Dr. Jart's pitch for for their Ceramidin Gel-Cream is that it's an ideal product for skin that's damaged or reactive. While it does have ingredients that can help in this regard, it makes some pretty big missteps as well! Ultimately, it isn't perfect for replenishing any skin, regardless of its condition!
One of the first problems with this cream is in its packaging: Like many facial moisturizers, it comes in a jar, but that's not the best when it comes to almost any skincare product. Whether you use your fingers or a spatula to dole out the product, there's still the potential to introduce bacteria into it and that degrades the ingredients. But the bigger issue with jars is that some of the good ingredients here (like antioxidants) will begin to break down as soon as they're exposed to light and air (see More Info for further details).
The product itself has a lightweight gel-cream texture that feels hydrating, yet not overly rich; as such it's best for those with normal to combination skin. Skin feels smoother and moisturized, thanks to the inclusion of emollients and a skin-replenishing ceramide (though there is only one ceramide included, while the claims misleadingly make it appear as though there are more).
If Dr. Jart had stopped there, this would be a fine, though not exciting, moisturizer. However, this formula includes several fragrance ingredients, including bergamot oil, geranium oil, and patchouli oil, all of which can aggravate skin (see More Info for details). This is true for everyone's skin, regardless of whether it is reactive or not, and this is advertised as being a solution for damaged skin! Unbelievable.
The formula also contains menthol-derived cooling agents whose tingle may feel refreshing, but that's really your skin telling you it's being aggravated, not soothed!
One other point, this product boasts that it contains 85% moisture but that is nothing to brag about. 85% percent moisture just means this product contains more water than the great ingredients it should contain.
Our advice is to forget this one, and consider one of the less-fragrant options you'll find on our list of Best Moisturizers, Daytime and Nighttime.
- Gel-cream feels hydrating, yet not overly rich.
- Skin feels smoother and moisturized.
- Packaged in a jar, meaning some of its beneficial ingredients aren't protected from light and air.
- Contains a noticeable fragrance, which can aggravate skin.
- Contains more water than the great ingredients it should.
Jar Packaging & Anti-Aging Moisturizers: This anti-aging formula is packaged in a jar, which means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable for long once it's opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients are air-sensitive and begin to break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective.
Jars are also unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, contaminating the product. This leads to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.
When shopping for an anti-aging moisturizer, the ingredients that provide the most benefit for addressing visible signs of aging among many other concerns need to be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging.
References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, issue 14, pages 97-106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, issue 3, pages 252-259.
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, issue 9, pages 4676-4683
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, issue 6, pages 640-660
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82-88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1-10
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally keeps skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has on skin, the damage will still be taking place even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement pages 1-43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446—475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
Dr. Jart+ At-a-Glance
Strengths: The BB creams (Beauty Balms) provide broad-spectrum sun protection and are fragrance-free.
Weaknesses: Expensive; BB creams are little more than tinted moisturizers with sunscreen; the masks are gimmicky and minimally helpful for skin.
Dr. Jart+ is a line of skin-care products based in Korea. Its most popular products are the Beauty Balms, known in the United States as BB creams. Before we discuss this brand's contribution to the BB cream craze, we want to state that at this time we are reviewing only the Dr. Jart+ products that are available at U.S. Sephora stores. If you visit the Korean Dr. Jart+ Web site, you'll see several other skin-care products are offered. We might review those in the future, but it's clear that the questions we've received about this brand have to do with the BB creams.
No information is available about an actual Dr. Jart, and our Korean friends tell us there is no actual Dr. Jart, so it is a made up name to help give the line some credibility. According to the company's English Web site, the brand is supposed to be the brainchild of multiple dermatologists as well as 21 "medical specialists." That's a lot of cooks for one product line, but as we've reported before, and as many of you know from experience, there are plenty of doctors' products that are terribly formulated and that come in bad packaging. All that really counts is whether or not you should give this line a closer look, despite the marketing claims
It didn't take much review to discover that there is nothing particularly medical or dermatologist-oriented about these products. The people behind Dr. Jart+ don't have access to any special ingredients other cosmetic companies can't use, and their products contain no unique ingredients that have any research showing that they improve skin. U.S. Sephora stores sell two BB cream options from Dr. Jart+; one of them is great and the other is lacking in too many areas to make it worth purchasing. But the question remains, should you purchase a BB cream at all? They are not must-have products, and most are far from being the "new idea in skin care" they're made out to be. Essentially, whether they're called BB creams, Blemish Balms, or Beauty Balms, all of these products are little more than tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. Some include a helpful amount of beneficial ingredients like antioxidants or skin-lightening agents (vitamin C, arbutin) to improve brown spots. Such discolorations are considered a blemish in Asian cultures, but that's the only distinguishing feature. Compared with standard tinted moisturizers, BB creams typically provide slightly to moderately more coverage. In that sense, they fall between tinted moisturizers and foundations, but many BB creams go on sheer also; so, ultimately, it comes down to the individual products. If you're happily using a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, there's no reason to forgo it in favor of a BB cream, but there's no harm in testing them out to see if you prefer their effect. Most won't notice much difference between them and a tinted moisturizer.
For more information about Dr. Jart+, visit http://www.drjart.co.kr/global/eng/.
Note: The company does not publish a phone number on its Web site, which doesn't bode well for building consumer trust or obtaining any help from customer service, so buyer beware.
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.