Dermalogica’s New Smart Serum Senses What Your Skin Needs So You Don’t Have To


Time is precious, and most of us would agree we are looking to save as much time in our beauty routines as possible. The days of 10-step regimens are long gone, and experts I’ve spoken to lately say their followers and customers are demanding more multipurpose products that simplify rather than complicate. So what if I told you there’s now a serum that addresses four key skin concerns—fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, dehydration, and redness—with one intelligent formula? Enter Dermalogica Smart Response Serum.

“It’s one of the most innovative products I’ve ever worked on,” says Angela Murphy, vice president of technology and innovation for Dermalogica. “Our skin is constantly sending out signals when it’s been damaged on a microscopic level, which show up as fine lines, dark spots, dehydration, redness, etc.”

But by the time we see the damage in the mirror, it’s often “too late,” in that it’s going to be more difficult to correct and take more time. If only we could sense the damage sooner and stop it in its tracks. Well, that’s what this serum does. “We got to thinking about smart devices that anticipate what we want before we do, and we wanted that same level of intelligence in skin care, which is what we’ve done with this product,” says Murphy. “It delivers what your skin needs when it needs it, micromanaging your skin’s changing needs so you don’t have to. It’s true scalable personalization in a bottle.”

So how does it work exactly? “Each skin condition gives off its own unique signals, and this serum uses revolutionary SmartResponse technology to respond to those signals,” says Murphy, noting that her team worked on this for two years, doing many scientific studies to find the right combination of active ingredients to tackle this mammoth task. “In the case of wrinkles, when skin is young, fibroblasts work really well, but when it’s prematurely aged, the fibroblasts have reduced energy. Mannose-6-phosphate is the active that detects this low energy and sets off a chemical reaction to reactivate the collagen.” 

For dark spots, the active is hydrolyzed wheat flour—rich in arabinoxylo-oligosaccharides—which detects too much of the enzyme that contributes to the surge in melanin to control overproduction and produce a brightening effect. For redness, gallic acid from Japanese Cornelia cherry detects inflammation and oxidative stress in the skin and returns the cells to a calmer state. And for dehydration, oligosaccharides from hydrolyzed beta glucan detect the deficiency in the skin barrier that causes dehydration, and also stimulates hyaluronic acid production in the skin. But you may be wondering, what if I don’t have all four of these concerns at once? “If there are no signals for a specific condition, the active will not respond,” says Murphy. “It only switches on and takes action when it’s needed.” So cool!

In the campaign, models’ faces display four colors—blue, purple, orange and pink—to represent the four concerns targeted by the serum, and multiple variations of the colored face mapping will also be pictured on the product packaging. Excited to try it yourself? The new serum ($135) will be available beginning June 3 at dermalogica.com, ulta.com and sephora.com, and in the meantime, you can click here to have your skin analyzed and an interactive color map will show you where your skin could benefit from hydration, firming, brightening or soothing.

Additionally, tonight at 9 p.m. EST, Dermalogica will be live-streaming and offering exclusive early access to its new serum for one hour only. (Plus, a free travel-size Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 with purchase.)

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