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Reviewed and Rejected: Dermalogica Chroma White TRx C-12 Concentrate

Is a Solution for:
Age Spots, Cellulite, Stretch Marks, Sagging Skin
March 13, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 30 Comments
I have become something of a Lady MacBeth, incessantly wringing my hands and muttering "out damn spot". In my case, this is not the result of persuading my husband to murder someone called Duncan; I am obsessing about a larger and darker than desired freckle (I refuse to use the term 'age spot', and will concede to 'sun spot' only when pushed). My quest for something that will fade it is ceaseless and it was with high hopes that I tested Dermalogica's Chroma White range.

Everything about Chroma White suggested that it was going to work. Its expensive and its got its own, proprietary peptide, amino acids and a fancy alga. I tried out TRx C-12 Concentrate ($90). After two months of daily use, my high hopes were dashed. In the freckle fading dept it was, in fact, hopeless. It did nothing, absolutely nothing. Rien du tout. Nada.

The main active (I should, I suppose, say inactive) ingredient is oligopeptide-34. This is supposed to inhibit tyrosinase, which is the essential enzyme in the formation of melanin and works by converting DOPA to DOPAquinone. Therefore, reducing its activity is likely to prevent further pigmentation. The problem is that outside of Dermalogica-land, there isn't much independent research about oligopeptide-34.

Next up is palmaria palmata extract and, I am pleased to say, that this one comes with some data: after 56 days skin lightness was increased by 0.8% and yellow melanin pigmentation was reduced by 2.4%. Is it just me, or does this seem unimpressive? At least it gets a helping hand from a brown algae called ascophyllum nodosum extract.

A kinder reviewer might give Chroma White the benefit of the doubt and assume that its role might be preventative rather than curative. The trouble with the kind-hearted theory is that Dermalogica says Chroma White "reduces" hyperpigmentation.

I am not the only one who lost patience with Chroma White - check out our community section. In the meantime, the quest continues.

Ingredients in Dermalogica Chroma White TRx C-12 Concentrate

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Oligopeptide-34, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldiethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 60, Squalane, Zinc Glycinate, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Phytic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Benzyl PCA, Phenoxyethanol.
  • April 27, 2015

    by Jenny

    I have tried their extreme C and it worked for me. I had sunspots all over my forehead and after about a month or 2 it all disappeared. Just rubbed in on every night directly on the spots. My spots come back if I'm in the sun without high spf but the powder always work to remove them.

  • January 4, 2014

    by Lola

    Good news is, the heavy silicone content in TRX C12 managed not to break-out my acne prone skin.

    Had I known that the efficacy of this product is limited to its usage in conjunction with other products within the Chromawhite 'system', I would have avoided it like I always do with such products. Dermalogica should train its SA's to disclose this crucial info to customers.

    That aside, I used this product along with the Daily Microfoliant and the Ultracalming shield spf30 for 3 months until it was used up. I saw no changes to my sunspots, though I'm happy they didn't get darker. Not sure if this was meant to maintain the status quo, but that's obviously not the reason I purchased it. I replaced it with the Renewal Booster and this seems to do the job.

  • November 23, 2013

    by sophia

    are you reapplying your sunscreen every 1-2 hours?

  • July 12, 2013

    by Melanie

    If you want chroma white to work you need the entire system, not just item. It works

  • October 9, 2012

    by Shikin shari

    Hi, im an asian n have a minor freckles and dull skin due to bleaching product in previous i switch to croma white range and so far im satisfied with the results. My freckles thinning n no more dull skin..i would love to recommend this for dull skin as this works for me..but i have to admit the prices are expensive...wink wink

  • July 11, 2012

    by Nandz

    Chroma white C-12 is such a farce. I went into the Dermalogica shop with the intention of buying Extreme C from the same range, but the assistant swayed me into buying C-12 as this would reduce the post acne marks. I normally dont buy expensive products without first checking online reviews, but this time I slipped up. And what a bad move.

    Like you, I found C-12 to be totally useless at reducing my hyperpigmentation, and that's after 2 months' usage. I've since tried out Shiseido Lucent Concentrated serum which broke out my cheecks into tiny painful zits. L'Occitaine Brightening essence delivered visible results within 3 days but it dried out my face. The quest continues.

  • November 24, 2011

    by Annoynous

    I suggest that you go into dermalogicas skin bar and get a face mapping done. You have to understand the causes of pigmentations, how long you have had it and also the risk factors that can worsen your condition. Dermalogicas products work to BRIGTHEN and give the skin overall RADIANCE it will help to FADE pigmentation not completly get rid of the effected area. I dont recall seeing any false information on product packaging of Dermalogica....

