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Acure

Night Cream: Argan Stem Cell + 2% Chlorella Growth Factor

1.75 fl. oz. for $ 19.99
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Night Cream: Argan Stem Cell + 2% Chlorella Growth Factor is a lightweight cream for normal to dry skin. It contains a nice array of moisturizing ingredients from non-fragrant plant oils, butters, anti-irritants, and antioxidants—all housed in a squeeze tube that helps protect its sensitive ingredients from air and light exposure. Unfortunately, our initial enthusiasm became disappointment on closer study of the ingredient list (and a good whiff of this product's scent).

Our first concern is that this is distinctly fragranced, with lavender and lemon essential oils—this is a problem because such fragrance ingredients pose a risk of irritating skin, damaging collagen, and possibly impeding skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types, especially if younger-looking and healthy skin is your goal (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).

Our next concern is that the ingredient list doesn't appear to be complete. This is worrisome, as you don't know what this product really contains. We think it's incredibly important that you know what ingredients are used in your skincare products! See More Info for additional details.

Last, there's the problematic nature of the preservatives (or, rather, the apparent lack of preservatives) in this product—if Acure is using one, they don't indicate it on the ingredient label. Preservatives are incredibly important for keeping your product free of (and your skin safe from) mold, fungi, and bacteria, especially products with naturally derived plant or fruit extracts. Think about how long fresh fruit stays fresh on your kitchen counter.

Night Cream: Argan Stem Cell + 2% Chlorella Growth Factor leaves us with too many concerns to recommend it—from the types of fragrance ingredients used and apparent lack of ingredient transparency to the frightening thought that it may lack preservatives altogether.

For alternatives that don't leave you guessing at what you're putting on your face, check out our list of Best Moisturizers Without Sunscreen.

One last note: Please totally ignore the claims made about the plant and fruit stem cell ingredients this product contains (see More Info if you wish to read the considerable details explaining why). The notion that plant stem cells can "renew dormant cells, repair damaged cells, or regenerate healthy cells" may be true for a plant, but it isn't true for human skin.

This product is listed on the Acure website simply as Night Cream. The naming convention used in this review reflects what appears on the product's packaging.

Pros:
  • Contains a number of beneficial moisturizing ingredients.
  • Has a range of antioxidants to help offset free-radical exposure.
Cons:
  • Fragranced with potential irritants lemon and lavender oils.
  • Preservative system appears to be inadequate.
  • Ingredient list appears to be inaccurate; thus, you can't know what it is you're putting on your face.
  • Claims about the benefits of stem cells in skincare products are greatly exaggerated.
More Info:Lavender Oil: In vitro research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application of as low a concentration as 0.25% causes cell death (Cell Proliferation, June 2004). This study was conducted on endothelial cells, which are cells that line blood pathways in the body and play a critical role in the inflammatory process of skin.

As linalool and linalyl acetate are both rapidly absorbed by skin and can be detected within blood cells in less than 20 minutes, endothelial cells are an ideal choice for such a test (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1992). The results of this research also demonstrated that lavender has a damaging effect on fibroblasts, which are cells that produce collagen.

The fragrance constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, oxidize when exposed to air, and a process that increases their potential to cause an allergic reaction (Contact Dermatitis, 2008).

If you're wondering why lavender oil doesn't appear to be problematic for you, it's because research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it happening for your skin to suffer damage (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).

Incomplete Ingredient List: Acure Organics states that this product is based from their "Organic Curoxidant Superfruit Blend," and contains no water or anything else to hold its formula together. We thought this had to have been a mistake on their packaging, but after reaching out to Acure Organics via Twitter about their lack of water in products, they confirmed it was not a printing error.

Rather, you're to believe that this product is made up of a blend of fruits and flowers, but no water or any ingredients that would form the "base" that keeps these ingredients from separating.

