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Dr. Gary Goldfaden claims to have launched the “first dermatologist-developed, natural skincare line in the industry.” That’s quite a claim. I first came across Dr. Goldfaden a couple of years ago when he was one of the first to jump on the apple stem cell bandwagon. Finally, I got to try one of his skincare products, Goldfaden MD Needleless Line Smoothing Concentrate ($115), and I didn’t like it one bit.
Before I explain my reaction, I should back up and say that I was initially very intrigued by the formula for Needleless. I guessed correctly that it would be based on acetyl hexapeptide-3, often referred to as “Botox in a jar” since it is a peptide that is supposed to inhibit expression lines. It isn’t an ingredient that I greatly care for, but it is so dominant in this pared back formula of seaweed, hyaluronic acid and little else, that I wondered how effective it would be given such a free rein.
Acetyl hexapeptide-3, also known as Argireline, works by destabilizing a protein complex called SNARE that is involved in muscle contraction. All well and good, but it doesn’t really do anything positive, such as build collagen. For this reason, I tend to gravitate towards other peptides (see my Five Best with peptides). But if I was going to break the habits of a lifetime, it made sense to do it with a product where the AH-3 was so front and center. Plus, I was willing to try something that might freeze the muscles that chew and twitch in unstoppable campaign to deepen my lip lines.
Initially, I thought the experience of using Needleless might prove to be a good one. It is a lightweight cream and there seemed to be an instant tightening around my lip area, where my test was concentrated. This sensation didn’t last long, but by the end of the day, I had unsightly and sore red patches of skin above and to the side of my mouth. After experimenting with crow’s feet, back to the lips, putting the product aside and starting again, I established that I was unequivocally allergic to Needleless and had to stop using it.
I’m not sure what could have caused this reaction. The dominant ingredient is vaguely identified as “seaweed extract”; it would be good to know what type. The most likely culprit is the preservatives, phenoxyethanol, classified by the European Union as an irritant, or ethylhexylglycerin, which studies have found to be an allergen.
Allergic reactions are an individual matter and not enough reason to write off a product for one and all. However, I must add that I was surprised by the price of Goldfaden MD Needleless. I often conduct my tests “price-blind” so that my view isn’t influenced before I try to judge the product on its own merits. Semi-consciously, I had pegged Needleless with its light, clear gel and plastic packaging at around the $45-65 mark. I was shocked to later discover that it is $115 for 1oz. You’d have to be a big believer in acetyl hexapeptide-3 to swallow that.
Ingredients: Seaweed Extract, Distilled Water, Hyaluronic Acid, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Red Tea Extract