With its compelling name, Dr. Brandt's Needles No More 3-D Filler Mask may prompt you to rethink getting dermal fillers injected as a means of reducing wrinkles and lost facial volume—but we urge you to think twice before considering this mask and its misleading name. As it turns out, this isn't even remotely a replacement for what dermal fillers can do. At best, this mask will make normal to dry skin feel tighter (more on that in moment) and look smoother overnight.
The jar packaging this is housed in is the first letdown. That's because this formula contains some beneficial ingredients that also happen to be sensitive to light and air. So, each time you remove the lid from the jar, those delicate ingredients can lose some of their potency, eventually becoming ineffective. (See More Info for the full story on why anti-aging products in jar packaging isn't a good idea.)
If you try this mask, you'll notice that as it dries, it makes skin feel tighter, almost constricted. That sensation, which tends to last for quite some time, is from the high amount of film-forming agents (chiefly, polymethyl methacrylate) this mask contains. Unfortunately, the tight feeling doesn't translate to skin being visibly lifted or that any amount of facial volume is being restored. These benefits are just not possible from topically applied skincare (and if they were, there's zero chance such products would be sold without a prescription).
Also disappointing is that most of this mask's most intriguing ingredients, including several peptides and sodium hyaluronate, are listed after the preservative (phenoxyethanol). For what this mask costs, you should expect greater amounts of those ingredients, not to mention better packaging to help keep them stable during use!
On the plus side, applied as directed (whether with hands or with its accompanying synthetic brush) and left on overnight, this mask will make skin feel smoother. It contains some effective moisturizing ingredients, including shea butter, though as the film-forming agents tighten on skin this mask doesn't feel moisturizing. In other words, we wouldn't advise using this as a moisturizing mask despite the fact that it contains some good moisturizing ingredients.
This mask contains fragrance in the form of lavender extract, which poses a slight risk of irritation. However, its scent is on the subtle side and doesn't linger once the mask absorbs, which reduces the risk of irritation.
Dr. Brandt's Needles No More 3-D Filler Mask doesn't have enough positive traits to make it worth strong consideration. Its smoothing benefits are possible from many other, less expensive products, and its tightening sensation is just that, a sensation, not a solution for sagging skin or lost facial volume. Despite its tempting name, this mask for normal to dry skin isn't a viable replacement for the results you can get from dermal fillers. Looking for a mask that doesn't have this formula's shortcomings? Check out our top recommended Facial Masks section.
Jar Packaging: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
Dr. Brandt At-A-Glance
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on the company website; a good daytime moisturizer with sunscreen.
Weaknesses: Expensive; overwhelming number of products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; no products to comprehensively address acne or oily skin; every Pores No More product is a disappointment; jar packaging; several products make claims on par with what cosmetic procedures (not skin care) can do.
The late Dr. Fredric Brandt (he passed away in April, 2015 at the age of 65) was a Miami- and New York City–based dermatologist whose claim to fame rested on two main points. The first (and it is a very important credibility factor for consumers) included the many celebrity clients worked with, while the second was his assertion that he performed more Botox and collagen injections than any other dermatologist in the world. According to Allergan, the company that makes Botox, they no longer rank the physicians who purchase Botox from them; however, they did confirm that Dr. Brandt was definitely one of their biggest buyers. Yet regardless of how much Botox or collagen Dr. Brandt or any other physician uses, what in the world does that have to do with cosmetic formulations? If anything, you have to wonder why Brandt was using so much Botox and collagen if his products truly fight wrinkles, sagging, and on and on.
Beyond Brandt's cosmetic enhancement procedures, he is the author of Age-less: The Definitive Guide to Botox, Collagen, Lasers, Peels, and Other Solutions for Flawless Skin. His book and skin-care line are competing against the vastly more popular books and product line from fellow dermatologist Dr. N.V. Perricone. Although Perricone's skin-care line has some drawbacks, including irritating ingredients and the lack of supporting research for his neuropeptide products, the majority of his products, though overpriced, have more pros than cons. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Dr. Brandt, whose namesake skin-care line is on the disappointing side, especially given the product's price points.
Brandt's products are sold with the tag line that they are "prescription strength, prescription-free," and "are formulated under dermatologic control for maximum safety and efficiency and offer the highest performance without a prescription." Aside from how unbelievable that assertion is, what is not mentioned is the fact that none of the ingredients in Brandt's products are comparable to prescription formulations. And what is "dermatologic control" anyway, given that there are no such standards anywhere in the world? Moreover, what do dermatologists know about the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, much less cosmetics? The two arenas of expertise are completely unrelated.
Dr. Brandt positioned his products as clinically superior to what you would find in other cosmetics lines, an unproven assertion to say the least. Many of his products tout benefits that don't just stretch the truth, but snap it in two—and these fallacies were more disconcerting coming from an esteemed dermatologist. When products contain the problematic ingredients that are so pervasive in Brandt's line, such as irritating plant extracts, drying detergent cleansing agents, and far too many products with skin cell-damaging lavender oil, it becomes nothing more than a line that should be approached with extreme caution.
The line does have a few bright spots: many of Brandt's products do contain significant amounts of antioxidants, though that certainly doesn't make his line unique because many other product lines do that, too. (Here it's fair to say that while no specific amounts have been established for any antioxidant that will ensure their effectiveness, the general consensus among researchers is that more antioxidants are better than less, and less is still better than none at all.) Unless you were a devoted patient of Dr. Brandt and would be racked with guilt for not purchasing his products while visiting for an appointment, there is no reason to seek out this disappointing line.
For more information about Dr. Brandt's products, call (800) 234-1066 or visit www.drbrandtskincare.com.
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