Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster may seem like it provides almost everything you need in a single bottle—at least, that's what you may think after reading the claims (and the ingredient list). Although there's some good to be obtained from this product, it falters as an AHA exfoliant, which is the big claim on the label.
Housed in a dropper-style bottle, this does contain an interesting array of beneficial ingredients with enough moisturizing capabilities to make it a good formula for normal to dry skin (acne-prone, too). Unfortunately, it falls short on a few fronts, namely the inclusion of a few potentially irritating ingredients and the fact the pH level is too high to make good on its exfoliant claims—it's a good option for a lightweight, non-greasy moisturizing serum, but it won't take the place of your daily AHA or BHA treatment and won't boost such products, either, at least not in terms of exfoliation.
Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster contains an abundant array of skin-identical ingredients—those substances that help keep skin smooth and healthy—which are especially helpful for skin that's on the slightly dry side. This would work well when layered beneath your daytime or nighttime moisturizers, mixed into your serum, or even used as your serum.
Dr. Gross includes lots of antioxidants such as gotu nut (Centella asiatica) extract, cucumber, watermelon, green tea and chamomile. Some of these are more impressive than others; for example, yucca glauca root is a main ingredient, but there isn't much research demonstrating there is anything unique about it.
The research-proven antioxidants include resveratrol, retinol, ferulic acid, quercetin caprylate and one called potassium azeloyl diglycinate. Quercetin caprylate is a derivative of quercetin—and research has demonstrated it works quite similarly in terms of potent antioxidant protection as well as potential ability to lighten skin discolorations (Experimental Gerontology, 2010).
New kid on the block potassium azeloyl diglycinate is a derivative of azelaic acid, which research has shown provides similar benefits in treating conditions like inflammation, rosacea and redness. However, we should mention that the amount of potassium azeloyl diglycinate tested (5%) was much higher than is present here (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2012). Nevertheless, it's a noteworthy ingredient and will likely benefit your skin in terms of antioxidant potential.
We mentioned earlier that Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster shouldn't be relied on as an exfoliant. The marketing for this product mentions a "unique complex of three acids", pyruvic, tartaric, and linoleic. While Dr. Gross doesn't directly state these are exfoliant ingredients, just in case you should be under the impression they are, let's clarify that two of these—pyruvic and tartaric—are capable of exfoliating skin under the right conditions (i.e. the proper pH level). Linoleic acid is a fatty acid, which is a moisturizing agent.
Interestingly enough, multiple ingredients in this product have the potential to exfoliate: Salicylic, glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acid, but are not mentioned on the packaging or in the marketing claims. Despite plenty of exfoliant ingredients, it's all for naught as the pH of Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster is far too high for any of them to actually work as such.
What held Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster back from earning a BEST is the inclusion of three potential irritants, comfrey extract (Symphytum officinale extract), myrrh oil (Commiphora myrrha), witch hazel extract, and added fragrance. For the most part, the amounts are low, but nonetheless they do have the potential to irritate skin and the total amounts likely present make this product a questionable choice for those with extra-sensitive skin.
That caveat aside, this earned its GOOD rating for its mix of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, skin repairing ingredients, and all-around interesting formula. Note that the glass packaging is nearly transparent, with a slight orange tint—this should be kept in a drawer or bathroom cabinet to protect its delicate ingredients from light exposure that will serve to degrade the light-sensitive ingredients.
This radiance-boosting microdroplet formula introduces a unique complex of three acids—pyruvic, tartaric, and linoleic—to reveal resurfaced, firmed, and luminous skin. It can be applied directly to the face for a transformed complexion, mixed with makeup for boosted performance, or mixed with skincare product to enhance benefits.
Yucca Glauca Root Extract, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyacrylamide, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Centella Asiatica Extract, Quercetin Caprylate, Pyruvic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Linoleic Acid, Bisabolol, Resveratrol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Retinol, Salicylic Acid, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ellagic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ceramide 2, Symphytum Officinale Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Saccharide Isomerate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ferulic Acid, Gallic Acid, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Commiphora Myrrha Oil, Copper PCA, Sodium PCA, Mandelic Acid, Tetrapeptide-21, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Glyceryl Oleate, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Zinc PCA, Urea, Laureth-7, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Phytic Acid, Octoxynol-9, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare At-A-Glance
Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and what’s available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.
As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in
As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?
Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to every Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!
Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159–161).
Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.
For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.
NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
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