Sometimes, I think we make skincare way too complicated than it is.
We make our skincare routine 100 steps long, buy all the shining new products that catch our magpie eye, and even splurge on the craziest spa treatments (bird poo facial, anyone?). You’ll never know what works until you try it, so better try everything, right?
As fun as all that is (I do love trying new skincare products and having pampering facials – just not with bird poo, thank you very much), that’s what matters.
What matters is getting the basics right. And those are sun protection, exfoliation and hydration. Sun protection prevents sun damage. Exfoliation smooths out and brightens skin. Hydration plumps it up and softens it. All together, they keep your skin young and healthy.
I won’t bother you with sun protection today (I bet you’re relieved, right?), but I want to tell you all about a multitasking serum that hydrates and exfoliates at the same time: Skinceuticals Retexturing Activator.
Is Skinceuticals Retexturing Activator An Alternative To A Glycolic Acid Peel?
I was so curious to try this serum cos it promises to work as well as a 20% glycolic acid treatment. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know how obsessed I am with glycolic acid. It’s an antiaging superstar that exfoliates, hydrates and boosts collagen production to boot.
But 20% is pretty powerful stuff. I wouldn’t recommend that much to most people as it could cause some serious irritations. For sensitive skin, that’s a no-no.
Skinceuticals uses something that’s supposed to work just as well as that much glycolic acid, minus the irritation. And that same something is also supposed to be as hydrating as glycerin.
So, what’s this skincare hero called? Hydroxyethyl urea.
So, does hydroxyethyl urea really work as well as 20% glycolic acid?
Urea is a well-known keratolytic. That’s a fancy way of saying that it softens and dissolves the keratin that holds skin cells together, so they can slough off on its own. So, urea can exfoliate skin well.
But I haven’t yet found any studies that hydroxyethyl urea exfoliates skin at all, let alone as well as 20% glycolic acid. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t. Someone may simply not have done any studies about it, or not released them. Or maybe my research skills are getting sloppy.
Personally, knowing how well plain urea exfoliates skin, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I just feel like, at this price point, you should have a bit more proof before you make a claim like that.
Does hydroxyethyl urea hydrates skin as well as glycerin?
Ok, so the exfoliating part was a bit of a bummer. But the hydrating part makes up for it.
There is research that shows hydroxyethyl urea “to deliver moisturization efficacy comparable to glycerin, while offering some advantages in terms of sensory perception in skin care products.”
So, it works just as well as glycerin and feels more pleasant on the skin. Me likes that.
By the way, the serum contains glycerin too. Just not that much.
What other skincare goodies does it contain?
Not many, to be honest. The list of ingredients is pretty short, which is great news for sensitive skin (the less stuff it contains, the less likely to give you an irritation, after all).
But I just have to mention Sodium Hyaluronate. It’s a form of hyaluronic acid that attracts and binds to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water. The best part? It works well both in high and low humidity conditions.
No matter where you live, sodium hyaluronate will make sure your skin is always well hydrated.
Let’s Put It To The Test: How Well Does Skinceuticals Retexturing Activator Work?
Science lecture over. This is the part where I tell you how well (or poorly?) it worked for me.
As I said, the hydrating part is spot on. Just three or four drops (they’re dispensed through a dropper applicator) are enough to cover my entire face and make it plumper and softer.
Now that the weather is getting colder, I feel like this extra hydration is helping my moisturizer keep my skin hydrated all day and prevent dry and flaky patches (although, I’m sure this could help them heal, too).
After a couple of weeks, I’ve also noticed that my skin looks a bit smoother and is definitely a bit brighter. Basically, it just makes my skin look healthy.
Does it work as well as glycolic acid? It’s hard to say, even after having tried it. It does a great job, but I have to say, I’m sticking to glycolic acid simply because that one can boost collagen production too.
Would I Recommend Skinceuticals Retexturing Activator?
As I said, I’m sticking to my first love, glycolic acid.
But if your skin’s so sensitive it can’t tolerate glycolic or you’re simply curious to try an alternative, you may want to give this one a go. I think you’d quite like it.