About Replenacell Anti-Aging Cream
Getting older has its merits, but aging skin isn’t one of them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to erase years from your face in mere minutes, revealing brighter, firmer, smoother looking skin?
That’s the promise made by Replenacell, an anti-aging cream that claims to pack a collagen-filled punch to provide the following benefits:
- Eliminate dark circles. According to the product’s website, Replenacell “restores nourishment in the form of hydration to the under-eye area removing puffiness.”
- Reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Claiming to deliver a boost in collagen and elastin, Replenacell states that it can not only help your skin retain its current structure, but can also reduce the look of already-formed fine lines.
- Enhance hydration. Replenacell boasts active ingredients that are said to facilitate the trapping of moisture, thereby hydrating your skin and preventing cracking.
- Counter the effects of stress. The product claims to boost your skin’s immunity and prevent the effects of free radicals, as well as eliminate the debris that makes your skin dull and discolored.
Replenacell Anti-Aging Cream promises to achieve all of the above without invasive surgeries, painful injections, or expensive lasers. Instead, the product claims to work naturally to help you achieve the flawless, wrinkle-free complexion of a celebrity. How does it work?
How Replenacell Anti-Aging Cream Claims to Be Better Than Other Anti-Aging Creams
According to Replenacell’s website, 75 percent of our skin is collagen and water. (Correct.) Over time, our body stops making as much collagen as it used to, which causes skin to become less firm and have a harder time holding on to moisture—which then leads to wrinkling. (This is also correct.)
Additionally, exposure to UVA and UVB rays, smoking cigarettes, or any other number of factors can break down the collagen we have, making us wrinkle faster than would have otherwise occurred. (They’re still on target.)
Conventional anti-aging creams attempt to help you boost your skin back to its youthful buoyancy by using fragments of hydrolyzed collagen. But, according to Replenacell, these molecules are still too large to penetrate your skin. (More on this in the next section.)
Replenacell Anti-Aging Cream claims to have discovered a breakthrough method that can deliver whole collagen molecules to your skin, in a peptide-rich wrinkle serum that can rebuild and rejuvenate.
Whole collagen molecules absorbed into your skin does sound pretty promising. Will it work? To answer that question, first we must understand:
What Is Collagen?
The word collagen comes from combining two Greek terms: “kolla” which means “glue,” and “gen” which means “to produce.” So, collagen, in essence, means “glue producing”—a name derived from the early practice of boiling horse skin to make glue.
Collagen is a connective tissue that helps other structures stick together—a kind of matrix that keeps your skin firm and young-looking. When you consider the role that collagen plays in your body, it makes sense that the protein has glue-like properties.
According to the Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and blogger at The Beauty Brains, the beauty industry has done a great job of educating consumers as to the role collagen plays in your skin in an effort to promote the ingredient. However, they often stop short of fully explaining how collagen works.
Collagen’s structure is complicated, but taking the time to understand the four different types can save you a lot of money when shopping for cosmetic products. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Collagen is a protein, which means it’s made of long strings of amino acids.
- It’s very rich in two amino acids in particular: proline and hydroxyproline.
- The amino acids link together to form long chains called peptides.
- Peptides form even longer chains called polypeptides.
- Three polypeptides wrap around each other to form a bundle that is called procollagen. Procollagen then turns into tropocollagen, which is a single collagen fiber.
- A bunch of tropocollagen fibers bundled together to form fibrils.
- And, a bunch of fibrils forms a macro-fiber.
Romanowski explains that, depending on which amino acids are hooked together, they can make up to 29 different types of collagen. However, not all of these are relevant to anti-aging skin care. “For example, Collagen XXII is present only at tissue junctions like those found in skeletal and heart muscle,” explains Romanowski.
The Three Sizes of Collagen That You’ll Find in Cosmetics
You can learn more about the different types of collagen and how each is integral to your skin’s structure here. But, to keep things simple, we’re going to bypass that breakdown and share with you the different forms that each of those types of collagen can come in:
- Soluble Collagen: When your skin is wounded, it produces one type of collagen to first help the healing, then another, stronger type that keeps the injured skin tough—that’s why scar tissue has a different, firmer feel than skin that’s never been injured. If you extract the first type of collagen early enough in the healing process, before it’s fully formed, you get soluble collagen. This form is believed to be the most effective at penetrating skin.
- Native Collagen: Fully formed, mature collagen proteins. Native collagen has a high molecular weight, meaning that it’s a very large molecule and unable to penetrate your skin.
- Hydrolyzed Collagen: The most commonly used form of collagen in cosmetics, hydrolyzed collagen is formed by taking native (mature) collagen and using chemicals to chop it into tiny bits.
