Restoring Night Serum
This pricey water-based serum may have grabbed your attention with its claim of reversing wrinkles by 30%. Who wouldn’t be tempted by any product making such a boast?
Added to these hope-in-a-bottle marketing shenanigans, DDF uses phrases such as “patented technology” (which is meaningless because patents have nothing to do with efficacy) and “results in 2 weeks” (which is easy to simulate by almost any skin-care product).
Supposedly, the patented technology allows elastin, one of skin’s supportive elements, to cross link, as it does naturally when we’re young and before sun damage occurs. However, unlike collagen, once elastin fibers are damaged, they’re most likely irreparable. Also unlike collagen (which healthy skin loves to make), we have almost all of the elastin we ever will have at birth; after that, elastin production decreases significantly. By the time we reach adulthood, elastin production stops almost completely (Source: Cosmetic Dermatology Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition, Baumann, Leslie, M.D., McGraw Hill Medical, 2009, pages 9–10). That’s just one more reason why sun protection is so important if you want to avoid damaging the elements in your skin that keep it looking young and that cannot easily, if ever, be regenerated.
Think of elastin strands as if they were small rubber bands. When a rubber band is fresh and new, it has great bounce-back and resiliency. However, once it is stretched beyond its limits, it either snaps or fails to revert to its original size. Such is the case with damaged elastin fibers in your skin—years of cumulative damage, mostly from environmental sources, cause elastin to lose its ability to snap back into place, resulting in sagging skin and more pronounced wrinkles.
However, there is one ingredient in this serum (dill extract) that has the potential to stimulate elastin production, at least with fake skin. There is one study indicating that on human skin samples and on “dermal equivalents” (which is not the same as intact human skin), dill extract had an effect on elastogenesis. Elastogenesis is a fancy way of saying it helped make elastin. The study demonstrated that dill can stimulate key enzymes in fake skin that trigger elastin production, although no mention was made of dill being able to repair damaged elastin (which would be truly exciting) or how much dill was required or whether or not it would work in a cosmetic formula when combined with other ingredients. We also don’t know if dill can be absorbed into real skin to have a similar impact. Instead, all we know is that dill seems to have this effect on isolated skin cells responsible for elastin production (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; and Experimental Dermatology, August 2006, pages 574–581).
Although it is highly doubtful that the amount of dill extract in this product will repair elastin in test tube skin or real skin, there is still the claim about reducing wrinkles by 30% to look at. Understand that percentages indicating improvement are meaningless without the study in hand because there is no way to know how the study was done. If the product was applied after washing and then stripping the face with alcohol that could easily account for the improvement, but DDF isn’t divulging their study protocol; rather, they’re just bragging about the results (sort of like getting an A on math test but you already had the answers given to you—and everyone knows you cheated).
Aside from the over-the-top seductive claims, this does contain several beneficial ingredients that can help improve wrinkles and make skin look smoother while reducing inflammation and repairing skin’s barrier. All of that is good news; it’s just tempered by the fact that DDF’s attention-getting wrinkle-reversing claims won’t become reality. Oh, and by the way, DDF is owned by Procter & Gamble, which explains this new formula’s similarity to many of Olay’s products (also owned by P&G), and those products are a lot less pricey, that’s for sure. This fragrance-free serum is suitable for all skin types.
Reverses the appearance of wrinkles by up to 30%. It contains a patented technology that hydrates to allow the natural cross linking of elastin to help strengthen skins surface for younger-looking, more resilient skin. See visible results in 2 weeks.
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.