If you’re intrigued by this serum because of its claimed 2% retinol content, the enthusiasm stops here. First, retinol isn’t an ingredient where more is better. The higher the concentration of retinol the greater the likelihood of side effects such as redness, flaking, and sensitive skin. This is true even when the retinol is time-released, as claimed for this product. Second, we’re skeptical (really skeptical) that Brandt’s claim of 2% retinol is accurate. That’s because on the ingredient list retinol is listed after the preservative phenoxyethanol. This preservative is rarely used above 1%, and in fact in most parts of the world its maximum usage is capped at that amount. Knowing ingredients are listed in descending order from highest to lowest amount, the retinol would be listed before phenoxyethanol if it were really present at the amount claimed. But as mentioned earlier, even if this did contain 2%, that’s not necessarily better for your skin. There is plenty of research showing lower amounts of retinol are wonderfully effective without causing undue side effects.
This serum has more of a lotion-like texture and contains several ingredients suitable for normal to dry (but not blemish-prone) skin. It also contains a few antioxidants and a tiny amount of repairing ingredients, though nothing all that unique or worth the price. Ultimately, this serum may end up causing problems due to the fragrant citrus oil it contains. All citrus oils can be irritating, and when you’re dealing with retinol, it really helps to have anti-irritants to minimize any potential side effects. For the most part, anti-irritants are in short supply here. In summation, there are other retinol products with better formulas and lower price tags and those are recommended over what Dr. Brandt offers.
This concentrated serum is formulated with a time released 2% Retinol Complex that provides both immediate and long term release to promote radiance from within. It stimulates new cell turnover to improve skin texture and tone. The appearance of lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores is softened, revealing new, healthy skin with a youthful glow.
Water, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Isoamyl Laurate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Shea Butter Esters, Triheptanoin, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Behenyl Alcohol, Methylpropanediol, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Retinol, Glyceryl Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Betaine, Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate, Citrus Nobilis Oil, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylic /Capric Triglyceride, Lecithin, Glycine Soya Sterols, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Maslinic Acid, Phenylpropanol, BHT, Sodium Phytate, Dimethiconol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Honey, Pectin, Phospholipids, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycine Soya Oil.
Dr. Brandt At-A-Glance
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on the company website; a good daytime moisturizer with sunscreen.
Weaknesses: Expensive; overwhelming number of products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; no products to comprehensively address acne or oily skin; every Pores No More product is a disappointment; jar packaging; several products make claims on par with what cosmetic procedures (not skin care) can do.
The late Dr. Fredric Brandt (he passed away in April, 2015 at the age of 65) was a Miami- and New York City–based dermatologist whose claim to fame rested on two main points. The first (and it is a very important credibility factor for consumers) included the many celebrity clients worked with, while the second was his assertion that he performed more Botox and collagen injections than any other dermatologist in the world. According to Allergan, the company that makes Botox, they no longer rank the physicians who purchase Botox from them; however, they did confirm that Dr. Brandt was definitely one of their biggest buyers. Yet regardless of how much Botox or collagen Dr. Brandt or any other physician uses, what in the world does that have to do with cosmetic formulations? If anything, you have to wonder why Brandt was using so much Botox and collagen if his products truly fight wrinkles, sagging, and on and on.
Beyond Brandt's cosmetic enhancement procedures, he is the author of Age-less: The Definitive Guide to Botox, Collagen, Lasers, Peels, and Other Solutions for Flawless Skin. His book and skin-care line are competing against the vastly more popular books and product line from fellow dermatologist Dr. N.V. Perricone. Although Perricone's skin-care line has some drawbacks, including irritating ingredients and the lack of supporting research for his neuropeptide products, the majority of his products, though overpriced, have more pros than cons. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Dr. Brandt, whose namesake skin-care line is on the disappointing side, especially given the product's price points.
Brandt's products are sold with the tag line that they are "prescription strength, prescription-free," and "are formulated under dermatologic control for maximum safety and efficiency and offer the highest performance without a prescription." Aside from how unbelievable that assertion is, what is not mentioned is the fact that none of the ingredients in Brandt's products are comparable to prescription formulations. And what is "dermatologic control" anyway, given that there are no such standards anywhere in the world? Moreover, what do dermatologists know about the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, much less cosmetics? The two arenas of expertise are completely unrelated.
Dr. Brandt positioned his products as clinically superior to what you would find in other cosmetics lines, an unproven assertion to say the least. Many of his products tout benefits that don't just stretch the truth, but snap it in two—and these fallacies were more disconcerting coming from an esteemed dermatologist. When products contain the problematic ingredients that are so pervasive in Brandt's line, such as irritating plant extracts, drying detergent cleansing agents, and far too many products with skin cell-damaging lavender oil, it becomes nothing more than a line that should be approached with extreme caution.
The line does have a few bright spots: many of Brandt's products do contain significant amounts of antioxidants, though that certainly doesn't make his line unique because many other product lines do that, too. (Here it's fair to say that while no specific amounts have been established for any antioxidant that will ensure their effectiveness, the general consensus among researchers is that more antioxidants are better than less, and less is still better than none at all.) Unless you were a devoted patient of Dr. Brandt and would be racked with guilt for not purchasing his products while visiting for an appointment, there is no reason to seek out this disappointing line.
For more information about Dr. Brandt's products, call (800) 234-1066 or visit www.drbrandtskincare.com.
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