PCA Skin Review: Powerful Skin Care, Safe Skin Care?

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Margaret Ancira is simply a ‘Skincare Legend. ’ While plenty of people talk about revolutionaries, this woman is the real deal. A licensed aesthetician, Margret began partnering with renowned physicians and scientists in 1990 to help create PCA SKIN’s innovative formulations.

Going above and beyond the beauty industry, the products developed by herself and a team of physicians entered the market as Physician’s Choice of Arizona and are available exclusively through doctors and licensed skin care professionals.

What started out as a blended take on The Jessner’s Peel, soon grew into a line of services and products for both consumers and professionals throughout the US. The idea of ‘no skin type, condition, or ethnicity left behind’ saw her baby, PCA Skin, excel in product innovation, education, and unmatched customer service.

Today the company has evolved into The Physicians Care Alliance, LLC, a global organization serving over 5,000 medical practices in the United States, with products sold in over 70 countries around the globe.

Between in-house Ph.D. Chemists and ongoing education, the PCA Skin line and services have really set the bar for safe and effective products and services, performing over one million skin peels a year. If that’s not a revolution in the market, I don’t know what is.

PCA Skin Products Overview

Between services and products, PCA Skin has created a holistic skincare range. Chemical peels, gels, creams, sunscreen, everything to keep you covered… literally. The products are catered to varying skin types and are clearly labeled, so there’s no chance of you soaking up anything other than goodness! Let’s get into some top picks from the PCA Skin products range!

PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator Facial Cream Review

PCA Collagen Hydrator

PCA Collagen Hydrator

The first thing I notice about a product is the smell. Smell is a strong emotional trigger, so when I commit to using cream, I have to be in it for the smell. Made with fruit extract, including almond oil, the Collagen Hydrator Cream serves fresh realness. Like you just stepped out of a waterfall, natural and refreshed.

Then we got the Collagen element. Collagen is a firming agent. For me, it sparks images of over puffed lips and squinty, emotionless eyes. But this cream is something else. The way our skin works is that under what we see is an intricate situation basically holding us together. Over time that web loses its elasticity and thus our skin begins to sag.

Collagen is basically a natural red bull for the web under your skin -- it gives you wings. Those wings just give you that extra push and tell your skin ‘you can do it!’

This product is especially for dry skin tones, cue: ‘hydrator.’ I have combination skin, so I can sympathize with really everyone in terms of skin issues. That feeling when you come out of the shower and your skin tightens up, begging to return to the moisture? This product has got you. Your skin will just drink it up. It’s thick at first, but minus that oily or sticky situation that you want to keep away from your face.

This means that it’s great before bed to avoid that tight feeling, but absorbs so smoothly that it can also be used as a base under makeup. It’s really an all-arounder for dry skin types. Anti-aging: Check. Versatile Hydration: Check. The easy part of a healthy skin care routine: Check, check.

PCA Skin Pigment Gel Review

Pigment Gel

Pigment Gel

Gels are great because they absorb like a cream but also work extra hard at those problem areas. This product is flagged as ‘normal, combination.’ It cares about your skin issues, containing 2% hydroquinone. Ringing any bells? It shouldn’t, it’s that fancy name for Benzene-1, which you may know from such labels as a prescription acne treatment.

Or not. The main point is, this is powerful stuff. Essentially, you’re hydrated where you need to be and controlled where need be. Oh, and then there’s the skin lightening formulation evens out hyperpigmentation (low-key that means redness or spots) from a range of issues from hormones to sun damage. Perfection.

PCA Skin SPF 30 Hydrator Plus Broad Spectrum Review

SPF 30 Hydrator Plus

SPF 30 Hydrator Plus

There are few things worse than that stinging sensation of new cream on sensitive skin. Think an egg frying in a pan. That’s not the kind of sizzle you need on your face. The SPF 30 Hydrator Plus has you covered. There’s so much to break down here. Let’s start with the skin types. It’s targeted at Dry/Normal skin. The ‘broad spectrum’ part of this product means it can be used by you and your sensitive skin, but also shared with your sister who skipped that particular gene.  

