If you’ve been on the fence about trying LED light (such as one of the at home devices, Baby Quasar or the Sirius Aurora) then you could consider an alternative: a cream that behaves like LED light. LED in a bottle, that you rub on? Sounds bizarre, but DermaDoctor would have us believe that Phytodynamic Therapy ($85) is exactly that. And it pulls off the LED trick thanks to the amazing noni fruit.

Here’s how it is supposed to work. Please note that I use the word ‘supposed’ advisedly. Morinda citrifolia extract (noni fruit) contains a special polyphenol that, according to DermaDoctor, "captures the sun's rays then converts and emits this energy as a highly focused visible red wavelength of light (648nm)" that happens to be equivalent to that of a red LED. Result: firmer skin. Don't you just love the idea that it is  "a highly focused visible" wavelength. I can almost imagine it pulsating through my body - visibly.

Now the one thing I will say for the noni is that this is a fruit with stellar PR. The next time Charlie Sheen has a meltdown, he should hire whoever is behind the public face of the noni. The real noni has such a strong smell and bitter taste that most cultures relegate it to famine food. Nutritionally, it is mostly carbs - 76% - and has only half the vitamin C of a mandarin orange. According to Wikipedia it does contain some phytochemicals, but none that are unqiue to noni. Despite these shortcomings, the noni has been elevated (without substantial backing) to the status of life-saving superfood.

It won’t surprise you that online searches on polyphenals and UV light throw up a lot of websites with names like nonifruit.org.  I can find no independent research on noni polyphenals and UV light. Whoever is behind all this should put the noni behind him/her, jump ship to TIA and make me a coast-to-coast household name.

To be fair, the noni does seem to be established as containing antioxidants (Sloan Kettering’s website mentions several studies that have demonstrated its antioxidant properties) and Japanese researchers think a polysaccharide-rich substance from the fruit juice of noni could be used to treat cancer.

But capturing the sun’s rays and converting them to LED equivalent wavelengths is not something I have verified. Nor have I been able to make the link between polyphenols in general (they are tannins and most plants have them) and LED conversion, regardless of whether they are noni sourced.

The company that makes this wondrous LED-like cosmetic ingredient does it by combining the polyphenol with tricalcium phosphate (an anti-caking agent in powders and a food additive) amino acids derived from yeast to form a powder. DoctorDerma’s Phytodynamic Therapy lists tricalcium phosphate, yeast amino acids and morinda citrifolia extract.

There are four sunscreen actives in Phytodynamic Therapy and they prompt me to ask how they work things out with the polyphenol that captures the sun’s rays and turns them into LED. Typically, chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays – perhaps they hand them over to our noni friend after absorption for LED conversion. Sun's rays, hit skin, absorb, hand over, convert. It's possible. On Planet Noni.

There are quite a few silicones and fillers DoctorDerma’s Phytodynamic Therapy and at least eight preservatives, including phenoxyethanol and triethanolamine. However, there are also a few interesting and useful ingredients – such as the new benzylidene dimethyoxydimethylindanone sunscreen booster that is also in Lumixyl’s sunscreen, and a good handful of botanical extracts and vitamins. Just not enough to make me see the light.

Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5.0%, Oxybenzone 6.0%



Other Ingredients: Aqua (water), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Yeast Amino Acids, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Methyl Methacrylate / Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Tricalcium Phosphate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Sorbitan Oleate, Benzylidene Dimethoxydimethylindanone, Morinda Citrifolia Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Anacyclus Pyrethrum Root Extract, Lentinula Edodes (Shiitake Mushroom) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ubiquinone, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Carbomer,  Acrylates / C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben