Without question this serum’s claims stretch the bounds of what’s possible from a skin-care product to the breaking point. This so-called “powerful” anti-aging treatment is said to lift skin as it improves wrinkles, pores and essentially transform your skin. Unfortunately, its formula cannot support most of those claims (especially the lifting claim; sagging skin cannot be addressed by a product like this).
This serum is said to contain 10% 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 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, give this serum’s alcohol (you'll smell it when you first apply the product) content, your skin is likely getting a dose of irritation and free-radical damage the good ingredients must fight before they can help your skin.
This serum contains a small amount of other repairing and cell-communicating ingredients, but the majority of them are listed after the alcohol, which is disappointing. In short, this serum isn’t the be-all, end-all and its alcohol content makes it less desirable than many other serums that omit this problematic ingredient.
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.
Our most powerful anti-aging treatment formulated with Rhamnose 10%. This hydrating, lightweight serum has proven efficacy on the appearance of wrinkles, pores & sagging while giving your skin a boost of radiance. In just 10 minutes, feel smoother, firmer skin and see fewer wrinkles. After 1 month, skin looks transformed: clinically proven reduction on wrinkles.
Water, Rhamnose, Glycerin, Alcohol Denatured, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicylol Phytosphingosine, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyl Tauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloylmethyl Taurate, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Octyldodecanol, 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.