Did you know that coffee is not only delicious and life-affirming, but it’s also an advanced skin care component? PCA does. Caffeine interacts with all the other ingredients boosting their performance, the same way it boosts yours during finals. It’s also a queen among antioxidants. Coupled with antioxidants from milk thistle it’s basically a spa day for your skin every day.

Did I mention it’s recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for daily use? Well, it is. So whether you’re going to the market, beach, or festival this multi-faceted product has got you.

PCA Skin Facial Wash Review

PCA Skin Facial Wash

PCA Skin Facial Wash

This little impurity fighting trio packs a big punch in stripping you of makeup, oil, and environmental impurities; while hydrating and providing skin soothing properties. Sometimes when something is just exactly what you need, there isn’t much to say other than yes, please!

PCA Skin Anti-Aging Kit Review

PCA Skin Anti-Aging Kit

Anti Aging Kit

This kit is everything. It’s the bread and butter of anti-aging skin care. It’s catered for everyone. Let’s break it down:

  • C&E Strength Max -- Super vitamin C and E concentration for antioxidants and moisture.
  • ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum -- Smooths out fine lines acquired over time, while tightening aging skin.
  • Intensive Age Refining Treatment®: 0.5% pure retinol night -- Night treatment, let this super mix of age-fighting ingredients work for you while you sleep.
  • Collagen Hydrator -- Our buddy from earlier, plumping and hydrating.
  • Hydrator Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 30 -- Must have skin protector that lets you be flexible with your plans, anytime is beach time when you start your day with this one.

This supply of mini magic lasts 7-10 days. It’s designed to keep you on top of your self-care while you’re on vacation, at a conference or visiting friends/family. Flying can be stressful, work can be stressful -- let’s be real -- family can be stressful, your skin doesn’t have to be!

PCA Skin Nutrient Toner Review

PCA Skin Nutrient Toner

Nutrient Toner

I’ve been really focusing on this hydration element, because, well, it’s important. But anyone waiting for some good pore refinement realness, this is for you. This product is flagged ‘Dry/Oily/Normal/Combination’. It reminds me of essay writing in college. Very long way to say: all skin types.

This product is used as part of a routine, toners are not to be used alone. But if you’re looking for a toner to add to your skincare family, this is it. Vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and other advanced ingredients work with your skin to tighten the appearance of pores. If you’re worried about pores, I don’t need to explain them to you, you’re probably an expert.  

This product is pumpkin-wine based, which I was very happy to learn was a thing. But how does that affect your toner? The enzymes in pumpkin wine work as a gentle exfoliant to leave you with a healthy glow and tightened reduced pores.

PCA Skin Peels Review


PCA Skin Peel

PCA Skin Peel

The Peel is the flagship of PCA Skin. The same research and dedication go into professionally applied peel solutions that exfoliate dead skin cells and help healthy skin cells rise to the surface. We’re basically getting rid of the old and making way for the new. Vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and other advanced ingredients.

The skin on your face is a delicate matter, we all have layers of dead skin giving us a range of symptoms from simply a dull feeling to painful acne, and even more specific conditions. The incredible thing about PCA is that, because they are the leaders in research and education, every professional is qualified to assess the severity of your condition and make an appropriate treatment plan.

You’ll also receive a pre- and post-treatment plan for optimal effects. This isn’t just beauty, it’s health.

Is PCA Skin Cruelty-Free?

A real bunny and a fake bunny on a bed.

PCA Skin doesn’t do any animal testing.

PCA Skin is one of the good ones, guys. All PCA skin products are free of synthetic dyes and fragrances, mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin, and phthalates. Not only does leaving these harmful toxins out of their product enable these legends to such a wide range of skin types; they do not do any animal testing and stand on a firm ethical code of respect to an animal, vegetable, and mineral. This is how they get me.

In my humble opinion, you can have all the science, but a real revolution needs to also have a heart. PCA Skin has got it all. Fact, Education, Spirit.


I feel like this has been an exercise in understanding how we are responsible for our own self-care, and the scope of that means. Self-care can be reading a book, knowing your boundaries, listening to your body when it’s thirsty/hungry/stressed. But there are parts of us that we still neglect, and our skin care can sometimes fall to the wayside.

Fourteen year old me would probably be really proud that I’ve stuck to some form of routine when it comes to skincare, but PCA Skin, with their commitment to science and human interest, have really inspired me to step up my game.

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