Given this product’s name, there’s no mystery as to what it’s meant to do: reduce redness! But does it work? The formula, which has a somewhat creamy lotion consistency, contains some good emollients and a few soothing agents, but ultimately nothing spectacularly effective for reducing redness. For what this costs, it should be brimming with proven repairing and anti-inflammatory ingredients, yet those are given somewhat short shrift here.
Redness Neutralizer doesn’t list fragrance, but it’s actually not fragrance-free. It contains farnesol, an ingredient whose sole function is fragrance. That’s not the best in a product meant to reduce redness, especially if you have extra-sensitive skin. Interestingly, research on farnesol’s irritant potential has shown mixed results (Sources: Dermatitis, March 2012, pages 71–74; and Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, December 2010, pages 278–287) but ultimately, sensitive, reddened skin will show a greater degree of improvement if sources of fragrance are avoided.
One plant extract in this product deserves mention because it’s unique. The extract is listed as Eperua falcata, a tree that grows in the rainforests of French Guinea. According to information from the company selling this ingredient, this plant reduces micro-inflammation in skin in order to help strengthen its barrier. The idea is if you can reduce the inflammation, you’ll see less redness. This is true, yet the issue is there’s very little information on this plant extract (there are no independent, published studies) so we’re left to take the ingredient supplier’s word for it. Also worth mentioning is that SkinCeuticals could’ve chosen any number of other anti-inflammatory ingredients with solid research behind them. We’re not saying Eperua falcata isn’t worthwhile; rather, there are other options we know are effective for reducing inflammation.
Note: The peptides this contains are present in an amount that’s unlikely to convey much benefit. If you decide to try this, it’s best for normal to dry (but not sensitive) skin.
Formulated with patent-pending NeuroMed Complex, Redness Neutralizer prevents and corrects redness associated with rosacea by combating environmental triggers and interrupting the inflammation cascade while protecting the skin’s barrier.
Aqua / Water / Eau, Squalane, Glycerin, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Undecane, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter / Shea Butter, Tridecane, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-20 Stearate, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide / Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, Caffeine, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Dextrin, Disodium EDTA, Eperua Falcata Bark Extract, Farnesol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-8, Panthenol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol, Triethanolamine, Xanthan Gum, Zinc Gluconate
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.