Tula Skincare Review: Do Probiotic Creams Work?

Tula Skincare Review: Do Probiotic Creams Work?


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Tula is a cosmetics brand with an interesting premise: that topically-applied probiotics can improve skin quality. Their founder is a dermatologist named Dr. Roshini Raj, and her brand's website describes probiotic extracts as a "breakthrough innovation in skincare."

But is there good science backing that claim or is it just a marketing claim? What are the specific probiotics in Tula skincare and are they proven to work? Are there any questionable additive ingredients in their products?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions. We'll review every ingredient in three of Tula's most popular products: Glow & Get It (their eye balm), Tula Daily Sunscreen Gel and Hydrating Day & Night Cream (their moisturizer). We'll share real, unsponsored user reviews of these products as well.

Tula Eye Balm Review

Tula eye balm ingredients

Tula's eye cream called Glow & Get It is one of their best-selling products.

This cream does contain some research-backed ingredients like hyaluronic acid and caffeine, but we strongly recommend avoiding it due to the inclusion of artificial dye.

The skin around the eyes is some of the most thin and sensitive skin on the body, so we believe this is the worst place to apply creams with artificial dye.

Blue 1 is one of the artificial dyes in Tula’s eye balm, and is proven in medical research to cause hypersensitivity reactions in some patients.

Yellow 5 is the other artificial dye used in this product, and was found in the same medical review linked above to be frequently contaminated with carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds), to cause hypersensitivity reactions, and to be genotoxic (damaging to DNA). 

This is the only eye cream we've reviewed on Illuminate Health that included artificial dye at the time of updating this article, and we urge the brand to remove these ingredients.

One of the YouTube reviews of this product including a demonstration is published by a channel called "Kat Decker." The creator uses Tula Rose Glow & Get It and shares her thoughts on the packaging and product quality:


Tula Sunscreen Review

Tula sunscreen ingredients

Another one of Tula’s most popular products is their sunscreen, called Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30. 

This is a chemical rather than a physical sunscreen, and we discussed why we never recommend chemical sunscreens in our recent Elta MD sunscreen review article. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the bloodstream and some of the most commonly-used chemical sunscreen ingredients may have negative effects to human health.

Avobenzone is one of the three active ingredients in Tula Daily Sunscreen Gel, and it’s been shown in a medical study to cause obesity-inducing changes to human cells. The linked study concluded that avobenzone “functions as a metabolic disrupting obesogen.”

Homosalate is the second of the three active ingredients, and also has concerning clinical data. A medical trial published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that homosalate is cytotoxic (toxic to living cells), genotoxic (damaging to the genetic information in cells) and that it accumulates in living ecosystems, which suggests it's harmful to the environment.

Octisalate is the final active ingredient, and it may cause allergic skin reactions in some individuals according to a 2010 medical review.

This is the worst sunscreen we've reviewed to date, and we strongly recommend avoiding it. We consider all three of its active ingredients to have questionable health effects.

A YouTube review of Tula sunscreen published by a channel called "AriTheEsthetician" features an overview that focuses more on the cosmetic benefits than the health effects, and which may be useful to some readers:

Tula Moisturizing Cream Review

Tula moisturizing cream ingredients

Tula’s sells a moisturizing cream called Hydrating Day & Night Cream. The brand claims it can provide “all day hydration” and “revive the appearance of dull and tired skin.”

This cream has 54 individual ingredients which seems excessive for a basic moisturizing product. 

The probiotic extract in this cream is bifida ferment lysate. The only clinical trial we could find on this ingredient showed it to have a beneficial impact on reactive skin at a concentration of 10%. We don't know what the concentration is in Tula's moisturizing cream.

We can't find any medical evidence that this probiotic extract is hydrating to skin or reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, nor does Tula cite any on their product page.

There’s also the extremely confusing statement shown in the ingredient image above that this product “does not contain live cultures.” Probiotics, definitionally, are live cultures. So Tula is marketing their Hydrating Day & Night cream as a probiotic cream, listing multiple probiotic ingredients in the full ingredient list, but also noting that there are no live probiotics in the formulation.

We urge the brand to clarify what they mean by this disclaimer.

Chicory root extract is an effective active ingredient in this moisturizer. A recent medical trial published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that chicory root extract beneficially restructured the skin when applied topically.

Turmeric root extract was shown in a medical review to be especially effective for patients with skin conditions, likely due to its anti-inflammatory effect. The researchers noted “early evidence” of “therapeutic benefits for skin health.”

This moisturizing cream also has some questionable filler ingredients. Fragrance is shown in medical literature to have potentially harmful effects on human health, and we always recommend avoiding skincare products containing fragrance.

Another extremely questionable ingredient in this product is butylphenyl methylpropional, also known as lilial. This is another synthetic fragrance ingredient that has been shown in a clinical trial to be toxic to mitochondria (a part of human cells). Butylphenyl methylpropional was banned in the European Union (E.U.) on March 1 of 2022 due to toxicity concerns. The E.U. has much stronger consumer protections than the U.S. in our opinion.

Overall we do not recommend Tula Hydrating Day & Night cream due to the questionable additive ingredients. We do believe it may be effective for improving skin quality due to the inclusion of chicory root extract and turmeric root extract, but we consider it illogical to use a skincare cream containing questionable filler ingredients when there exist skincare products on the market free of such ingredients.

Real User Review After One Year of Tula Use

One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Tula is published by a channel called "Oak Abode" and has achieved over 60,000 views at the time of updating this article. The creator shares her experience using Tula products for a full year, and the video appears to be unsponsored.

She breaks down everything from the smell, to an initial breakout to whether the products are better for oily versus dry skin and more:

Our Skincare Product Recommendations

There are skincare products that contain ingredients proven in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality generally, and which are free of questionable inactive ingredients like fragrance.

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. We consider this to be the most powerful topical skincare ingredient. Most importantly, this serum is entirely free of questionable additives like preservatives or artificial dyes.

Interested consumers can check out Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum at this link.

HydraGlow is our top moisturizer pick. It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects." In the linked trial, topical bakuchiol reduced wrinkles, improved skin elasticity and firmness, and reduced photodamage (damage from UV rays). There are no questionable additive ingredients in this product.

Interested consumers can check out HydraGlow at this link.

An 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. The only ingredient in Bulletproof collagen is collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed animals. We recommend a dose of 10 grams per day.

Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen Powder at this link.

Tula Lawsuit

In 2021, Tula settled a class-action lawsuit for $5 million according to Top Class Actions.

The plaintiffs alleged that they were misled by Tula because Tula products were advertised as containing probiotics but may not include live cultures. This is the same discrepancy that we highlighted in our review of Tula Hydrating Day & Night Cream above, and what's strange is that this information is still live on the Tula website.

We consider this to be a red flag about the brand.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

 We don't recommend any of the three popular Tula products that we reviewed and we're highly disappointed with their formulations, especially given that the brand's founder is a dermatologist.

We noted questionable additive ingredients like fragrance and preservatives in all of the formulations that we reviewed, and Tula's eye balm even contains two separate artificial dyes.

The Tula products we reviewed do contain some effective ingredients, but it seems illogical in our opinion to use cosmetic products with so many questionable additives when there are skincare products on the market free of those additives.

Tula has been sued, and has settled a lawsuit, over claims of misleading advertising related to probiotic ingredients. However at the time of updating this article some of their product pages still advertise probiotic ingredients while presenting a disclaimer that there are no live cultures in the product.

We hope that Tula can publish information explaining this discrepancy, because probiotics are live and active cultures by definition, so this is confusing to us (and likely to other consumers).




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