Far from being a perfect ten, this water-based serum barely rates a 5! Although it contains several well researched antioxidants, the amount of alcohol is cause for concern because alcohol puts skin at risk of pro-aging irritation. Some of the plant extracts this contains are irritants with no established benefit for skin, while others are soothing, so for the most part the good is canceled out by the bad.
What’s particularly maddening is that NeoStrata claims this reduces skin’s inflammatory response to environmental aggressors, yet many of the ingredients this imperfect serum contain incite, not reduce, inflammation! The gluconolactone this contains functions as somewhat of an exfoliant (similar to AHAs like glycolic acid) but even though this serum’s pH allows exfoliation to occur, the irritants it contains don’t make the benefits worth it—you can spend less money and get an effective, yet gentle AHA or BHA exfoliant plus a brilliant anti-aging serum. By the way, this serum does not have an antioxidant edge over others. And, it must be said, despite how the claims are worded, this serum doesn’t replace the daily need for sun protection. No antioxidants works as well as sunscreen actives to protect skin from sun damage. Antioxidants help a lot, but they do not replace the need for sunscreen.
Exuviance Antioxidant Perfect 10 Serum provides superior broad spectrum defense against oxidative damage brought on by daily environmental exposure, the primary cause of visible signs of skin aging. The unique formula concentrates six potent antioxidants to conquer the aging effects from all 10 sources of oxidative damage, including free radicals, and allows the skin to repair existing damage. This customized formula helps trap free radicals and skin damaging metals, and helps prevent the oxidative breakdown of healthy cells and collagen, elastin and the skin’s support matrix. Effective levels of concentrated botanicals help reduce the skin’s inflammatory response to environmental aggressors, which contribute to signs of aging. Better protection means younger looking skin. Supercharge your daily skincare regimen with this concentrated problem solving essential.
Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat., Gluconolactone, Maltobionic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Citric Acid, Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Syringa Vulgaris (Lilac) Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Vitis Vinfera (Grape) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Chinese Tea) Leaf Extract, Cucumis Melo Cantalupensis (Cantaloupe) Fruit Extract, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Syringa Vulgaris (Lilac) Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Rose Extract, Abies Balsamea (Balsam Canada) Extract, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Maltodextrin, Propylene Glycol, Ammonium Hydroxide, Hydroxyethylcelullose, Sodium Bisulfite, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Caramel, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 14700 (Red 4)
Strengths: Huge assortment of AHA and PHA exfoliants; a couple good cleansers; some excellent moisturizers; several fragrance-free products.
Weaknesses: No BHA products (better for blemish-prone skin or for those who can't tolerate AHAs or PHA); use of jar packaging compromises some of the formulas; irritating ingredients make an appearance in several products.
Exfoliation is the name of the game for this line! The original NeoStrata and Exuviance brands were created by Drs. Eugene Van Scott and Ruey Yu, the two researchers who own the original patent (actually, they hold over 80 patents) for the use of glycolic acid (AHA) in relation to its ability to diminish wrinkles, among other capabilities. Few lines offer reliable and effective formulations for exfoliation, so those that do deserve your attention. Well-formulated AHA products are those that have an effective concentration of AHAs and a base with an acidic pH that allows them to have maximum benefit. The exfoliation that AHAs provide reduces the thickness of the skin's outer layer, helping skin to quickly look smoother and feel softer, which in turn can solve many skin problems, including dryness, blemishes, sun damage, and skin discolorations. A good deal of research also shows that AHAs can help increase the thickness of the underlying layers of skin, improve skin structure, increase collagen production, and allow penetration of other skin-care ingredients. Moreover, NeoStrata is one of the only companies to sell a range of reliable sunscreens that also contain effective AHA formulations.
Both the Exuviance (Exuviance products are reviewed separately), NeoCeuticals and NeoStrata lines contain glycolic acid (AHA), but even more of these products contain a polyhydroxy acid (PHA) called gluconolactone (also patented by Scott and Yu), and for which similar claims are made. Gluconolactone is supposed to be gentler and longer acting than glycolic acid, and its delayed penetration is attributed to its larger molecular size. However, according to an article in Cosmetic Dermatology (July 1998), the skin can't tell the difference between the various effective AHAs, and the possibility of gluconolactone staying on the surface of skin longer than other AHAs did not prove out. So in terms of exfoliation and potential side effects, PHA ends up being as good as AHA. Gluconolactone may be slightly less irritating for some skin types, but this isn't quite the magic bullet for exfoliation NeoStrata claims, though it does indeed work when properly formulated (but so do glycolic and lactic acids). Another PHA NeoStrata uses is lactobionic acid. However, there is no definitive, published research establishing it as an effective alternative to (or partner for) other AHAs or BHA.
Beyond the numerous products that exfoliate (which is NeoStrata's main selling point) there's not much to get excited about, especially for what the company is charging. And it's upsetting that a dermatologist-driven, physician-sold line still has weak spots such as the occasional inclusion of irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin and, believe it or not, a sunscreen that leaves skin vulnerable to UVA damage. NeoStrata has their act together when it comes to AHAs and PHA, but that tunnel vision has, in some respects, kept them from branching out to offer a better assortment of state-of-the-art products.
For more information about NeoStrata, call (800) 225-9411 or visit www.neostrata.com.
Note: NeoStrata's range of products is advertised as being available only through physicians. However, the entire selection is available for purchase online. The Exuviance brand is sold in select department stores and specialty beauty boutiques such as Ulta.
Caution: Keep in mind that skin needs only one reliable exfoliant at a time. NeoStrata sells so many good ones, you may be tempted to double (or triple) up, but doing so can backfire and be more irritating than helpful.
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