I’ve always been a fan of Clinique products, ever since my first 3-step system years ago (type 2, thankyouverymuch). So, recently, when the Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Repair Serum ($44.50, Amazon.com) premiered, I was enthusiastic. The serum claims to treat discoloration as well as fine lines, and to have a 63% reduction in the appearance of deep wrinkles.
Unfortunately, upon ingredient analysis, at least 30% of the product is silicones, and that is a low estimate. Silicones have long been used in skin care formulations as both emollients and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but their effects are mostly temporary and cosmetic. For instance, according to the textbook Principles of Polymer Science and Technology in Cosmetics and Personal Care, silsesquioxane crosspolymers provide a water-resistant barrier, whereas dimethicone provides an improved feel/softness, and dimethicone copolyols reduce irritation with the skin. Besides their hydrating effects, there is really no proven long-term benefit to the use of silicones.
Not My Favorite Weapon Against Hyperpigmentation
Where this product really disappoints is in its lack of proven hyperpigmentation fighters. Although research is limited, there are studies that have proven the efficacy of several combinations of ingredients in fighting hyperpigmentation. The powerhouse combinations include:
*2% kojic acid, 10% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone (has been established to have higher efficacy than 10% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone without kojic acid). All three ingredients are found in Peter Thomas Roth Ultra Gentle Skin Lightening Gel Complex, with 2% hydroquinone and unknown concentrations of kojic acid and glycolic acid, and Age Advantage Laboratories Spot Life Serum, although the concentrations of all three ingredients are not known in the product.
*2% hydroquinone (over-the-counter strength) and 4% hydroquinone (by prescription).
*5% (or greater) L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), although substantially less than 4% hydroquinone.
In general, based on the review, it may be inferred that Tri-Luma OR a combination of 2% kojic acid, 10% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone are more efficacious than 4% hydroquinone, which in turn is more efficacious than 5% L-ascorbic acid in treating hyperpigmentation.
Unfortunately, Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Repair Serum does not contain any of these combinations of ingredients, nor does it contain any of the single ingredients in high enough concentration for it to have been proven effective by independent research. The only hyperpigmentation-fighting ingredients it contains are soy extract and vitamin C as aminopropyl ascorbyl phosphate, but soy has only been shown to fight hyperpigmentation in one 2000 study, and vitamin C is provided in very low concentration. I would therefore NOT select Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Repair Serum on the basis of its hyperpigmentation-fighting capabilities.
Mild Wrinkle-Fighting Capabilities
Besides antioxidants, the two other major anti-aging ingredients in this serum are retinyl palmitate and peptides (as acetyl hexapeptide-8 and palmitoyl oligopeptide).
Retinyl palmitate is a combination of pure retinol and palmitic acid (a substance typically used in cosmetics as a cleansing agent). When present in sufficiently high concentrations, retinyl palmitate displays results similar to that of retinol. And considering that retinol is one of the gold standards in the arsenal against aging in today’s market, I would say the inclusion of retinoids in this product is an excellent thing!
Acetyl hexapeptide-3 (also known as acetyl hexapeptide-8, or Argireline, is better known from radio commercials as “an alternative to BotoxTM”. The reason? Argireline was found in a 2002 study by Blanes-Mira et. al to reduce the depth of wrinkles by up to 30% with thirty days when injected into the skin, similar to BotoxTM. Unfortunately, while injections of argireline produced similar results to BotoxTM, the form of argireline in modern skin care creams cannot diffuse through the top layers of skin to reach the crucial muscle-nerve connections like injectable BotoxTM. (While a diffusable form of BotoxTM is in the works, this ain’t it, honey! You will have to go to the dermatologist for a long time, and perhaps perpetually, in order to get it.)
In the lower concentration of the two peptides is palmitoyl oligopeptide (AKA palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 or palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 or Matrixyl), a synthetic signaling peptide proven to increase the firmness of your skin following regular topical application by stimulating the production of collagen types I, III, and IV; fibronectin, elastin, and glycosaminoglycan within your skin. Palmitoyl oligopeptide was also shown by a 2005 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science to reduce the appearance of fine lines better than placebo when used over the course of 12 weeks. However, it is notable that the concentration of palmitoyl oligopeptide used in the study was 3 ppm; it is highly doubtful that Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Repair Serum contains a similar concentration.
Overall Opinion: Not My Favorite Clinique Product
While Clinique has a few winners (Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 & Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion) and even a few products I can’t live without (Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment & Clinique Quickliner for Lips/Eyes), I honestly do not feel that Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Repair Serum lives up to the hype — or the company’s usual reputation. The company would be better to take out a few of the silicones and replace them with higher concentrations of powerhouse antioxidants, retinoids, and peptides – and maybe even to consider microdelivery systems or something equally revolutionary for an Estee Lauder brand. At any rate, I’m sticking with the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic anti-aging serum for day (under a broad-spectrum sunscreen) and the Revale Skin Coffeeberry Serum (over a retinoid) for night. But thanks for all of the requests for this review, guys – you’re the best fans ever!
Product Rating: 3/10 (High concentration of proven effective ingredients: 0/1. New technology or unique formulation: 1/3. Value for the money: 1/3. Sunscreen: 0/1).
Ingredients in Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Repair Serum: Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Methyl Trimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Silica, Polymethylsilsesquioxiane, Lauryl PEG-0 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysilicone-11, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Plankton Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Juice Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Whey Protein/Lactis Protein/Proteine Du Petit-Lait, Pinanediol, Camphanediol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Ergothioneine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Caffeine, Micrococcus Lysate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Linoleic Acid, Sodium Mannose Phosphate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Cholesterol, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-8, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol [ILN36513]
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