White coated dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields are best known for creating Proactiv Solutions acne treatment products., which by and large Truth In Aging finds to be based on harsh ingredients and overpriced. The inseparable doctors also have an anti-aging line called Rodan + Fields Multi-Med. It is telling in my view that the information they chose to give us on the website’s “about page” is that they have won an award for direct marketing and have a patent pending for  tool that is basically a dermaroller.

Rodan & Fields Amp MD is a dermaroller (or micro-needle) tool that comes in a 60-day kit costing an astonishing $200. The idea behind dermarolling is that small needs puncture the skin thereby enabling better penetration of a serum. The trauma of pricking the skin with needles is also supposed to prompt a repair response leading to improved looking skin. Personally, I regard dermarolling as masochistic, potentially unhygienic, and unnecessary (as a good serum should be able to penetrate the skin without it being cut up first).

Now, if I was to submit to dermarolling, I’d want to follow up with a really good serum and I certainly wouldn’t want anything nasty in it that that my punctured skin would be receptive to. The serum that Rodan + Fields sells with Anti-Age Amp MD kit has as its very first ingredient one that may cause mild skin irritation, cyclopentasiloxane, a silicone. Generally, silicone molecules are too large to enter the surface of the skin and, as is the case with cyclopentasiloxane (in vitro tests show that less than 2% penetrates the skin). But what of skin that has been subjected to Amp MD? Unfortunately, silicone, when it enters the body, can be toxic, according to the Journal of Toxicology and other sources.

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The second ingredient is another silicone. Cosmetic Ingredient review (CIR) Expert Panel reviewed the data surrounding dimethicone, and assessed it as safe to use in personal care products. They determined that because of the large molecular weight of silicone based polymers such as dimethicone, it would be very unlikely for it to penetrate past the surface of the skin. Unfortunately, we don’t know if that assessment would apply to dermarolled skin.

There are a couple of more welcome ingredients. Literally two. Myristoyl pentapeptide-8 is a collagen boosting peptide (incidentally, it is one of the signature ingredients of the Jan Marini range).  I imagine that myristoyl tetrapeptide-8 is similar, although I could find next to no information about it.

The only other active in Amp MD is a strange choice for inclusion in a serum used with a dermaroller: retinol. About the best thing that you can say about it is that it exfoliates the skin. Although exfoliation of punctured skin seems to be amping things up a little too much. There are also concerns that retinol is a toxin.

All in all, in Rodan + Fields Amp MD is something I’d rather dial down.

Find out about other anti-aging treatments in our handy glossary

Ingredients in Rodan + Fields Serum: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Myristoyl Tetrapeptide-8, Retinol, Myristoyl Pentapeptide-8, Methyl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, BHT

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