L’Oréal Youth Code Product Review

Skin Care

If there’s one thing that L’Oréal is great at, it’s marketing.  The powerhouse skincare and cosmetics company, which houses not only L’Oréal itself but also such big names as Lancôme, The Body Shop, Kiehls, and Skinceuticals is now launching Youth Code ($29.95 for trial set, Amazon.com), its latest in self-deemed ‘revolutionary’ skincare.

Probiotics in Skin Care?

The secret to L’Oréal Youth Code appears to be in the product line’s inclusion of Pro-GenTM technology, AKA bifida ferment lysate, AKA probiotic bacteria.  Although it has been suggested by many in the past that probiotics do not have any effect on the skin, recently published research in Experimental Dermatology suggests that bifidobacterium may stimulate the skin’s ability to repair itself.   It is suspected that bifidobacterium may decrease skin sensitivity by reducing neuronal reactivity and accessibility, as suggested by the cells’ decreased release of the peptide CGRP upon exposure to capsaicin in in vitro studies.

Synergistic Antioxidants

Unfortunately, despite its claims of ten-plus years of research backing, L’Oréal Youth Code doesn’t contain any other truly new or revolutionary ingredients.   It does, however, contain two synergistic antioxidants, vitamin C (as photostable ascorbyl glucoside) and vitamin E.   Vitamin C and E reinforce the power of one another, as when one antioxidant is depleted, it can “borrow” an electron from the other to renew itself.   Together, vitamins C and E have also been reported to prevent the formation of toxic compounds called carcinogenic nitrosamines in the skin.   And for those looking to stave off the deleterious aging effects of UV exposure for a few more years, vitamin C and vitamin E have also been shown to enhance the photoprotective effects of sunscreen, though vitamin C has been reported to enhance UVA protection, whereas vitamin E is more effective against UVB radiation.

Who’s This Best For, My Mother or Me?

With all this having been said, I think L’Oréal Youth Code is a better skin care regimen for young women who are looking to prevent signs of aging, rather than those who are already experiencing fine lines, wrinkles, serious hyperpigmentation (i.e., solar lentingos), or the like.  The reason I say this is two-fold:  First and foremost, the most active and revolutionary ingredients, bifida ferment lysate and vitamins C and E, have effects that are altogether more preventative than restorative.  In fact, only 69-71% of women who used Youth Code reported a decrease in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which is not altogether all that promising, considering the high concentration of line-filling silicones in the product as well as the consideration that about 2/3 of subjects in studies generally report improvements due to a placebo effect anyway.   Second,  women who are looking to treat existing signs of aging would be better off investing in proven ingredients like retinoids, AHAs (although never together with retinoids, as they inactivate one another due to differing optimal pH levels), and, of course, targeted in-house treatments from the dermatologist.

In Summary:

FutureDerm Product Rating: 8/10

  • High concentration of proven ingredients: 2/3
  • Unique formulation or new technology: 2/3
  • Value for the money: 3/3
  • Sunscreen available in the line: 1/1

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Product Ingredients (Moisturizer)

Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Isohexaclecane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat, Dipropylene Glycol, Synthetic Wax, PEG-10 Dimethicone / PEG–10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethcione / Polyglycerin–3 Crosspolymer, Caffeine, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Adenosine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Nylon–12, Limonene, Disodium Edta, Propylene Carbonate, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysilicone–8, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum / Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate (FL B39292/1). Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Isohexaclecane, cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat, Dipropylene Glycol, Synthetic Wax, PEG-10 Dimethicone / PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethcione / polyglycerol-3 Crosspolymer, Caffeine, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Bifida Lysate Ferment, Adenosine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Nylon-12, Limonene, Disodium EDTA, Propylene Carbonate, hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Ethylhexylglycerin, polysilicones-8, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum / Fragrance, Sodium benzoate (FL B39292 / 1).

Got an experience with L’Oréal Youth Code?  Please share in Comments below!

