Strengths: Several good water-soluble cleansers; excellent Photo-Age sunscreens and every DDF sunscreen includes sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; some truly state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums; a few good AHA and skin-lightening options; a good benzoyl peroxide topical disinfectant.
Weaknesses: Expensive; products designed for sensitive skin tend to contain one or more known problematic ingredients; several irritating products based on alcohol, menthol, or problematic plant extracts; more than a handful of average moisturizers, many in jar packaging.
This skin-care company's Web site has it right with the statement that "before the beauty world discovered dermatologic skincare brands, there was DDF." Launched in 1991, well before it became common practice for "known" dermatologists to create their own skin-care lines, pioneering dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel began and is still behind this brand. This is a long-standing line that has the backing of a dermatologist (and later that of nutritional consultant Elaine Linker), so you would expect DDF to be just what the doctor ordered. In some respects, it is. However, more often than not, products from dermatologists are just as prone to outlandish claims, exorbitant prices, and use of unproven ingredients as products from any other cosmetics line. A founder's medical background isn't a guarantee that every product he or she creates will do exactly what it claims or even be sensibly formulated. In that sense, DDF falters more than it succeeds. Sobel's credibility for creating treatment-based skin-care products is diminished when inappropriate ingredients (alcohol, menthol, and others) are included in products positioned as prestige products with a medicinal slant. Still, there are some very impressive options available (particularly in the moisturizer and serum categories) that, price notwithstanding, are worthy of consideration.
The line's success has not gone unnoticed by larger companies eyeing the growing trend of anti-aging skin care and the popularity of niche lines. It will be interesting to see how things shake out for DDF now that it is owned by consumer product giant Procter & Gamble. P&G released a statement that they intend to "infuse the line with a steady stream of innovation", add marketing expertise, and level its global reach and go-to-market capability to drive future growth (Source: www.cosmeticsdesign.com). They certainly have the money and staff to accomplish these goals, but it's worth mentioning that P&G's Olay brand, although mass market and at a lower price point, features many products that rival the best of what DDF offers, and with far fewer missteps.
For more information about DDF, call 1-800-818-9770 or visit www.ddfskincare.com/.
As of Summer 2011, DDF launched a new website and reformulated many of their products, but their new site contains incorrect and incomplete ingredient lists for most of their products. We've alerted DDF to the issue and are continuing to research these changes in store. In the meantime, we urge anyone considering a DDF purchase based on our recommendation to double check the product's ingredient list against ours in case the product has been reformulated. We will update the brand as information becomes available to us.