According to Neocutis, Bio-Cream Bio-Restorative Skin Cream with PSP is the original moisturizer in which they included their PSP (“Processed Skin Proteins”) ingredient blend. While the claims are lofty—firming skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and restoring skin’s moisture—what is actually possible from this formula is much more ordinary. Packaged in a pump-style container, this moisturizer has a light cream consistency, is fragrance-free, and best for those with normal to dry skin.
Looking at the formula, you’ll see that, despite the pleasant aesthetics of this cream, it’s disappointingly plain and composed primarily of fatty acids, thickeners, and plant oil. These are good ingredients for skin, but they’re what you should expect to see as the “supporting structure” for a much more comprehensive range of skin reparatives and antioxidants.
There isn’t anything wrong with a simple moisturizer when the situation calls for it—Aquaphor is a great example of such a product—but when you’re paying $150+ per bottle, you should expect more.
What about the Neocutis PSP, or “Processed Skin Proteins,” blend in this formula? Neocutis makes a big deal about this ingredient, but on closer inspection, it isn’t the miracle it’s made out be (for additional details on PSP, check out the More Info section).
This also contains a sensitizing preservative blend—methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone—and is not recommended for use in leave-on products due to their well-known sensitizing potential (Contact Dermatitis, 2011). What’s unusual is that Neocutis didn’t need to include this preservative blend because the product also includes the preservative phenoxyethanol and a paraben blend. Either of these latter two ingredients would be effective to keep this product free of microbes and bacteria.
The Bio-Cream Bio-Restorative Skin Cream with PSP earned an AVERAGE rating because the formula lacks the ingredients needed to make good on its claims to improve signs of aging, firm skin, and speed healing post-procedure (for example, laser treatments or peels). If that weren’t disappointing enough, the aforementioned preservative blend isn’t ideal to apply on skin sensitized by cosmetic procedures.
For better alternatives, in all price categories and from many other brands, see our list of Best Moisturizers Without Sunscreen.
Processed Skin Proteins: “Processed Skin Proteins,” or PSP, is a blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances featured in many Neocutis products that they claim “….harnesses the power of human growth factors and cytokines.” You may have also heard that a component of this anti-aging blend is human fetal cell tissue—which is correct.
In 2006, a Swiss study published in Cell Transplantation found that biopsied fetal cell tissue could be used for tissue engineering—replacing elements of damaged tissue to aid in the healing process of injuries (Cell Transplantation, 2006). Those biopsied cells were stored in a cell bank, and today, Neocutis uses cell tissue grown from that original cell line; that is, no other fetuses have been biopsied for cells that are destined for use in the PSP blend in Neocutis products. Rather, they continue to grow cells in the lab from the original cell line.
Cellular reengineering of wounds does not translate into how Neocutis’ PSP blend is used in their skincare products—and there isn’t much research on this proprietary blend. What does exist regarding skincare application of the Neocutis PSP blend was conducted on a small group of 12 patients, and only four showed improvement (8% or less is hardly impressive) in collagen production (Journal of the Academy of Dermatology, 2008). There was no comparative data on how PSP performed against other well-researched ingredients such as vitamin C, green tea extract, resveratrol, retinol, or niacinamide.
The bottom line: While some of the proteins and amino acids that make up PSP do have some benefit for skin, it’s minor in comparison to the benefits of well-researched alternatives that you’ll find in abundance in products from other brands. There isn’t any reason to buy into the belief that PSP is the “miracle” ingredient you’ve been waiting for, and the research certainly doesn’t support the claims made around its use in Neocutis skincare products. Remember, skincare is never as simple as one ingredient, however great (or seemingly great) it may be.
Bio Cream helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; enhance the appearance of skin tone, texture and firmness; restore moisture after cosmetic or dermatologic procedures.
Water (Aqua), Octyldodecanol, Glyceryl Stearate, Decyl Oleate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Wheat Germ Oil (Triticum Vulgare), Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Processed Skin Proteins (PSP®), Myreth-3 Myristate, Ceteareth-12, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone, Borage Seed Oil (Borago Officinalis), Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Glycosphingolipids, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone.
Strengths: Fragrance-free products; use of pump or tube packaging protects the light- and air-sensitive ingredients; excellent vitamin C serum and retinol product.
Weaknesses: Many of the anti-aging moisturizers and treatments are disappointingly simple formulas; expensive; some products rely on unproven ingredients.
If you’ve heard of the Neocutis brand, it’s likely because a dermatologist or aesthetician recommended one of their moisturizers or treatments. Like many skincare brands catering to patients of dermatologists and so-called “medi spas,” the claims associated with their products play off the perception of “prescription results” via ingredients that have medicinal-sounding names such as “Processed Skin Proteins” and “Melaplex.” It’s all designed to make you think you’re getting something special along with the pedigree of the doctor or spa retailing this line. As you’ll see from the reviews, that’s not true, although there are some good products to be found here.
Now headquartered in San Francisco, California, Neocutis was founded in Switzerland in 2003 by a group of physicians and biologists who realized the [marketing] potential of human cells in skincare products—specifically, amino acids and proteins (which is where their trademarked ingredients with exotic-sounding names come into play).
Despite their beginnings and their initial exclusivity to dermatologists’ offices, today you can order Neocutis products from beauty sites and other online retailers. Their line includes a range of products that caters to those whose foremost concerns are treating and preventing signs of aging. As a result, you’ll find Neocutis offers moisturizers, eye creams, and targeted treatments, many of which are themed around their trademarked “PSP,” or “Processed Skin Proteins.” Note: They claim this blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances “harnesses the power of human-cell derived growth factors and cytokines.”
What Neocutis isn’t telling you is that this blend of cytokines and human-cell derived growth factors has little research demonstrating any benefit for skin, and certainly not in comparison to the numerous well-researched antioxidants and cell-communicating agents used in so many of today’s best anti-aging products (see the More Info section of the products reviewed here for more details on PSP).
We should also note that, at the time of this review, Neocutis does not universally adhere to cosmetics ingredient labeling regulations on some of their products. In some cases, they do not list individually the proteins and amino acids that make up their PSP blend, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and
Unfortunately, despite the pomp and circumstance surrounding these products, most are extraordinarily overpriced and contain a surprisingly bland mix of basic moisturizing ingredients with a dusting of antioxidants. When we say “dusting” of beneficial ingredients, we really mean just that; in fact, one of their “remarkable” moisturizers is little more than a mix of glycerin, glycol, and thickeners, with a price tag topping $160!
On a positive note, Neocutis does have two outstanding products—one vitamin C serum and a retinol product—that are (like all of their formulas) fragrance-free and packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients. What’s certain is that Neocutis doesn’t have enough going for it to make putting together an entire anti-aging skincare routine from their products a good idea, for your skin or for your budget!
For more information on Neocutis, call 1-866-636-2884 or visit http://www.neocutis.com/.
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