Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is a fantastic product from a brand that manages to be both fantastically on-trend and scientifically on-point with its ingredients and delivery systems.
This is a fantastic product I can only surmise from the ingredients list to be somewhere around 60-70% natural, for those of you who care about that sort of thing. (I, for one, do not think natural means better.) I have not talked to the company, so I cannot be sure exactly how many of the ingredients in Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum are natural. At any rate, it’s hard to find a product with natural extracts that contains 10% glycolic acid, and this serum has it.
Glycolic Acid is a Miracle Worker
Glycolic acid is the most common of all the alpha hydroxy acids. Glycolic acid is the smallest of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and so it penetrates the skin well. Once it gets into the skin, glycolic acid exfoliates by advancing desquamation and thinning of the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin).
By exfoliating the top layer of the skin, glycolic acid may smooth the skin, quicken the rate of cell turnover (which is reduced by up to 7% every ten years), decrease small wrinkles and increase the fibroblast proliferation of collagen. (Dermatologic Surgery).
Glycolic acid also acts as a moisturizer within the skin; with regular use over time, concentrations of 10% glycolic acid or more increase the skin’s natural supply of hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that can hold 1000 times its weight in water (Skin Therapy Letter).
Despite its hydrating property, glycolic acid sometimes gets the reputation for being drying. This is because glycolic acid can simply be irritating for the skin in high concentrations. When starting with Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, start with just one night/week, and gradually work up to twice/week, and then every other night. Do not use with other AHA or retinoid or acidic products. It definitely will make a huge difference in your skin, but you should be careful with it!
Horse Chestnut and Bearberry Help with Hyperpigmentation (But Not as Well as the Product’s Glycolic Acid)
People ask me all of the time whether or not natural extracts are as effective as chemicals for the skin. In general, the answer is no, because cosmetic chemists are able to extract the “active” portions of plant extracts and put them into skin care products. For instance, 15% vitamin C as a concentrate is more effective for the skin than 15% orange peel extract, because your skin is getting more of the active vitamin C in the former case!
Synergistic action also doesn’t work in skin the same way it does for the body. Many dietitians will tell you that the antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in an apple synergistically are more valuable than the phloretin within an apple alone. But the digestive tract was made to absorb. The skin, on the other hand, was made as a barrier to exclude and protect. Hence, you may benefit from antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in an apple when you eat it. But when you apply an apple to your skin, you want to choose the simplest and most concentrated active ingredient — phloretin — so your skin can actually absorb and utilize it!
But I digress. Despite the fact that horse chestnut and bearberry will not lighten your sunspots as well as, say, 4% hydroquinone or 10% glycolic acid (the latter of which is in this product), I do like the ingredients amongst natural extracts. Horse chestnut seed extract has been shown to have a high scavenging ability and cell-protective effects. Additionally, it contains saponins that are potentially anti-inflammatory (International Journal of Cosmetic Science).
Horse chestnut extract can also reduce capillary fragility. By preventing the leakage of fluids, stops inflammation in the area (International Journal of Cosmetic Science). A review of five clinical studies show that its use as both a topical gel and an oral capsule have been proven safe and effective in subjects for the treatment of venous insufficiency, a condition where veins have difficulties transporting blood back to the heart (Advances in Therapy). This anti-inflammatory action could help to soothe the face, making it appear younger and more vibrant.
As for bearberry, a 2008 study found that bearberry lightened hyperpigmentation up to 70 percent, whereas the industry standard hydroquinone was effective in 78 percent of cases. However, due to incessant reports of irritation from hydroquinone use, as well as possible ochronosis development, bearberry holds a great deal of promise for those with sensitive or darker skin. In addition, bearberry has also been found to have antibacterial and antioxidant activity.
White Tea is Awesome
Tea is known for its antioxidant activity. According to Experimental Dermatology, both green and white tea are photoprotective agents. The researchers wanted to see if topical application of green tea or white tea would prevent oxidative damage to volunteers who were given green or white tea topically after UV irradiation. They found that the teas has similar levels of photoprotection.
Since glycolic acid can be photosensitizing, I would say that the white tea helps to combat this effect. I would still make sure I wear a separate vitamin CE serum and broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily while using this product.
Since I get asked all of the time whether white tea or green tea are better for the skin, the answer is they are about equal in terms of benefits. Different processing methods produce different types of tea. White tea is made from buds and young leaves which are steamed and fired to inactivate polyphenol oxidase in turn giving white tea high concentrations of catechin (Oregon State University). Green tea on the other hand is made from mature leaves and are withered prior to steaming or firing (Oregon State University), and is more associated with taking down inflammation. Both have proven excellent in studies to fight oxidative damage.
Personal Use and Opinions
Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum has a lightweight texture. A little bit goes a long way — just one pump should be enough for the face, and another pump should get your neck and decolletage. It drinks into the skin quickly. It does feel a tiny bit sticky to the touch, but does not dry that way. It does not have a scent. It dries within a minute and does not feel heavy and does not pull on the skin.
Because 12% glycolic acid is enough to enhance exfoliation but not enough to induce skin peeling (in most cases), I did not notice any redness or irritation. I did, however, think my skin felt smoother in the morning.
I really like Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and I highly recommend it for nights when cycling off of a retinoid. Though I would not purchase this product exclusively for the bearberry or horsetail extract, the high concentration of glycolic acid, plus hydrating lactic acid and exfoliating tartaric, citric, and salicylic acids make this a skin-smoothing, yet non-irritating. powerhouse. I highly recommend Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum!
Looking for the best skin care? FutureDerm is committed to having its customers find — and create — the best skin care for their individual skin type, concern, and based on your ingredient preferences. Learn more by visiting the FutureDerm shop!