A Serum Formulation

Serum IngredientsSomeone has asked about a serum they like.

Hi Colin,

I have a very very expensive formulation of a serum here. Would you please be so kind to evaluate it? My questions are especially concerning preservatives.. and also: does skin benefit from so many different ingredients and antioxidants…? I think I think that simple is best. The formulation might be of interest to you, as it seems at the forefront.

Water, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, glycerin, punica granatum (pomegranate) extract, squalane, tocopheryl acetate, camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract, vernonia (ambiaty) apendiculata leaf extract, morinda citrifolia exrtact, pichia/reservatrol ferment extract, laminaria digitata extract, padina pavonica thallus extract, hydrolyzed algin, palmitoyl oglipeptide, phanthenol, niacinamide, ubiquinone, yeast amino acids, 7-dehydrocholesterol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, helianthus annuus seed extract, equisetum arvense extract, commiphora myrrah extract, retinyl palmitate, allantoin, PEG 10 rapeseed sterel, tribehenin, ceramide 2, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/beheneth-25, sucrose laurate, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, polyquaternium-55, zea mays (corn) oil, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, tricalcium phosphate.

Best regards,

Well M, that is plenty of ingredients.  This is typical of premium products.  I don’t think that there is much relationship between how many ingredients and how effective a product is, but marketers do love to have to plenty to say about a product.

The preservatives are ethylhexylglycerin and phenoxyethanol.  They are probably using a well known blend of these two preservatives.  This blend is becoming very popular because it is safe and effective and avoids using either parabens or methylisothiazolinone.   Those are safe and effective too, but get a lot of bad press at the moment.

Tocopheryl acetate is a another antioxidant which I think works, though I can’t back that up with any rigorous data.

They have got quite a few antioxidants in there too.  Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is not a material I have heard about before, but I’d assume it was a source of slow release of vitamin C that can be effective at making skin tone more even.  Retinyl palmitate is a source of retinol which again can be shown to reduce wrinkles.  In both these cases the key thing is that it should be remembered that you need to have enough to have an effect.  So without knowing the amount it contains you can’t be sure they  even have a chance of working.  Niacinamide is another ingredient that has benefits that can be shown in the clinic.

But there is quite a scattergun approach because there is also coenzyme Q10 in there as well.   This has no good data supporting their use.  They’ve got panthenol, allantoin and a peptide.  These all might be beneficial but you’d be hard put to convince a skeptic as there isn’t much in the way of solid supporting data.

But it doesn’t stop there.  There are several plant extracts in there too.  And they have ceramides – they don’t seem to be fashionable at the moment, but they are the building blocks of the skin so you can at least make a good story about them.

So basically this serum contains nearly everything that you could imagine putting into a serum.  On that basis alone, I’d hazard a guess that it is going to work pretty well.  Do you need all the ingredients they have put in?  I’d say probably not.  But if you like what it is doing for and you can bear the price, why not.


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