Talk about feeling torn! We would love to recommend Triple C Peptide Firming Oil because it's loaded with several beneficial ingredients to fight multiple signs of aging, all in a surprisingly lightweight face oil. Unfortunately, the formula suffers from the inclusion of several fragrant plant oils that research has shown can irritate skin—and irritation is pro-aging.
This oil is fragrant with a capital "F," but its initially strong scent fades within a couple minutes of application. Oddly, despite containing fragrant plant oils with a familiar scent (rosemary, lavender, peppermint, rose, and geranium) this face oil doesn't smell like any of them. Instead, it has a seemingly synthetic, soapy fragrance that doesn't jibe with the ingredients.
In terms of this oil not feeling too heavy, that feat was achieved two ways: The first ingredient is squalane, an emollient often derived from olives (though it can also be manufactured synthetically). This is followed by two forms of silica, both of which have a powder-dry, matte finish on their own—but in this formula they serve to keep the squalane and plant oils that follow from feeling too slick or greasy. It's actually a nice aesthetic compromise, because this oil absolutely feels hydrating and smoothing over dry areas.
Back to this oil's potential troublemakers: Chief among them is lavender oil, which can be problematic for skin even when used in low amounts. We provide details about this plus the issues that can occur from daily use of highly fragrant products in the More Info section below.
What a shame, because as we stated in this review's opening lines, Triple C Peptide Firming Oil is packed with anti-aging ingredients, including the touted three forms of vitamin C, peptides, and some very good non-fragrant plant oils. The oils are a rich source of repairing fatty acids + antioxidants, and some intriguing plant-based anti-irritants and repairing ingredients are also included.
Without the fragrant ingredients, this non-greasy, hydrating face oil would've easily ranked among the best you can buy. Triple C Peptide Firming Oil's fragrant drawbacks make it a product we cannot recommend. See our list of Best Face Oils for options that omit the fragrance.
Note: Although this face oil contains the AHA ingredients glycolic and lactic acids plus BHA ingredient salicylic acid (and has a bit of water so as to establish a pH), the amount is likely too low and this oil's pH is too high for them to work to exfoliate skin. The salicylic acid may, however, still provide some anti-inflammatory benefit while low amounts of the AHA ingredients can function as water-binding agents.
Lavender Oil: In-vitro research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application of as little a concentration as 0.25% causes cell death (Cell Proliferation, June 2004). This study was conducted on endothelial cells, which are cells that line blood pathways in the body and play a critical role in the inflammatory process of skin.
As linalool and linalyl acetate are both rapidly absorbed by skin and can be detected within blood cells in less than 20 minutes, endothelial cells are an ideal choice for such a test (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1992). The results of this research also demonstrated that lavender has a damaging effect on fibroblasts, which are cells that produce collagen.
The fragrance constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, oxidize when exposed to air, and in this process their potential for causing an allergic reaction is increased (Contact Dermatitis, 2008).
If you're wondering why lavender oil doesn't appear to be problematic for you, it's because research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it happening for your skin to suffer damage (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare At-A-Glance
Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and what’s available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.
As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in
As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?
Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to every Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!
Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159–161).
Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.
For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.
NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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