03.17.2015
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Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A & E Treatment Oil
Rating
2 fl. oz. for $12.75
Category:Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:03.17.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A & E Treatment Oil is a basic, fragrance-free facial oil whose main ingredient (safflower oil) is great for dry skin. Safflower is a rich source of fatty acids and other substances that help smooth and repair skin's barrier, but skin care is never as simple as one ingredient.

This oil also contains retinal palmitate, an antioxidant that isn't the same as retinol yet still has value for skin. Vitamin E is along for the ride, too, but that's it.

Although this facial oil has merit as a booster-typ product to mix with your regular facial moisturizer, its clear bottle packaging is a problem. Every ingredient in this oil is subject to deterioration when routinely exposed to light, which would be the case if you keep this bottle stored on a bathroom counter (assuming this room has a window letting in daylight). If you store this in a cool, dark place it's an OK option to consider, but you could also buy a large bottle of plain safflower oil and get almost the sam benefits (again, to be clear, retinyl palmitate isn't the same as retinol).

This oil would also be a good choice for sensitive or rosacea-affected skin.

Pros:
  • Smoothes and softens dry skin.
  • Safflower oil is a rich source of repairing fatty acids.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Inexpensnive.
Cons:
  • A somewhat basic formula.
  • Retinyl palmitate isn't as exciting or as beneficial for skin as retinol.
Claims

Keep skin youthful and glowing with this potent concentration of Vitamins A and E in a pure Safflower Oil base. Vitamin A, commonly referred to as the “skin vitamin”, encourages surface cell renewal to reveal younger, fresher, newer skin. Antioxidant Vitamin E is known for its skin healing benefits to promote soft, smooth, supple skin.

Ingredients

Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E).

Brand Overview

Derma E At-a-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive considering the formulas; company provides complete ingredient lists on their Web site; an effective AHA product; tea tree oil–based disinfectants for acne; some good cleansers and a good toner; well-formulated mask.

Weaknesses: Jar packaging is rampant for many of the antioxidant-rich products; several boring moisturizers; abrasive scrubs; one skin-lightening product with questionable efficacy; products that contain the controversial ingredient DMAE; several products contain natural ingredients that have not been proven effective for their intended purpose; the anti-aging products with peptides make over-the-top claims not supported by what they contain.

"Formulated for results" and "We're serious about skin care" are phrases you'll see throughout the Derma E line—that and a heavy accent on all things natural. In business since 1984, this California-based, family-owned skin-care company's products are often seen in health food stores. We suspect the numerous questions we've been asked about the Derma E line are tied not only to their use of natural ingredients, but also to their emphasis on antioxidants, which they include in almost every product. In many cases, there are antioxidants aplenty; however, more often than not, the choice of jar packaging spoils the benefit the antioxidants Derma E chose could provide (air-tight packaging is critical because antioxidants deteriorate in the presence of air).

More so than any other line weve reviewed so far, where packaging is critical to ingredient efficacy and stability, Derma E has seemingly turned a blind eye to this glaring error. Because of that, there are very few products to extol or recommend, even though the line is priced fairly and some of the products have good formulations. But, just as you shouldn't eat food that no longer has any nutritional properties, the same goes for skin care, why bother if your skin isn't getting what it needs to be healthy?

The company's founders talk openly about their commitment to formulating quality products, often using proprietary ingredients (meaning ingredients unique to Derma E). Yet a quick look at the ingredients on the label shows that isn't true. Even if it were true, the notion that you would be getting something better for skin is sheer nonsense. There are lots of brilliant ingredients for skin available in the cosmetics world, and there is no single company that has a secret lurking in its laboratory that is a must for skin. It can be a very compelling story unless you know better, and if you don't already know better, you will after reading the reviews. Product after product either disappoints or comes in below average based on packaging issues or on problematic natural ingredients, the claims for which are based on folklore and anecdotal experience, not on solid science.

It all gets rather muddled where Derma E is concerned because several of their anti-aging products do contain some interesting peptides and impressive amounts of antioxidants. In many respects, the antioxidants chosen have reliable track records when it comes to their skin-care benefits. But again, jar packaging sabotages these performance-based ingredients to the point that it's difficult to take anything else the company does seriously. After all, if they can't get this fundamental right, what's the point of continually talking up their commitment to results-oriented products?

It doesn't seem that sun protection is very high on Derma E's priority list either. You'll find moisturizers and eye creams galore, including many with antiwrinkle and skin-firming claims—but only one sunscreen. One. In the entire line. And, surprise, it doesn’t contain natural sunscreen agents, at least not entirely. It never ceases to amaze me when "natural" product companies choose synthetic sunscreen actives when there are natural alternatives such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Synthetic sunscreens are perfectly fine, but if you're going to shout natural from the rooftops, why are you using synthetic sunscreen actives? Plus, any line that touts their anti-aging, antiwrinkle prowess should have more than one sunscreen. Walking away from the store after buying products only from this line is a guarantee you will be cheating your skin.

A common falsehood, perpetuated by Derma E and by many other cosmetics companies, is that their products are "natural" (whatever that truly means). Rest assured that that's about as probable as sandy, warm beaches in Antarctica (or a snowball in Hades). Derma E products contain many natural ingredients, but plenty of synthetic ingredients have been cast in major or supporting formulary roles. For example, Linda Miles, one of Derma E's founders, has stated that the company won't use the natural version of alpha lipoic acid because it is "a butcher house by-product," meaning it's derived from animals. She admits the company uses synthetic alpha lipoic acid, however, and she must be unaware that alpha lipoic acid need not be derived from meat; it also can be derived from spinach, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, yams, and yeast, all of which are very natural and, of course, not derived from animal flesh (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; and The Rose Sheet, May 26, 2008, page 4).

Miles also admitted that Derma E has struggled to find a good preservative system to replace the synthetic ones they currently use. That's not surprising, as it's an issue that any line that wants to go natural must deal with; the reality is that there are no natural preservatives that work as well in low amounts as the synthetic options.

We could go on about Derma E's claims in terms of what they do and don't use and will and won't do, but you've heard it all before from other natural lines. As is usually the case, there are some standout products to consider from Derma E. If the company overhauled its packaging to improve antioxidant stability, the handful of products would become a basket's worth, but there is no word on whether such a change is happening or even in the works.

For more information about Derma E, call (800) 521-3342 or visit www.dermae.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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11.26.2014
The Best I've Found

First, if you can use retinol, use it. I've found retinol far too strong for my skin, which begins to deteriorate, becoming almost translucent with continued use. Retinyl Palmitate is the gentlest alternative for me, being converted into Retinol over time by my own body, and is the least comedogenic form of Retinoid ingredient (other than pure retinol). Safflower Seed Oil and Tocopheryl Acetate are also the least comedogenic of oil and Vitamin E (respectively). It is pure and simple and perfect.

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Rachel H.
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