This pricey water-based serum may have grabbed your attention with its claim of reversing wrinkles by 30%. Who wouldn’t be tempted by any product making such a boast?
Added to these hope-in-a-bottle marketing shenanigans, DDF uses phrases such as “patented technology” (which is meaningless because patents have nothing to do with efficacy) and “results in 2 weeks” (which is easy to simulate by almost any skin-care product), and so it’s no wonder the Paula's Choice Team Inbox has been overflowing with questions about this serum.
Supposedly, the patented technology allows elastin, one of skin’s supportive elements, to cross link, as it does naturally when we’re young and before sun damage occurs. However, unlike collagen, once elastin fibers are damaged, they’re most likely irreparable. Also unlike collagen (which healthy skin loves to make), we have almost all of the elastin we ever will have at birth; after that, elastin production decreases significantly. By the time we reach adulthood, elastin production stops almost completely (Source: Cosmetic Dermatology Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition, Baumann, Leslie, M.D., McGraw Hill Medical, 2009, pages 9–10). That’s just one more reason why sun protection is so important if you want to avoid damaging the elements in your skin that keep it looking young and that cannot easily, if ever, be regenerated.
Think of elastin strands as if they were small rubber bands. When a rubber band is fresh and new, it has great bounce-back and resiliency. However, once it is stretched beyond its limits, it either snaps or fails to revert to its original size. Such is the case with damaged elastin fibers in your skin—years of cumulative damage, mostly from environmental sources, cause elastin to lose its ability to snap back into place, resulting in sagging skin and more pronounced wrinkles.
However, there is one ingredient in this serum (dill extract) that has the potential to stimulate elastin production, at least with fake skin. There is one study indicating that on human skin samples and on “dermal equivalents” (which is not the same as intact human skin), dill extract had an effect on elastogenesis. Elastogenesis is a fancy way of saying it helped make elastin. The study demonstrated that dill can stimulate key enzymes in fake skin that trigger elastin production, although no mention was made of dill being able to repair damaged elastin (which would be truly exciting) or how much dill was required or whether or not it would work in a cosmetic formula when combined with other ingredients. We also don’t know if dill can be absorbed into real skin to have a similar impact. Instead, all we know is that dill seems to have this effect on isolated skin cells responsible for elastin production (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; and Experimental Dermatology, August 2006, pages 574–581).
Although it is highly doubtful that the amount of dill extract in this product will repair elastin in test tube skin or real skin, there is still the claim about reducing wrinkles by 30% to look at. Understand that percentages indicating improvement are meaningless without the study in hand because there is no way to know how the study was done. If the product was applied after washing and then stripping the face with alcohol that could easily account for the improvement, but DDF isn’t divulging their study protocol; rather, they’re just bragging about the results (sort of like getting an A on math test but you already had the answers given to you—and everyone knows you cheated).
Aside from the over-the-top seductive claims, this does contain several beneficial ingredients that can help improve wrinkles and make skin look smoother while reducing inflammation and repairing skin’s barrier. All of that is good news; it’s just tempered by the fact that DDF’s attention-getting wrinkle-reversing claims won’t become reality. Oh, and by the way, DDF is owned by Procter & Gamble, which explains this new formula’s similarity to many of Olay’s products (also owned by P&G), and those products are a lot less pricey, that’s for sure. This fragrance-free serum is suitable for all skin types.