The fragrance-free Deep Wrinkle Peptide Moisturizer SPF 30 is a daytime moisturizer with sunscreen that joins a growing crop of options providing broad spectrum protection with the mineral active zinc oxide. The rather high amount of zinc oxide present (18%) isn't necessarily a bad thing, but because this amount can be drying and feel thick, care needs to be taken to ensure the rest of the formula has a silkiness that reduces zinc oxide's less desirable esthetics. That's where this product for normal to oily or sensitive skin falls a bit short compared to similar options.
First, we do love that this is a gentle product; you can even use it around the eyes with practically zero risk of stinging! It also contains some tried-and-true emollients to moisturize plus peptides, skin-repairing ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, and a decent mix of antioxidants. All of this plus the sun protection would normally add up to a stronger recommendation, but once this sets it just doesn't feel as comfortable as it should and tends to become increasingly dry as the day goes on—and this was true even over oily areas!
We typically don't comment on our personal experience with the skincare products we review, but in this case had to mention this formulas texture as a potential issue given how drying it becomes. On the plus side, despite a high amount of zinc oxide Deep Wrinkle Peptide Moisturizer SPF 30 doesn't leave an obvious white cast. It's also packaged to keep its light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
If this had a more comfortable finish, it would've earned our highest rating. With gentle, broad spectrum sun protection, a good roster of anti-aging ingredients, zero fragrance, minimal white cast, and moisturizing ingredients that don't feel too greasy, it has more going for it than against it—but for certain the finish and how it wears will be polarizing.
One more comment: Derma E claims that this provides "chemical-free" sunscreen protection, which is seriously misleading. It's meant to cast the word "chemical" in a negative light, when in truth zinc oxide is absolutely a chemical—just like every other cosmetic ingredient, whether natural or synthetic. Don't fall for the chemical-free claim; it's never true and not the least bit helpful when shopping for skincare products.
This potent blend uses advanced peptide power plus safe, healthy chemical-free mineral sunscreen protection, delivering premium triple-action benefits. Peptide Argireline® helps relax facial muscles, smooth wrinkles, and discourage the formation of new lines. Peptide Matrixyl® synthe'6® tells the skin to synthesize new key components such as collagen and to restructure itself. Together, these powerful peptides soften and smooth the look of the deepest wrinkles, and prevent new ones from forming. Clear Zinc Oxide provides safe, chemical-free, nanoparticle-free broad spectrum UVA/UVB anti-aging protection.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 18%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Glycerin, Coco-Caprylate, Propanediol (Zemea), Methylcellulose, Glyceryl Stearate, Diheptyl Succinate, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 , Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract (Pcynogenol), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Aesculus Hippocastanum Seed Extract (Horse Chestnut), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Organic Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Organic Chamomilla Recutita Leaf Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Glyceryl Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.
Derma E At-a-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive considering the formulas; company provides complete ingredient lists on their Web site; an effective AHA product; tea tree oil–based disinfectants for acne; some good cleansers and a good toner; well-formulated mask.
Weaknesses: Jar packaging is rampant for many of the antioxidant-rich products; several boring moisturizers; abrasive scrubs; one skin-lightening product with questionable efficacy; products that contain the controversial ingredient DMAE; several products contain natural ingredients that have not been proven effective for their intended purpose; the anti-aging products with peptides make over-the-top claims not supported by what they contain.
"Formulated for results" and "We're serious about skin care" are phrases you'll see throughout the Derma E line—that and a heavy accent on all things natural. In business since 1984, this California-based, family-owned skin-care company's products are often seen in health food stores. We suspect the numerous questions we've been asked about the Derma E line are tied not only to their use of natural ingredients, but also to their emphasis on antioxidants, which they include in almost every product. In many cases, there are antioxidants aplenty; however, more often than not, the choice of jar packaging spoils the benefit the antioxidants Derma E chose could provide (air-tight packaging is critical because antioxidants deteriorate in the presence of air).
More so than any other line weve reviewed so far, where packaging is critical to ingredient efficacy and stability, Derma E has seemingly turned a blind eye to this glaring error. Because of that, there are very few products to extol or recommend, even though the line is priced fairly and some of the products have good formulations. But, just as you shouldn't eat food that no longer has any nutritional properties, the same goes for skin care, why bother if your skin isn't getting what it needs to be healthy?
The company's founders talk openly about their commitment to formulating quality products, often using proprietary ingredients (meaning ingredients unique to Derma E). Yet a quick look at the ingredients on the label shows that isn't true. Even if it were true, the notion that you would be getting something better for skin is sheer nonsense. There are lots of brilliant ingredients for skin available in the cosmetics world, and there is no single company that has a secret lurking in its laboratory that is a must for skin. It can be a very compelling story unless you know better, and if you don't already know better, you will after reading the reviews. Product after product either disappoints or comes in below average based on packaging issues or on problematic natural ingredients, the claims for which are based on folklore and anecdotal experience, not on solid science.
It all gets rather muddled where Derma E is concerned because several of their anti-aging products do contain some interesting peptides and impressive amounts of antioxidants. In many respects, the antioxidants chosen have reliable track records when it comes to their skin-care benefits. But again, jar packaging sabotages these performance-based ingredients to the point that it's difficult to take anything else the company does seriously. After all, if they can't get this fundamental right, what's the point of continually talking up their commitment to results-oriented products?
It doesn't seem that sun protection is very high on Derma E's priority list either. You'll find moisturizers and eye creams galore, including many with antiwrinkle and skin-firming claims—but only one sunscreen. One. In the entire line. And, surprise, it doesn’t contain natural sunscreen agents, at least not entirely. It never ceases to amaze me when "natural" product companies choose synthetic sunscreen actives when there are natural alternatives such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Synthetic sunscreens are perfectly fine, but if you're going to shout natural from the rooftops, why are you using synthetic sunscreen actives? Plus, any line that touts their anti-aging, antiwrinkle prowess should have more than one sunscreen. Walking away from the store after buying products only from this line is a guarantee you will be cheating your skin.
A common falsehood, perpetuated by Derma E and by many other cosmetics companies, is that their products are "natural" (whatever that truly means). Rest assured that that's about as probable as sandy, warm beaches in Antarctica (or a snowball in Hades). Derma E products contain many natural ingredients, but plenty of synthetic ingredients have been cast in major or supporting formulary roles. For example, Linda Miles, one of Derma E's founders, has stated that the company won't use the natural version of alpha lipoic acid because it is "a butcher house by-product," meaning it's derived from animals. She admits the company uses synthetic alpha lipoic acid, however, and she must be unaware that alpha lipoic acid need not be derived from meat; it also can be derived from spinach, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, yams, and yeast, all of which are very natural and, of course, not derived from animal flesh (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; and The Rose Sheet, May 26, 2008, page 4).
Miles also admitted that Derma E has struggled to find a good preservative system to replace the synthetic ones they currently use. That's not surprising, as it's an issue that any line that wants to go natural must deal with; the reality is that there are no natural preservatives that work as well in low amounts as the synthetic options.
We could go on about Derma E's claims in terms of what they do and don't use and will and won't do, but you've heard it all before from other natural lines. As is usually the case, there are some standout products to consider from Derma E. If the company overhauled its packaging to improve antioxidant stability, the handful of products would become a basket's worth, but there is no word on whether such a change is happening or even in the works.
For more information about Derma E, call (800) 521-3342 or visit www.dermae.com.
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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