The claims for this product make it sound like so much more than it is—something that could be said for 99% of cosmetics sold today! In this case, you're getting a product that's supposed to reignite your youthful glow, but really it's just an expensive self-tanning lotion that also contains cosmetic pigments so you get some instant color, too (the self-tanning ingredient's color develops in 1–3 hours)
The formula contains dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the same ingredient used in most self-tanners in every price range. MD Skincare positions this as a daily moisturizer but unless you want to get progressively tanner each day, this isn't the most practical daytime option, not to mention you'll need to apply this to your neck and chest so they turn color as well, but the cosmetic pigment this contains rubs off on clothing.
The formula contains the AHA ingredients glycolic and lactic acids in amounts great enough to exfoliate skin, but the pH of 5.3 prevents them from working this way. That's actually a good thing, because if those AHA ingredients worked they'd be exfoliating some of the self-tanning ingredient, too, potentially leading to streaky, uneven color. For best results, exfoliate with a separate product, then apply your self-tanner.
Without all the concerns over too much color, no exfoliation, and the cosmetic pigment coming off on clothing, this product contains an impressive list of antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients. It's suitable for normal to dry skin, but for best results we suggest mixing this with your nighttime moisturizer, then enjoy the hint of color it provides the next day (being sure to protect your skin with a sunscreen during the day—a self-tan doesn't provide any sun protection).
This contains fragrance in the form of peach extract, and the scent lingers.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare At-A-Glance
Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and what’s available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.
As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in
As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?
Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to every Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!
Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159–161).
Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.
For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.
NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
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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