Bio Cream Riche Bio-Restorative Skin Balm with PSP is marketed as a richer version of Neocutis’ Bio-Cream Bio-Restorative Skin Cream with PSP, and that’s accurate. With a more emollient blend of ingredients (petrolatum and plant oils), this fragrance-free formula would be a good option for those with normal to dry skin that is not prone to breakouts—but keep reading to find out why you may want to think twice before investing in this.
This is more of a cream, so the name “balm” may give you the wrong impression in terms of texture. The pump container helps keep its formula protected from air and light exposure.
What you won’t find is a comprehensive mix of anti-aging ingredients like antioxidants or cell-communicating agents (retinol, for example). When you’re paying $160+ for less than 2 ounces of moisturizer, you should absolutely expect more than what Bio Cream Riche Bio-Restorative Skin Balm offers. Instead, you’re getting a fairly ordinary, everyday moisturizer that is bested by options you can find for $20 at the drugstore.
There are some antioxidants present, such as the borage and wheat germ oil, wild yam (Dioscorea villosa root extract), and vitamin E. However, there is only one study that we could find pertaining to wild yam in skincare products, and it was shown to have no demonstrated benefits when applied topically (Climacteric, 2001). Vitamin E is a good antioxidant, but it and the plant oils are present in many skincare formulas at a fraction of the cost Neocutis is charging you.
You might be curious about PSP, or “Processed Skin Proteins,” blend, in this formula. Neocutis makes a big deal about this ingredient, but on closer inspection, there isn’t much research around its benefits for skin (for additional details on PSP, check out the More Info section).
We should also note that Neocutis doesn’t adhere to cosmetic ingredient labeling regulations with regard to its “Processed Skin Proteins” blend. They lump this mix of proteins and amino acids together rather than listing them separately, so you don’t know exactly what you’re putting on your face.
Bio Cream Riche Bio-Restorative Skin Balm with PSP earned an AVERAGE rating because there is no reason to consider it for any purpose, other than not objecting when your dermatologist or aesthetician applies a layer of it to your skin after you’ve had a dermatological treatment. It’s an irritant-free formula, but it lacks the ingredients needed to make good on its claims to improve signs of aging, firm skin, or “rejuvenate” skin—which is an enormous disappointment given its price tag.
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 some 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 for its use in Neocutis’ skincare products. Remember, skincare is never as simple as one ingredient, however great (or seemingly great) it may be.
Fast-absorbing skincare balm delivers skin rejuvenating PSP® technology with a lavish dose of moisturizers plus skin softening wild yam extract to help enhance skin’s look and restore vitality.
Water (Aqua), Octyldodecanol, Petrolatum, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Glyceryl Stearate, Decyl Oleate, Dimethicone, 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, Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Borage Seed Oil (Borago Officinalis), Tocopheryl Acetate, Glyco-Sphingolipids, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Sodium Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide.
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/.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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