Agency Skincare is a customized skincare brand led by dermatologist recommendations. The brand describes their offerings as “elevated essentials for your skin’s daily needs,” and suggests they have an anti-aging effect.
But does Agency Skincare use research-backed ingredients for anti-aging, or are these just marketing claims? Does the brand use any questionable additive ingredients? Is personalized skincare actually better than off-the-shelf cosmetic products? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Agency Skincare?
In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Agency Skincare based on medical studies to give our take on whether the brand is likely to be effective, or if it’s a waste of money.
We’ll share our thoughts on personalized skincare as a whole and whether it’s a gimmick, and feature unsponsored customer reviews of Agency Skincare.
We input test answers into the Agency Skincare website health questionnaire indicating our goal was to fight wrinkles.
The active ingredients prescribed are shown below:
Azelaic acid is typically used for acne, but may also have an anti-aging effect. A 2010 medical review states that “Topical bleaching agents such as hydroquinone, kojic acid and azelaic acid can reduce signs of aging.”
Tretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A that appears highly effective against wrinkles.
A medical review published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology found that topical tretinoin was effective against wrinkles in all clinical studies analyzed, and concluded that the treatment “could significantly improve wrinkling.”
Niacinamide is clinically shown to reduce the visible appearance of wrinkles, as we documented in our review of Ambi Fade Cream.
Dexpanethnol promotes cell growth according to a 2021 clinical trial, which suggests it may also be effective against aging.
Tranexamic acid was shown to prevent photoaging in a 2020 animal study, which is a weaker standard of evidence than human studies.
We consider all of the active ingredients in Agency Skincare’s anti-aging formulation to have significant research backing.
However, the brand also uses some questionable inactive ingredients as shown in the list below:
Polyacrylamide is a stabilizer described as a “demonstrated neurotoxin in humans” in a 2005 medical review. This review does not prove that this ingredient is absorbed through the skin, but we feel this information is worth highlighting.
BHT is a synthetic preservative that breaks down into BHTOOH, which was described as a tumor promoter in a clinical trial published in the Carcinogenesis journal.
Phenoxyethanol is another synthetic preservative that’s clinically shown to be toxic to human cells.
Overall, we consider Agency Skincare highly likely to have an anti-aging effect given its prescription-strength active ingredients. We don’t currently recommend this product due to the inactive ingredients highlighted above.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of Agency Skincare? We’ll feature some unsponsored customer reviews in the next section.
Real People Try Agency Skincare
A TikTok creator named Orah Lasko shared her experience using an Agency Skincare product including before-and-after images:
@orahlasko The Tretinoin glow up is real @Agency Skincare #tretinoin #skincare #skincareroutine ♬ Love Yourself - Jasmine Thompson
A TikTok creator named Mary Margaret has an unsponsored video where she explains why she considers Agency to be a more convenient option than standard prescription skincare:
@mary_hayes Unsponsored honest review of agency’s retinol prescription service-i was gifted this but under no obligation to post this is my opinion after one month! #skincareroutine #tretinoin #tretinoinjourney #agencyskincare ♬ original sound - Mary Margaret
Is Personalized Skincare a Gimmick?
Personalized skincare is becoming more and more popular, and while we all have individual genetics and environmental constraints, we haven’t come across any convincing clinical evidence suggesting that this modality of treatment is better than standard off-the-shelf products or personalized skincare recommendations from a regular dermatologist.
There’s also the issue of data security.
Agency’s website asks a variety of health questions including pregnancy status, gender and more. As we discussed in our Reverse Health reviews article on another personalized health brand, sharing this information with an online-first healthcare provider may increase the risk of data breaches compared to an in-person provider.
It is worth noting that personalized skincare may lead to better aging results at least in regard to sunscreen recommendations, according to a medical review published in the Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology journal.
Overall, we think that personalized skincare may have benefits, but isn’t worth significantly increased cost based on the current stage of research and our understanding of individual cosmetic factors.
Agency vs. Other Personalized Skincare Brands
A popular beauty vlogger named Abbey Yung compared four personalized skincare brands, including Agency Skincare, in a video with over 100,000 views:
Our Clean Skincare Picks
There are skincare products that contain ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality generally.
Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top skin cream pick because of its effective and clean formulation. It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.
Interested consumers can check out Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum at this link to the product page on the official brand's website.
Interested consumers can check out HydraGlow at this link to the product page on the official brand's website.
The only oral supplement we recommend for skin quality improvement is Bulletproof Collagen Powder.
Oral collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to improve visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen Powder at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
None of the products recommended in this section contain additive ingredients that we consider questionable from a health perspective.
Pros and Cons of Agency Skincare
Here are the pros and cons of Agency Skincare in our opinion:
- More convenient than a visit to a clinic
- Likely to have anti-aging effect
- All active ingredients have research backing
- Very favorable online customer reviews
- Personalized skincare may be optimally effective
- Contains synthetic preservatives
- Contains polyacrylamide
- Custom, proprietary formulations don’t appear clinically tested