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American Women Seek To Save Money On Acne Products

It won’t come as a shock to anyone that American women who buy acne care products are looking to pay less. A recent survey of American skin care product consumers commissioned by Prevention magazine came up with some numbers. Of the 1,500 women interviewed by Prevention, 57% said they had dropped one or more products from their skin routine to save money. Only 16% said they stopped using any skin care products at all.

Acne Treatment Costs
Some acne products may not be worth the extra costs.

When it comes to acne skin repair, American women report they want to get rid of acne blemishes and discolored skin and they want to get rid of them now. Most women in the survey say they would prefer to get instant results from one-time use of a product—and who wouldn’t? Let’s take a look at new products being marketed to adult women who have acne and whether they are worth the money.

Neostrata Exuviance

Neostrata is a Princeton, New Jersey firm that markets a line of products known as Age Reverse. While adult women who have acne typically do not want to reverse their skin’s aging process too far back, to their teenage years, many women who have or have had acne have to deal with lingering discoloration1.

Even in their 20’s, women may need to start dealing with loss of firmness, fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, and patches of rough skin that look a little like acne but that are not common acne. Age Reverse is a combination of antioxidants, retinol (vitamin A), peptides, polyhydroxy acids, and proprietary ingredient the company calls Neoglucosamine, designed to rejuvenate aging and acne-prone skin.

Neostrata recommends that women use Age Reverse twice a day. After the company’s clinical trials of the formula, researchers announced that 100% of women using the product “improved appearance” after 12 weeks. In the company-sponsored study, 96% of users reporter plumper skin, 94% reported firmer skin, and 92% reported fading of acne-related and sun-related age spots.

Can we believe the claims?

At US $60 to $72 for 1.75 ounces/49 grams, Neostrata Exuviance Age Reverse products are a little pricey, but they actually do work. The polyhydroxy acids and2 glycolic acid are in the right amounts and at the right pH to remove dead and brown skin. This lightens and smooths the complexion and removes acne spots. It may even cause small acne scars to fade. The biggest drawback to this product is that there are products for as little as $7.49, such as Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser, that work just as well for women who have adult acne.

Neocutis Biocream

For a lot more money, women who want to restore acne-damaged skin could try Neocutis Biocream, which usually retails for about US $135 for 1.69 fluid ounces/50 ml. This skin restorer is made with PSP, which is the manufacturer’s proprietary “processed skin cell proteins” taken from aborted human fetuses.

The rationale for using fetal skin cells for treating blemished skin is that nothing contains more complete nutrition for human skin than human skin. While fetal skin cell preparations do have proven use in treating burns3, there is absolutely no reason to believe they can restore aging, acne-prone, or sun-damaged skin that has not been compromised by a wound. Neocutis uses fetal tissue to make not just Neocutis Biocream but also Neocutis Bio-Restorative Skin Cream, Journée Bio-Restorative Day Cream, Lumière Bio-Restorative Eye Cream, and Bio-Gel Bio-Restorative Hydrogel. Any product that contains alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids (which are derived from plant tissue) will work at least as well and cost 90% to 95% less. And many consumers will appreciate the ability to use products made from plant materials rather than from human tissues.

Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Cream

Génifique Youth Activating Cream does not contain any aborted fetal tissues. It contains ingredients that are unquestionably wholesome and helpful for the skin, such as glycolic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid) and salicylic acid (the beta-hydroxy acid used in skin care). It also contains a proprietary ingredient the Lancôme company calls Bio-Lysat, which is supposed to help maintain the skin barrier, and phytosphigosine, which is supposed to encourage cell turnover. Actually it’s the glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which are found in many other products, that help encourage growth of the skin to deal with acne scars4 and give the skin an even matte.

That is, glycolic acid and salicylic acid rejuvenate the skin when they are at the right pH. They aren’t in this product. Advertising claims that the antioxidant ingredients in the Youth Activating Cream could activate genes that trigger skin cell growth, and they certainly could, except the way the cream is packaged these ingredients would react to oxygen in the atmosphere and go bad the first time the product is opened.

When you pay US $95 for 1.7 fluid ounce/51 ml, you have a right to expect ingredients that have a chance at rejuvenating your skin. But the ingredients in this product that actually work on your skin are available in several dozen other products that cost just $10 to $20 in more generously sized containers.

Sirtuins For Stopping Skin Aging

Chances are that you have heard of the antioxidant resveratrol. It’s found in red grapes and in red wine in very small amounts, but most of the resveratrol used to make supplements is actually extracted from a plant known as Chinese polygonum, or knotweed.

In laboratory tests5, resveratrol promises to be a cure-all for diseases ranging from acne to cancer. In reality, no one has ever proven that resveratrol has any actual health benefits at all, and some studies have found that other plant chemicals in red grapes and red wine are actually as much as 100,000 times more active in the body.

The reality of the state of science does not keep companies from making claims. Dior Capture Total advertises its resveratrol products as sirtuins, chemicals that activate genes in the skin. Sirtuins in fact do activate genes in the skin, but there’s no evidence that the resveratrol in Dior products can be absorbed through the skin. And at $135 per fluid ounce/30 ml, one might want to have at least a little proof that Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Concentrated Serum really works in a spectacular way.

Instead, this product works in an OK way. It contains enough silicones to prevent or eliminate scars6, as well as make your skin feel smooth. But so do Olay and Neutrogena for about $125 less.

If you want to rejuvenate your skin after acne, the best you can say about these products is that they certainly won’t harm it. But you can get much better results from the microdermabrasion creams available from Exposed Skin Care.


  1. Kapuścińska A., Nowak I. Use of organic acids in acne and skin discolorations therapy. Postȩpy higieny i medycyny doświadczalnej. 2015;69:374-83.
  2. Green B.A., Yu R.J., Van Scott E.J. Clinical and cosmeceutical uses of hydroxyacids. Clinics in Dermatology. 2009;27(5):495-501.
  3. Hohlfeld J., de Buys Roessingh A., Hirt-Burri N., Chaubert P., Gerber S., Scaletta C., Hohlfeld P., Applegate L.A. Tissue engineered fetal skin constructs for paediatric burns. Lancet. 2005;366(9488):840-2.
  4. Handog E.B., Datuin M.S., Singzon I.A. Chemical Peels for Acne and Acne Scars in Asians: Evidence Based Review. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2012;5(4):239-46.
  5. Taylor E.J., Yu Y., Champer J., Kim J. Resveratrol Demonstrates Antimicrobial Effects Against Propionibacterium acnes In Vitro. Dermatology and Therapy. 2014;4(2):249-57.
  6. Fabbrocini G., Annunziata M.C., D’Arco V., De Vita V., Lodi G., Mauriello M.C., Pastore F., Monfrecola G. Acne Scars: Pathogenesis, Classification and Treatment. Dermatology Research and Practice. 2010.
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