09.12.2013
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Angelica Line Smoother With Natural GABA Complex
Rating
1.5 fl. oz. for $65
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:09.12.2013
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Angelica Line Smoother is made to seem like the natural alternative to Botox injections when that's absolutely not the case. This moisturizer (and, make no mistake, this is just a moisturizer, not a revolutionary anti-wrinkle product) contains mostly water, glycerin, thickeners, an absorbent ingredient, wax, and plant oil. How any of that is supposed to get rid of wrinkles "in minutes" is a very good question, though they could simply be referring to how a moisturizer (any moisturizer) makes wrinkles look less apparent.

So what about this GABA complex? Well, GABA refers to gamma aminobutyric acid, an amino acid synthesized in the brain that acts as a neurotransmitter inhibitor and is associated with reducing the incidence of seizures and depression (Sources: Advances in Experimental Medicines and Biology, 2004, volume 548, pages 92–103; and Archives of General Psychiatry, July 2004, pages 705–713). Cosmetics companies include GABA in products and then claim that topical application relaxes muscles, thus sparing consumers from going through Botox injections.

However, GABA has not been proven to relax muscles and reduce the appearance of wrinkles or expression lines when applied topically. Cosmetics companies are hoping that consumers will associate the topical application of products containing GABA with its internal function of controlling the manner in which nerve impulses fire. There is no substantiated research proving GABA works in this manner when applied topically, and if it did, it would be cause for alarm. Why? Because if GABA worked as stated and you applied it to your entire face, what's to stop it from affecting the muscles around your mouth, jaw, or neck? If it really relaxed muscles upon application, consumers would see more skin sagging, not to mention problems controlling the (relaxed) muscles in your fingers (assuming they come in contact with the product).

Further, the whole nonsense of using GABA in cosmetic products is refuted by the fact that GABA does not work alone to exert its effect internally on nerves. It requires many other substances (substances that are not present in the skin-care products containing GABA) for it to prevent nerves from being triggered and causing muscles to relax (Sources: www.emedicine.com; www.naturaldatabase.com).

But here's the kicker: Skyn Iceland refers to GABA but this product doesn't contain the ingredient, at least not in its pure form. Instead, they maintain that "biotransformed tomato extract" is the source of the GABA. Even if that were true (which we highly doubt), it doesn't change any of the research-supported info about GABA mentioned above. If you want to make a dramatic increase in expression lines and deeper wrinkles, skin care can help but it's better to pair great skin care (including daily sun protection) with Botox.

It must be stated that this product contains some helpful plant extracts and moisturizing ingredients, though most of those will get lost among the absorbent ingredients (these contribute to this product's texture and help smooth wrinkles, though temporarily).

On the flipside, this contains some problematic plant extracts, too, including angelica. But both the good and not-so-good plant ingredients won't remain stable for long because this product is packaged in a jar. See More Info to learn why jar packaging is a problem for any anti-aging product. Sadly, this isn't the anti-wrinkle powerhouse it's made out to be, and is only an alternative to Botox in the sense that not eating is an alternative to sitting down to a nice dinner.

Pros:
  • Contains some good moisturizing ingredients.
  • Silica and wax ingredients help to temporarily smooth wrinkles (but not in any way like Botox).
Cons:
  • There's no research proving that GABA, whether in pure form or from a tomato, effects wrinkles.
  • Jar packaging affects the stability and effectiveness of key ingredients.
  • Contains an oxygenating ingredient (perfluorodecalin) that may cause free-radical damage.
More Info:

The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Claims
Anti-aging spot treatment that visibly smoothes lines and wrinkles in minutes with a natural GABA complex.
Ingredients
Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Silica, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Synthetic Beeswax, Isohexadecane, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Perfluorodecalin, Oxycoccus Palustris (Arctic Cranberry) Seed Oil, Rubus Chamaemorus (Arctic Cloudberry) Seed Oil, Angelica Archangelica Root Water*, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Butylene Glycol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides, o-Cymen-5-OL, Glycosphingolipids, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum) *With Minerals
Brand Overview

Skyn Iceland At-A-Glance

Strengths: The company provides complete ingredient lists on the Web site.

Weaknesses: Expensive; there is more fragrance in these products than beneficial ingredients; a majority of the products received an uhappy face rating because they all contain one or more serious skin irritants.

Resolving stress is a major theme in the ad copy for Skyn Iceland products. Of course, they claim that the cure for stress is in their products because they contain pure ingredients capable of relaxing skin and erasing visible signs of a stressful lifestyle from your face. We imagine that many busy, stressed-out consumers (and who isn't stressed out nowadays?) who encounter this line will actually wonder if there might be something to be gained from using these allegedly stress-reducing products. Wonder no more, because as you will see, Skyn Iceland products actually cause a great deal more skin stress than they could possibly relieve.

As with most skin-care lines denouncing "chemical" and synthetic ingredients in favor of natural ingredients, Skyn Iceland brags about what their products don't contain. Of course, parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, and other bad-rap ingredients are not allowed, while all manner of plants, particularly the exotic ones sourced from, where else, Iceland (plants from Atlanta or Philadelphia are never the ones that can solve your skin problems), are included (those Icelanders must be so stress-free, right?). In reality, Skyn Iceland products are about as natural as polyester. Ingredients such as EDTA, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, perfluorodecalin, Red 33 Lake, and Blue 1 Lake are anything but natural, and ingredients like these are absolutely present in every Skyn Iceland product. (That doesn't make them bad, it just makes the company's claims hypocritical.)

The company's marketing angle is that they've tapped into Icelandic folklore about the benefits of indigenous medicinal herbs and coupled that with modern technology to create skin-care products second to none. What a great story, of epic Nordic proportions, sort of an updated Icelandic fable, which is exactly what you'd be buying—a good story with images of gorgeous glaciers, and nothing more.

Back to the skin/stress connection and why the company's reason for existence doesn't jibe with the formulas they've developed. Stress, be it from everyday struggles or major life changes, definitely takes its toll on skin. A person under stress often has an impaired healing response, so wounds take longer to repair, and the skin's barrier function becomes less resilient. Whether from internal or external sources, stress causes inflammation that results in collagen loss and cell death. And if that weren't bad enough, research shows that stress can also exacerbate skin disorders such as acne, eczema, and rosacea (Sources: The Clinical Journal of Pain, November-December 2008, pages 767–775; Der Hautarzt, October 2008, pages 841–850; Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, July 2008, pages 312–317; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 2008, pages 1273–1279; and Acto-Dermato Venereologica, 2007, pages 135–139).

A skin-care line claiming to alleviate stress and bring skin to a more balanced state is an intriguing, enticing concept, but there is nothing you can put on your skin that is going to make you feel better about juggling work, carpool, paying bills, grocery shopping, getting dinner on the table, laundry, the fight you had with your mother, and on and on. There will always be stress in our lives (and in our bodies) that we cannot control. Even the best skin-care formulas and the best skin-care routines aren't going to eliminate stress; but, choosing well-formulated products with anti-irritants that can reduce the inflammatory response caused by stress and with ingredients that strengthen the skin's barrier and improve collagen production is a very positive step. If Skyn Iceland's products could do that, then despite their claims of making you feel better about daily life, they would've rated a happy face; unfortunately, that isn't the case, the formulas just fall flat. It's sort of like the promise of chocolate cake without the sugar or chocolate, and who'd want to eat that?

It would've been wonderful if Skyn Iceland's products were soothing, gentle products capable of helping skin defend itself against what stress does to skin, but that's not the case. Instead of loading their products with ingredients that reduce inflammation and restore a healthy barrier function, they chose to pepper their products (in some cases heavily so) with known irritants. Irritation is always going to provoke some amount of stressful response in skin. When products contain irritants that have no established benefit for skin, what's the point? It's ludicrous for Skyn Iceland to go on and on (and boy, do they go on and on and on) about how stress impacts skin, especially when their products contain alcohol, witch hazel, angelica, peppermint, and menthol derivatives. These are without question inflammatory, irritating, and drying skin stressors.

Although Skyn Iceland seemingly has good intentions, their execution is terrible and there is no legitimate reason to consider any (yes, any) product from this line. The only redeeming quality is that the company posts ingredient lists for each product on their Web site. At least you know exactly what you shouldn't be putting on your skin.

For more information about Skyn Iceland, call (888) 333-7596 or visit www.skyniceland.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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