DeVita claims this product contains 17% Vitamin C, but the ingredient list suggests otherwise. According to the list, it contains more citric acid than it does real vitamin C. That means that if this product really does contain 17% vitamin C, then it must also contain more than 17% citric acid, and such a high amount of citric acid would be a significant risk for irritation to skin. Citric acid is NOT vitamin C, nor does it provide the same benefit as vitamin C in a skin-care product.
DeVita-C Serum also contains lemon and orange peel oils, both fragrant skin irritants that can cause a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to the sun, which can lead to skin discolorations (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). We doubt very much that this is the result you're looking for when shopping for a product promising to improve skin tone and elasticity.
As is the case with nearly every DeVita product we've reviewed, the ingredient list isn't compliant with FDA or INCI standards. Also, the ingredients do not include broad-spectrum preservatives or any ingredients to stabilize the legitimate forms of vitamin C, which are l-ascorbic acid and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. The ingredient "Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil" doesn't actually exist—there is "Citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil" and other forms, but who knows which one they're referring to. What about "Aloe Barbadensis"? Is that the leaf, flower extract, pure leaf juice, or the leaf juice with water added? You don't know because DeVita doesn't indicate the name of the full ingredient, and it's important to know what your product contains!
You can do a lot better than what DeVita offers in this serum—there are many alternatives with skin-friendly combinations of ingredients in our list of Best Serums.
- Appears to contain an extreme amount of citric acid, which can be irritating for skin.
- The fragrant oils pose a strong risk of irritation.
- Lemon and orange peel oils put skin at risk of a phototoxic reaction if exposed to sunlight.
- Ingredient label doesn't comply with FDA or (global) INCI cosmetics regulations, so you really don't know what you are putting on your face.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin. What is perhaps most shocking is that all of these damaging responses can be taking place underneath the skin and you won't even notice it on the surface. The clearest example of this is the significant and carcinogenic effect of the sun's "silent" UVA rays. You don't feel the penetration of these mutagenic rays, but they are taking a toll on your skin nonetheless. (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
DeVita-C 17% Serum can help the appearance of skin's tone and elasticity in addition to virtually softening the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin can appear revitalized and have a visibly enhanced look in just a few short days.
Aloe Barbadensis (Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel), Camellia Sinensis (Japanese Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Citric Acid, L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Ubiquinone (Coq10), D-Beta Glucosamine.
It seems strange that the tagline for the Arizona-based DeVita Skin Care is "Guided by Nature, Driven by Science" because they take a decidedly unscientific route to promote their products, using consumers' fears of chemicals (describing them as "poisons and toxic" on their website) to the fullest degree. If this company was driven by science, we would expect more than just the same old scare tactic—"all chemicals are bad but all plants are good." In fact, all the ingredients in any cosmetic, including water, are chemicals.
DeVita makes the claim that their products are "all natural," vegan, and paraben-free, despite the fact that parabens come from natural ingredients and there is no research showing they are a problem for the body. Their all-natural claim is easy to debunk because their products contain decidedly synthetic ingredients, such as retinol, l-carnosine, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, and polymethylsilsesquioxane, to name a few.
Regarding the l-carnosine and retinol, they are found naturally in animals, but they do not occur in plants. However, because the natural, animal-based versions aren't very stable or effective in skin-care formulas, l-carnosine and retinol in cosmetics are (with rare exceptions) synthetic. Therefore, either DeVita isn't being straight about being a vegan line, or they have their own definition of what "all-natural" means. That may very well be the case, because the "all natural" claim is not beholden to any sort of cosmetic regulation anywhere in the world.
All of this natural, chemical-free posturing gets so tiring—the truth is that there are good and bad natural ingredients, just as there are good and bad synthetic ingredients. Natural isn't inherently better and synthetic isn't inherently evil. One problem with DeVita products is that you can't be sure what you're really putting on your skin because DeVita takes liberties with how they list product ingredients, which is a regulatory no-no. For all the DeVita products we reviewed (without exception), not a single one had an ingredient list that complied with FDA or (global) INCI standards.
For example, "De-Ionized Water" isn't a recognized name, nor is "Aloe Barbadensis." In the latter case, the designation doesn't tell you if they're using aloe leaf, aloe flower extract with alcohol, aloe leaf juice diluted with water, or just a plain aloe extract. Listing the full ingredient is important information because different forms of an ingredient can mean different things to a formula and can have different effects on your skin.
We admire DeVita in that they don't resort to alcohol-based formulas (a rare quality for a natural brand); unfortunately, it seems they ignored, or simply overlooked, the research on the potent irritant potential of essential oils and fragrances.
They also seem to ignore the risks inherent in not using an effective preservative system. Many of the products we reviewed had questionable preservative systems (see individual product reviews for details), which is bad news (for you and your skin) because you won't know how long you can safely use a product before it's overrun by bacteria and mold. We raised our concern about the preservatives with a representative from DeVita and were told that their products were preserved by the use of aloe, allantoin, grape seed extract, grapefruit seed extract, and "others," depending on the product. To be clear, none of these ingredients has any research demonstrating an ability to work as broad-spectrum preservatives; that is, they won't keep your product free of mold, fungi, or bacteria.
It is true that some ingredients have natural antibacterial benefits, but that doesn't mean they are a good substitute for tried-and-true preservatives. For example, vitamin C has antibacterial and antioxidant benefit, but are you willing to drink from a container of 100% fruit juice that's been sitting on the counter for a month or two? There are plenty of options for effective preservatives, no matter if your preference is for natural skin care or not, but aloe, allantoin, grape seed, and grapefruit seed extract aren't counted among them.
We understand the appeal of DeVita as a brand for those who are enamored with the concept of 100% natural products. However, the reality is that DeVita presents this appearance of "all natural" by fudging the details, devising their own definitions of "all natural," and providing inaccurate information about the source of their ingredients (vegan plant-based l-carnosine and natural silicone—Really?). In many of the products we reviewed, DeVita either omits the source of their preservatives, or (more dangerous to imagine) uses ineffective preservative systems. We are not against naturally derived ingredients by any means, but if you're looking to use natural products, you can do better than this brand, which ultimately leaves you questioning what exactly it is you're putting on your skin.
For more information on DeVita, visit www.devitaskincare.com or call 1-877-233-8482.