Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream is a heavily advertised moisturizer sold at an attractive price point for anti-aging products. Although it contains some interesting antioxidants and proven hydrating ingredients, it's downfall comes from the poor choice of jar packaging (as we explain in the More Info section) and presence of fragrance over and above the touted "active naturals". Fragrance isn't skincare, so despite the pleasant feeling a perfumed product has for many people, over time using products with a lot of fragrance can lead to problems (once again, see the More Info section for details).
Although sold with impressive-sounding claims of improving lines, wrinkles, and skin's elasticity, all this moisturizer can really do is make normal to dry skin feel smoother and softer, which is great just not exciting. The look of fine lines and wrinkles will be softened, just like with any other moisturizer that contains ingredients similar to this (as many do). We're not stating the anti-aging ingredients in Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream are bad; rather, they're typical and don't backup this product's resulting overstated anti-aging claims.
As for anti-aging ingredients, those are present, mostly in the form of plant extracts and vitamins, including blackberry, dill, vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside) and vitamin E (tocopherol acetate). All of those ingredients are great for skin, but not when packaged in a jar—and not when fragrance is given more prominence in a formula. All told, this simply isn't the moisturizer to set your sights on if you want to see a significant reduction in signs of aging and moisturize dry skin. Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream moisturizes yes, and does so without a greasy feel, but it falls short on being a state of the art anti-aging product.
One more comment: Aveeno's claim that this moisturizer is hypoallergenic has no meaning. That's because there are no ingredient restrictions or regulations for determining if a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic Any product can make this claim even if it contains ingredients (like fragrance) known to be a problem for sensitive skin.
Jar Packaging & Anti-Aging Moisturizers: This anti-aging formula is packaged in a jar, which means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable for long once it's opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients are air-sensitive and begin to break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective.
Jars are also unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, contaminating the product. This leads to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.
When shopping for an anti-aging moisturizer, the ingredients that provide the most benefit for addressing visible signs of aging among many other concerns need to be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging.
References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, issue 14, pages 97-106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, issue 3, pages 252-259.
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, issue 9, pages 4676-4683
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, issue 6, pages 640-660
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82-88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1-10
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally keeps skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has on skin, the damage will still be taking place even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement pages 1-43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446—475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
Strengths: A few good cleansers and sunscreen products; fantastic Skin Relief Healing Ointment and soothing bath wash products; a handful of well-formulated baby-care products.
Weaknesses: Well-intentioned but ineffective anti-acne products; reliance on a single showcased ingredient (typically soy) that makes their anti-aging products less enticing than the competition; ineffective products to address hyperpigmentation; formulas packaged in a jar won’t remain stable.
Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).
Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.
Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skin—just not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.
The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!
For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.com.
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