Glycoderma Complete Care System, an Italian brand, came on to my radar screen when a reader asked me to take a look at Revitalizing Facial Cream. On the face of it, I can see why; it has a hefty 15% or even 20% dose of glycolic acid, as some good looking anti-wrinkle ingredients and costs only $24.99. However, there are many reasons why I wouldn’t use this.

For a start, 15% glycolic (although a relatively gentle alpha hydroxy acid made from sugar) is at the upper end of what I’d use on my face and I certainly wouldn’t use 20% version more than once a week. However, Glycoderma instructs use of Revitalizing Facial Cream to be daily for three months. If I was to consider this, I would want to be certain that all the other ingredients were super gentle. Not so.

There are so many ingredients here that are potential skin irritants. I haven’t quite got to the bottom of diethylhexyl cyclohexane, but a search on diethylhexyl always throws it up alongside phthalates, part of a group of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, that interfere with the body’s endocrine, or hormone system. Cyclohexane is listed separately by the EWG, where it says that it is associated with neurotoxicity.  Not far behind it on the ingredients list is sodium hydroxide, which various studies acknowledge to be a strong irritant that is corrosive to the skin and eyes. Then there is every paraben known to man, phenoxyethanol and imidazolidinyl urea.

To be fair, there are some good antioxidants in the midst of all of this, such as wheat germ and green tea. Ceramide-3 is a signaling molecule and it helps the skin retain moisture. However, given the backdrop of irritants here, soothing calendula and allantoin seem to have their work cut out for them.

I couldn’t help but compare it to Reviva’s glycolic cream. Granted this is only a 5% concentration of glycolic (although I believe that there is a 10% version as well). But, according to Renova, they use actual strands of glycolic that enter the skin’s own natural polymer structure, supposedly to penetrate more effectively to induce better exfoliation. The rest of the formulation is so clean and green that it makes Glycoderma look like land fill.

Ingredients in Glycoderma

Water, glycolic acid, octyldodecanol, glyceryl stearate, diethylhexyl cyclohexane, cetearyl alcohol, glycerin, dicaprylyl ether, ceteareth-20, sodium hydroxide, bisabolol, butylene glycol, dimethicone, rapeseed sterols, fragrance, magnesium aluminum silicate, xanthan gum, ceteareth-12, cetyl palmitate, sweet almond oil, tetrasodium EDTA, wheat germ oil, ceramide-3, propylene glycol, calendula extract, grape extract, horse chestnut extract, allantoin, green tea extract, retinyl palmitate, glyceryl arachidonate , glyceryl linoleate, phenoxyethanol, hexydecanol, glycyrrhetinic acid, imidazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, butyphenyl methylpropional, hydroxycitronelliol, benzyl salicylate, hexyl cinnamal, citronnelol, benzyl benzoate, geraniol, hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexenecarboxaldehyde

Ingredients in Reviva 5% Glycolic

Purified water, 5% glycolic acid polymer (extracts of sugar and rhubarb), extracts of pumpkin, peach, sage, comfrey, chamomile, witch hazel, vitamins A, D, E, safflower oil, sunflower oil.