Ferulic + Retinol Fibroblast Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Despite having a creamy texture, this facial moisturizer isn't rich enough for dry skin and is better suited for normal to oily skin; however, it suffers from two significant issues that keep us from giving it a good rating: Jar packaging and the inclusion of fragrant ingredient bergamot oil.
This moisturizer contains several light- and air-sensitive ingredients, including retinol and ferulic acid. From the first time you open this jar and remove the protective cover, those sensitive ingredients are wide open to air and light, which causes them to become less effective, as we explain in the More Info section. Anti-aging ingredients cannot do an ideal job of strengthening and firming skin when the packaging only serves to weaken them with each use!
Bergamot oil smells fresh, but it's a volatile citrus oil that, when used topically, is a photosensitizer and has photomutagenic properties, meaning it can induce malignant changes to cells (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, September 2001, pages 458–461; and Journal of Dermatology, May 1994, pages 319–322). What that's doing in this product is anyone's guess but you'd think a dermatologist would be more aware of the risks such ingredients present.
One more comment: This product cannot reduce sagging skin. It contains film-forming agents that can make lax skin feel smoother and perhaps a bit tighter, but no actual tightening or lifting is taking place. Such feats are beyond the capacity of even the best skin-care products, which is why most of us will need a combination of great anti-aging skin care plus cosmetic surgical or corrective procedures to keep our face and neck area looking younger and, yes, tighter.
- Very silky, lightweight texture.
- Contains an impressive mix of anti-aging ingredients.
- Overpriced, especially given the fact that it's packaged in a jar.
- Contains bergamot oil, which is an irritating and photosensitizing ingredient.
- The antioxidants will begin breaking down from the first use, as will the retinol.
- Amounts of glycolic and lactic acids are too low to function as exfoliants.
The fact that this anti-aging moisturizer is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins (like retinol), antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so 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 which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
This cream is a triple correction anti-aging moisturizer that contains the breakthrough combination of Ferulic Acid and Retinol and a trademark-pending ECG Cellular Complex to target the fibroblast cell, visibly improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles at the surface level and beyond. This moisturizer helps to counteract the visible signs of aging, increase the natural moisture barrier and restore elasticity to sagging skin.
Dr. Dennis GrossSkincare 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 whats 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 New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. ButDr. Dennis GrossSkincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.
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 everyDr. Dennis GrossSkincare 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 159161).
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.
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.