Strengths: Good eye-makeup remover; a unique skin-lightening product; a couple of commendable moisturizers, one with stabilized vitamin C.
Weaknesses: Expensive; almost every category has one or more products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; Clean Start and MediBac lines are particularly disappointing; the SPF products tend to be mediocre to poor.
Dermalogica's name implies a logical relationship to dermatology, which makes it sound as if you are getting serious skin care. The subtitle on their products is even more commanding: "A Skin Care System Researched and Developed by the International Dermal Institute." But what is the International Dermal Institute, you ask? Are there any dermatologists there? Apparently not: The International Dermal Institute is a Dermalogica-owned school for aestheticians who want an education beyond what is required for their cosmetology license, and the classes are taught by aestheticians.
Does the professional atmosphere of the school associated with Dermalogica mean better products? The proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is, for the most part, just Jell-O, not chocolate mousse. A company so concerned with skin-care education should be ashamed of itself for offering so many products that damage skin with known irritants and, more egregiously, offering so many sunscreens that lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. Dermalogica's education-oriented, serious-minded, and clinical positioning doesn’t mesh with the majority of their products, and is on par with tobacco company executives teaching an aerobics class.
According to company history, the reason Dermalogica products came to be was that founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skin-care lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients that she believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems. If anything, quite the opposite is true. Further, if Dermalogica's founders were so concerned about potentially or definitively harmful ingredients, why do their products contain so many of them? Where is the research proving that lavender oil, camphor, balm mint, arnica, ginger oil, and citrus oils are helpful for skin?
For more information about Dermalogica, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.com.