This moisturizer for dry skin contains 5% rhamnose, a plant sugar. Vichy maintains they have research (in vitro, meaning it wasn’t done to an actual person’s skin but in a petri dish) proving that this plant sugar does all sorts of marvelous anti-aging things. Although they wouldn’t share their research details with us, it turns out there is some compelling published research on how rhamnose may help skin do what it should be doing before it was damaged.
It’s important to point out rhamnose is not the only ingredient in town for anti-aging (clearly Vichy doesn’t think so either or they wouldn’t be selling so many other anti-aging products with similar claims). It’s intriguing to note that although the carbohydrate (sugar) portion of rhamnose seems helpful for skin, the lipid portion (known as rhamnolipids) is toxic to skin cells. It seems rhamnose sugars (technically known as polysaccharides) functions as a cell-communicating ingredients. They have an affinity for cells that produce fibroblasts. Since fibroblasts are cells that create collagen, this is good news for wrinkles, because, at least in theory and in controlled lab settings, rhamnose can “tell” misbehaving fibroblast cells to begin producing normal, healthier cells (Sources: Clinics in Plastic Surgery, January 2012, pages 1–8; Amino Acids, May 2011, Epbulication; Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, December 2008, pages 1,388–1,394; and Pathologie-Biologie, September 2006, pages 420–425.).
It seems there’s reason to be excited about rhamnose, but not more so than lots of other ingredients, including vitamin C, retinol, and niacinamide. Rhamnose is but one more option, not a complete solution for aging skin. Besides, this moisturizer is packaged in a jar, which hinders the effectiveness of all plant-based ingredients, not to mention the hygiene issue it presents when you stick your finger into the jar every day.
At best, this moisturizer will make dry skin look and feel better, just like lots of other emollient moisturizers. It cannot lift skin, though the mineral pigments mica and titanium dioxide will leave a radiant finish.
Ingredient Innovation: Rhamnose. A naturally derived plant extract clinically proven to reignite skin rejuvenation at the source. Wrinkles are reduced. Skin is firmed. Youthfulness is restored.
Butyrospermum Parkii Butter / Shea Butter, Rhamnose, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil / Apricot Kernel Oil, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Isohexadecane, Pentylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Cera Alba / Beeswax, Palmitic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-20 Stearate, BIS-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Nylon-12, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Triethanolamine, Dimethiconol, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Poloxamer 338, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol,Xanthan Gum, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-DI-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Acrylamide /Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Fragrance
Health is vital. That's the opening line on Vichy's catalog, followed by "Start with your skin." Perusing the opening pages of this catalog, it's easy to see how someone could get wrapped up in this L'Oreal-owned company's belief in listening to the signals skin sends us and then choosing products to address whatever problem skin is signaling you to correct. That might include acne, blackheads, eczema, discolorations, broken capillaries, and even excess oiliness. No surprises there, and it is sound advice to adapt your skin-care routine as your skin's needs (and signals) change. The problem is that Vichy's products, though well intentioned, are incapable of addressing several common problems, including most of those listed above. About all you can expect from most Vichy moisturizers is relief from dryness. That's it. Every product's claims "talk the talk," but they cannot possibly walk the walk because what's in them is, for the most part, standard, and without any research behind it to show that it makes a difference.
A big-deal ingredient for Vichy is their Thermal Spa Water. It is said to reduce irritation, strengthen skin's natural defenses, and provide free radical–quelling activity thanks to its trace minerals and salt. There is no substantiated proof to support these claims, save for a somewhat primitive chart Vichy provides to show this water helps reduce cutaneous signs of irritation (what it was compared to, if anything, is unknown). Two other L'Oreal-owned brands, Biotherm and La Roche-Posay, have similar special waters, each claiming to be mineral-rich. Yet if these are so unique and wonderfully beneficial for everyone's skin, why don't all L'Oreal-owned lines such as Lancome, L'Oreal, Kiehl’s, SkinCeuticals, and The Body Shop, use them, too?
As expected, there are some bona fide winners among Vichy's products, but using Vichy exclusively with the expectation that their products have the answer to whatever your skin needs to have fixed is like thinking green tea is the only food your body needs.
Note: Vichy is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Vichy does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.
For more information about Vichy, owned by L'Oreal, call (877) 378-4249 or visit www.vichy.com.