  • Diana

    I love this product! I received free samples with an online order at HauteLook and I’ve got to say, I’m seeing results! In less than one week. I’m 23 and have acne and not even two days after using this product, my face is clearing up. I love it! Glad I got samples to try first, otherwise, I’m not one to buy different products and test them out. Thanks for this review, it boosts my confidence in the product!

  • Cik Mastura

    there is something good in this product. Believe me when i tell you that I look younger after 3 days applying the product morning and night.

  • Jordan Pasos

    I am 46, and I like my mother and gm have age (liver) spots on my hands….in the past I have relied on a tan to hide it, but I have decided to give up the sun, and picked up a jar of youth code to see if it will fade the spots on my hands…beginning today, I am only applying it to my right hand so I can SEE if it will work, and I will keep ya posted 🙂

  • Jaylawls

    Thank you for this review, I enjoyed reading it and it was very informative!! I just stopped by to see if other’s were experiencing the same awesome results as I have been 🙂 I am 31 years old, I have been using preventative products to combat sun damage and aging since I was 19, (you can never start too early!!) So with that said, all of a sudden I noticed a change in my skin with it breaking out and expression lines around my eyes (probably from smiling so much lately) but I don’t want these kinds of lines on my face so I have been trying alot of different products, including olay products that always feel greasy to me and make my skin break out very badly, also aveeno for cleansing etc. but with having no results I bit the bullet and bought the youth code day and night cream, along with cetaphil soap for cleansing…I have to say, within the first day of using this I have noticed my skin feeling very soft and the lines are diminishing after 6 days, also no new break outs!! (which is really important to me as well). I am very pleased with this product and would recommend it to any of my friends that are around the same age etc. I am really happy to of found something that works for me finally and it is well worth the money!

  • Guest

    Hi there,

    I just tried using this for a few days, and I’m pretty sure it broke me out pretty badly. I have clog-prone / mildly-to-moderately acne-prone skin, but the box said “non-comedonegenic” (sp?) so I went ahead and tried it.

    Would any of the ingredients cause break-outs, or could it have just been a coincidence?

    If it did break me out, maybe I can just use up the 95% I have left in the bottle around my eye area (which doesn’t break out)?


  • Sheryl

    LOREAL youth Code is great! What a difference! My skin is 53, I’m switching from Olay Regenerist, which after 15 years of Olay it is not doing anythng for my skin. ONE NIGHT and instant results with Youth Code. My skin is so soft. It will definitely help my wrinkles..Thanks for a great product! I couldn’t resist the half-price offer. So glad I tried. YES for mothers too!

  • Sue

    I know this is an odd question. About a week after using Youth Code – I noticed my eyelashes were SHRINKING… has anyone experienced this… it’s the only thing in my daily regime which has changed. Curious!

  • Gita1

    Please stop perpetuating the myth that retinoids and aha can not be used at the same time! Dr. Baumann is wrong, again.


  • @Sean – Unfortunately, L’Oreal has not released the concentrations of vitamins C and E in this product. Considering their location on the ingredients list, I would venture a safe guess that vitamin C is not near the 10-15% concentration of some of the most concentrated products.

    @JC – I’m not a big fan of Lancome Genifique either. Considering that L’Oreal is the parent company of both L’Oreal and Genifique, if I wanted to gain the advantages of including probiotics in my skin care, I would do it with Youth Code, because it is far cheaper.

    @Alina – I’ll look into ReVive for a possible future post; thank you!

    @Lashonda – First and foremost, talk to your dermatologist; there are a number of affordable treatments that increase brightness, ranging from chemical peels to hydroquinone/Lumixyl/vitamin C/kojic acid treatments. Here is an old post on skin brightness treatments:

    Hope that this helps!

