It's important to point out that you do not need a special neck or décolleté (chest) cream—the ingredients that benefit skin are the same, whether it's skin on your face, neck, or chest. Depending on the skin type and your personal preferences for texture, you can use the same product you use on your neck on your face (and vice versa). Although this product contains what could be a dry skin–friendly mix of emollient plant oils, antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, and antioxidants, it cannot make good on its claims about skin lightening. Despite the beneficial ingredients, a few significant drawbacks earned it an AVERAGE rating.
DeVita makes the claim that the mix of the marine extract (Laminaria ochroleuca), kojic acid, and arbutin will help diminish hyperpigmentation (brown spots), but the research says otherwise, especially given the small amounts in this formula. Laminaria ochroleuca is a marine extract and it can be a good antioxidant, but there is no research demonstrating its effectiveness as a skin lightener. Also, this product does not contain kojic acid; despite DeVita's claims; it actually contains kojic dipalmitate. Kojic dipalmitate is a mixture of palmitic acid and kojic acid, and there is no research demonstrating it works like kojic acid and/or can help lighten discolorations. Arbutin has some research supporting its benefit in treating hyperpigmentation, but that's because it breaks down into hydroquinone in the skin, an ingredient that most natural companies rage against. Nonetheless, the amount of arbutin is too small for it to have much, if any, benefit.
There also is some ivy extract, which would be irritating in large amounts, but only a small amount is present in this formula. For most people, it wouldn't be an issue, just a heads up if you have sensitive skin!
We're concerned with DeVita's questionable preservative system; if they are using legitimate broad-spectrum preservatives, they aren't declaring them on the ingredient list. Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) seed extract doesn't have research demonstrating effectiveness as a broad-spectrum preservative, which means it can't protect you or your product from exposure to potentially harmful bacteria and mold, even in sealed, pump-style glass packaging. Yes, citrus extracts can have antibacterial benefit, but they're simply not strong enough to defend a product like this from a broad range of pathogens (Sources: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 53:7630–7636; and Journal Pharmazie, 1999 June, 54(6):452–456.)
We would love to give this a higher rating based upon the beneficial antioxidants and emollients, but it can't live up to its skin-lightening claims, DeVita isn't providing adequate ingredient information, and there's no way to know how long you can safely use this without risking exposure to bacteria and/or mold. Instead, consider any of our top picks from other brands in the Best Skin-Lightening Products section.
If you're looking for a really great serum, check the recommended serums from other brands in our list of Best Serums.
As is the case with every DeVita product we've seen, the ingredient list doesn't comply with FDA or (global) INCI ingredient labeling standards. For example, "Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seedcake" isn't a recognized ingredient name. They may mean "Hydrolyzed Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seedcake," or "Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Extract" or seed oil, but we (and you) don't know for certain.
This lack of ingredient transparency is important to mention, as DeVita goes to great lengths to indicate their compliance with INCI regulatory requirements (INCI is the ingredient labeling standard used in Europe), and, of course, because you reasonably want to know what's ingredients are in (or not in) your skin-care products.
DeVita’s Neck and Décolleté serum can help restore “V-Zone” integrity by helping diminish and calm the look of hyperpigmentation with marine extracts, Kojic Acid and Arbutin. This intense serum coats and protects the delicate tissues of the decollete area and keeps it soft and hydrated all day long without any heavy or greasy feeling. Regular use helps to soften, smooth, refine and revitalize.
Coconut Alkanes (And) Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Derived From Coconut), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Squalane (Olive), Laminaria Ochroleuca (Marine Algae) Extract, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seedcake, Fucus Vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Leaf/Stem Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower) Extract, Kojic Dipalmitate, Arbutin, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Extract.
Strengths: Very few. While a few products contain beneficial ingredients, they are overshadowed by the many other ingredients that present significant concerns and by the questionable preservative systems.
Weaknesses: Ingredient label doesn’t comply with FDA or (global) International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) cosmetics regulations so you really don’t know what you are putting on your face; products appear to lack adequate preservatives to keep you safe from mold and bacteria (if they’re in the products, the company doesn’t list them); misleading to outlandish claims; some products contain multiple potent irritants.
