This serum is almost identical to the Topix Replenix All Trans Retinol Smoothing Serums 2X and 3X, except this version is said to contain even more retinol. The company advises those with normal skin to use the 3X formula, while those with sensitive skin or first-time retinol users should use the 2X formula. Those with "more tolerant skin" are advised to use the 5X or 10X formulas, although, ultimately, it comes down to experimentation to see how much retinol your skin can tolerate. Each Topix Replenix retinol serum seems to contain an efficacious amount of retinol—and whether you choose the 2X, 3X, or 5X version seems to be more about marketing than formulary distinction. Given the Serum 5X's similarity to the other Replenix retinol serums, the same review applies.
Topix sells four retinol serums, each with varying amounts of retinol designed for different skin types and for those who want to "step up" the retinol concentration as their skin acclimates. Each serum is silicone-based and fragrance-free; in fact, other than the different amounts of retinol, they are nearly identical.
Topix refers to the retinol in their products as "all-trans-retinol," but that is just another way to say retinol, and retinol is just the technical name for vitamin A; so, there is nothing different or unique about all-trans-retinol—it is just vitamin A. Topic's name, all-trans-retinol, can be misleading because it is easily confused with the prescription ingredient all-trans-retinoic-acid, which is what retinol transforms into when absorbed into the skin. All-trans-retinoic acid is the active ingredient in Renova and Retin-A, among other prescription brands.
In regard to the amount of retinol in the Topix retinol products, more is not necessarily better. How much retinol is appropriate for your skin type depends on how much your skin can tolerate. It takes experimenting to see what level works for you, but don't start by assuming the strongest strength is the best. However, this retinol serum is a good option to consider, as it gives skin retinol plus the antioxidants green tea, caffeine, and hyaluronic acid, all of which are anti-aging ingredients that have research attesting to their benefits for skin.
This serum assists in achieving smoother, firmer and more evenly toned skin. This Retinol based formulation helps achieve more radiant looking skin while delivering the skin enhancing benefits of Green Tea Polyphenols.
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclomethicone, PEG/PPG 18/18 Dimethicone, Caffeine, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Polyphenols, Retinol, Polysorbate-20, Purified Water, Hyaluronic Acid
Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; several good products with retinol in varying strengths; good moisturizers and cleansers; very good body lotions.
Weaknesses: Expensive; the physician allure may seem enticing, but these products do not require a doctor's visit or medical supervision; no AHA or BHA exfoliants; no viable skin-lightening options; fragrant toner; the growth factors in the Citrix serums are potentially risky ingredients.
Topix is best known for its two chief skin-care brands, Replenix and Citrix. Of the two, we're asked most often about the Replenix collection; the Citrix line is smaller and focused on anti-aging products with vitamin C. The Replenix products contain a broader range of anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, green tea, and grape-derived resveratrol, and the claims are broader, too—so little surprise that the Replenix products appeal to more people concerned with signs of aging. Both Replenix and Citrix offer fragrance-free formulas, albeit at fairly high prices, which is typical of most physician-dispensed lines.
A chief selling point of Topix is its physician-dispensed angle, which gives the products a medical élan; in truth, however, not a single ingredient in these products is "medicinal," prescription, or exclusive to physician-sold products. That is, you don't need to see a doctor to be "prescribed" Topix products; rather, they can be obtained from several websites, no appointment necessary. The big question is whether or not you should add any Topix products to your shopping cart—and the answer is "it depends."
Within the Replenix line, the most interesting products include the serums and moisturizers. Although none of them are superior to the best options available, most of them do offer good (though pricey) formulas that treat skin to a range of beneficial ingredients.
If you're keen on retinol (and it's a great anti-aging ingredient), Replenix has you covered with several serums offering different strengths of retinol. The various strengths allow you to "step up" to stronger retinol products once your skin has acclimated to the lower strengths. Although that sounds intriguing, it's not really necessary. As we explain in the reviews, more retinol is not necessarily better, and some may find the higher-strength retinol products too sensitizing, so caution is warranted. Indeed, some people cannot tolerate any amount of retinol!
The Citrix products aren't all that exciting unless you want vitamin C in every product. Although there's nothing wrong with vitamin C, it's a mistaken notion to focus on one hero ingredient because skin requires a variety of beneficial ingredients to look and act younger. Topix also adds growth factors to their Citrix serums, but these growth-factor ingredients are unproven for topical use and may present risks (we explain why in the reviews). In short, Citrix isn't all that exciting, and several of these products fall short in one way or another.
Our research revealed that Topix has some intriguing products, but, with few exceptions, there is nothing that you cannot find elsewhere for less money. It's important to let go of the notion that skin-care products sold at a doctor's office are superior to those sold elsewhere. The truth is: There are good and bad products in every retail outlet—knowing what you're buying is more important than where you're buying it or who's selling it!
For more information about Topix, call (800) 445-2595 or visit www.topixpharm.com.
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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!