A mixture of mashed-up berries, dried tea leaves, and flowers does not a moisturizer make, and whether based from an ingredient blend or not, its individual constituents are still required to be listed in full on the label—which is not the case here. Trade names, like "Organic Curoxidant Superfruit Blend" or "Echinacea Stem Cell Culture," are not permitted on ingredient labels for this very reason—this violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements.

Of course, there's also the fact that an incomplete ingredient list prevents you from knowing what's in your skincare or makeup product.

Stem Cells in Skincare: Stem cells are cells present in animals and plants that are capable of becoming any other type of cell in that organism and of producing more of those cells. Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. The claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to elastin repair and cell regeneration, so the temptation for consumers to try these is intense.

The truth is that stem cells in skincare products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells. Once these delicate cells are added to skincare products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless.

Plant stem cells, such as those derived from apples, melons, flowers, and rice, cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, but because they are from plants they likely have antioxidant properties. Actually, it's a good thing plant stem cells can't work as stem cells in skin-care products; after all, you don't want your skin to absorb cells that can grow into apples or watermelons!

There are also claims that because a plant's stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or to survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is totally unrelated to human skin, and these claims are completely without substantiation.

Another twist on the issue is that cosmetics companies claim they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable so they then can work as stem cells. This approach is not valid—stem cells must be complete to function normally. Even if you could isolate substances or extracts from these cells and make them stable, there is no published research showing they can affect stem cells in human skin.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Natures nocturnal miracle! Age-fighting Argan Stem Cells, shown to help the skins natural repair process, firm and moisturize while 2% Chlorella Growth Factor fortifies collagen and elastin fibers. Hydrating Moroccan Argan Oil seals the deal, truly making this natures own skin rejuvenating system.

Organic Curoxidant Blend [(Organic Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula), Organic Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile), Fair Trade Organic Aspalanthus Linearis (Rooibos)], Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot Kernel) Oil, Persea Americana (Avocado) Oil, Vegetable Glycerine, Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate (Vegetable Derived), Cetyl Alcohol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Glucose (Sugar), Glucose Oxidase & Lactoperoxidase (Milk & Sugar Enzymes), Organic Chlorella Pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Organic Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Hypericum Perforatum (St Johnswort) Oil, Marrubium Vulgare (White Horehound) Stem Cell Culture, Echinacea Stem Cell Culture, Fermented Resveratrol Extract (Probiotic), Organic Argan Oil, CoQ10, Olive Leaf Extract, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Stem Cell Culture, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) (Essential) Oil, Citrus Limonium (Lemon) Oil, Xanthan Gum.

Acure operates with the mission statement of using only the purest, most effective fair trade, natural and organic ingredients available. At first glance, there are a lot of interesting products in the line, as Acure includes a great deal of antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients in their formulas. Unfortunately, on closer inspection of the brand, we found quite a few inconsistencies.

First the good news: Along with the inclusion of antioxidants at nearly every turn, Acure made the effort to avoid jar packaging, which is beneficial in terms of protecting the abundance of anti-aging ingredients their products contain. They are also exceptionally affordable products, an increasing rarity in the cosmetics industry.

On the other hand, Acure stretches the boundaries of belief when it comes to what some ingredients are capable of, such as plant stem cells. While fruit and plant stem cells can function as antioxidants, they cannot lift skin, repair wrinkles, or affect the skins own growth factors when added to a skincare product. Not only are plant stem cells unable to substitute for the body's own stem cells, but also they (like all stem cells) must be alive to function. Once these delicate cells are added to skin care products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless. Plant stem cells make for a good story, but the research simply isn't there to support their use in skin care or the claims attributed to them.

One point worth noting: when we originally reviewed Acure in 2015, much of the brand's focus was on so-called toxic or harmful ingredients found in other brands' skin care products that were not present in its own. This has since shifted to a much more positive approach targeted on the quality of ingredients Acure uses as opposed to any unnecessary fearmongering.

For more information on Acure, visit www.acure.com or call 1-877-902-2873.

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.

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