Phloretin CF Gel

Price:
$155 
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Category:
Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:
7/24/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This serum-like gel is said to contain 10% vitamin C (ascorbic acid) an amount that’s impressive but also potentially irritating given that the acid form of vitamin C has a stronger potential for irritation than other forms such as ascorbyl glucoside or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. More troubling, though, is that if the vitamin C is truly present at 10%, that means there’s at least the same amount (or more) of alcohol—the kind that causes dryness, free-radical damage, and hurts healthy collagen production. That’s not good news for anyone’s skin and ends up being a burn considering what this product costs!

What about the phloretin ingredient? 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).

Bottom line: Phloretin appears to be a good antioxidant but not in this product. Please keep in mind that despite the published research for phloretin and SkinCeuticals claims, it is not the best antioxidant. Rather, there are lots of brilliant antioxidants in skin-care products, but there isn’t a miracle or magic bullet out there.

Formulated with an optimized acid combination of 2% phloretin, 10% vitamin C, and 0.5% ferulic acid, this serum-in-a-gel protects skin from the range of reactive molecules known to cause DNA mutations and damage among the integral cell types. This trusted antioxidant trio also accelerates cell turnover and stimulates collagen synthesis to boost skin’s structure for a firmer, brighter complexion.

Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Undecane, Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Ascorbic Acid, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tridecane, Phloretin, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Ferulic Acid, Ruscus Aculeatus Extract / Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract, Caffeine, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide

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.

Member Comments

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  1. becc w.
    Reviewed on Thursday, February 06, 2014
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Value
      1 / 4
    • Results
      1 / 4
    Expensive but worthless
    • I am glad I found the cosmetic cops reviews. After using 2 very expensive bottles (the RN at my derm office recommended the product) and seeing zero results, I will certainly never buy this again! What a waste of $$

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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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