Essential Power Cream

by SK-II   
Price:
$205 - 2.8 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:
2/8/2013
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).

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.

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)

Procter & Gamble, as always, is extremely helpful in providing information about their products. In this case it was for their upscale SK-II skin-care line. We certainly can't say that about most companies. We have to acknowledge P&G for having the integrity to share their "inside" details with someone like me, who might be more critical than complimentary. Thank you, P&G!

Regrettably, and we mean that sincerely, we wish we had more positive comments to convey, but alas, we don't. The data provided don't change the reality about skin care and the ingredients that can have an impact on skin. SK-II products are hardly worth the price, especially when compared to Olay Regenerist and Definity (P&G's own drugstore line of skin-care products). In fact, it takes only a quick review of the formulas to note that many SK-II items are very similar to Olay Regenerist items, except that the latter don't include Pitera, the supposedly miracle ingredient in this line. Yet there is minimal research indicating that Pitera is even helpful for skin.

Pitera is the cornerstone of the SK-II line and is present in every SK-II product. Pitera is 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 very different from the requirements for publication of study results in most medical journals.

To give P&G the benefit of the doubt, even if Pitera is a wonder ingredient, this doesn't explain how it rates when compared with other "wonder" ingredients because there are no comparison studies. Hundreds of ingredients—ranging from green tea to superoxide dismutase, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, eicosapentaenoic acid, beta-carotene, pomegranate, and curcumin to vitamin E, vitamin A, and on and on and on—have stellar reputations, and there's copious documentation to prove it.

Another point to consider: If Pitera deserves the spotlight SK-II shines on it, then P&G needs to change their claims about Olay Regenerist and Definity, and at the very least say that these products are almost as good as SK-II except we left out the Pitera. Ultimately, unless you believe Pitera is the answer for your every skin-care need (because each and every SK-II product contains it, with very few other added extras), there is no reason to waste your time and energy on this line.

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