The only thing ultimate about SK-II's Ultimate Revival Serum is the price, and that's not good news for your skin. It is nearly identical to SK-II's LXP Ultimate Serum, which costs the same and is every bit as underwhelming for what amounts to a substantial skin-care investment. For what this single serum costs, you could assemble a brilliant anti-aging skin-care routine and have money left over to go out for a nice dinner!
Unless you're a firm believer in the power of SK-II's allegedly miraculous Pitera ingredient (discussed below), there is no reason in the world to spend this much for a serum. There are plenty of great serums that cost less than $60 and offer skin a broader range of anti-aging benefits than this one.
There's also the fact that there are far more formulary similarities than differences among all SK-II serums, despite varying claims and wildly different prices—something the counter staff for this line cannot adequately explain.
In the end, this is an OK (though still absurdly priced) fragrance-free serum for normal to oily or combination skin.
As for Pitera, in essence, it's a type of yeast that has anti-inflammatory activity, but there is no published, substantiated research proving even a fraction of its claims are true, and there's no way Pitera should be considered the best anti-aging ingredient. It makes for a good story around which to build a line, but that's about it. Luckily, SK-II uses a range of proven anti-aging ingredients alongside Pitera, but that doesn't mean their prices are justified. See More Info for further details about Pitera.
Pitera is the trade name for Saccharomycopsis ferment filtrate (SFF), a form of yeast purportedly unique because of the fermenting and filtering process it goes through before being added to these products. As it turns out, many forms of yeast have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant properties, including SFF (Source: Journal of Dermatologic Science, June 2006, pages 249–257). Other than that, all of the information about Pitera comes from papers presented at medical conferences, not from published studies.
Presenting papers at medical conferences is not at all the same thing as publishing the results of studies. We frequently present papers and information at medical conferences, and we wouldn't offer that material as proof of anything—because it isn't. The standards for presenting a paper at a medical conference are much less stringent than the requirements for publication of study results in respected medical journals.
Even if Pitera is a wonder ingredient, that doesn't explain how it rates in comparison with other great ingredients because there are no comparison studies. Hundreds of ingredients—ranging from green tea to superoxide dismutase, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, caffeic acid, beta-carotene, pomegranate, and curcumin to vitamin E, vitamin A, and on and on and on—have stellar reputations, and there's copious published documentation to prove it. In no way is Pitera the end-all, be-all, must-have ingredient.
Despite its high-end pricing, much of the SK-II products are surprisingly ordinary—many contain a small assortment of beneficial ingredients in addition to standard moisturizing agents and fragrance. Though their marketing campaigns are compelling, much is left to be desired when you compare glossy layouts to ingredients and formulas.
Pitera is the cornerstone of the SK-II line and is present in every SK-II product. There is some research demonstrating that this yeast, galactomyces ferment filtrate, has a protective effect on the skin barrier, working to prevent damage to the proteins that play a critical role in maintaining its integrity. There isn’t much beyond this single study, so there is no way to compare it to the already well-researched ingredients on the market, but it is intriguing (Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 2015). Why SK-II chose to base their line around this ingredient given the lack of knowledge about it is curious—there are plenty of research-proven alternatives they could have considered (vitamin C, green tea, retinol, etc.), or at least paired with Pitera!
In the end, much of the SK-II line lacks the formulas to warrant their price tags. However, if you’re looking to splurge, there are a few products to consider—see our full reviews for more information.
For more information about SK-II, owned by Procter & Gamble, visit www.sk-ii.com.
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