For many of us Beauty Geeks, there really is nothing like a good old face mask to peel away the stresses of everyday life. The Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask from Ren is just one option on the market today, and with some glowing reviews already under their belt, we’re keen to see if this product really works.

The Claims

This mask comes with some hefty cosmetic claims that we can’t wait to get to grips with! The Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask claims to brighten and renew skin tone, improve facial skin texture, help tackle hyperpigmentation and even improve sun damage and the appearance of scars. So how can one product deliver so much? Ren’s formula is marketed to contain exfoliating acids and papain –let’s see how it works!

The Stars of the Show – The Exfoliating Acids

Many of you ingredient-savvy Beauty Geeks will already have heard of cosmetic exfoliating acids. They’ve taken the beauty world by storm in recent years, and this product is certainly a follower of this trend! The Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask contains lactic, citric and glycolic acids – all familiar faces on the market, with glycolic acid being the most commonly used in cosmetics. These three acids are all alpha hydroxy acids, which we’re happy to save have a wealth of skin science research behind them. But do they really work?

Alpha hydroxyl acids work to benefit the skin by breaking down bonds between the cells on the outermost layer of the skin. This encourages the shedding of older skin cells, revealing newer cells underneath, to promote renewal of this outer layer of skin (this normal process is known desquamation). What we really want to know is, do they live up to the products claims?

Due to their exfoliating effects, these acids have been shown to improve facial skin texture and appearance – that’s one tick! Use of AHA-containing peels has also been shown to significantly improve hyperpigmented areas of skin, including darkened areas of skin caused by blemishes (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) or by the sun (those dreaded age spots!). That’s ticks by the hyperpigmentation and sun damage claims! AHAs have also been shown to have substantial anti-ageing benefits, with topical application leading to increases in dermal thickness (that’s the thickness of the viable skin layer) and increased production of that all-important collagen!

AHAs have a whole host of other beauty benefits too, including use against acne and even dry skin! (No prizes for guessing why these ingredients are a BBTG favourite!).

So with exfoliating acids and their benefits already under our belts, what do these other ingredients do?

Papain – The Enzyme Exfoliator

Papain is an enzyme that is extracted from the skin of the papaya fruit. Enzymes perform biological functions – this particular one helps degrade bonds between cells on the top layer of the skin to help encourage exfoliation and renewal (very similar to those cosmetic acids really!). One interesting property of papain is its reported ability to help reduce scars – we found this mentioned in a couple of reputable places, but don’t get sold on this too quickly – we weren’t able to find many robust studies supporting this property.

While we’re happy that there is some suggestion that this ingredient might help with scarring, we were concerned to find that in some cases papain can sensitize the skin and cause reactions! This is certainly something to be watching out for when considering using papain-containing products, and we’d definitely recommend patch-testing before use!

Some Added Extras

Aside from the advertised exfoliating acids and enzymes, we spotted a few other ingredients in this product’s formulation, including cranberry, grape, orange and grapefruit seed oils. Oils like these have high fatty acid contents to help hydrate skin and many contain antioxidant molecules that you’ll hear us Geeks banging on about! We’re always on board for a good natural oil here at BBTG HQ!

The Verdict

It’s not that often we find products with such wide-reaching claims that contain the ingredients to fulfil them! According to Ren 100% of women in their own study (of 22 ladies) reported a radiance and firming effect on the skin, with 96% considering their skin smoother and firmer and 77% saying they saw a visible reduction in wrinkles after a single use.

We were pretty impressed with Ren’s exfoliating acid combo in their Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. A couple of tips for the wise: hydration is a must after using exfoliating acids, and be on the lookout for any skin reactions! This product certainly isn’t for the sensitive-skinned among you, but for the rest of you – we’d certainly be happy to invest in this one! With over 900 review on Sephora averaging at 4 and a half stars out of 5, it seems that we’re all in agreement!

The cheapest we found Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is HERE (UK) or HERE (USA)

Polysorbate 60 (Source Rape Seed Oil), Glycerin (Source Coconut Oil), Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Water, Lecithin (Source Soybean), Lactic Acid (Source Wheat), Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Passiflora Quadrangularis Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Alcohol denat. (Source Grape), Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum (Source Corn), Maltodextrin, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Parfum (100% Natural Fragrance), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Phenoxyethanol (Source Aromatic Ether), Sodium HydroxymethylGlycinate (Source Amino Acid), Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Berry Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E).