DDF - Doctor's Dermatologic Formula

DDF At-A-Glance

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.

It will be curious to see what the future holds for this line, as its ownership has recently changed hands. Consumer product giant Procter & Gamble bought DDF in 2007 to expand the line's global reach, but has since sold it to UK-based Designer Parfums. Designer Parfums says it intends to bring Dr. Sobel on board to play a larger role in the company's marketing and development of both current and future products. Sobel himself says he looks forward to "Playing an active role in rebuilding this brand." (Source: www.wwd.com) We'll have to see exactly what that means as DDF moves ahead!

For more information about DDF, call 1-800-818-9770 or visit www.ddfskincare.com/.

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