SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum Review - The Dermatology Review

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum Review



TNS Essential Serum is an anti-aging facial serum created by SkinMedica, a scientifically based skin care brand that was founded in 1999. Interestingly, SkinMedica created the first topical Growth Factors solution back in 2001, pioneering the creation of the entire category. TNS Essential Serum combines the renowned growth factor formula, TNS Recovery Complex, in one chamber and APS Corrective Complex in the other. The key benefits of TNS Essential Serum include a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as enhanced skin texture and tone.

Who is TNS Essential Serum for?

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum is appropriate for all skin types, and is best for those with mature skin and visible signs of aging. The TNS Essential Serum and other SkinMedica products can only be purchased through a skin care professional. Your skin care professional can determine which combination of SkinMedica products can help to achieve your specific skin care needs.

TNS Essential Serum ingredients

As mentioned above, there are two formulas that make up TNS Essential Serum: TNS Recovery Complex and APS Corrective Complex. Below we’ll give you the details on each of these individual formulas and how the ingredients can benefit your skin.

TNS Recovery Complex
The TNS Recovery Complex (human fibroblast conditioned media) is a physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend. Growth factors are messenger proteins that are inherent in our bodies and are capable of stimulating cellular growth, proliferation, healing, and cellular differentiation. Growth factors play an important role in maintaining healthy skin, and topical application may help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and texture.

APS Corrective Complex
The APS Corrective Complex is patented mixture of peptides, antioxidants, and other beneficial ingredients that in combination improves the overall appearance of skin.

  • Peptides
    Peptides are fragments of proteins that are composed of amino acids linked together (50 or fewer amino acids). Peptides play many important roles in the skin, including cell signaling. For instance, when the collagen protein is degraded, peptides called matrikines send signals to fibroblasts to produce new collagen. Collagen is involved in wound healing, and is also responsible for keeping the skin strong and firm. Without matrikines and other peptides, the skin will start to lose firmness. Over time, this results in the appearance of wrinkles, texture changes, and skin that doesn’t bounce back as it once did. Therefore, the peptides included in TNS Essential Serum (palmitoyl tripeptide-5, hydrolyzed silk, and dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline) may help to increase skin firmness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Antioxidants
    SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum is marketed as an anti-aging serum, and no anti-aging skin care product is complete without antioxidants. Thus, there are many different antioxidants incorporated in the APS Corrective Complex. Antioxidants work by limiting oxidative damage caused by free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Examples of antioxidants in this serum include ergothioneine, ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10), green tea leaf extract, blackberry leaf extract, and tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E).
  • Vitamin C
    One antioxidant that stands out above the rest is tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a fat-soluble derivative of vitamin C that is converted to ascorbic acid (the active form of vitamin C) after being absorbed by the skin. Ascorbic acid exerts potent antioxidant activity. Specifically, ascorbic acid donates electrons to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as the superoxide ion and peroxide that are generated when the skin is exposed to UV light. This is important because the harmful effects of ROS occur as direct chemical alterations of the cellular DNA, the cell membrane, and cellular proteins, including collagen. Damaged collagen manifests as signs of premature skin aging, including wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin. In addition to helping the skin combat ROS, ascorbic acid is known to stimulate new collagen production, prevent the formation of dark spots, and brighten the complexion.
  • Alpha-arbutin
    Another ingredient in the APS Corrective Complex that can help to brighten skin is alpha-arbutin. Alpha-arbutin is a glycosylated hydroquinone that has the ability to inactivate tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color and contributes to the formation of undesirable dark spots. Therefore, by inhibiting tyrosinase, alpha-arbutin may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.
  • Hyaluronic Filling Spheres
    A final key ingredient in the APS Corrective Complex that we’d like to discuss is hyaluronic filling spheres. These dehydrated filling spheres containing hyaluronic acid help trap water on the surface of the skin like a sponge. Hyaluronic acid is able to hold more water than any other natural substance—up to 1,000 times its weight in water! This is possible because hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG), a long polysaccharide (sugar molecule) composed of disaccharides called amino sugars and uronic acid. GAGs are negatively charged and thus tend to attract positively charged sodium and potassium ions. In turn, this causes the GAGs to absorb and hold a large amount of water. The hyaluronic filling spheres in TNS Essential Serum will not only improve skin hydration, but the extra volume will help the skin to look more plump and youthful.

One drawback with the TNS Essential Serum is the amount of fragrance used in the APS Corrective Complex. These ingredients include parfum/fragrance, hydroxycitronellal, linalool, coumarin, alpha-isomethyl ionone, geraniol, and isoeugenol. The term “parfum/fragrance” represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals, as well as ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. According to EWG, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system. Even though these fragrance ingredients are present in low concentrations in the TNS Essential Serum, it is still something to be aware of.

How to use TNS Essential Serum

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum is recommended to be applied in the morning and in the evening after cleansing and toning. Dispense on the back of your hand and blend the two formulas together. You can apply the serum to your entire face, neck, and chest.

References: Wikipedia “Growth Factor”, Indian Dermatol Online J 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146, EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database “Fragrance”

Further reading: SkinMedica.




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