Overview:

Skimming through photos online of Patricia Wexler is like looking at images of any other celebrity; it’s hard to find flaws and nearly impossible to figure out exactly what procedures she has endured in order to look as fantastic as she does. But Patricia Wexler isn’t a movie actress or television vixen; she is dermatologist to the stars, though, with appearances on Oprah and Good Morning America, and friendships with people like Ellen Barkin, she is a celebrity in her own right.

At nearly 60 years old, Dr. Wexler has incredibly impressive credentials and experience to boot. She began her career as an internist, but switched to dermatology for good when she completed her residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in 1985. Since then, she has been practicing in New York City and has received awards including the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Award for Excellence in Cosmetic Surgery. Getting an appointment with this sought after practitioner won’t come easy – or cheap. As of 2006, just an appointment to sit down and talk to Dr. Wexler costs $500; laser treatments can cost up to $6,000 and liposuction can run you $11,000.

Which is why it’s pretty nice that Dr. Wexler has her own skincare line, sold at the much more affordable Bath & Body Works.

The Good:

The line, simply entitled Patricia Wexler M.D., uses a newly discovered (and Wexler patented) ingredient called MMPi•20 that supposedly acts as a Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP) inhibitor. MMPs are enzymes that degrade collagen, reinforcing the aging process. And the line’s most expensive product (Skin Regenerating Serum) is a reasonable $65, though there are products that cost as little as $15 (such as the Acne Spot Treatment).

The Bad

However, I have a bone to pick with Dr. Wexler. As a board-certified, highly respected dermatologist, she should bear some sort of responsibility for the products she creates and sells to consumers. Yes, she has all these interesting, patented, one-of-a-kind components that promise to fight dullness, acne and wrinkles – but what, may I ask, are the rest of the ingredients in her stellar products? Wouldn’t you like to know? I certainly would love to tell you but, unfortunately, the number one complaint about Dr. Wexler’s products on dozens of message boards across the Internet is that the good doctor fails to be straightforward about what exactly she puts into her serums.

Dr. Wexler does not have her own website; instead, you are directed to a Bath & Body Works page dedicated to the doctor. The technology she uses is explained in very broad terms and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence or research referenced that back Dr. Wexler’s claims. And, surprisingly, the ingredients tab leads to a page that is not very helpful or specific in terms of the contents of Dr. Wexler’s products.

The Truth

I came across an article written by a Cosmetics Cop contributor who was perturbed by Dr. Wexler’s lack of honesty when it comes to ingredients. Apparently, the contributor emailed Bath & Body Works asking for a full list of ingredients for one of Dr. Wexler’s products, and was told by the company to do her own research at the local library. When the contributor did indeed research Patricia Wexler, she found her quoted by author Ellen Lupton in a book called Skin saying, “When it comes to cosmetic matters, women have a ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell me, please!’ policy” (pg. 41). Now, this quote was taken slightly out of context, as a New York Times article reveals, but it does seem that Dr. Wexler complies with these women’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which doesn’t say much for the doctor in terms of being a responsible dermatologist. If Dr. Wexler is as open about her dermatological procedures as she is about her product line, I’d be worried.

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