From Neutrogena's advertising, you would expect Triple Age Repair Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 25 to contain impressive anti-aging ingredients over and above its sunscreen. As it turns out, this is an astonishingly simple formula of thickeners, glycerin, shea butter, and a few slip agents—it's almost entirely free of the antioxidants and other skin-repairing ingredients that research has proven help any sunscreen work even better. The marketing copy reads well, but the formula is a subpar moisturizer for normal to dry skin that certainly cannot live up to its stupendous anti-aging claims.
Although packaged in a jar, that's almost irrelevant given that the formula is mostly free of any anti-aging ingredients that are sensitive to air and light. There is a tiny amount of vitamin C, in the form of ascorbyl glucoside, but the jar container will quickly render it useless, for the reasons we discuss in the More Info section. Even in stable packaging, however, such a tiny amount of vitamin C is not a triple header to fight wrinkles.
This does provide broad-spectrum sun protection via synthetic sunscreen actives (octocrylene-stabilized avobenzone, octisalate, and homosalate). That's a good thing, but, oddly, this also appears to contain a relatively high amount of the penetration enhancer propylene glycol. Ordinarily, penetration enhancers are helpful for getting antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients into the skin, but in a synthetic-sunscreen formula high amounts of these ingredients can enhance the likelihood of a sensitizing skin reaction.
You may be wondering about the ingredient "hexinol" this contains—we certainly were! It turns out that "hexinol" is a trade name for the hexylresorcinol in Triple Age Repair Moisturizer. There is no published, peer-reviewed research that demonstrates hexylresorcinol has any anti-aging benefit. So, don't count on it helping to lighten discolorations as promised, at least not anymore beyond what a well-formulated sunscreen can do.
The only research that even vaguely associates hexylresorcinol with the claims of "skin lightening" is research that demonstrated it effectively slows the formation of dark spots on shrimp in seafood processing. However, that's really a stretch, trying to associate living human skin cells with dead shrimp in terms of how they respond to hexylresorcinol (Sources: Journal of Food Science, April 2008, pages S124–S133; and Journal of Food Protection, January 2005, pages 98–104).
Even if hexinol could lighten skin discolorations, this product is packaged in a jar, which won't keep this ingredient stable after opening anyway.
Despite the hype, Triple Age Repair Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 25 is much ado about nothing. There is no reason to consider this product over the many alternatives on our list of Best Moisturizers Daytime/Nighttime.
If you are specifically interested in a product that targets dark spots, consider those on our list of Best Skin-Lightening. Don't forget, however, that you still must use a broad-spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen every day; otherwise, those discolorations won't fade (not even a little bit).
The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Targets the three skin issues that visibly age you most for younger-looking skin. This rich moisturizer, powered by Hexinol technology and vitamin C, is clinically proven to help: smooth the look of wrinkles, even skin tone, and visibly firm skin for a noticeable difference you'll see in just four weeks. Plus, broad spectrum SPF 25 protection helps resist future signs of aging caused by the sun when used with other sun protection measures.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2%, Homosalate 4%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 2%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Steareth-2, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Stearath-21, Hexylresorcinol, Behenyl Alcohol, Bisabolol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Xylitylglucoside, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sclerotium Gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
Strengths: Inexpensive; several recommended cleansers; retinol options, in stable packaging; vast selection of sunscreens, most of which offer excellent UVA protection; several fragrance-free options; many of the Healthy Skin products are state-of-the-art; the foundations with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection; some praiseworthy makeup items.
Weaknesses: An overabundance of overlapping anti-aging products that is perennially confusing for consumers; irritating bar soaps; lackluster to downright bad toners; a handful of bland moisturizers and eye creams; some sunscreens too much alcohol or problematic preservatives; most of the Deep Clean products are terrible; mostly disappointing concealers; the lip balms with sunscreen provide inadequate UVA protection.
Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.
Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.
Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).
A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.
It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.
What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.
For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.
Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (We are not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.
There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.
The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.
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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