Bobby is bothered: I was wondering about IS Clinical Active Serum. I’m skeptical about whether active ingredients are really worth the $120 price tag — or whether, at the very least, they work. In terms of what this particular product promises to do (anti-acneic, skin lightening, and mild wrinkle prevention), it is covering all my bases, but I know better than to be drawn to promises (okay, at least sometimes). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
The Right Brain responds:
IS Clinical is an “Innovative Skincare” company with a range of high-end facial products. Their Active Serum treatment “reduces fine lines and wrinkles, helps treat acne, and evens skin pigmentation.” The key ingredients include glycolic acid, lactic acid, arbutin, and kojic acid. Is it worth $120? The information presented on their website gives me several reasons to be suspicious:
1. Lack of differentiating technology
This product doesn’t seem to contain anything new or breakthrough. Alphahydroxy acids are well known ingredients for treating fine lines and wrinkles. And Salycylic Acid is approved as an approved anti-acne drug ingredient, so nothing new there. Finally, skin lightening can be achieved through products like Meladerm (which is effective but also expensive) or less expensive products like Olay’s Definity. Given that you can buy other products with similar functionality for significantly less money, I just don’t understand what’s so different about IS that makes it worth its $120 price tag. Strike 1.
2. Lack of clinical test data on the formula
The IS website has a “Clinical Opinions” section under the Science tab. While one might expect to see results of studies of IS products in this section, all the information is just generic data. For example, there’s a section about kojic acid and cancer but there’s no mention of any clinical tests that show kojic acid is an effective skin lightener. This is a red flag that could indicate they haven’t tested their product. Strike 2.
3. Lack of relevant information on ingredients
One might also expect to find useful information under the “Clinical Ingredient Studies” section. Alas, all we see here is regurgitation of some standard industry literature references. My favorite is the discussion of Carbomer 941 (a thickener). They list several scientific papers, including “Release Profile of Lidocaine HCl from Topical Liposomal Gel Formulation.” What this has to do with their own formulas, I have NO idea! Strike 3 – IS is out.
The Beauty Brains bottom line:
Active Serum may be a perfectly fine product but it certainly doesn’t seem worth the price. Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that the company is trying to look more scientifically credible than it really is.
What do YOU think? Does it bother you when companies try to trick you this way? Or do you just ignore all the hype? Leave a comment so we can all learn from our fellow Beauty Brainiacs.