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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.
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.
- L’Oréal Youth Code is a solid product, but best for patients looking to stave off the signs of aging, rather than those with already formed fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, etc.
- The most revolutionary ingredient in L’Oréal Youth Code is bifida ferment lysate, which was recently discovered to increase skin’s resistance and ability to restore itself.
- If you are interested in L’Oreal Youth Code, I would recommend applying it under a broad-spectrum, UVA/UVB protective sunscreen of at least SPF 30+ daily, as the vitamin C and E in the product will enhance the effects of the sunscreen somewhat.
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
If you like this product, you may also like:
- Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex ($69.95, Amazon.com). This mainstay favorite in the brown bottle has been revolutionized for the twenty-first century with impressive-sounding, but altogether unproven, DNA repair genes. More importantly, it contains probiotics like L’Oréal Youth Code does, but together with anti-aging peptides and even a bit of retinoids as retinyl palmitate. An excellent alternative if you’re willing to spend more for your skin care.
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($103.70, Amazon.com). An all-time favorite of mine, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic contains vitamin C and E in a lightweight formula that is perfect for daily wear under sunscreen. One caveat: The vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid, which is more unstable than newer compounds like ascorbyl palmitate and ascorbyl glucoside. With that said, it is best to keep Skinceuticals CE Ferulic as airtight as possible and stored in a dark place.
- Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster ($45.08, Amazon.com). When a friend of mine experienced a wallet crunch recently, I recommended this photostable vitamin C-vitamin E product to her instead of her usual Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, and she loved it. Still increases the effects of sunscreen, still helps protect against photoaging, and glides on well, absorbing quickly into the skin. My only qualm? Even though the form of vitamin C used in the product is more photostable than most, it’s still subject to oxidation, and the clear bottle accelerates the process. I keep mine wrapped in a paper towel! (Hey, sometimes you have to sacrifice countertop aesthetics for facial beauty…)
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).
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