The Geeks never tire of scrutinising so-called wonder products, especially those making some scientific-sounding claims. The market selling all things anti-saggy and anti-wrinkly is positively flooded with lotions and potions, seemingly tailored to our every need. Today we’re taking a look at Nivea’s Cellular Anti-Age Concentrated Skin-Refining Serum, which claims to both refine skin appearance by reducing signs of fine lines and wrinkles, whilst also promoting ‘faster cell renewal’. Listing magnolia extract, short chain hyaluronic acid and creatine as the key active ingredients, will claims for this serum live up to Nivea’s ‘snow white’ name?

Let’s start by looking at a known favourite of the Geeks – hyaluronic acid (HA). Keen Beauty Geeks will know that we’ve raved about this molecule before – most recently in our review of Fountain’s “The Hyaluronic Molecule”! HA is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan (long unbranched molecules made of repeating sugar units), and is concentrated in the dermal layer of the skin. It sits in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the skin, and binds water molecules to stop them escaping through the epidermis. In addition, HA interacts with other ECM molecules such as collagen to support the skin’s elasticity and studies concentrating on combining both molecules have found potential wound healing applications.

This works to support the claim of ‘faster cell renewal’, but Nivea has emphasised its use of short chain HA. Naturally, these soak into the skin more easily than long chain HA and they are thought to encourage cell migration and inflammatory processes during wound healing. Recently, we’ve also seen some testing of new “nano” hyaluronic acid (that’s really small HA!), which has been shown to have significant benefits for aged skin when applied topically, so it looks like small really can be mighty here! It is known that HA levels in the epidermis decrease naturally with age, and boosting HA levels in the skin have been the target of many anti-ageing strategies. Nivea is off to a good start with this little moisture booster!

Moving on to the Magnolia officianalis (more commonly known simply as houpu magnolia) bark extract, which is an ingredient traditionally used in Chinese herbal medicine. The bark contains two principle active ingredients – mangnolol and honokiol. These two scientific players have antibacterial activity against species of bacteria like the Propionibacteria, some of which are a major cause of acne. They’ve also been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory activity in skin conditions, and are thought to suppress pro-inflammatory markers like nitric oxide and TNF. They also act to block inflammatory pathways like the cyclooxygenase and NF-kB pathways, all leading to an anti-inflammatory punch!

Swiftly on to creatine – and if you’re particularly interested in this molecule then head over to our creatine Molecular Mondays feature! Famed as a body-building gym supplement, you might be surprised to hear that it has some interesting beauty benefits too! When applied topically, creatine has been shown to easily penetrate the skin barrier and enter the dermis. Studies using both in vitro (in cultures cells) methods and looking at the effects on human skin have shown its benefits to aged skin, showing increased production of the structural skin protein collagen and reduced ‘cheek sagging intensity’. A significant reduction in crow’s feet and wrinkles under the eye were also observed! It’s looking good for creatine-containing products on the market!

So Nivea, that’s 3 out of 3 active ingredients with savvy science!

Reviewers on the Boots site seem satisfied, with reports of improved pore appearance and skin feeling ‘soft and silky’. Missmakeupmagpie was also impressed with the whole Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Skincare range – good news for Nivea!

Now for the verdict…
HA is certainly a star player in the beauty world as a great skin-firming ingredient, and it’s great to see the science backing up their use of creatine in the formula! Magnolia officinalis bark extract also has some interesting properties, although we’re not sure how useful its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties will be for ageing skin in particular. In term of Nivea’s promise for ‘faster cell renewal’, we’ve seen that creatine and hyaluronic acid may help boost the skin’s structure and its components, but we haven’t seen much about actually increasing renewal of the cells themselves. At £14.99, you get a surprising about of science for your money. Be careful with your claims Nivea, you’ve got some interesting and savvy science you can market instead!

If this sounds good to you, and you would like to try it for yourself, click HERE!