Reviewed by Ann

About four weeks ago, I received a deluxe sample of Osmotics Renovage Cellular Longevity Serum ($85 for 1 oz) from the generous closet keeper at TIA. I found that this product was carried in the store, but does not have any customer reviews. There was also a thorough analysis of the ingredients, which I will crib from in my review, but please do read that if you are interested in this product.

I wondered what more could I offer beyond my personal experience with the product?

As luck would have it, in the next couple of days I received a free deluxe sample of Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles ($65 for .5 oz) in an attempt to lure me to another website. I thought it would be interesting to pit the two against each other, using my most stubborn wrinkles. I treated the target areas twice a day, after cleansing but before moisturizing and other treatments.

For full disclosure:  I am a 47-year-old white woman who lives in the Midwest. I have normal skin with some signs of aging, but I have always taken really good care of myself.

I have just discovered some lip lines starting as well as a crease along the corner of my mouth, which is way too sensitive to zap with the PaloVia ($499). These tough areas were covered with the Renovage. I used the retinol product on the wrinkle next to my eyebrow, which is resistant to everything.

The Osmotics product has the consistency of a heavy lotion. It is white, odorless and spreads evenly and easily. It did not irritate my skin and sank in quickly. A less-than-pea-sized blob was more than enough to treat the areas I wanted to test.

I noticed results right away. There was a moisturizing factor, which was nice and not too heavy. The faint lip lines that were just starting to show have been erased. The actual crease at the corner of my mouth has been plumped and smoothed to such a degree that it is noticeable to the naked eye. The other side of my mouth, where the crease was much less noticeable, is smooth. I think that the whole area around my lips looks smoother, fuller, and (dare I say) more youthful?

The Murad product came in a nifty little tube that dispensed the product directly on to an applicator. You never put your fingers on it. It was a much thicker cream with a yellowish tint. It spread like warm butter. As with the Renovage, only a tiny bit was necessary.

I’m a bit wary of retinol. Once I had a facial, and the esthetician suggested I try using the dermatologist’s own line of products, which loudly announce their inclusion of retinol. My experience with this “line” was not good (I think they just had a bottle designed with their logo and then went to the goop factory and had it glopped in - I never could get a complete ingredients list). My skin became so unbalanced, it was dry and greasy at the same time. My other experience was when a friend gave me some cheapo retinol eye cream, which was drying and irritating and full of parabens. I’ve never known this ingredient to do anything good.

However, I was happily surprised to see this stubborn wrinkle start to soften and lessen. While there hasn’t been the same plumping as with the Renovage, I can definitely see healing. The crease is not as deep. I have not suffered any ill side effects like redness, dryness or peeling. There seems to be a healthy amount of shea butter in this formula, so this probably helps.

I was pleased with both, so looked to the ingredients to choose a “winner.” Both formulas must be chided for including the red-flagged triethanolamine. Murad also has PEG-100 stearate, also flagged red, plus phenoxyethanol.

Renovage uses teprenone as its main wrinkle-reducing ingredient, but it also has two tripeptides which boost collagen production and some antioxidants. It also contains retinyl palmitate, a form of retinol.

Murad has palmitoyl tripeptide-38 (Matrixyl Synth6) for collagen production, along with ceramide-3 and sodium hyaluronate, which Murad claims are included to moisturize and plump. This product includes something I hadn’t seen before, chitosan. This is a sugar found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans (think shrimp and lobster). It’ s used mainly for treating high cholesterol and obesity-related diseases, but plastic surgeons apply it to areas that have been used for donor tissue in an effort to help it rebuild.

In the end, I think both products are pretty even. I think I will swap and use the Renovage on my eyebrow wrinkle and the Murad around my mouth. If the Renovage has the same effect on my eyebrow, I would keep using that and discontinue the retinol. I am out in the sun quite a lot and do have concerns about the retinol degrading and causing more issues than it repairs, even though I wear copious amounts of sunscreen and this is a small, small area.

Ingredients in Osmotics Renovage Cellular Longevity: Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Methyl Gluceth-20, Teprenone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Tripeptide-10, Citrulline, Tripeptide-1, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, PPG-2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Spilanthes Acmella Flower Extract, Squalane, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Ergothioneine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glycerine, Dimethicone, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Cholecalcipherol, Squalane, Vitamin E Acetate, Ubiquinone, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Carbomer, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine

Ingredients in Murad Time Release: Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Glycine Soja (Soybean ) Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Lauryl Lactate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Retinol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Trehalose, Inositol, Taurine, Betaine, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Laureth-23, Trideceth-6 Phosphate, Triethanolamine, Ceramide-3, Punica Granatum Extract, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Propyl Gallate, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)