DeVita Natural Skin CareSun Damage Repair Serum
1 fl. oz. for $39.95
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Brand Overview
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Sun Damage Repair Serum is positioned as an "all-in-one" product promising to treat blemishes, reduce wrinkles, and lighten discolorations/blotchiness from sun damage. That sounds great! Unfortunately, what you get is a product that doesn't provide you with an understandable ingredient list, that has a questionable preservative system, and that doesn't contain the ingredients necessary to live up to its marketing claims. Sadly, this is par for the course with DeVita.

While this does seem to contain some good skin-repairing ingredients and antioxidants, it doesn't contain any ingredient with research showing it reduces breakouts. The same is true for DeVita's skin-lightening claims; while this does contain antioxidants, there is no specific research showing that they can lighten a single dark spot. There are also a few novel ingredients in this formula, such as prezatide (a copper peptide), but not enough to redeem this product.

Despite DeVita's claim of being "all natural," prezatide copper acetate and retinol are not naturally derived. Prezatide copper acetate is a synthetic peptide, and retinol occurs naturally only in animals. Retinol is produced synthetically for use in skin-care formulas because natural retinol isn't stable and is not as effective as the synthetic version. Either DeVita isn't being accurate with their "all-natural" claim, or they aren't being accurate about their claim of "no animal-derived ingredients."

Last, either this product has no recognized broad-spectrum preservatives, or DeVita doesn't include them on the ingredient list. We spoke with a representative from DeVita about this concern, who claimed grape seed extract was their preservative (listed as Vitis Vinifera) and that aloe has some added antibacterial benefit. There isn't any research to substantiate the claim about grape seed extract or aloe being effective as preservatives against bacteria or mold. Some naturally derived ingredients do have antibacterial benefit, but that doesn't mean they are a substitute for an adequate preservative system.

Sun Damage Repair Serum does include an array of beneficial ingredients, but we can't recommend it because it doesn't follow FDA or (global) INCI ingredient labeling regulations and it has a questionable preservative system. Instead, consider any of the numerous well-formulated alternatives on the market from other brands in the Best Skin-Lightening Products section.

  • Contains beneficial emollients, skin-identical ingredients, and antioxidants.
  • Won't lighten skin or treat breakouts as promised.
  • Inaccurate ingredient claims (i.e., retinol is neither natural nor plant-derived).
  • Questionable preservative system.
  • Ingredient label doesn't comply with FDA or (global) INCI cosmetics regulations, so you really don't know what you are putting on your face.
Last Updated:08.15.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

If you've had too much fun in the sun, DeVita's light, effective Sun Damage Repair serum might just be the answer! Research has shown that Copper plays a fundamental role in skin health by appearing to help restore the skin's ability to repair itself, and by helping to reduce the look of small and large wrinkles, blotchiness (spots!) and blemishes. Together with Emblica Fruit Extract, a proven skin lightener, this formula works on discouraging the ravages of sun damage while encouraging the formation of seemingly new, firmer skin.


Aloe Barbadensis (certified organic aloe vera gel), Camellia Sinensis (Japanese Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Glycerin (Vegetable), Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Hyaluronic Acid (Vegan Source), Squalane (Olive), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), NaPCA, Lecithin Phospholipid, Prezatide Copper Acetate, Retinol (Vitamin A), Zinc Oxide, Hydroxymethylcellulose (Plant Source), Lauroyl Lysine, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract.

Brand Overview

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.

About the Experts

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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