Retexturing Activator Bi-Functional Resurfacing and Replenishing Serum

Price:
$73 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > AHA Exfoliants > AHA
Last Updated:
7/24/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This product’s name may make it sound like an active, multitasking product, but it isn’t. Based on the claims and ingredient list, this is essentially just an AHA-like exfoliant that contains a form of urea instead of conventional glycolic or lactic acids. Other than that, it contains absolutely nothing else that is beneficial for skin. For the money, that is just rude.

We have no idea what SkinCeuticals means when they refer to this exfoliant’s “paradoxal compound” in their claims, and no one at the company could tell us. “Paradox” refers to a contradiction in terms. What does that have to do with your skin or a product’s benefit? No one seems to know.

Marketing terminology aside, what this product contains is a high amount of urea. That’s good because it can exfoliate and soften your skin, but there is no research demonstrating that the hydroxyethyl urea, which is what this product contains, has the same benefit as plain urea.

What urea does is increase skin cell turnover the same way an AHA product does. You’d think SkinCeuticals would publish a study comparing their compound with standard exfoliant ingredients, but no such information exists; you simply need to take their word for it, and spend a lot money in the process.

We say “show us the proof!” before we spend our hard-earned money on this allegedly “revolutionary” product! Bottom line: You don’t have to spend anywhere close to this amount to get equal or better results from an exfoliant. There certainly isn’t any research proving urea in any form is superior to AHAs (e.g., glycolic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid). Although this is an option, and this exfoliant is suitable for all skin types, think twice before trying this instead of less expensive exfoliants whose ingredients have lots of research attesting to their efficacy.

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.

Using patent-pending technology, this unique treatment contains a 25% concentration of a paradoxal compound discovered to be highly effective at promoting cell differentiation while optimizing the skin's amino acid supply to reinforce the barrier, resulting in the most efficient epidermal renewal. Potent without harsh side effects, Retexturing Activator is formulated in an efficient, oil-free delivery system suitable for all skin types.

Water, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol

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.

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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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