I generally tend to trust the expertise of a medical professional over all others who are considered authorities in their fields. Bearing in mind the decades of hardship and academic rigor that doctors must endure to become accomplished in their craft, you've got to give them credit. Talk about a hard-earned degree. So when my hometown doctor (who recently opened a medical beauty practice) let me in on her preferred cosmetic product, which she uses personally and applies on all of her clients following a procedure, I was more than intrigued. It was her effusive endorsement of Neocutis Journee Bio-restorative Day Cream that led me to obtain a bottle of my own.

The first thing I noticed about Journee is that it is not an ordinary day lotion, but rather a tinted moisturizer. I am no stranger to these foundation look-a-likes, having tried ones by Laura Mercier and Clinique. Based on texture alone, Neocutis is the clear winner. Its consistency is like liquid silk, and its moisturizing weight draws the perfect balance between heavy make-up and barely-there lotion. Its combination of chemical and physical sunscreen filters provide broad spectrum sun protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Journee manages to do all this while remaining aesthetically pleasing and cosmetically elegant. Touting an SPF of 30, Journee is somehow not greasy, pasty, smelly or any of the other qualities that often go hand in hand with sunscreen products.

But none of these attributes are what Neocutis is known for, nor what makes Journee a noteworthy anti-aging treatment. Journee is the only day cream to combine antioxidants and multi-spectrum sun protectants with human growth factors. I was a bit queasy at the thought of rubbing the latter of these ingredients into my face every morning, but my curiosity won out. Blocking out visions of unborn babies in my sleep, I embarked on a month-long trial of Journee.

What I first noticed was that my morning routine suddenly dwindled to one step. Replacing the need for various serums, moisturizers, sunscreens, and sometimes even blotting tissues, Neocutis made my skin sufficiently hydrated while at the same time fragrance- and shine-free. Journee packs an arsenal of products into one. Because I only need a single pump of fluid for a full application over my face, I foresee my 1 oz. bottle lasting several months at least. The subtle color blends into my skin flawlessly, though I can't say whether the tint would clash with darker skin.

Besides processed skin proteins (which I'll get into later), Journee is formulated with a mix of good and evil. On the angelic side, you'll find a large quantity (.25%) of green tea extract (a potent antioxidant and natural sunscreen), stabilized forms of vitamin C, and vitamin E. There are also effective emollients like glycerin, which balances water levels, and sodium hyaluronate, which delivers especially penetrative moisture deep into skin. Alas, the ingredients go awry around the preservatives, an unlucky clan of disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol and three parabens. But perhaps Neocutis can be forgiven these flaws in the presence of its star ingredient: human growth factors.

Unlike retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids, which force the skin to turn over new cells by inflicting trauma, human cell growth ingredients work in the opposite fashion by boosting or replacing the natural proteins and growth agents that decline with age. Neocutis claims that its formulation of human growth factors is comprised of the most complete blend available of cytokines (signaling molecules) and interleukins (cytokines secreted by white blood cells). Cytokines, a unique family of growth factors primary secreted from leukocytes, stimulate immune response and can activate cell proliferation.

Journee includes a proprietary cytokine mixture called PSP ("Processed Skin Cell Proteins") that is derived from an original culture of fetal fibroblasts, in contrast with SkinMedica TNS's bioengineered human skin. This fetal skin, which was donated in a one-off medical termination, is drawn from a cell bank dedicated to developing new skin treatments. Neocutis maintains that this cell bank will provide a lasting supply of cells for producing PSP and that no additional fetal biopsies will be needed. There is no clear indication of exactly what types of human growth factors and cytokines are present in Journee.

Though physicians have known for years that fetal skin has a unique ability to heal wounds without scarring, a group of researchers in Switzerland was the first to unite this capability with cosmetic-based biotechnology. The results showed that topically applied human growth factors can promote dermal fibroblast and keratinocyte proliferation, as well as induce extracellular matrix formation (ie. collagen). So now that we know that the rich proteins extracted from cultured fetal skin cells can reduce signs of aging through skin rejuvenation, the question becomes: how effective are these factors when applied topically, and at what concentrations?

Unfortunately none of the major cosmetics companies marketing human growth factors reveal the quantities of their patented blends, and there has not yet been a study identifying the optimal concentration of human growth factors and cytokins to maximize results. What we do know for sure is that Neocutis's PSP complex is effective at smoothing wrinkles. A 2007 article in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology published the outcome of a study in which subjects used Neocutis Bio-Restorative Skin Cream (same PSP formula as Journee) on half of their face for 60 days. At the conclusion of this period, 83% showed an improved average wrinkle score in the eye area and 50% in the mouth area.

I wish that Neocutis would tweak its formula to do away with risky preservatives and perhaps be a bit more forthright about its human growth factors. That way, I could recommend this potion unequivocally. Every morning that I apply Journee, my face feels moisturized, nourished, and protected. There is also a perceptible improvement in my skin tone. Only time will tell if I can permanently keep wrinkles at bay with Journee. If the thought of smearing old fetal cells on your face makes you cringe, just think about what it could do for those expression lines.

Ingredients:

Active Ingredients : Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 7.3%


Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated C6014 Olefin Polymers, Hexyldecanol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Camelia Sinensis Extract, Silica, Cutaneous Lysate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Squalane, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Steareth-21, Melanin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 60, Triethoxycaprylsilane, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben.