There has been a huge beauty hype surrounding serums in the past few years. Supposedly, serums are meant to contain more of the active anti-ageing ingredients (and fewer thickening agents and inactive ingredients) than can be found in many day creams. The idea is that this is a more concentrated product and therefore better value for money…what’s not to love about that? We’re putting one of these serums under the spotlight today – bring on Dr. Hauschka’s Night Serum!

The Claims
Dr Hauschka believes that throughout the day the skin requires moisturizers for protection in the form of waxes and oils, whereas overnight the oils in these products encourage your skin to become “lazy” and not produce its own oils. This makes this skin dependent on the use of products, says the doc. With this in mind, it makes sense that Dr.Hauschka’s night serum is an oil-free product that claims to refresh and balance the skin and support the skin’s natural night-time renewal processes. Let’s delve further inside the bottle to unveil if this products packs a scientific punch!

The Science behind the Bottle – Apple Extract
Pyrus malus (apple) extract is advertised as the key active ingredient in night serum, but is an apple a day really enough to keep the doctor at bay?

Polyphenols
Apple, especially the extract from the skin, is has strong antioxidant activity provided by the polyphenols it contains. These polyphenols act to reduce oxidative stress (a kind of cell stress) by neutralising and reducing the damage caused by free radicals. The accumulation of this damage is thought to drive skin ageing, and so targeting these radicals should slow the ageing process of the skin.

Quercetin – a flavonoid polyphenol
Flavonoids are considered to be potent antioxidants, a common example of which is the botanical pigment quercetin. Quercetin is able to absorb those free radicals we spoke about through the process of binding metal ions (charged metals). This allows it to prevent the conversion of fatty acids (like those found in our beloved skin!) to free radicals. The scavenging of free radicals by quercetin also contributes to the reduction in inflammation, because free radicals can also activate factors that promote pro-inflammatory molecules (called cytokines) to be produced.

Malic Acid
Toning and exfoliating effects are provided by malic acid which is a type of alpha hydroxy acid found in apples. Malic acid helps to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells to reveal a younger looking, fresh layer of skin underneath. Studies looking at using alpha hydroxyl acids in combination with vitamins in an anti-ageing skincare regime have shown that it significantly improved the mechanical properties of the skin, reducing wrinkles and improving skin texture. All hail hydroxyl acids!

Multiple active ingredients found in apples confirm that although an apple a day may not keep the doctor at bay, it may help deter those pesky wrinkles for now!

Witch Hazel Extracts
In addition to the activities from the apple extract, night serum also contains the bark/leaf extract of Hamamelis virginia – more commonly known as witch hazel. Witch hazel contains molecules called tannins which acts as both a potent antimicrobial to prevent bacterial growth and an antioxidant to slow ageing again via reducing oxidative stress. It’s also thought that these tannins are largely responsible for the astringent properties of witch hazel. Astringents cause skin cells to contract, tightening the visage (like a mini face lift!).

Dr Hauschka claims that there is an increased rate of cellular renewal and regeneration during the night while you are asleep and the night serum acts to aid this repair. We couldn’t find any proof to support this day-to-night difference, so we don’t think these ingredients will work distinctly better in the night rather than the day. However, we agree that the focus in the day should be moisture, and so this oil-free serum probably is best to be used at night (have they considered making an oil-containing version for day use?).

The Verdict
Overall, The Geeks were pretty impressed with the research behind Dr. Hauschka’s Night Serum. Apple extract should act to slow the ageing process of the skin though the various antioxidants, while malic acid and witch hazel act to give the skin a youthful boost. This product gets a thumbs up from the BBTG team, however but more research is needed to understand how the skin differs from day to night, so we can make even more effective nighttime skin care!

To get your hands on Dr. Hauschka’s Night Serum to try it out for yourself, click HERE (to get the best price)

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http://www.dr.hauschka.com/en_GB/specials/nightserum/
http://www.dr.hauschka.com/en_US/expert-advice/night-care/
“Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging”
http://www.webmd.com/beauty/aging/beauty-smarts-serums-jan13
“Antibacterial action of several tannins against Staphylococcus aureus”
“Tannins and human health: a review.”
“The amount of polyphenols and antioxidant activity of fruits of different varieties of apple tree – malus domectica L.”
“An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin.”
“Photoprotection of natural flavonoids”
“A Review of Quercetin: Chemistry, Antioxidant Properties, and Bioavailability”
“Topical anti-inflammatory potential of quercetin in lipid-based nanosystems: in vivo and in vitro evaluation.”
“The internal and external use of medicinal plants.”
“Moisturizers for Acne”
Image (thank you!): http://beautyproducts.healthybe.uk/product/dr-hauschka-night-serum/3324329671/2ef/, http://www.healthcare-online.org/Witch-Hazel.html