Tested on animals:Yes
This water-based serum comes complete with claims on its years of research, patents, and new cosmeceutical buzzwords such as "biodiverse" and "broad-spectrum treatment." Aside from the company's exemplary marketing efforts, the product does deserve some discussion in terms of its single unique ingredient, phloretin (because other than that this is one boring ordinary, potentially skin-damaging product). Phloretin is a white crystalline flavonoid that results from the decomposition or hydrolysis of phlorizin. Naturally, your next question is: What's phlorizin? It's a bitter substance extracted from the root bark of apple trees and from apples, so phloretin does have a natural origin (though what it takes to get phlorizin out of the apple tree to turn it into phloretin is hardly a natural process; you're not going to use phloretin to flavor pie). As for phloretin's value for skin, in vitro and animal research has shown that it has antioxidant ability, can interrupt melanin synthesis to potentially reduce skin discolorations, inhibits the formation of MMP-1 (which breaks down collagen), and also serves as a penetration enhancer, which, as you'll see below, is not a good thing in the case of this product (Sources: The FEBS Journal, August 2008, pages 3804-3814; Phytochemistry, April 2007, pages 1189-1199; Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, April 2006, pages 740-745; European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, March 2004, pages 307-312; and International Journal of Pharmaceutics, April 2003, pages 109-116).Although there are compelling reasons to consider phloretin as another potent, beneficial antioxidant to improve skin's appearance and healthy functioning, in the case of this product it is completely wasted. Why? Because the amount of denatured alcohol in this serum negates any antioxidant benefit of the phloretin. The inclusion of alcohol is extremely disappointing because alcohol causes free-radical damage, cell death, and irritation (see the Appendix for details). Phloretin may be the antioxidant du jour, but not in this product. Please keep in mind that despite the published research for phloretin and SkinCeuticals’s claims, it is not the best antioxidant to "attack damage on every level." There are lots of brilliant antioxidants in skin-care products, but there isn't a miracle or magic bullet out there. See our list of highest-rated serums for some more promising options!
Note: This serum is dispensed via a dropper applicator. Even if we did recommend Phloretin CF, this isn't 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.