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.