Best of SkinCeuticals: A Scientific Review


SkinCeuticals Scientific Review

Best of SkinCeuticals Review
SkinCeuticals Scientific Review

After hearing about Skinceuticals from all of my favorite dermatology attendings (see their expert picks here), I have been dying to try their products and post a SkinCeuticals product review for you guys. I have been testing out a couple of their favorites among dermatologists the past few months (c/o SkinCeuticals; as usual, reviews are my own), and I wanted to share my thoughts on them today.

First, a little about SkinCeuticals. I have been consistently impressed by this beauty company because their whole mission is to provide advanced skincare backed by science. I find that most beauty and skincare products out there don’t ACTUALLY have scientific evidence backing them, so I don’t want to waste money on them. Skinceuticals is unique in the cosmeceutical industry because this company actually performs intensive research on skin cancer and antiaging, and have made pivotal discoveries in how antioxidants function and then translated these findings to effective products. I did an interview on the phone with one of their lead scientists a few weeks ago and I was really pleased to hear about all the intensive research they are doing on atmospheric aging and the different ways they are testing how to improve skin on a molecular level.

I am in love with their website which includes a whole section on the science that has been done to make each of their products and another section on the science behind skin, a skincare ingredient dictionary, environmental aggressors, and more. For a skin care nerd like me, this company is a perfect blend of beauty and science, and I find their dedication to scientific evidence very refreshing.

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 GelThe Hydrating B5 gel is a nourishing, oil-free, light weight serum that delivers an instant boost of hydration to your skin. I use it nightly after cleansing and toning, and the slippery gel formulation makes it very easy to apply. I love that just 3 small drops go a long way as well; the silky smooth product glides over the skin without needing much rubbing in. This gel contains a mixture of hyaluronic acid, a natural humectant in our skin that holds up to 1000 times its weight in water, as well as vitamin B5, a nutrient that our skin uses to repair damage. I find that when I use this as an initial step prior to putting on the Triple Lipid Restore (below), my face feels extra moist and plump the morning after. This is especially great to use as an extra moisturizing step if you (like me) are starting on retinoids. My face has been going through havoc with a higher strength retinoid, and the only way to combat the dryness and the peeling skin is to use my hydrating B5 gel paired with the triple lipid restore.

What I will mention here is that the hydrating B5 gel is meant to give you a boost of moisture but it is not actually changing the way your skin produces and retains hyaluronic acid, since the molecule is not actually being transported deep in the dermis. In order to do that, you may want to consider the SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier, which contains Proxylane, a naturally occurring plant molecule which actually helps to promote hyaluronic acid synthesis.

SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF

SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF SerumThe Phloretin CF comes in two forms, the serum and the gel, and I tried out the serum. I was most interested to review this product, since my colleague Dr. Kumar Sukhdeo wrote a fantastic and well-researched piece on the science behind vitamin C and how to actually get it underneath the skin surface (if you haven’t read his piece yet, what are you waiting for?! Check it out here!). Turns out that it’s really hard to get topical Vitamin C to its target underneath the skin. The product needs to be formulated in certain conditions such as a specific pH, and also kept in a specific environment (ie in the refrigerator, not exposed to UV radiation, etc.). Dr. Sukhdeo pointed out that SkinCeuticals actually holds a patent for the unique way they formulated and stabilized the Vitamin C in their products, so that you are actually getting the antioxidant benefits through a topical serum.

The Phloretin CF contains 2% phloretin, 10% pure vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid), and 0.5% ferulic acid. The patent that Dr. Sukhdeo mentioned in his post is the the Duke Antioxidant patent, which contains the following formulation parameters required for effective delivery and absorption of vitamin C to skin cells: 1) pure l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C); 2) an acidic pH within the 2.0-3.5 pH range and; 3) a concentration between 10%-20%.

I have been using the Phloretin CF serum every morning for about two months now and I do see an improvement in the appearance of my skin. I feel like my skin appears brighter and the brown spots are ever so slightly more faint. The biggest reason I’m a fan of Phloretin CF and would pay money for it, however, is prevention. We are exposed to pollution day in and day out as we walk around the city, and God knows I’ve been exposed to SO MUCH living in NYC. Atmospheric aggressors actually have been shown to cause free radical damage in our skin, contributing to manifestations of physical aging like dark spots and wrinkles, and even promote loss of collagen. Phloretin CF and another popular product the CE Ferulic have been shown in vitro (cellular level) and in vivo (in humans)  to lessen that damage and to prevent connective tissue breakdown by enzymes in the skin. Please see Dr. Valacchi’s Letter to the Editor, published in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, for more in depth research on human skin, complete with biopsies from human skin exposed to ozone (treated and untreated) and not exposed to ozone. I’ll touch more on atmospheric aging in a follow-up post!

Other brands that contain Vitamin C that has been formulated in a sound way include Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E sera as well as La Roche Posay Active C10 serum.

Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore

Triple Lipid Restore SkinCeuticals

The Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is a buttery anti-aging night cream composed of 2% pure ceramides, 4% natural cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids. This ratio of lipids helps to repair our skin barrier, provide lasting hydration and nourishment, and help to improve skin texture, evenness, and overall skin appearance. We lose lipids in our skin as we age, and the 2:4:2 ratio of cholesterol-dominant cream delivers the lipids back to the skin in a concentration that the skin can actually use.

I have been using the Triple Lipid Restore as my new night cream, and the word that comes to mind to describe the experience is “luxurious.” The cream is thick, smells like lavender, and dissolves into the skin with the warmth of your hands and face. Whenever I use the Triple Lipid Restore I have super hydrated and plump looking skin the next morning. The moisturizing effects last the entire next day and I find that my makeup goes on more smoothly too, without those pesky dry flakes of skin.