Note that Replenacell claims to deliver full-size collagen into your skin (called a trans-dermal process). However, they fail to share how they discovered this process, or to cite any studies that support their claim.
Even if Replenacell’s claims are true, and they can deliver full-size collagen molecules past the surface layers of your skin, we’re still left with the question:
Is Collagen an Effective Anti-Aging Ingredient?
At first glance, collagen appears to be the perfect anti-aging ingredient. It makes perfect sense to try and replenish the very thing that makes your skin young, supple, and strong. However, it’s important to consider the method of delivery; i.e. how collagen is being introduced to your skin.
In Replenacell’s case, that method is topical. Meaning that you rub it on, as opposed to swallowing a supplement.
With that in mind, imagine that you live in a brick house. One day, your neighbor starts throwing bricks at your house. Despite being the same material, this fails to make your walls stronger or smoother. Why? Because the bricks aren’t integrating with the structure.
The same thing happens when you apply collagen in a cream—the molecules sit on top of your skin, and are washed away the next time you hop in the shower.
According to (deep breath!) “Studies of the penetration of native collagen, collagen alpha chains, and collagen cyanogen bromide peptides through hairless mouse skin in vitro”:
“Even if native collagen could penetrate to the dermis, it is inconceivable that the molecules could form fibers or integrate with existing collagen fibers because the precursors for fiber assembly are soluble procollagen molecules.”
Basically, even when collagen is made small enough to be absorbed, it cannot bind with the collagen existing in skin, and there isn’t a shred of research indicating otherwise.
Even hydrolyzed collagen molecules, which can penetrate your skin to some degree, haven’t been shown to properly integrate with your skin’s existing collagen framework.
Now, that isn’t to say that collagen is a throwaway ingredient. The protein is great at holding moisture and can effectively form a film to reduce the moisture lost from your skin throughout the day. This can temporarily reduce the look of fine lines and make your skin look plumper overall.
However, again, the results rinse down the drain the next time you wash your face. Additionally, Romanowski points out that, even though collagen can bind moisture next to your skin, it’s not as effective as the occlusives and humectants typically used for this purpose.
Replenacell Anti-Aging Cream Pricing & Refund Policy
Replenacell is only available through a 17-day trial for $4.95 S&H, for which you’ll receive a full 30-day supply of the anti-aging cream.
If, within those first 17 days, you don’t like Replenacell, it’s important to call (888) 329-9003 immediately. On the 18th day after your trial has shipped, you will be billed $84.95—the full price of the product.
More so, signing up for Replenacell’s trial offer enrolls you in their autoship program. This means that, if you do not call to cancel, Replenacell will continue to ship you 30-day supplies of their cream each month—charging you $84.95 (plus $4.95 S&H) for each shipment.
According to Replenacell’s fine print, refunds are available (less S&H charges), although no time limits were provided. To request a refund or to cancel your trial or autoship program, you’ll need to call customer service at (888) 329-9003.
Free trials and autoship programs might not seem too worrisome to the uninitiated consumer. However, reviews of similar trial-based and autoship programs left by countless HighYa readers have included surprisingly similar complaints surrounding poor customer service.
Basically, when a consumer contacts the company to cancel their trial, request a refund, or stop the automatic shipments, they’re frequently subjected to excruciatingly long hold times or continued charges.
We attempted to validate Replenacell’s own customer service by calling their customer service line, but were unable to navigate past the call tree and reach an agent since we didn’t have an order number their system recognized.
However, it’s for those reasons that we often recommend avoiding products that are sold through free trial and autoship methods.
Final Thoughts on Replenacell Anti-Aging Cream
We didn’t test Replenacell firsthand, but considering the lack of evidence that collagen molecules, whole or hydrolyzed, do anything more than moisturize, it’s our opinion that Replenacell won’t deliver the promised results of rejuvenating your skin.
The collagen-infused cream may help to diffuse fine lines temporarily. But, as expert Perry Romanowski stated, occlusive and humectant creams do a better job of hydrating.
What’s more, those hard-working occlusive and humectants can be found in many less-expensive cosmetic creams at your local supermarket—allowing you to bypass the potentially troublesome free trial and autoship program.
The bottom line? Instead of spending close to 90 bucks on Replenacell, we suggest you arm yourself with some basic knowledge and browse your local store’s shelves. Learn more about how to pick a moisturizer that’s right for you in Making the Most Out of Your Moisturizer.
More on Skincare:
- 19 Cardinal Rules for Wrinkle Prevention
- Can Creams Really Help Crepey Skin?
- Learning to Take Great Care of Your Skin: 10 Steps You Must Master