony Buck were former consultants who began researching the skin-care market after Buck's wife began having adverse reactions to every skin-care product she used while pregnant. Apparently neither man believed that there was a line out there that offered consumers high-tech products that were "totally clean" and "completely effective," and so, voilá, a new skin-care line was born.

We wish we could write that these men were really onto something for all women, not just Buck's wife, but that's simply not the case. First of all, their assessment of the cosmetics industry is bizarre, because in truth there are indeed many cosmetic lines offering "clean" and "effective" products ("clean," by Ren's definition, are products that don't contain problematic ingredients). Second, which lines did Ren's founders check out to determine that there was a missing link? An even better question is: What criteria were they using, because almost all of their products are either poorly formulated or contain irritating ingredients?

Calcraft and Buck apparently worked with a cosmetic pharmacologist; although that sounds impressive, a cosmetic pharmacologist works with drugs designed to improve mental ability in healthy individuals, not with skin-care formulations. All of this back story is nothing more than proof that the people behind this line really didn't do their homework, and the consumer who buys these products will be the poorer (both skin health- and money-wise) because of it.

It still shocks us when we review a line that's laden with products claiming to improve wrinkles and other signs of aging skin, and yet there's limited options for sun protection. Few researchers question how critical daily sun protection is to preserving the health and appearance of skin. Many of Ren's products contain antioxidants, and several have high amounts of green tea oil. But all the green tea in Japan isn't capable of protecting skin from environmental damage, which of course includes sunlight.

More so than many other lines that eschew certain ingredients for their alleged (and, sometimes, proven) negative effects when present in skin-care products, Ren loves to point out everything they don't use. This is a line for those who love to see the word "No" followed by a long list of chemical-sounding names that can seem scary to the uninformed. A consumer may have no idea what a polyquaternium is, but because of lines like Ren, the message is clear that it's not desirable. Ren doesn't provide any documentation supporting their ban on certain ingredients, which is typical of lines whose marketing angle relies on perpetuating the myth that synthetic ingredients are evil and that natural is the only truly safe way to go.

It would be great if Ren's "do not use" list benefited consumers, but it doesn't. Frustratingly, many of the ingredients Ren opts to use instead of synthetics are proven irritants for skin. Bergamot, peppermint, tangerine, and arnica are indeed natural ingredients, but each has its share of problems for skin. We could go on, but you get our point: Ren is really nothing more than an overly fragranced, fear-mongering, natural "me too" line using the same tired plant-based ingredient angle as countless other brands. The difference is that many of those other brands have a product assortment that, either from a price or formulary perspective, is much better than this one.

For more information about Ren, call (732) 553-1185 or visit www.renskincare.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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03.16.2015
I've used this and your overview is incorrect

This product has done absolute wonders to my skin. Disregarding your claim of alcohol content. Because this product WORKS! it says to use for seven days then be off for two weeks. I used it for 4days and noticed amazing results. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a beautiful natural resurface!! Ren is a super clean line.pregnant women can use it!brand founders made it for the reason of skincare during pregnancy!!!! I am a male who has thoroughly enjoyed! Your review is biased!

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AJ W
03.18.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello there!  Thanks for sharing your experience! We can certainly appreciate wanting to defend a product that has worked well for you. As we mention in the review, this product is a good AHA exfoliant—but you can find equally good options that don’t put your skin at risk from alcohol, as this one does. The scary thing about irritation from ingredients like alcohol is that skin can be good at hiding it—you won’t see it now, everything seems fine (amazing, even) yet the damage is silently occurring beneath skin’s surface, only to show up years later.

With respect, we disagree that our review is biased. The research on alcohol’s damaging effects on skin is clear, and this scientific information, not opinion, forms the basis of our rating for this AHA exfoliant. We strongly suggest you reconsider using this and look to any of the AHA exfoliants we recommend in our Best Products section—many of which cost less than Ren’s contribution.

Last, Ren’s claim of being safer for pregnant women is based far more on marketing hype than solid research. Their products contain plenty of ingredients that could be problematic for pregnant or lactating women. Again, this comment is based on ingredient research, not opinion or bias. 

-Beautypedia Team

—Beautypedia Team
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