This cream is marketed towards aging skin, but I personally feel that it’s never too early to start a good antiaging regimen – read more here about powerful antiaging ingredients that actually work.

To be honest, the prohibitive issue here for me is cost. This luxurious cream is $127 for 1.7 ounces, and a lot of us can’t afford to purchase this on a regular basis. I love the feeling of this cream and the molecular formulation, but I would probably invest in it more when I’m in my late 30’s or 40’s rather than 20’s, since we retain more moisture when we’re younger anyways. For any of my more mature readers who have perhaps sustained some sun damage to their skin already or notice changes of aging, this cream would be a great investment. Hopefully I’ll also be making a higher salary in my 40’s rather than my resident salary now, so that I can actually afford this cream in the future!

A few more affordable alternatives to this night cream for my younger readers include Glossier’s priming moisturizer rich, the Nature Republic steam cream, and the CeraVe skin renewing night cream with ceramides.

Final Thoughts

All in all, I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to review some SkinCeuticals products and I am impressed by the level of research they have done in cell lines and in humans to rigorously test the efficacy of their products. At this time, I would invest in their antioxidant products such as the Phloretin CF, because of their abilities to prevent and treat reactive oxidative damage from UV rays and pollutants in the air. Remember to keep your Vitamin C products in the fridge and to reduce (as much as possible!) exposure to light.

I unfortunately didn’t get to try one of their most popular products this time around, the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, which has the highest concentration of Vitamin C and E. If I get to try this product in the future I will definitely review it for you guys!

Have you used SkinCeuticals products before? What do you think?

10 Comments on Best of SkinCeuticals: A Scientific Review

  1. kristen
    April 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm (8 months ago)

    awesome! Thank you for this post! I use the CE Ferulic, so would you say that I don’t need to use the Phloretin CF as well? I didn’t realize that this company had a patent on their Vit. C formulation. That is very cool. I’m off to read the article you linked to… Thanks again!

    • Joyce
      April 21, 2017 at 6:12 pm (8 months ago)

      Great questions; I did not personally review the CE Ferulic so I can’t tell you from personal experience, but I found an excellent article comparing and contrasting the two here. Looks like the CE Ferulic is better for normal, dry, and sensitive skin, and it may have more science backing its use in antiaging and and protection. If you really like using both you can, but apply one in the morning and one at night. Do not layer them on top of each other because your skin can only absorb so much vitamin C in one go and the rest is wasted!

      • kristen
        April 27, 2017 at 11:54 am (8 months ago)

        I really appreciate your help – thank you!

  2. Brandon
    April 20, 2017 at 2:10 pm (8 months ago)

    I stumbled across your blog while researching Skinceuticals! Thanks for the informative post. I want to give the Phloretin CF a try after I finish my bottle of CE Ferulic. I heard that Phloretin CF leaves a less tacky finish than CE Ferulic. Have you tried any other vitamin C serums?

    • Joyce
      April 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm (8 months ago)

      Hi Brandon, thanks for your comment! I haven’t tried CE Ferulic personally but from what I’ve seen in my research of the products, people with oily skin tend to like Phloretin CF because of its slightly drying alcohol content. CE Ferulic tends to be better for those with dry, normal, or sensitive skin.

  3. Laurie
    April 20, 2017 at 9:45 pm (8 months ago)

    Dear Dr. Joyce,

    Hi! It’s Laurie again (I commented last week). Thank you for the great post on Skinceuticals! I was close to buying the CE Ferulic, but chose Vitablast C Serum from M-61 instead due to the lower cost ($92). I have been using it 2 weeks, so jury still out! :)

    I have been using the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask that you recommended and I LOVE it!! It makes my skin so, so soft. I use it 1-2 times per week and a little goes a long way! I have recommended the product (and your blog) to several friends!

    I do have a question: Can you please share the order of products in your evening routine? Does the retinol come first, followed by the B5 gel and Triple Lipid Restore?

    I am 44 y/0, have oily skin in my tzone, and use Tretinoin 0.05%. Would you use a product like the B5 gel and the Tripil Lipid Restore every night? I understand this is difficult to answer, just wondering if the B5 gel and the TLR would be used regularly or just a few times per week.

    Lastly, I have been drinking a lot of water. I feel great and in just 3.5 weeks, the dark circles under my eyes are GONE! Seriously, GONE!

    Thank you for all of your diligent research and information!

    Nashville, TN

    • Joyce
      April 21, 2017 at 6:06 pm (8 months ago)

      Hi Laurie,

      Great questions. I’d like to hear what you think of the Vitablast C serum, and I’m so happy that you enjoy the skinfood mask! I actually wrote out the correct order of application of skincare products in my recent skinspiration post here. Medication such as retinoids should always go on closest to the skin, UNLESS you are getting really irritated and red from the retinoid. Then you should apply it after your moisturizer. I would use the hydrating B5 gel and triple lipid restore every night to get maximum benefit! Hope this helps! PS I visited Nashville last year and LOVED IT; can’t wait to go back someday!

  4. Sergio
    June 27, 2017 at 10:21 am (6 months ago)

    Dear Dr. Joyce,
    Any thoughts about their new HYALURONIC ACID INTENSIFIER H.A ?
    Thank you!

    • Joyce
      June 27, 2017 at 3:40 pm (6 months ago)

      Hi Sergio, I haven’t tried that product but I’ve heard GREAT things. I hope to try it in the future and I will let you know if I do!

  5. Shannon L Davis
    December 8, 2017 at 9:13 am (7 days ago)

    These products have changed my skin drastically and for the better. My skin glows and is much smoother. Even my husband said something about my face.


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