  • Lashonda

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write such informative and complete product reviews. I just read both Youth Code and the Patricia Wexler products. I’ve been using Wexler for a couple of years now and was curious about which (Wexler or Youth Code) is better for me. I’ve tried Wexler’s cleanser and moisturizer but nothing stood out to me, so I stopped using after awhile. What i LOVED was the serum. I’ve been using it, since I first tried it.
    I’m 34 and I don’t have fine lines or wrinkles, yet. What I have noticed is a dullness to my skin and marks from occasional blemishes don’t fade nearly as fast as they used to. My skin isn’t as oily as it used to be and can get dry very easily. I get a couple hormonal blemishes each month.
    I’ve been happy with Wexler, but it doesn’t seem to give me the same skin it did when I first started using it. I also live in Arizona (past 5 years) and that may be effecting my skin. If you could help me w/a few questions, I would really appreciate it.

    In your review of Youth Code, I read it’s better to prevent wrinkles.
    – How is it for regaining skin brightness and resilience?

    How do the two lines compare in:
    – Regaining skin brightness and resilience?
    – Aging preventative?

    – Is there something in Wexler’s line I should be using to help w/my skin issues, rather than looking at other lines…or is there another line you would recommend?

    I guess I’m just trying to understand…which is better for my skin type…or is there something I’m missing. These skin issues are new for me and I’m so confused!

    Thank you so much for any help you can offer!

  • Alina

    Hey, Nicki! I love your blog. It’s very friendly, informative and very interesting. I wanted to ask you about ReVive. I started to use it (and, boy, is it expensive!) and loved the texture and how it feels. Plus, a little goes a long way. Then, a friend told me that their main ingredient (the one which is allegedly in charge of all the “good things) could potentially be promoting cancer. I asked a consultant in the department store and she told me that the product “is fantastic”, but she heard “it’s controversial”. I’d love to see what you think about it.

    Thanks and looking forward to your reviews. I discovered CE Fer-c and Ole H serum thank to you. and i love both of them.

  • Welcome back! Great to know that you wrap your serum in paper towel 🙂 I normally keep the original box it comes in, I always put it back in the box and sometime inside another bin (which also helps block out light).

  • Welcome back, it’s so nice to see your fabulous product review in my RSS.

    I’m happy that probiotics are hip, but they are most useful eaten, not applied. I tell my patients to eat probiotics daily in the form of naturally fermented foods. Naturally fermented kefir is my favorite because it packs such a large range of beneficial organisms. I’ve seen people actually stabilize some interesting health issues once they consume it regularly (like blood pressure, acne etc). My observations are anecdotal but fascinating. I’ve written a few blog post on kefir and they get a fair amount of traffic. It’s a good and healthy trend.

  • Saty

    yay, you’re back!

  • jc

    like youth code but want to pay a bit more? try lancome genefique…here are the ingredients from the lancome genefique repair youth activating night cream(is it just me or do skin care marketers seem to think the more words in the name of a product the better?):

    Aqua/Water/Eau, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil/Huile Minerale, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Zea Mays Oil/Corn Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Triticum Vulgare Germ Oil/Wheat Germ Oil, Polyacrylamide, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Limonene, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Linalool, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Tristearate, Cera Microcristallina/Microcrystalline Wax/Cire Microcristalline, Paraffin, Sesamum Indicum Oil/Sesame Seed Oil, Vitreoscilla Ferment Extract/Vitreoscilla Ferment, Citronellol, Laureth-7, Oryza Sativa Bran Oil/Rice Bran Oil, Parfum/Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate.

  • Great to see you back Nicki! And in full force; it’s funny that you would have posted this, it seems that probiotics are all of a sudden the in thing, and I was unaware of the new study about their efficacy. In fact, as I was reading this article, I had a friend message me on Twitter asking my opinion on another serum that uses bifida ferment lysate. I’m also glad that you mentioned Lauder’s ANR, it’s one of those products that I keep going back to, and I’m pretty sure they’ve been using bifida ferment lysate for years.

    Again, glad you’re back, can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve!

  • Sean

    Do you know the concentrations of the Vitamin C and E included? Are the amounts effective? I’ve heard you need a minimum of 10% Vitamin C to be effective?

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