  • July 21, 2011

    by Hasu

    Hi I have no hyper pigmentation, but find my skin looking dull. A friend has suggests the chroma white range, u think it will do me good?

  • June 21, 2011

    by Teresa

    Also an esthetician and conquer with the others. It is a system but I recommend C-12 to many clients as a serum because it rocks for strenthening and brightening up the skin. Alas as said in other comments if that pigmentation problem you have is in the dermal layer its not going anywhere. But to reject the system is unwise because it will help prevent further pigament damage and give you really great skin. I use it regularly myself and love the results. As for price having retailed for awhile let me tell you there are many other products on the market with a far greater price point that do way less for the skin then C-12.

  • June 17, 2011

    by Gemma

    The product doesn't claim to make age spots or extreme discolouration disappear - it is for *minimising* discolouration and improving clarity in people who have not sustained major damage and want to keep it that way. It has worked wonders in just 3 weeks on the minor sun damage I sustained after 3yrs in the powerful Swedish sun, fading my freckles and really brightening my whole complexion while erasing some old acne marks. It seems strange to me that the OP would use a product incorrectly and then review it negatively - though if, as she suggests, this is a common occurrence, perhaps she ought to see sense and get herself to a dermatologist for some professional advice on how best to treat her 'freckle'.

  • February 25, 2011

    by Molly Fisher

    Honestly, I find this post absolutely ridiculous. If Marta was just using C-12 and no other forms of exfoliation or a sun protectant, of course it's not going to work! Treating hyperpigmentation takes time and not ONE miracle product. There is so much missing from Marta'a trial of this product. What skin regime was taking place? What SPF was being worn? Etc etc. Please people...think about that before reading reviews like this.

  • December 9, 2010

    by Nimo

    Quite frankly I was astonished with the results I got. I had surgery done and severe hyperpigmentation followed from the trauma to my skin which was ofcourse going to leave this unsightly scar.

    So as soon as my doctor advised me to find a vitamin E cream, I got the c12 and extreme c and used it morning and evening with sunscreen religiously and kept the area out of daylight and UV from florescent lighting in my house.

    And I can tell you it definately got rid of the pigmentation so my scar hardly noticeable. i guess with summer coming there was no quit in me.

  • August 12, 2010

    by Meghan

    As an Esthetician, hearing all of these crazy claims about a product not working makes total sense when someone does not use it correctly. Pigmentation is formed for many different reasons, sun, hormones, trauma, etc.. If in deed this spot on Marta's skin was from the sun she should have been informed that someone MUST wear a sunscreen of 30 DAILY to treat pigmentation effectively. Also the product she used was an all over serum that is supposed to be used with another product for max results. Also for anyone to see results with a product you MUST give the product at least 6-8 weeks. Pigment forms deep in the epidermal layers which take anywhere, depending on age, from 20-60 days to reach the surface.

  • July 31, 2010

    by Deanna

    The Chromawhite system is just that, a system. The products are meant to be used in conjunction with each other. Using only one product from the line is not going to make hyperpigmentation magically disappear. I am a skin care therapist who has been using Dermalogica for quite awhile and I love it. All of Dermalogica's products are meant to be prescribed by an esthetician after a consultation.

  • May 22, 2010

    by Margaret

    I agree with the skin therapist, Karen. The purpose of Dermalogica is to have this product (Chromawhite) recommended to you. Defintely makes a difference if you have good skin care habits (regular exfoliation, minimal sun exposure, much spf protetction). See there are many variables, but this is your Dermalogica Skin Therapists job-to teach you the how-to's of skin care.

    Please keep in mind, that there is a professional line of Chromawhite products that (your skin therapist has at their disposal) go hand in hand with the lightening/ evening out of your skin tone/pigmentation.

  • May 18, 2010

    by nathalie

    Im 26 and suffer from horrible dark acne spots. Ive used only the two trials given to me at the spa I go to and my skin does look a tad better, but I'm hesitant to buy the whole treatment. For a college student, its so pricey! But what is this rice bran oil?

  • May 13, 2010

    by Susan

    This stuff is worthless, and way over priced!
    I used it for 6 months, and not much of anything. The lightening I got was from exfoliating with a different product.

    I find a bottle of rice bran oil worked 10x better and was much cheaper.

    Save your money, the only way I believe that it would work for anyone is to watch them put it on day and night, for 6 months like I did.

  • November 20, 2009

    by karen

    I have seen great results with the chroma white products.I think it really depends on how deep your damage is. I will continue to use this on my right cheek and nose for the darker areas. I say its a great investment for my future skin.

