This Face Cream Has an Unexpected Ingredient Derms Love—And It Made My 40+ Skin Glow in Just 1 Week

Photo: Getty Images/ Emma Kim
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Now that I’m in my 40s (still weird), it’s very apparent how different my skin concerns are from just a few years ago. Anything that helps with wrinkles, loss of elasticity, hyperpigmentation, and other mature skin issues are on my radar much more now that I’m aging like a fine wine. My go-to, lighter moisturizers from years past are being traded in for more specialized face creams. Add the fact that my skin is struggling through the exceptionally cold-for-California weather, leaving it dull and tired-looking, and I’ve been in dire need for a moisturizer that means serious business, but still won’t be heavy on my combination skin.

It couldn’t have been better timing for the Fresh Beauty Black Tea Advanced Age Renewal Cream ($95) to come into my life.

How it works

The launch of this particular moisturizer is major for the brand, because it’s the first time it's using the proprietary BT Matrix. According to Dr. Anne-Laure Bulteau, skin biologist at Fresh, BT Matrix is a retinol-like blend of black tea and rambutan leaf extracts that work synergistically to support lost skin structure due to a natural decline in collagen. “The exclusive duo of leaf extracts visibly reduces wrinkles while helping to improve firmness. And yet this anti-aging moisturizer is gentle enough to be used twice a day—without the known discomfort typical of many retinol products,” she says.

After eight weeks (according to the brand), users reported smoother wrinkles, firmer skin, and more radiance. Alongside BT Matrix, the Black Tea Advanced Age Renewal Cream contains ceramide NP to keep the skin barrier strong, squalane to prevent moisture loss, and pink porcelain lily which is said to boost radiance and improve skin texture.

What's so special about black tea?

I was curious to get a derm’s perspective on black tea, as it’s a star ingredient for Fresh and the brand has a whole line of products dedicated to it. “Black tea extract contains polyphenols, antioxidants, that have been found to be beneficial in skin care,” explains Carmen Castilla, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai in New York. “The polyphenols found in black tea extract are natural antioxidants that can help scavenge free radicals and prevent skin damage.”

Castilla points out that the efficacy of this extract depends on the quality of the tea, concentration of extract in the product, and the extraction process. “There are in-vivo, (ie. used on human skin) studies showing that application of black tea extract on the skin can decrease UV induced skin erythema (redness) and UV damage. Preventing UV damage can help slow collagen breakdown which provides anti-aging benefits as well,” she says. “This extract does have some scientific evidence to support its efficacy.”

Honest review

Because I still haven’t fully committed to using retinol regularly in my skincare routine, I’m more apt to try a retinol alternative or retinol-like ingredient, so I was excited about this BT Matrix situation. My first impressions of the Fresh Beauty Black Tea Advanced Age Renewal Cream was that I thought it had a nice, light scent, and the formula was the perfect consistency. It was thicker than a gel moisturizer, but not heavy like other mature skin face creams that I’ve tried. This was a big plus as I don’t like using anything too heavy on my skin for fear of breakouts.

It absorbed quickly into my skin but left it feeling immediately supple. After about a week of testing the cream both day and night, I noticed my skin felt super soft and looked glowy. No more winter dullness! It was too soon for me to tell if it reduced any wrinkles, but my skin looked the most hydrated it had been all season. I am curious to see how it will be after eight weeks like the clinical trials, but I’m already on board with this face cream. If you have mature skin, it’s worth getting your hands on this.

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