Derma e claims its Hydrating Night Crème with Hyaluronic Acid can plump skin and help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. As it turns, out this product absolutely has what it takes to deliver on those claims, but because of poor packaging, it falls short of earning our highest rating (we'll explain in a moment).
Hydrating Night Crème with Hyaluronic Acid's biggest strength is its formula. This silky cream is packed with beneficial ingredients, chief among them the one mentioned on its label. There's a good amount of the salt form of hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, included here. Sodium hyaluronate is actually more bioavailable than hyaluronic acid (meaning it is more readily absorbed), and can help improve skin's moisture content, leading to a "plumping" effect (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 2012).
Alongside this ingredient are moisture-binding superstars like glycerin, aloe, and dimethicone, the anti-irritant allantoin, and antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin A. The inclusion of these is great news for parched skin, and even though the formula isn't fragrance-free, the amount of fragrance is minimal and shouldn't be an issue for most.
So why is this not getting a higher rating? It comes down to a single factor: The packaging. Hydrating Night Crème with Hyaluronic Acid is packaged in a jar, meaning many of those great ingredients that make it so potentially beneficial will begin to lose their effectiveness as soon as you open the lid. See More Info for details on why jar packaging is not ideal for skincare products.
That's a shame, because otherwise Hydrating Night Crème with Hyaluronic Acid has a lot going for it as a soothing cream for dry skin. However, because it also promises anti-aging benefits due to its mix of antioxidants (and other air and light sensitive ingredients), you're going to be shortchanged due to its jar packaging. We recommend instead one of the better-packaged options on our list of Best Moisturizers Without Sunscreen.
Jar Packaging: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, 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 that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
Thoroughly moisturize and plump skin to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles with this ultra-hydrating night crème. This extra-rich, deeply penetrating formula delivers the unmatched hydrating properties of nature's moisture magnet, Hyaluronic Acid (HA). A single molecule of HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, binding moisture to help plump, soften, smooth, tone and rehydrate skin. Enriched with anti-aging antioxidants, Vitamins C and E, and soothing Aloe, this formula helps defend skin from free radicals and the effects of the environment. Ideal for dry, dehydrated skin that needs richer moisture throughout the night, this crème delivers maximum hydration while helping diminish the signs of aging for softer, smoother, younger-looking skin.
Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid; Actimoist Bio-2), Calcium Ascorbate (Ester-C), Dimethicone, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Allantoin, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer (Aristoflex), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Plumeria Blossom Fragrance.
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.
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