When I was asked to review Skin Beautiful Dermaceuticals Firm Control Serum ($49), I thought it could be promising. The ingredient list is short and simple, and includes 4% DMAE amines, lavender hydrosol, and hyaluronic acid. The product claims to lift, firm, soothe, and hydrate. Having no prior experience with DMAE, a main ingredient, I looked forward to learning something new.
DMAE is a primary alcohol essential to the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that signals muscles to tighten and contract under the skin. It may also stimulate collagen production. This all sounded good until I dug deeper. Truth in Aging is ambivalent about DMAE. While on one hand they say it appears to thicken skin, on the other it may accelerate damage to skin cells. Sounds like one of those “you either love it or hate it” kind of ingredients. Hopefully I’ll be in the former category. The next active, lavender hydrosol, is basically distilled lavender that may have anti-septic and anti-fungal properties. And lastly, hyaluronic acid is well-known for its hydrating abilities. With such a short list of actives, this serum puts a lot of pressure on DMAE to perform.
Once open, the first thing I noticed about Skin Beautiful Dermaceuticals Firm Control Serum was the slightly fishy undertone to the more dominant light lavender scent. This was expected as it’s mentioned in the product literature and mostly dissipates over time. The serum is clear and goes on smoothly. There is no residual tackiness, so it works well under lotion and makeup. The packaging is well thought-out with a dark, amber bottle to shield from light and an easy pump top.
I often have irritated reactions to new products, so, to be safe, I decided to test the product on only the right side of my face. I also applied some to the back of my hand where the early signs of aging are showing. After a week, the clarity and wrinkles of my face appeared about the same. Oddly enough, I also noticed some fine lines beginning to appear below my right eye and on my forehead. This was not the change I wanted, but I soldiered on hoping for better results in the next week. However, at the end of the following week, I found the right side of my face had considerably more fine lines and a pinched, dehydrated look to it. This reaction is not uncommon for me, and usually means that the product is simply too strong for my skin. As I also started to notice the beginnings of breakouts appearing on the right side of my face, I decided to take a break and go back to the Osmosis Replenish Antioxidant Repair Serum ($52) I normally use.
After waiting two weeks, I retried the Skin Beautiful Dermaceuticals Firm Control Serum. The results were the same, except for the fact that the fine lines and tightness appeared more quickly. The skin on the back of my right hand also had the same pinched quality. A week later, I gave up. Maybe the product was too strong or maybe DMAE is just not for me. At 45 years old, my skin might not ready for such a heavy dose of the alcohol. Either way, I’m going to stick with the Osmosis Replenish and Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer ($45 in the shop) that I’ve come to love and, for now, avoid DMAE in my skincare routine.