Tested on animals:Yes
This two-step kit is supposed to be a superior alternative to a series of dermatologist-administered peels. RoC maintains that professional peels done in a doctor’s office or spa do little to help skin beyond removing the surface layers of dead skin, but that’s not true. Yes, peels remove layers of sun-damaged, dead skin, but, when done properly, they also reduce discolorations and, over time, stimulate collagen production and remodeling for firmer, smoother skin. Peels are not an anti-aging cure-all, but they are useful, provided you keep your expectations realistic and see professionals who know what they are doing.
What’s particularly galling is that RoC’s answer to professional peels is this “resurfacing system,” which is incapable of doing anything special for skin. Step 1 is just a moisturizer that contains tiny amounts of skin-repairing hyaluronic acid and cell-communicating retinol. It also contains an intriguing ingredient known as dihydroxy methylchromone.
According to limited research, dihydroxy methylchromone occurs naturally in most plants, but it’s expensive to extract, so its chemical structure was copied and now it can be produced in a lab. It is said to have retinol-like properties in terms of collagen stimulation, and it also appears to increase skin’s natural levels of hyaluronic acid, while inhibiting enzymes that cause collagen breakdown in the dermis (skin’s lower layer). That’s good to know, but what remains a mystery is how much of this ingredient is needed to get that benefit; RoC certainly isn’t using much of it!
Moreover, the research on dihydroxy methylchromone didn’t compare its benefits with those of other anti-aging ingredients, such as niacinamide, green tea, or any of numerous peptides (Source: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=23292750). In short, it seems this ingredient has promise, but there’s more to learn before we’d recommend you run out and look for products that contain it. However, if you do, make sure it’s not at the end of the ingredient list, as it is here.
After you apply the moisturizer labeled as Step 1, you’re directed to follow with the serum labeled Step 2. The serum is just a blend of silicones with tiny amounts of minerals and vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate). It feels silky, but offers no special benefit beyond enhancing skin’s smoothness—something you can get from numerous other products that also treat skin to proven anti-aging ingredients.
RoC’s directions mention that Step 1 may tingle as you apply it, implying that it’s nothing to worry about because it’s just a sign that the product is working. Analyzing the ingredient list for this product, we couldn’t determine what causes the tingling. Perhaps the dihydroxy methylchromone mentioned above is responsible for the tingling, but we can’t be sure. What we can state with certainty is that, except for the ascorbic acid (vitamin C), none of the other ingredients in Step 1 are known to cause tingling when applied, and the amount of ascorbic acid in Step 1 is so low that its efficacy (and irritation potential) isn’t likely to be less than modest.
This ends up being a two-step kit that offers more pomp than proof. It’s not a harmful duo, but canceling a peel or other dermatologist procedure to use this instead? No way!
- Makes skin feel softer and smoother.
- Absolutely not a viable replacement for professionally administered facial peels.
- Contains only a tiny amount of anti-aging ingredients.
- Mysterious tingling cannot be attributed to any specific ingredient in Step 1’s formula.
- Step 2’s serum is a lackluster formula that makes skin feel silky, but it should do a lot more.