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When I was contacted recently by a marketing person for AQ Skin Solutions, I wrote back saying my first instinct had been to hide under my desk. I was only partially joking (and, I have to say, she took it with candid good humor) because AQ Skin Solutions used to be called A&G Skin Solutions and around four years ago I was under siege from the company’s aggressive and unsubtle sales reps. Nonetheless, I gave the serum, which was based on human conditioned media, a positive review and now I feel I should give the new renamed, repriced and reformulated version the benefit of the doubt. And so I have started testing a free sample of AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum ($149 in the shop).
It is too early to report any results. But I do want to describe the product, its actives and unpack some of the historical baggage so that in about three weeks’ time I can just focus on my review.
The new AQ Active Serum, just like the old A&G, has as its dominant ingredient the active human fibroblast conditioned media. For a quick primer on what this is: from progenitor cells of human fibroblast, new cells are created in a laboratory and the conditioned media is, in fact, the solution (sugars, amino acids and such) secreted in the petri dish in which the cells are grown. These proteins are what make it into our serums, and they are said to contain growth factors that stimulate skin cells to repair damage that has accumulated over the years, such as hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
Human conditioned media is also a feature of ReLuma’s products and this is part of the historical baggage. As I understand it, the founder of AQ once worked with the ReLuma team before going off to do his own thing. Initially, the products seemed, to my untrained eye, to be very similar. Both companies seem to have since evolved their formulas.
Back in the day, the A&G formula had evening primrose and Pycnogenol, an antioxidant from a maritime pine tree that grows in France. These are no longer in the new AQ Active Serum formula, which has glycerin, vitamin C and E, plus some lactic acid. The only thing not to like is the preservative of choice, phenoxyethanol (potential irritant and neurotoxin).
A definite plus is that new version is priced at $149, whereas the old version used to cost $199 for 0.6oz. Now let’s see how it works. I’ll be back in a few weeks.
Ingredients: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Cellulose Gum, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.