This water-based serum comes complete with claims on its years of research, patents, and new cosmeceutical buzzwords such as "biodiverse" and "broad-spectrum treatment." Aside from the company's exemplary marketing efforts, the product does deserve some discussion in terms of its single unique ingredient, phloretin (because other than that this is one boring ordinary, potentially skin-damaging product). Phloretin is a white crystalline flavonoid that results from the decomposition or hydrolysis of phlorizin. Naturally, your next question is: What's phlorizin? It's a bitter substance extracted from the root bark of apple trees and from apples, so phloretin does have a natural origin (though what it takes to get phlorizin out of the apple tree to turn it into phloretin is hardly a natural process; you're not going to use phloretin to flavor pie). As for phloretin's value for skin, in vitro and animal research has shown that it has antioxidant ability, can interrupt melanin synthesis to potentially reduce skin discolorations, inhibits the formation of MMP-1 (which breaks down collagen), and also serves as a penetration enhancer, which, as you'll see below, is not a good thing in the case of this product (Sources: The FEBS Journal, August 2008, pages 3804-3814; Phytochemistry, April 2007, pages 1189-1199; Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, April 2006, pages 740-745; European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, March 2004, pages 307-312; and International Journal of Pharmaceutics, April 2003, pages 109-116).Although there are compelling reasons to consider phloretin as another potent, beneficial antioxidant to improve skin's appearance and healthy functioning, in the case of this product it is completely wasted. Why? Because the amount of denatured alcohol in this serum negates any antioxidant benefit of the phloretin. The inclusion of alcohol is extremely disappointing because alcohol causes free-radical damage, cell death, and irritation (see the Appendix for details). Phloretin may be the antioxidant du jour, but not in this product. Please keep in mind that despite the published research for phloretin and SkinCeuticals’s claims, it is not the best antioxidant to "attack damage on every level." There are lots of brilliant antioxidants in skin-care products, but there isn't a miracle or magic bullet out there. See our list of highest-rated serums for some more promising options!
Note: This serum is dispensed via a dropper applicator. Even if we did recommend Phloretin CF, this isn't the ideal method to dispense a serum that contains light- and air-sensitive ingredients, sometimes this type of packaging is necessary due to formulary requirements. When that’s the case, the goal is to keep the bottle opening as small as possible, the bottle should be opaque or specially coated to protect the contents from light, and you should use the serum up within three months of opening.
Phloretin CF represents a new class of preventive and corrective topical antioxidant treatment. After five years of extensive research, SkinCeuticals developed this patent-pending breakthrough technology combining the newly-discovered, broad-range power of phloretin with vitamin C and ferulic acid in a biodiverse formulation to divide and conquer sources of damage at every level. Phloretin CF, a broad-spectrum treatment, protects against not only free radicals, but the range of other reactive molecules known to cause damage and DNA mutations among the integral cell types. In addition, it corrects existing damage by stimulating the synthesis of essential proteins and fibers and accelerating cell turnover. The result — a strengthened support structure on the inside and a more youthful, firm, radiant appearance on the outside.
Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Alcohol Denaturated, Ascorbic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Triethyl Citrate, Phloretin, Ferulic Acid
With a strong presence in the professional (meaning spa and aesthetics) skincare market, SkinCeuticals has a mostly well-deserved reputation for producing serious-minded, research-driven products, several of which are centered on L-ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C).
There are many good reasons to shop this line; it boasts a lineup up impressive vitamin C products, as well as some good retinol options and sunscreens. Even better is that the majority of its anti-aging products are packaged in containers that will protect their contents from light and air. Focusing on what Skinceuticals does best (which is serums, sunscreens, and specialty products) will be money well spent for visible results. The main drawbacks of this line are some products that contain fragrance ingredients, as well as potentially-drying alcohol, though they represent the minority of the brand’s offerings.
For more information about SkinCeuticals, call 1-800-771-9489 or visit www.skinceuticals.com.
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