Citrix CRS 20% Serum with Growth Factor
This serum is mostly a blend of silicones (which make the skin feel silky-smooth) plus a whopping 20% vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). That much vitamin C can certainly benefit the skin, but it also pushes the envelope when it comes to potential irritation. With any active ingredient, you want to make sure the scales are tipped in favor of benefits, not irritation. If you've never tried a vitamin C serum before, this may not be the best one to start off with (Citrix sells lower strengths).
Despite vitamin C's benefits, skin care is never as simple as one hero ingredient. This serum could've been even better had it contained a range of antioxidants and perhaps a skin-repairing or cell-communicating ingredient or two. A cocktail of anti-aging ingredients beats a high amount of any one ingredient!
This serum's other claim to fame is the growth factor it contains, listed as TGF-beta-1. The "TGF" stands for "transforming growth factor," and this ingredient is not without risks, which we discuss in the More Info section. The inclusion of this growth factor is why we rate this serum average.
- Contains an impressive amount of vitamin C.
- Very silky texture.
- Formula lacks a range of beneficial ingredients.
- The growth factor this contains is controversial.
There are many growth factors the body uses in key amounts, in key sequences, and at key times. Growth factors, including the TGF-beta-1 this serum contains, are proteins that affect how cells grow and differentiate. They are present and at work throughout the body, but not much is known about their efficacy when applied topically, which is the case with this product. In the skin, TGF-beta-1 stimulates collagen remodeling and encourages wound healing.
The risk with growth factors is that they could accelerate the growth of skin cancer by stimulating the overproduction of skin cells. In the case of TGF, which stimulates collagen production, it can encourage scarring because scars are the result of excessive collagen production, and if you make too much collagen you get a scar or a knot on the skin, such as a keloid scar. Most of the research on the issue of growth factors for skin has looked primarily at wound healing, and at short-term use of key growth factors. In skin-care products, however, they would be used repeatedly, and possibly over long periods of time—we just don't know for certain how risky that may be.
According to the 2009 textbook Cosmetic Dermatology, Second Edition, "Whether the TGF-B [Beta] and other growth factors contained in cosmeceuticals are stable, can be absorbed adequately, or exert a functionally significant outcome to induce dermal remodeling and reverse photoaging is unclear since well-controlled studies are lacking." To date, we could not find any recent studies proving the efficacy or safety of topically applied growth factors.
A true skin care breakthrough! Topix has combined proven, stable L-ascorbic acid serum with the liposome encapsulated Growth Factor TGF- beta-1 to create the hottest product in anti-aging skin care. Research suggests that TGF- Beta-1 can play a significant role in stimulating collagen growth and strong tissue structure, resulting in healthier, younger-looking skin.
Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; several good products with retinol in varying strengths; good moisturizers and cleansers; very good body lotions.
Weaknesses: Expensive; the physician allure may seem enticing, but these products do not require a doctor's visit or medical supervision; no AHA or BHA exfoliants; no viable skin-brightening options; fragrant toner; the growth factors in the Citrix serums are potentially risky ingredients.
Topix is best known for its two chief skin-care brands, Replenix and Citrix. Of the two, we're asked most often about the Replenix collection; the Citrix line is smaller and focused on anti-aging products with vitamin C. The Replenix products contain a broader range of anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, green tea, and grape-derived resveratrol, and the claims are broader, too, so little surprise that the Replenix products appeal to more people concerned with signs of aging. Both Replenix and Citrix offer fragrance-free formulas, albeit at fairly high prices, which is typical of most physician-dispensed lines.
A chief selling point of Topix is its physician-dispensed angle, which gives the products a medical lan; in truth, however, not a single ingredient in these products is "medicinal," prescription, or exclusive to physician-sold products. That is, you don't need to see a doctor to be "prescribed" Topix products; rather, they can be obtained from several websites, no appointment necessary. The big question is whether or not you should add any Topix products to your shopping cart and the answer is "it depends."
Within the Replenix line, the most interesting products include the serums and moisturizers. Although none of them are superior to the best options available, most of them do offer good (though pricey) formulas that treat skin to a range of beneficial ingredients.
If you're keen on retinol (and it's a great anti-aging ingredient), Replenix has you covered with several serums offering different strengths of retinol. The various strengths allow you to "step up" to stronger retinol products once your skin has acclimated to the lower strengths. Although that sounds intriguing, it's not really necessary. As we explain in the reviews, more retinol is not necessarily better, and some may find the higher-strength retinol products too sensitizing, so caution is warranted. Indeed, some people cannot tolerate any amount of retinol!
The Citrix products aren't all that exciting unless you want vitamin C in every product. Although there's nothing wrong with vitamin C, it's a mistaken notion to focus on one hero ingredient because skin requires a variety of beneficial ingredients to look and act younger. Topix also adds growth factors to their Citrix serums, but these growth-factor ingredients are unproven for topical use and may present risks (we explain why in the reviews). In short, Citrix isn't all that exciting, and several of these products fall short in one way or another.
Our research revealed that Topix has some intriguing products, but, with few exceptions, there is nothing that you cannot find elsewhere for less money. It's important to let go of the notion that skin-care products sold at a doctor's office are superior to those sold elsewhere. The truth is: There are good and bad products in every retail outlet, knowing what you're buying is more important than where you're buying it or who's selling it!
For more information about Topix, call (800) 445-2595 or visit www.topixpharm.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.