This fragranced serum is similar in many ways to Algenist's Concentrate Reconstructing Serum, which costs quite a bit more for the same size. The claims for this Targeted Age Correcting Serum concern lightening dark spots, and it contains some interesting ingredients that may help. Among them are uva ursi leaf, licorice, and a form of vitamin C known as ascorbyl glucoside. All of these have some research attesting to their efficacy for brown skin discolorations, though none of them are quite as impressive as the gold standard, hydroquinone.
Still, this silky serum is an option for those concerned with dark spots or an uneven skin tone. You’ll find less expensive options on our Best Skin-Lightening Products list, but if Algenist is the brand you'd like to use, this is worth considering.
As for the dark spot–correcting claims made for alguronic acid (listed as algae exopolysaccharides), there is no research supporting that claim. In essence, alguronic acid is not a miracle ingredient, at least not when measured against published research proving the benefits of many other skin-lightening ingredients. Refer to More Info for details on alguronic acid.
Alguronic acid is present in every product from Algenist. The story about this ingredient is similar to that for the algae included in Creme de La Mer products. In Algenist's case, alguronic acid was derived from a specific type of micro-algae originally studied as a source of renewable energy. Not surprisingly, the only information about this ingredient being effective for skin comes from Algenist. There is no independent, published research supporting the anti-aging claims being made, and the studies Algenist claims to have carried out are not available for full review (plus most of the studies were done in a petri dish, not on human skin).
Please keep in mind that, regardless of the claims, skin needs more than one ingredient to help it look and act younger—there is no miracle ingredient that can do it all. Alguronic acid isn't a harmful ingredient, but how beneficial (or not) it is for skin remains to be seen.
A smooth, velvety serum that corrects and resurfaces the skin, diminishing dark spots and age spots, evening skin tone and smoothing skin texture. Alguronic Acid, combined with a multitude of complementary skin correcting ingredients decreases melanin production, preventing and diminishing the formation of age spots and dark spots.
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isononyl Isononanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Isododecane, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Oligopeptide-68, Sodium Oleate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Salicylic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Ergothioneine, Allantoin, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Citrate, Ethylhexylglycerin
Strengths: Good facial cleanser and toner; select serums and moisturizers formulated with an impressive mix of anti-aging ingredients; Targeted Deep Wrinkle Minimizer really does make wrinkles less apparent.
Weaknesses: Expensive; the star ingredient (a modified form of algae) doesn't have reliable research to support its anti-aging efficacy; jar packaging; some of the moisturizers contain eucalyptus oil, which can be a potent irritant.
Algenist is a small, rather expensive range of skin-care products sold at Sephora with a focus on anti-aging. Like several other cosmetics companies, Algenist has based their brand on a single ingredient, an ingredient they claim has superior benefits for skin and that, therefore, is worth the steep price tag. In this case, it was the "accidental" discovery of a substance found in algae. As the story goes, a group of biotechnology scientists were looking for ways to use something called microalgae as a renewable source of energy when they stumbled upon a compound known as alguronic acid. Their research revealed that alguronic acid is one of the compounds responsible for regenerating and protecting algae cells.
Figuring they were on to something, the company did further in vitro testing (although the details of their tests are not available, so you only have a science-fiction style story, not facts) and, of course, found that alguronic acid had anti-aging benefits on skin, too. Aside from having no idea what their studies did or didn't really show, in vitro means this ingredient was examined in a petri dish, not directly on human skin. They did limited testing on human skin, but many key details of these "studies" are not available. Instead, we're asked to accept that their ingredient made a remarkable difference. At the time of this writing, there isn't a single published study attesting to the claims Algenist makes for alguronic acid—so you're taking an expensive leap of faith in buying these products!
Before you get seduced by Algenist's claims and their explanation about how algae reproduces, let us tell you—it has no relation to how human skin works. Algae is about as related to human skin as a 747 jetliner is to roller skates.
Whether the story about alguronic acid being the answer for your skin is true or not, it is critical to keep in mind that skin, and skin care, is far more complex than one allegedly miraculous ingredient. Think of it like your diet: As healthy as green tea is, if that's all you consumed, you'd soon be malnourished. Just like your diet should contain a healthy mix of nutritious foods, your skin (which is your body's largest organ) needs a wide array of helpful ingredients to become and remain smooth, healthy, and, yes, able to look and act younger.
To Algenist's credit, their products contain more than just alguronic acid. Most of them have a good blend of skin-repairing and antioxidant ingredients, although the ones they call out as key ingredients (such as apple stem cells) have no real published research proving their efficacy. Despite the fact that their products contain some tried-and-true anti-aging ingredients, Algenist makes the same mistakes as many other lines, such as using jar packaging (which won't keep any of the beneficial ingredients stable during use) and including fragrance or fragrant plant extracts to give the products an appealing scent. Fragrance isn't skin care and, in fact, more often than not, will cause irritation that hurts your skin's ability to look and act younger!
In the end, Algenist is not a must-have line, and it certainly isn't worth expanding your beauty budget to afford. There are some acceptable to impressive options for those who don't mind spending more than they need to for effective products, but you'll find a wider, often better range of options on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
For more information about Algenist, call (877) 650-1837 or visit www.algenist.com.
Note: Algenist lists the alguronic acid in their products as algae exopolysaccharides, which is the accepted cosmetic labeling name for alguronic acid.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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