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I’ve been on the fence for years with the ingredient DMAE. I finally find myself ready to take a side — in favor — as a trickle of new research emerges and responsible formulators, such as Dawn Lorraine, put it to great use. After testing Dawn Lorraine’s Acai & DMAE Firming Serum ($67 in the shop), I have found that — and I imagine thanks to the DMAE — the product lives up to its name.
Dawn Lorraine is a brand that aims to pull off a tricky balance of high performance with sustainable and organic ingredients. I think Dawn succeeds for the most part, and the Acai & DMAE Firming Serum is another good example. The natural scent is transporting, the serum itself is light and quickly absorbed, and a slew of organic botanicals mingle with anti-aging heavy hitters in this formula. But in the end, it’s the results that matter. This serum left my cheeks notably firm and my skin overall is clearer and brighter.
The star ingredient DMAE does have some baggage I need to mention. In 2007, researchers claimed that DMAE may cause cells to die and damaged cells were resulting in thicker skin. Since then, however, there have been some other studies that claim the ingredient is safe at a 3 percent concentration. One Brazilian study confirmed that DMAE increased collagen fiber and dermal thickness and noted that there was no "mechanical effect," while a 2014 study reported that DMAE in conjunction with amino acids increased type l and type lll collagen. Hence, I’m off the fence and feel that this active is likely a safe and certainly effective skin firmer.
It is definitely worth noting that, as in the study referenced above, Dawn Lorraine combines the DMAE with amino acids. These proteins always do well with my skin and I believe they account for the nicely refreshed and luminous look my skin has while using this serum. Other heavy hits are a potent and stable form of vitamin C, the antioxidant CoQ10, vitamin B in the form of niancinamide and B5, and alpha lipoic acid. Also known as thioctic acid, lipoic acid is a fundamental co-enzyme involved in producing energy in cells and a powerful antioxidant. Speaking of antioxidants, the other star ingredient acai is chock-full of them.
Although dubbed a firming serum — and with good reason — this is also a skin brightener with what is billed in the ingredients list as an AHA (alpha hydroxyl acid) blend of organic bilberry, cranberry, sugar cane (the source of glycolic acid), and citric extracts. Dawn Lorraine has shown again that it is perfectly possible to get a formula right without a list as long as your leg, deviating from a natural ingredients mission or breaking the bank.