Tested on animals:Yes
The claimed goal of this product is to target acne along with signs of aging, including discolorations. Lots of people struggle with wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and breakouts, and all of them are wondering “Why me?” We understand your frustration and are thrilled to tell you which products can truly help. Regrettably, this isn’t one of them.
This does contain the proven acne fighter and anti-aging superstar ingredient salicylic acid, with a decent 1.5% concentration at a pH of 3.4. It also contains a smaller amount of the AHA glycolic acid, which may provide an additional exfoliating boost and help fade discolorations. SkinCeuticals also uses a unique ingredient they label as diocic acid. Please see More Info below for an explanation of this ingredient.
Where things go downhill is with the inclusion of a large amount of alcohol, which is the main ingredient and lends this product a potent medicinal scent. Alcohol causes dryness, free-radical damage, and irritation that hurts skin’s healing process. It also weakens healthy collagen production.
Note: This serum is dispensed via a dropper applicator. Although not the ideal method to dispense a serum that contains light- and air-sensitive ingredients, sometimes this type of packaging is necessary due to formulary requirements. When that’s the case, the goal is to keep the bottle opening as small as possible, the bottle should be opaque or specially coated to protect the contents from light, and you should use the serum up within three months of opening (but we wouldn't recommend trying it with this product).
- Contains an effective, pH-correct amount of the BHA exfoliant salicylic acid.
- BHA can improve acne, blackheads, uneven skin tone, and signs of aging.
- BHA is brilliant for anyone struggling with acne and wrinkles.
- Needlessly expensive for what is really a basic and poorly formulated product.
- The amount of alcohol will cause numerous problems, including irritation, which hurts skin’s healing process and causes collagen to break down.
- Lacks a wide range of beneficial ingredients to improve wrinkles and ensure healthier, more resilient skin.
The diocic acid referred to in the claims is listed as octadecenedioic acid. It’s a synthetic or naturally derived wax-like fatty acid. For the science-minded, this ingredient is structurally similar to azelaic acid, which is derived from grains and occasionally used for skin lightening, although most often in combination with the gold standard skin-lightening agent hydroquinone.
According to limited research, octadecenedioic acid has anti-inflammatory properties and works to lighten skin discolorations, but its exact method of action is not fully understood. It seems to function as a cell-communicating ingredient and works to reduce excess melanin production that leads to skin discolorations (Sources: International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2006, pages 263–267, and April 2005, pages 123–132). What’s not certain is how much of this ingredient is needed to provide benefit. SkinCeuticals maintains they’re using 2%, but to date, there’s no relevant data to support that amount as being optimal for improving brown skin discolorations.