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Dermagenics Anti-aging Moisturizer

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
December 7, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments
Glycolics and AHAs are regarded by many in the cosmetics industry as one of the anti-aging miracles of the past 30 years. These (relatively) gentle exfoliators slough off dead skin cells and help to reveal a brighter (although perhaps not wrinkle-free complexion). Why then would a brand new anti-aging cosmetic line boast that it is free of glycolics and AHAs, putting them in the same basket as formaldehyde? Wel,, that is exactly what new kid on the block, Dermagenics has done.

Turn a jar of Dermagenics Anti-aging Moisturizer ($85) to reveal its underside and you will read that it doesn’t contain alpha hydroxys, glycolic acid, formaldehyde, alcohol and harmful oils. Dermagenics says that these ingredients actually accelerate skin damage and aging.  With regard to glycolics and AHAs, I would cautiously agree with this. I do use a glycolic mask (La Vie Celeste’s) once or twice a week and believe that some exfoliation is helpful, even necessary. However, I’ve always been mindful about overkill and concerned that sloughing off cells at an accelerated rate might hasten the Hayflick Limit (the number of times a cell reproduces itself before croaking).

When I emailed Dermagenics on the glycolic question, they came back with this response: “We only put “safe” ingredients into our products. And because glycolic acid is fairly new to the skin care game, and we feel like there hasn’t been enough testing on it to make sure it would not have long-term consequences for either the skin, or the body as a whole, we have not included it in our products.”

While Dermagenics’ say no to glycolic approach certainly got my attention, there were also a couple of other things about it that I noticed. Dermagenics has launched with only three products and one of them is a potion for the much-neglected men’s market (Mark has a sample to test and will be reviewing it in a few weeks).  Secondly, the Anti-Aging Moisturizer claims to be a comprehensive solution – apparently it will work for all areas of my face and I’ll never need to purchase another eye cream, wrinkle serum, or toner.

For a woman who (according to her husband) has a different cream for everything including the tip of my nose (hasn’t he heard of open pores!), this could be a stretch. We’ll see, as I’ll be trying out a sample over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of what’s in Anti-Aging Moisturizer.

Well, although Dermagenics says on its website “that there will never be harmful ingredients in any of our products”, this pledge is unfortunately not quite fulfilled by the Anti-Aging Moisturizer, which has two parabens and phenoxyethanol (both of which can be irritants and, more controversially, could be toxic).  Everything else is benign, although there is a little too much silicone for my taste. On the plus side, there are phospholipids high up the list. This ingredient is a veritable workhorse that retains moisture, helps other ingredients penetrate and imparts antioxidants.  There’s also quenching squalane and sodium hyaluronate.

An intriguing ingredient is hexapeptide-9. This is often marketed under the name Collaxyl and is widely touted as a repairer of acne scars. A relatively new peptide, hexapeptide-9 is supposed to boost collagen synthesis, although I couldn’t find any studies that back this up.  On the other hand, artemia comes with a better pedigree. According to researchers this alga is pretty impressive. It boosts the effects of other anti-aging ingredients, protects DNA against UV and free radicals. In addition, there is a powerful and stable form of vitamin C, tetrahexydecyl ascorbate, and antioxidant green tea.


Purified water, squalane, ceresin, sodium acrylates copolymer, hydrogenated polyisobutene, phospholipids, polyglyceryl-10 stearate, sunflower seed oil, hexapeptide-9, cyclopentasilioxane, dimethicone, vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, glycerin, ethoxydiglycol, jojoba oil, sodium hyaluronate, artemia extract, sodium pca, green tea extract, tetrahexydecyl ascorbate, allantoin, phenoxyethanol, mixed tocopherol, methylparaben, propylparaben.
  • December 16, 2010

    by Marta

    I just got some more information from Dermagenics on their philosophy regarding glycolics and AHAs. This is what the CEO of Dermagenics wrote to me in an email:

    "Although Glycolic acid, AHA (lactic, citric, mandelic acid) are known to have positive epidermal and dermal effects when used as a stand alone product, causing increased cell turn over by their peeling effect, we believe rejuvenation can be achieved by safer ways.
    Glycolic acid and AHA’s rely on a low pH of about 2 to be effective at drying and peeling the skin. On the other hand, moisturizing products operate in the normal skin pH range of about 5. Moisturizers claiming to have Alpha Hydroxys and/or Glycolic Acids in them will actually neutralize the acids, thus rendering the acids inactive. Thus, it becomes more of a marketing issue than a skin health issue. Additionally, there is some gray area as to the efficacy of over use of AHA and Glycolics, even at this reduced effectiveness combination.
    By using a Hexapeptide-9 combined with the artemia extract, delivered by way of our trans-dermal penetration process, we achieve a collagen and elastin synthesis at the dermal-epidermal junction, in a way that is both more effective and safe."

    This is all very interesting and I'll come back to it in my review of this product in a few weeks.

  • December 10, 2010

    by Helen

    eb5 is a great product. It goes on smooth and you only need to use a little so it lasts a long while. I highly recommend!

  • December 9, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Summer
    Your basic regimen sounds very good. It does depend on your skin. I have a 30-something friend who doesn't have a single line but her skin is prone to being dull and I think she would benefit from a once a week glycolic (not retinol, which amongst other things can be drying and irritating). If you don't use Clarisonic brush before cleansing, I think that would make a big difference. Unless you really do need them now, I would save the big gins for your 40s. Good botanical antioxidants will help with prevention. Some ideas for 30-somethings are here:

  • December 8, 2010

    by summer

    Hi Marta,

    I've read a few times now that glycolics may not be the best answer for "turning back time" on our faces over the long haul. I used glycolics for over a decade and decided to give my skin a break. Now I have been so intrigued by all the information I am learning on your site--I am not sure what to use as my mainstay. I use liquid Vit. C, YBF Balance and Tracie Martyn's cleanser every day. I have added in Sen Zen's moisturizer as the weather has changed here in the midwest. My question I guess is--what does a 30 something do for her skin to keep in turned over and as young as possible in your opinion. Retinols, glycolics, the new banana based acids from one of your last posts or just stick with your top 5 big gun anti-aging products such as spin trap and matrixl? Thanks for clarifying.

  • December 7, 2010

    by catlover2x

    This is very interesting and I'll look forward to your review with interest. From reading your posts it seems that you have the restraint to test a product on one patch and quantify the results. I would imagine you take pictures because otherwise it's just anecdata. I marvel that you have the patience. I originally landed on your site by googling Ookisa scam because I suffer from thinning hair. After reading several posts I ordered a bunch o' stuff and am currently trying three things on my hair so if one works, I won't know which one. I did try the Folligen on my eyebrows and do see results. I really appreciate that you will risk your skin and have the patience to do these trials, esp when there are ingredients that are cause for concern. Thank you.

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