Ultra C Facial Cream 23%
1.76 fl. oz. for $96
Last Updated:11.29.2012
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Ultra C Facial Cream 23% lists vitamins, the amino acid tyrosine, and antioxidant grape extract as active ingredients. The way the vitamins are quantified (in milligrams per gram) is just bizarre, and there is no research showing that these quantities are sufficient to stimulate collagen production as claimed. So while the numbers might sound like you are getting therapeutic amounts of these substances, they end up being amounts similar to what many other "cosmeceutical" lines boast. Ignoring the actives issue, this is a good, antioxidant-rich moisturizer for normal to dry skin. This product is classified by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Act as a medicine, but because you aren't eating it, and because there is no research showing what kind of medicine it is, for now it is a good moisturizer and not a cure for anything.


Helps photoaging protection and stimulation of collagen synthesis. Patented scientific technology provides transdermal absorption of 23% pure Vitamin C. Developed to improve the appearance of skin that shows dullness, coarse texture and fine lines to restore a smoother, softer, more youthful radiance.


Active: Each 1g Contains: Ascorbic Acid (230mg), Tyrosine (2.5mg), D-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (5mg), Retinyl Palmitate (4.68mg), Mixed Tocopherols Concentrate (Low Alpha Type) (7mg), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Extract Equivalent To Dry Seed (900mg), Other: C18-36 Acid Glycol Ester, Glycerol, Propylene Glycol, Dilauryl Thiodipropionate, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Lauryl Pyrrolidone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Colloidal Anhydrous Silica, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Hydroxylated Lanolin, Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cetyl Acetate, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Also Contains: Hydroxybenzoates (2mg)

Brand Overview

Ultraceuticals At-A-Glance

Strengths: Almost all the products are fragrance-free; one very good cleanser and some good vitamin C and retinol moisturizers; an effective AHA product with lactic acid; all the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection; stable packaging.

Weaknesses: Expensive; most of the AHA products have pH values too high for exfoliation to occur; irritating skin-lightening products; no effective products for acne-prone skin.

What a great name for a skin-care line! Not only does the "ultra" prefix speak to consumers looking for the best or most potent products, but also the "ceuticals" suffix lends a medicinal touch that is reminiscent of the emerging term "cosmeceuticals" (which is a marketing term that has no sanctioned validity or standards, so it can be applied to any product).

Ultraceuticals was the brainchild of Australian plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Heber, whose vision to deliver "honest, clinically-proven skin care" back in 1991 was years ahead of the trend of doctors as skin-care salespeople. The company speaks readily of its ingredient technology, which is what the people behind it believe makes Ultraceuticals a cut above the rest. The clinical study results and before-and-after images provided in the company's catalog look convincing, but, as is usually the case, the details are left out. We don't know what product in their double-blind study was used as a control, we don't know what other products the study participants used prior to being treated with the Ultraceuticals cream, and the result (that topical vitamin C can improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin) is hardly revolutionary or exclusive to Ultraceuticals. It is well established that stabilized vitamin C applied topically (and consumed orally) can do this (Sources: The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, August 2005, pages 963–972; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, February 2005, pages 304–307; and Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, January 2005, pages 4–9). Moreover, many, many other antioxidants have the same ability, including vitamin E, green tea, and retinol. In fact, many researchers believe that, regardless of the content of a single antioxidant in a product, a better approach is to use skin-care products that offer a blend of antioxidants. In that sense, Ultraceuticals falls a bit short.

Australians may be all abuzz about this skin-care line, and it is creeping into the United States. Yet aside from offering mostly fragrance-free products and consistently using packaging to keep light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable, it really isn't anything new under the sun. However, as you will see from the reviews below, there are a few star products to consider if the prices don't bother you.

For more information about Ultraceuticals, call (800) 339-5115 or visit www.ultraceuticals.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment 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.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Ingredients not in descending order?

Why are the ingredients not listed in descending order?

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Beautypedia Team Response

Hey there!  We listed the ingredients exactly as Ultraceuticals does. Admittedly, it’s a bizarre way of doing it, but seems to be a permissible option in Australia where this brand is based.

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