  • September 1, 2009

    by sara

    It should be called, overpriced nothing. I used it for 5 months day and night, with an spf 30 sunscreen, rarely was I in the sun, and 5 months later, the only thing I noticed was, my bank account was thinner, and my hyperpigmentation, hadn't changed!

    Maybe for each person it is different, who knows. Many different skin types, but I think if they are going to make something for this price, then it should work for everyone.

    After doing some research, this ingredient that is supposed to be a miracle thingy, should be at the very least 3rd, on the list to be the active ingredient.

    Go ahead and research it yourself, and see if I am not correct. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

    I say, don't waste your money on Chromawhite!

  • May 23, 2009

    by mary ellen

    i just order this a pray it works i use a strong over the couner kit know called dr.varons i have seen only alittle result but it burns real bad and makes my skin fell like sand paper.. i do think i need so microdermabrisons also with the cream but i have alot of hope

  • May 12, 2009

    by karen

    I think that Chroma White is pretty great stuff. After time in Iraq, my skin looked horrid. 3 1/2 months in since I started this line and I am very pleased. Does anyone of you know what that dry hot sun does to your skin, at 36 I looked 46 now maybe 41! Getting there, but I love it and will keep it up, especially when I go back to that hell.

  • April 30, 2009

    by Karen


    Marta, thank you for your review. Hyperpigmentation is incredibly frustrating as it can be very difficult to remedy.

    Regarding ChromaWhite, this product works on hyperpigmentation that lies at the level of the epidermis. And, in fact, any Dermalogica rep will inform you that if your hyperpigmentation is at the level of the dermis, ChromaWhite could help (a very weak could!) but its primary benefit will be in deterring future hyperpigmentation via the tyrosinase inhibition function.

    If you are a Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1-4, you can determine if your hyperpigmentation is at the epidermal or dermal level. Simply look at your skin under a Wood's lamp (a black light with curtains so you are illuminated by the black light only.) If your hyperpigmentation "lights up" then it lies at the level of the epidermis. (The Wood's lamp is ineffective in determining hyperpigmentation for Fitzpatrick types 5 & 6.)

    If you find that your hyperpigmentation is at the level of the dermis, over-the-counter methods will continue to fail (they are designed to penetrate the epidermis only). Your next course of action might be to consult with a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon for a more aggressive treatment protocol.

    P.S. I do not work for or represent a skin care line. I am completing my studies to become a licensed skin therapist.

  • April 27, 2009

    by marta

    I'm a tiny bit suspicious that Geraldine and Unine's comments on Chromawhite came in within minutes and both are first time commenters on our site. Hope you're not working for the same PR company.

  • April 27, 2009

    by unine

    I am delighted about Chromawhite TRx! suffering with sun induced pigmentation I have tried the chromawhite system and I will never look back! My skin is brighter and I have seen a huge improvement on my many years of accumulating pigmentation. One thing I have learnt is to be realistic about the results you expect - you are not going to get rid of years of sun damage in a couple of weeks, be presistant with using the system and keep on protecting your skin against UV light daily! it worked for me and i have now shared my secret with a few friends who like myself have been on a mission to find a product that will improve the dark patchy areas on my face - they are also now commited chromawhite users!!

    My advice would be to give it a go, be presistant, do have realistic expectations.

  • April 27, 2009

    by Geraldine Schefermann

    I agree with you Heather, I have suffered with pigmentation for years and the ChromaWhite TRX has been the only system to deliver results for my skin.

  • April 24, 2009

    by Heather Vounnou

    I am sorry to hear that, but I have to say that the ChromaWhite range did a great job for my skin . I definately saw a lightning on by pigmented areas.

  • March 13, 2009

    by Kira

    Thnx for this review Marta, I was wondering about this line on the forum, and looks like both you and Rileygirl are not in love with this product...
    Meanwhile I am using a sarum with Mandelic acid which seems to be working rather effectively, and did my own two peels at home (AHA and BHA combo) far so good :-)

  • March 13, 2009

    by Kim

    Have you tried Jan Marini's Age Intervention Enlighten??? I've heard some great things about this product.

  • March 13, 2009

    by justine

    I was mixing the SkinMedica TNS serum on the back of my hand where I had 3 noticeable sunspots. The biggest, but lightest, has faded considerably even though it's only been about two weeks. I don't know whether this is a result of TNS because I have also been slathering on Reviva E Alpha Lipoic, Ester C & DMAE Lotion. Something in there appears to be working though.

  • March 13, 2009

    by rileygirl

    It did look so promising, didn't it? Too bad it does not work! My quest continues, as well! Thanks for your review.

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