It seems strange that the tagline for the Arizona-based DeVita Skin Care is "Guided by Nature, Driven by Science" because they take a decidedly unscientific route to promote their products, using consumers' fears of chemicals (describing them as "poisons and toxic" on their website) to the fullest degree. If this company was driven by science, we would expect more than just the same old scare tactic—"all chemicals are bad but all plants are good." In fact, all the ingredients in any cosmetic, including water, are chemicals.
DeVita makes the claim that their products are "all natural," vegan, and paraben-free, despite the fact that parabens come from natural ingredients and there is no research showing they are a problem for the body. Their all-natural claim is easy to debunk because their products contain decidedly synthetic ingredients, such as retinol, l-carnosine, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, and polymethylsilsesquioxane, to name a few.
Regarding the l-carnosine and retinol, they are found naturally in animals, but they do not occur in plants. However, because the natural, animal-based versions aren't very stable or effective in skin-care formulas, l-carnosine and retinol in cosmetics are (with rare exceptions) synthetic. Therefore, either DeVita isn't being straight about being a vegan line, or they have their own definition of what "all-natural" means. That may very well be the case, because the "all natural" claim is not beholden to any sort of cosmetic regulation anywhere in the world.
All of this natural, chemical-free posturing gets so tiring—the truth is that there are good and bad natural ingredients, just as there are good and bad synthetic ingredients. Natural isn't inherently better and synthetic isn't inherently evil. One problem with DeVita products is that you can't be sure what you're really putting on your skin because DeVita takes liberties with how they list product ingredients, which is a regulatory no-no. For all the DeVita products we reviewed (without exception), not a single one had an ingredient list that complied with FDA or (global) INCI standards.
For example, "De-Ionized Water" isn't a recognized name, nor is "Aloe Barbadensis." In the latter case, the designation doesn't tell you if they're using aloe leaf, aloe flower extract with alcohol, aloe leaf juice diluted with water, or just a plain aloe extract. Listing the full ingredient is important information because different forms of an ingredient can mean different things to a formula and can have different effects on your skin.
We admire DeVita in that they don't resort to alcohol-based formulas (a rare quality for a natural brand); unfortunately, it seems they ignored, or simply overlooked, the research on the potent irritant potential of essential oils and fragrances.
They also seem to ignore the risks inherent in not using an effective preservative system. Many of the products we reviewed had questionable preservative systems (see individual product reviews for details), which is bad news (for you and your skin) because you won't know how long you can safely use a product before it's overrun by bacteria and mold. We raised our concern about the preservatives with a representative from DeVita and were told that their products were preserved by the use of aloe, allantoin, grape seed extract, grapefruit seed extract, and "others," depending on the product. To be clear, none of these ingredients has any research demonstrating an ability to work as broad-spectrum preservatives; that is, they won't keep your product free of mold, fungi, or bacteria.
It is true that some ingredients have natural antibacterial benefits, but that doesn't mean they are a good substitute for tried-and-true preservatives. For example, vitamin C has antibacterial and antioxidant benefit, but are you willing to drink from a container of 100% fruit juice that's been sitting on the counter for a month or two? There are plenty of options for effective preservatives, no matter if your preference is for natural skin care or not, but aloe, allantoin, grape seed, and grapefruit seed extract aren't counted among them.
We understand the appeal of DeVita as a brand for those who are enamored with the concept of 100% natural products. However, the reality is that DeVita presents this appearance of "all natural" by fudging the details, devising their own definitions of "all natural," and providing inaccurate information about the source of their ingredients (vegan plant-based l-carnosine and natural silicone—Really?). In many of the products we reviewed, DeVita either omits the source of their preservatives, or (more dangerous to imagine) uses ineffective preservative systems. We are not against naturally derived ingredients by any means, but if you're looking to use natural products, you can do better than this brand, which ultimately leaves you questioning what exactly it is you're putting on your skin.
For more information on DeVita, visit www.devitaskincare.com or call 1-877-233-8482.
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