DDF - Doctor's Dermatologic Formula

Brightening Cleanser

6.00 fl. oz. for $ 39.00
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Brand Overview

Brightening Cleanser is a water-soluble cleanser that claims to even skin tone and smooth skin texture via its mix of glycolic acid (AHA) and salicylic acid (BHA). Unfortunately, it can’t live up to those claims—though it’s an OK option for normal to oily skin.

When used in a well formulated leave-on product, AHA and BHA ingredients can work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, they are far less effective for exfoliation, if at all, in a cleanser. That’s because they are rinsed off before they can begin to work. In short, don’t get your hopes up about this cleanser’s ability to smooth skin tone and texture.  

In addition, this cleanser contains a small amount of plant extracts with limited research pertaining to their skin lightening ability. Although this sounds promising, the plant extracts need to be left on skin in order to help “brighten”. In a cleanser, their contact with skin is limited.

If you left Brightening Cleanser on skin for a longer period of time so that these ingredients could absorb, the cleansing agents would also be left on too, and that can cause dryness and irritation. Essentially, you’d be trading one problem for another.

This cleanser still deserves earns praise for its cleansing and makeup-removing abilities, though you don’t necessarily have to pay this much money to get that. Hint: Check out our Best Cleansers list for well-formulated options in all price ranges.

Note: The amount of glycolic acid in this cleanser can be a problem for use around the eyes, and the light amount of fragrance in the formula isn’t best for sensitive skin.

  • Efficiently removes makeup and cleanses skin.
  • The brightening ingredients and AHA/BHA wont be left on skin long enough to live up to their claims.
  • Lightly fragranced formula should be avoided by those with sensitive skin.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

A blend of six natural skin brighteners in a foaming glycolic and salicylic gel to help noticeably minimize uneven skin tone and target age spots. Excellent for face and body as part of an overall hyperpigmentation program. Also effective in helping minimize post blemish discoloration. Licorice scent.

Water, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Potassium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Mulberry Bark Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi (Bearberry) Leaf Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Dex-Panthenol, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance

DDF At-A-Glance

Strengths: Several good water-soluble cleansers; excellent Photo-Age sunscreens and every DDF sunscreen includes sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; some truly state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums; a few good AHA and skin-brightening options; a good benzoyl peroxide topical disinfectant.

Weaknesses: Expensive; products designed for sensitive skin tend to contain one or more known problematic ingredients; several irritating products based on alcohol, menthol, or problematic plant extracts; more than a handful of average moisturizers, many in jar packaging.

This skin-care company's Web site has it right with the statement that "before the beauty world discovered dermatologic skincare brands, there was DDF." Launched in 1991, well before it became common practice for "known" dermatologists to create their own skin-care lines, pioneering dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel began and is still behind this brand. This is a long-standing line that has the backing of a dermatologist (and later that of nutritional consultant Elaine Linker), so you would expect DDF to be just what the doctor ordered. In some respects, it is. However, more often than not, products from dermatologists are just as prone to outlandish claims, exorbitant prices, and use of unproven ingredients as products from any other cosmetics line. A founder's medical background isn't a guarantee that every product he or she creates will do exactly what it claims or even be sensibly formulated. In that sense, DDF falters more than it succeeds. Sobel's credibility for creating treatment-based skin-care products is diminished when inappropriate ingredients (alcohol, menthol, and others) are included in products positioned as prestige products with a medicinal slant. Still, there are some very impressive options available (particularly in the moisturizer and serum categories) that, price notwithstanding, are worthy of consideration.

It will be curious to see what the future holds for this line, as its ownership has recently changed hands. Consumer product giant Procter & Gamble bought DDF in 2007 to expand the line's global reach, but has since sold it to UK-based Designer Parfums. Designer Parfums says it intends to bring Dr. Sobel on board to play a larger role in the company's marketing and development of both current and future products. Sobel himself says he looks forward to "Playing an active role in rebuilding this brand." (Source: www.wwd.com) We'll have to see exactly what that means as DDF moves ahead!

For more information about DDF, call1-800-818-9770or visit www.ddfskincare.com/.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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