03.12.2015
4
Essential Power Cream
2.8 fl. oz. for $205
Expert Rating
Community Rating (0)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes

This moisturizer is drastically overpriced, especially when you consider that many of the good ingredients it does contain won't remain stable once you open the jar packaging, exposing the contents to light and air (see More Info for details). Otherwise, this moisturizer is similar to most others from SK-II: It's a blend of water with their "star" ingredient Pitera (explained below), the B vitamin niacinamide, several thickeners, and some novel antioxidant plant extracts.

Essential Power Cream will make normal to dry skin look and feel better, but so will countless other moisturizers that cost substantially less, come in stable packaging, and are better formulated. This product is further proof that when it comes to skin care, expensive doesn't necessarily mean better!

Despite the claims for this product and other products from SK-II, Pitera is not a miracle anti-aging or skin-firming ingredient. It's the trade name for Saccharomycopsis ferment filtrate (SFF), a form of yeast purportedly unique because of the fermenting and filtering process it goes through before being added to these products. As it turns out, many forms of yeast have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant properties, including SFF (Source: Journal of Dermatologic Science, June 2006, pages 249–257). Other than that, all of the information about Pitera comes from papers presented at medical conferences, not from published studies.

Presenting papers at medical conferences is not at all the same thing as publishing the results of studies. We frequently present papers and information at medical conferences, and we wouldn't offer that material as proof of anything—because it isn't. The standards for presenting a paper at a medical conference are much less stringent than the requirements for publication of study results in respected medical journals.

Even if Pitera is a wonder ingredient, it doesn't explain how it rates in comparison with other great ingredients because there are no comparison studies. Hundreds of ingredients—from green tea to superoxide dismutase, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, caffeic acid, beta-carotene, pomegranate, and curcumin to vitamin E, vitamin A, and on and on and on—have stellar reputations, and there's copious published documentation to prove it. In no way is Pitera the end-all, be-all, must-have ingredient.

Pros:
  • Will make dry skin look and feel smooth and soft.
  • Contains cell-communicating ingredient niacinamide plus plant-based antioxidants.
Cons:
  • Drastically overpriced.
  • Pitera is not the miracle ingredient SK-II makes it out to be.
  • Jar packaging won't keep the several key ingredients stable once this is opened.
More Info:

The fact that this moisturizer is 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).

Community Reviews
Claims

An essential daily moisturizer designed to help improve skin firmness and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Containing a key plant-derived ingredient, this power cream helps to rejuvenate the skin renewal process and restore firmness from the source.

Ingredients

Water, Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Isohexadecane, Pentylene Gylcol, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Isostearate, Polyacrylamide, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acanthopanax Senticosus (Eleuthero) Root Extract, Cynara Scolymus (Artichoke) Leaf Extract, Sodium PEG-7 Olive Oil Carboxylate, Sucrose Polycottonseedate, Panthenol, Dimethiconol, Methicone, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Methylsilanol Tri-PEG-8 Glyceryl Cocoate, Behenyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteraryl Glucoside, Cetyl Alcohol, Laureth-7, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Ammonium Polyacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Sisesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polyquaternium-7, Disodium EDTA, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)

Brand Overview

Despite its high-end pricing, much of the SK-II products are surprisingly ordinary—many contain a small assortment of beneficial ingredients in addition to standard moisturizing agents and fragrance. Though their marketing campaigns are compelling, much is left to be desired when you compare glossy layouts to ingredients and formulas.

Pitera is the cornerstone of the SK-II line and is present in every SK-II product. There is some research demonstrating that this yeast, galactomyces ferment filtrate, has a protective effect on the skin barrier, working to prevent damage to the proteins that play a critical role in maintaining its integrity. There isn’t much beyond this single study, so there is no way to compare it to the already well-researched ingredients on the market, but it is intriguing (Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 2015). Why SK-II chose to base their line around this ingredient given the lack of knowledge about it is curious—there are plenty of research-proven alternatives they could have considered (vitamin C, green tea, retinol, etc.), or at least paired with Pitera!

In the end, much of the SK-II line lacks the formulas to warrant their price tags. However, if you’re looking to splurge, there are a few products to consider—see our full reviews for more information.

For more information about SK-II, owned by Procter & Gamble, visit www.sk-ii.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.


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See all reviews for this brand

Despite its high-end pricing, much of the SK-II products are surprisingly ordinary—many contain a small assortment of beneficial ingredients in addition to standard moisturizing agents and fragrance. Though their marketing campaigns are compelling, much is left to be desired when you compare glossy layouts to ingredients and formulas.

Pitera is the cornerstone of the SK-II line and is present in every SK-II product. There is some research demonstrating that this yeast, galactomyces ferment filtrate, has a protective effect on the skin barrier, working to prevent damage to the proteins that play a critical role in maintaining its integrity. There isn’t much beyond this single study, so there is no way to compare it to the already well-researched ingredients on the market, but it is intriguing (Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 2015). Why SK-II chose to base their line around this ingredient given the lack of knowledge about it is curious—there are plenty of research-proven alternatives they could have considered (vitamin C, green tea, retinol, etc.), or at least paired with Pitera!

In the end, much of the SK-II line lacks the formulas to warrant their price tags. However, if you’re looking to splurge, there are a few products to consider—see our full reviews for more information.

For more information about SK-II, owned by Procter & Gamble, visit www.sk-ii.com.