This fragrance-free, water-based serum is a rather simple formula that contains a high amount of antioxidant polyphenols, from green tea, and enough caffeine to give a Starbucks espresso competition! Is the caffeine a skin-care must-have? Not really, although it does function as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory benefits, just like lots of other ingredients.
Topix maintains they included caffeine to enhance the efficacy of the green tea, but there isn't any research proving that topical application of this combination is preferred. Research has shown that oral consumption of caffeinated green tea reduces tumor formation after UV exposure, while decaffeinated green tea does not (Source: Cancer Research, July 2001, pages 5002–5009). Although that's interesting, it doesn't lend credence to combining caffeine and green tea in a skin-care product. (It's not as though the caffeine will make your skin look or feel more "awake.")
Although this serum contains a small selection of very good ingredients, in the end it leaves your skin wanting more. This would've earned our top rating had it also contained a couple of skin-repairing and/or cell-communicating ingredients. As is, it's a good, but not superior, option for all skin types, including sensitive or rosacea-affected skin.
The lightweight, fast-absorbing serum contains the humectant hyaluronic acid to deliver enhanced moisturization and improved texture, tone and overall skin appearance. Fortified with caffeine to enhance the antioxidant properties of green tea.
Purified Water, Caffeine USP, 90% Polyphenol Isolate of Camellia Sinensis Leaf, Sodium Hyaluronate, Bisabolol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Extract, Triethanolamine, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tetrasodium EDTA.
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.
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