This two-step kit is supposed to be a superior alternative to a series of dermatologist-administered peels. RoC maintains that professional peels done in a doctor’s office or spa do little to help skin beyond removing the surface layers of dead skin, but that’s not true. Yes, peels remove layers of sun-damaged, dead skin, but, when done properly, they also reduce discolorations and, over time, stimulate collagen production and remodeling for firmer, smoother skin. Peels are not an anti-aging cure-all, but they are useful, provided you keep your expectations realistic and see professionals who know what they are doing.
What’s particularly galling is that RoC’s answer to professional peels is this “resurfacing system,” which is incapable of doing anything special for skin. Step 1 is just a moisturizer that contains tiny amounts of skin-repairing hyaluronic acid and cell-communicating retinol. It also contains an intriguing ingredient known as dihydroxy methylchromone.
According to limited research, dihydroxy methylchromone occurs naturally in most plants, but it’s expensive to extract, so its chemical structure was copied and now it can be produced in a lab. It is said to have retinol-like properties in terms of collagen stimulation, and it also appears to increase skin’s natural levels of hyaluronic acid, while inhibiting enzymes that cause collagen breakdown in the dermis (skin’s lower layer). That’s good to know, but what remains a mystery is how much of this ingredient is needed to get that benefit; RoC certainly isn’t using much of it!
Moreover, the research on dihydroxy methylchromone didn’t compare its benefits with those of other anti-aging ingredients, such as niacinamide, green tea, or any of numerous peptides (Source: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=23292750). In short, it seems this ingredient has promise, but there’s more to learn before we’d recommend you run out and look for products that contain it. However, if you do, make sure it’s not at the end of the ingredient list, as it is here.
After you apply the moisturizer labeled as Step 1, you’re directed to follow with the serum labeled Step 2. The serum is just a blend of silicones with tiny amounts of minerals and vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate). It feels silky, but offers no special benefit beyond enhancing skin’s smoothness—something you can get from numerous other products that also treat skin to proven anti-aging ingredients.
RoC’s directions mention that Step 1 may tingle as you apply it, implying that it’s nothing to worry about because it’s just a sign that the product is working. Analyzing the ingredient list for this product, we couldn’t determine what causes the tingling. Perhaps the dihydroxy methylchromone mentioned above is responsible for the tingling, but we can’t be sure. What we can state with certainty is that, except for the ascorbic acid (vitamin C), none of the other ingredients in Step 1 are known to cause tingling when applied, and the amount of ascorbic acid in Step 1 is so low that its efficacy (and irritation potential) isn’t likely to be less than modest.
This ends up being a two-step kit that offers more pomp than proof. It’s not a harmful duo, but canceling a peel or other dermatologist procedure to use this instead? No way!
Combines RoC Retinol with an exclusive Resurfacing Serum to work together as one powerful system for maximum results. Together they stimulate skin’s natural process to give you beautiful, younger-looking skin.
Step 1: Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Glycerin, PEG-8, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Nylon-12 Butylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Ceteareth-20, Isohexadecane, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Polyacrylamide Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Laureth-7 Disodium EDTA, Allantoin, Dihydroxy Methylchromone, BHT, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Retinol, Polysorbate-20, Sodium Hydroxide
Step 2: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Trisiloxane, Silica, Zinc, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Copper Powder
Strengths: Some well-packaged products with retinol; all the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection.
Weaknesses: Mediocrity reigns supreme—few of the formulas are particularly exciting; antiwrinkle claims tend to go too far; jar packaging.
Originally the brainchild of a French pharmacist, RoC does its best to convince women concerned with wrinkles that using RoC products will erase those pesky lines and, of course, that RoC is the only company that keeps its promises. That doesn't bode well for the other J&J product lines Aveeno and Neutrogena—wouldn't that mean they must be lying about the promises they make for their products? Regardless, the promises RoC makes, including all of the same old same old "you will look younger too" rubbish, aren't viable and don't hold up under closer scrutiny. None of what they assure you their products can do is possible beyond a cosmetic extent, and moreover the majority of RoC's U.S.- and Canada-sold formulas are either boring or one-note. They don't even come through with distinctive or interesting moisturizers.
For example, RoC is big on retinol, and includes it in products with and without sunscreen in the
Another ingredient RoC has been touting lately is DMAE (dimethyl MEA). This ingredient is described in detail in the reviews below, but suffice it to say that DMAE isn't a panacea for wrinkles or skin that has lost firmness. Lastly, soy is promoted by RoC as an anti-aging powerhouse. Soy has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for skin, but once again RoC shortchanges the consumer by including barely any of it. And it's probably no surprise that sister company Aveeno (and, to a lesser extent, Neutrogena) offers better (and less expensive) options if soy is what you want to try.
Taken together, isn't it interesting how all of these Johnson & Johnson brands offer similar products to different target audiences? Neutrogena is the all-encompassing line, going after consumers battling acne and wrinkles; Aveeno stresses its "Active Naturals" and plays on its oat heritage; RoC is made to appeal to consumers who want to take a serious, more clinical-minded approach to fighting the signs of aging. None of these lines have all the answers, but all of them have a few worthwhile products. It's just that with RoC, those looking for state-of-the-art options beyond retinol have the fewest choices—and that's a promise made clear by the reviews that follow!
For more information about RoC, call (800) 762-1964 or visit www.rocskincare.com. And for a better selection of state-of-the-art retinol products from RoC, see the reviews for RoC
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