Unlike the name suggests, Swiss Cellular Ice Crystal Dry Oil is anything but an icy wasteland, and more like a miniature mountain garden in a bottle, sporting a plethora of natural extracts and oils. This product claims to help skin ‘adapt to life’s daily stresses that can damage the skin’ and ‘fill in gaps in skin’s moisture barrier function to prevent transepidermal water loss’ – but how does the science hold up?

La Prairie have concentrated on 3 flowers from the Swiss Alps; purple saxifrage, soldanella (better known as snowbell) and snow algae. These three living things all survive the extreme colds of the Alps and so we guess the thinking is their extracts might convey fortifying benefits to the skin, but it was difficult to find any real evidence about their topical effects. It’s likely La Prairie aren’t sharing all of their research, so it’s difficult to form any conclusions about these ingredients, but The Geeks cannot give these a thumbs up without seeing the data! There is still hope though! Reliable, understated skin heroes can be found at the bottom of the ingredients garden and we are a lot more certain of how these make can your beauty bloom.

It seems like a lot of the wonder ingredients in La Prairie Swiss cellular ice crystal dry oil are relatively common. We have The Beauty Professor to thank for the list (http://www.beautyprofessor.net/2014/03/la-prairie-cellular-swiss-ice-crystal.html). The product’s claims of protecting the skin against environmental stresses lie true – the Swiss Cellular Ice Crystal Dry Oil is jam packed with antioxidants. Milk thistle, roseroot and raspberries slow down the accumulation of damage in the skin that can manifest as ageing by preventing the formation of stress-inducing free radicals (this is cellular stress, not the kind of stress your boss might be giving you at work!). Free radicals can alter lipids, proteins and DNA, and over time cells struggle to repair this everyday damage. Raspberries in particular have a high content of tannins which are also found in witch hazel, tea and wine (now you can feel less guilty about grabbing a glass!). Tannins, like other antioxidants, prevent cellular oxidative damage to these important cell components. As an added bonus, tannins have antimicrobial activity, inhibiting the growth of a number of unwanted bacterial strains!

As sceptical Beauty Geeks, we certainly wanted to see some more ingredients that pack a protective punch in the Swiss Cellular Ice Crystal Dry Oil, and we weren’t disappointed. It was a surprise to find Co-enzyme Q 10 on La Prairie’s ingredients list – mainly because it’s often hyped up in the beauty world rather than hidden away down the list! Co-Q10 is normally produced in tissues throughout the body, and much of it is found in the mitochondria of the cells (the power stations of your cells), where it is used to help generate useable energy more effectively. A lot of research is going on around this molecule because supplementation with CoQ10 has been linked with increasing life span in certain settings (don’t be sold too easily though – it’s a way off being proven in humans). It has been found that levels of coenzyme Q 10 do decrease with age in humans, and so this ongoing research will be very interesting to follow.

“But what about topical CoQ10 for the skin?” we hear you ask! CoQ10 is another top-notch antioxidant, and its role in the body also covers protection from those harmful radicals we spoke about earlier. CoQ10 acts to absorb this damage (which is why a lot of it is in the mitochondria – making all that energy can generate a lot of these radicals!), and so boosting levels of CoQ10 in the skin should help protect against radicals from the environment.

Moving on to some oils in the Ice Crystal Dry Oil…
A common concern with using an oil is that it can cause blemishes and make oily skin extra greasy and encourage acne development, but it looks like we can put these worries to rest with this formula. Sea buckthorn berry oil has been traditionally used to treat a number of skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis. A study modelling sebum secretion rate, which is a key factor in acne occurrence, showed that a solution of sea buckthorn berry oil had anti-sebum secretion effects. Excess sebum can be a big contributor to acne, and so if the real life situation reflects these lab studies then this little oil could be making a big blemish difference! On top of that, it’s also been shown to promote wound healing too! Just what we need for saying goodbye to blemishes.

Sweet almond oil is another popular oil used in acne-sufferers, with many reporting good skin hydration without breakouts. Almond oil has a high fatty acid content, providing intense hydration to the skin. Oils also help form films over the skin to prevent transepidermal water loss (water loss through the skin), just like La Prairie promised!
The last (among many!) ingredient we’ll focus on is marigold. This is another traditional-medicine ingredient, and is antiseptic (helping fight away acne-causing bacteria) and anti-inflammatory (to give irritated skin some TLC). Its anti-inflammatory benefits derive from the presence of triterpenoids in this ingredient, which are odd-sounding, but more importantly inflammation-busting molecules.

La Prairie’s marketing team have sure been hard at work with these pretty pictures and wonderland video. Whilst these make the Swiss Cellular Ice Crystal Dry Oil seem like it’s from another planet, maybe they should have concentrated on the more effective ingredients! (And we wish we’d had all the time in the world to discuss all of the ingredints on their extensive list!). The focus on their 3 Swiss-Alps-ingredients seems over-hyped and under-researched (from what we could get access to!). Whilst their promises of antioxidant protection hold true, antioxidants have been known to protect cells for years, and can be found in a wide range of products out there (some of which have a less hefty price tag!).

It looks like La Prairie have created a great quality product, which has even made its way onto the Elle’s ‘Tried and Tested: The 15 Best Beauty Products To Try in 2015, but we’re not sold on their marketed science. Despite great reviews from PrettyGossip and Niki Caron, we’ll want to see more research on their cold-climate ingredients before we cough up the £213 for 30ml!

If you decide this product is for you, you can get your hands on it HERE!

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Modern Biological Theories of Aging.
Phenolic content and antioxidant activity of raspberry and blackberry cultivars. Phenolic content and antioxidant activity of raspberry and blackberry cultivars.
Characteristics of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) seed oil
Tannins and human health: a review.
Antibacterial action of several tannins against Staphylococcus aureus
Coenzyme Q10 and Statin-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Coenzyme Q supplementation protects from age-related DNA double-strand breaks and increases lifespan in rats fed on a PUFA-rich diet.
CoQ10: The Longevity Factor
Has Your CoQ10 Become Obsolete?
Preparation and characterization of liposomal coenzyme Q10 for in vivo topical application.
Influence of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) flavone on dermal wound healing in rats.
Seabuckthorn berry oil Formulation and evaluation of antisebum secretion effects of sea buckthorn w/o emulsion
Herbal Treatment for Dermatologic Disorders 
The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers.

Image reference: http://bellanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/REVOLUTIONARY_-La-Prairie-Cellular-Swiss-Ice-Crystal-Dry-Oil-Icon-Shot.jpg