I recently had a surprisingly wonderful experience with the Stemulation Micro Derm Scrub ($34 in the shop), which also made TIA’s Five Best exfoliating facial scrubs for 2012, so I was quite excited to test out the Stemulation Boost Crème ($75). Per Stemulation, the Boost Crème – not to be confused with Your Best Face Boost day cream ($65 in the shop) – is ideally meant to be used in combination with the Stemulation Facial Serum (which I did not test but was informed that both products stand on their own) as it enhances its effectiveness. The Boost Crème triggers the skin’s exfoliation process via lactic acid, clearing away dead cells in order to allow the Facial Serum to deliver the benefits of Stemulation’s stem cell technology.

Stemulation’s Boost Crème has some really good ingredients and a few I don’t love. The good ingredients include aloe, hydrolyzed rice bran protein and grape seed extract, which are all excellent anti-inflammatories. Antioxidants include milk thistle as well as bilberry extract and tocopherol. Vitamin B is popular in the forms of B3 in niacinamide, which has been shown to decrease hyperpigmentation, along with B5 in panthenol, known for its ability to penetrate skin and provide both lubrication and hydration. Other notable ingredients include soybean oil, a natural emollient and moisturizer as well as myristoyl pentapeptide 8, which is supposed to be a collagen booster. Some ingredients that are quite common but low on the love list are ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol and the usual PEGs.

Like the Stemulation Rescue Repair Hand & Body Treatment ($96) that Marta tested, lactic acid is a dominant (fifth) ingredient. However, unlike Rescue Repair, the Boost Crème is not accompanied with any cautions such as “contact of the product with the skin must be of limited frequency and duration.” The first time I used the Boost Crème, it stung a bit so I washed it off. Over-the-counter luxury creams generally don’t irritate the skin, so I assumed my skin had become irritated in some way prior to application of the product. When I tried applying Boost again the next night, my skin had the same response. Inflamed skin is unhappy skin so I washed it off again. I found this to be odd, so I checked the ingredients of everything I had previously used and went over my regimen for the last few days but couldn’t figure out the cause of the stinging sensation.

A few nights later, I tried Boost once again, making sure not to use it in conjunction with any other product and was careful to apply it sparingly. It still stung when initially applied but the stinging subsided within a few minutes. The Boost usage instructions indicate to apply the cream twice a day, but I prefer not to use products with AHAs during the day; plus, I found the cream to be too rich to wear under sunscreen, especially during summertime. I have been using the cream every other night and on rare occasions it tingles a bit when I first apply it. Overall my skin has acclimated to the product and with regular use it has delivered on its promise of smoother skin texture.

Stemulation had already won me over with the Micro Derm Scrub and, overall, I like Boost. Moreover, I am a fan of lactic acid, the gentlest of the alpha hydroxy acids and I have previously extolled its virtues in a review of AmLactin. Granted, since I started testing products, I’ve noted my skin has lost some of its resiliency, but I wouldn’t say my skin is sensitive. However, I really view Boost as a spa-grade product and feel even those who don’t have sensitive skin should be forewarned; thus, it needs to be labeled better. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to voice my concerns directly to the founder of Stemulation, who acknowledged that Boost is a very active product and usually requires easing into. She was extremely open to my feedback, indicating that the product would include inserts with improved instructions and cautions in the future.

Stemulation Boost Crème works, and if you’re the type who likes that “tingling” feeling in order to know that a product is working, Stemulation’s Boost Crème is for you.