Advanced Pigment Corrector is a skin-lightening product whose formula is a mixed bag and definitely on the pricey side given there are several superior options that cost less. The silky texture feels great but we're concerned about the amount of denatured alcohol, especially given that this product contains more of that than the ingredients capable of lightening dark spots and promoting a more even skin tone. Alcohol is pro-aging and incites inflammation that can damage healthy skin, so although it's not a major ingredient in Advanced Pigment Regulator, it's presence over proven skin-lightening agents is disappointing.
Advanced Pigment Corrector contains a tiny amount of salicylic acid—likely well below 1%, though the pH is in range for it to function as an exfoliant. Because of the seemingly low amount, though, this benefit isn't one you can count on (which is a shame, because exfoliating with salicylic acid or an AHA ingredient like glycolic acid improves skin tone and texture).
This product contains an ingredient known as hydroxyphenoxy priopionic acid, which is said to be a derivative of the gold standard skin-lightening active, hydroquinone. Regrettably, there's no research proving this ingredient is an effective or a safer alternative to hydroquinone, though it's worth nothing hydroquinone is perfectly safe when properly formulated and used as directed. That means you need to take SkinCeuticals' word for it, yet let's not forget that not too long ago they were heralding their Advanced Pigment Regulator as the proven answer for dark spots. Now, that product has been replaced by what's appears to be a less enticing option, at least going by what the research (rather than fashion magazines) state.
In the end, despite the potential-yet-unproven effectiveness of the hydroquinone alternative at play here, this skin-lightening product isn't one we feel comfortable recommending, especially not at its current price. For this much money, you'd be better off asking your physician for a prescription hydroquinone product, or check out any of the recommended options on our list of Best Skin-Lightening Products.
- Silky texture.
- Fragrance-free formula.
- Mica brightens skin.
- Amount of alcohol is potentially irritating.
- Lacks skin-lightening agents with research supporting their effectiveness.
- Expensive given the number of superior options.
Advanced Pigment Corrector is clinically proven and tested on all ethnicities to help correct and prevent unwanted pigmentation. This powerful multi-layer treatment is a highly effective, safe, full-facial approach to reducing stubborn discolorations and preventing reoccurrence. In addition to its efficacy on the appearance of skin discolorations and dark spots, Advanced Pigment Corrector boosts skin tone evenness and radiance.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Butylene Glycol, Polysilicone-11, Pentaerythryityl Tetraethylhexanoate, PTFE, Methylsilanol/Silicate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid, Ammounium Polyacrydimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Pentylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldmethyltaurate/Steareth-8 Methacrylate Copolymer, Dimethiconol, Cl 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Salicylic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Flax Extract/Yeast Extract/Extrait De Lavure, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Mica, Disodium EDTA, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Citric Acid, D159713/2.
With a strong presence in the professional (meaning spa and aesthetics) skin-care market, SkinCeuticals has a mostly well-deserved reputation for producing serious-minded, research-driven products, several of which are centered on L-ascorbic acid. Company founder Dr. Sheldon Pinnell began the line after a falling out with the folks behind Cellex-C, a company for which Dr. Pinnell once served as spokesperson. The falling out had to do with both Cellex-C and Dr. Pinnell holding patents on L-ascorbic acid; Cellex-C held the patent on a formula with L-ascorbic acid (the original Cellex-C serum) while Dr. Pinnell's patent (now conspicuously absent from SkinCeuticals products) was only for the ingredient. The drama continued as, years later, the doctor who joined Pinnell to work on SkinCeuticals' vitamin C products began his own company, also selling products with vitamin C. Who needs Desperate Housewives when we have desperate doctors racing to be the authoritative word on the anti-aging properties of vitamin C?
The good news is that copious research has demonstrated that L-ascorbic acid (despite its stability issues, which, formula-wise, SkinCeuticals products do address) is a good, potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It has also been shown to provide photoprotective benefits when skin is exposed to UV light and is capable of stimulating collagen production - though don't take that to mean it is a cure for wrinkles (Sources: International Journal of Toxicology, 2005, supplement, pages 51–111; Experimental Dermatology, June 2003, pages 237–244; Dermatologic Surgery, March 2002, pages 231–236; Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, May 1999, pages 453–461; and International Journal of Radiation Biology, June 1999, pages 747–755). Of course, other forms of vitamin C have equally impressive research, and some forms, such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, have better stability profiles (Source: Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, March 1997, pages 795–801).
As we've mentioned before, vitamin C is but one of many good antioxidants, and it's not the best approach to select any one or two antioxidants and bank on them alone to provide every conceivable skin-rejuvenating benefit. Instead, go for products that offer a cocktail of antioxidants because you'll get a greater range of benefits. Plus, some antioxidants in combination have a synergistic effect that surpasses what occurs when any of the ingredients are used alone. SkinCeuticals clearly knows this, because their vitamin C products also contain the antioxidant ferulic acid, and some add vitamin E to the mix as well. Above all, remember that as multifunctional as antioxidants are, they cannot stop aging, they won't eliminate wrinkles, and they do not replace the need for daily sun protection.
L'Oreal purchased SkinCeuticals in May 2005, and, for the time being, seems to be letting them stay on their course. That's a good thing, because despite L'Oreal’s considerable financial reserves and global R&D team, the skin-care products their brands produce consistently lag behind what current research indicates are state-of-the-art options. As long as they continue to let SkinCeuticals retain its stature, there are many good reasons to shop this line; however, that said, this line is far from perfect in terms of being able to assemble a complete skin-care routine. Focusing on what they do best (which is serums, sunscreens, and specialty products) will be money well spent for visible results. Those who find the SkinCeuticals price tags to be a deal-breaker need to know that despite several notable products, they're hardly the only game in town; you can find equally superior products for less money, though not all of them follow the impressive concentration protocols of SkinCeuticals.
For more information about SkinCeuticals, call 1-800-771-9489 or visit www.skinceuticals.com.