The claims for kits like this really make us scream, or at least throw our arms up in frustration at what consumers are asked to believe when it comes to skin-care products.
Dermatologist Dr. Brandt gained notoriety for his skill in performing several cosmetic corrective procedures (Botox and dermal fillers), but he also sells products claiming to replace these same procedures, which he still performs in his office. There is certainly a disconnect between reality and the absurd marketing hype, between Brandt’s products and his work as a physician.
What is 100% true is that there are no skin-care products capable of producing any results equivalent to, or even similar to, the results from laser procedures. Getting past the claims, there is reason to consider this kit, although you don’t need to spend nearly as much to get effective exfoliating products, which is the only thing this system provides.
Step 1 is the Peeling Solution (1.7 ounces), a fluid that contains a blend of the AHAs glycolic and lactic acids. The amount of AHAs isn’t revealed (nor would the company tell us), but most likely it’s around 8% to 10%. Because the Peeling Solution has a pH of 3.5, the AHAs will exfoliate your skin. The kicker? Lots of other companies, from Alpha Hydrox to Paula’s Choice, offer less expensive, equally effective AHA products.
You’re directed to leave the Peeling Solution on for five minutes and then rinse, although there’s no reason you cannot leave it on longer, or even overnight. After rinsing, you’re supposed to apply the Soothing Gel (1.7 ounces), a lightweight moisturizer that contains some intriguing ingredients, with one exception: Perilla frutescens seed oil, which contains volatile components capable of causing contact dermatitis. That means it has the potential to irritate skin, although it also has antioxidant benefits. As you might expect, your skin is better off with antioxidants that don’t come with risks, because needless irritation can hurt your skin’s healing process and hinder healthy collagen production.
In the end, although this is an effective two-step exfoliating system for normal to dry or oily skin, it is easily replaced by less expensive alternatives—and it does not come even close to mimicking what’s possible from in-office professional peels or laser procedures.
Claims: Dr Brandt laser a-peel system is formulated to mimic in-office procedures, tighten pores, improve elasticity on the skin and reveal radiance. This innovative exfoliating system is formulated with Lactic acid, Glycolic acid to give you maximum results in minimal time.
Peeling Solution: Water, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetyl Lactate, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Cetyl Palmitate, Peg-150/Decyl Alcohol/SMDI, Copolymer, Triceteareth-4 Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Phospholipids, Oleth-10, Sodium Stearyl Sulfate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Peg-12 Glyceryl Distearate, Camellia Oleifera Extract, Glycolipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben.
Soothing Gel: Water, Methylsilanol Hydroxyproline Aspartate, Cyclomethicone, Lysolecithin, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Lecithin, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Lactate, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp, Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Allantoin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Behenyl Alcohol, Castoryl Maleate, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Perilla Frutescens Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Extract, Peg-12 Glyceryl Distearate, Lauryl, Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Peg-40 Sorbitan Diisostearate, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Polysorbate 81, Peg-15 Cocamide, Dimethiconol, Laureth-9, Triethanolamine, Disodium Edta, Bht, Sodium Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben
Dr. Fredric Brandt is a Miami- and New York City–based dermatologist whose claim to fame rests on two main points. The first (and it is a very important credibility factor for consumers) includes the many celebrity clients he claims to work with, while the second is his assertion that he performs more Botox and collagen injections than any other dermatologist in the world. (The picture on the back of his book shows him clad in white, wearing surgical gloves, and holding a syringe.) According to Allergan, the company that makes Botox, they no longer rank the physicians who purchase Botox from them; however, they did confirm that Dr. Brandt was definitely one of their biggest buyers. Yet regardless of how much Botox or collagen Dr. Brandt or any other physician uses, what in the world does that have to do with cosmetic formulations? If anything, you have to wonder why Brandt is using so much Botox and collagen if his products truly fight wrinkles, as he claims they do.
Beyond Brandt's cosmetic enhancement procedures, he is the author of Age-less: The Definitive Guide to Botox, Collagen, Lasers, Peels, and Other Solutions for Flawless Skin. His book and skin-care line are competing against the vastly more popular books and product line from fellow dermatologist Dr. N.V. Perricone. Although Perricone's skin-care line has some drawbacks, including irritating ingredients and the lack of supporting research for his neuropeptide products, the majority of his products, though overpriced, have more pros than cons. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Dr. Brandt, whose namesake skin-care line is one of the more disappointing ever assembled by a dermatologist.
Brandt's products are sold with the tag line that they are "prescription strength, prescription-free," and "are formulated under dermatologic control for maximum safety and efficiency and offer the highest performance without a prescription." Aside from how unbelievable that assertion is, what is not mentioned is the fact that none of the ingredients in Brandt's products are comparable, in any way, shape, or form, to prescription formulations. And what is "dermatologic control" anyway, given that there are no such standards anywhere in the world? Moreover, what do dermatologists know about the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, much less cosmetics? The two arenas of expertise are completely unrelated.
Dr. Brandt positions his products as clinically superior to what you would find in other cosmetics lines, when nothing could be further from the truth. Many of his products tout benefits that don't just stretch the truth, but snap it in two—and these fallacies are all the more disconcerting coming from an esteemed dermatologist. When products contain the problematic ingredients that are so pervasive in Brandt's line, such as irritating plant extracts, drying detergent cleansing agents, and far too many products with skin cell–damaging lavender oil, it becomes nothing more than a too-expensive-for-no-good-reason line that should be approached with extreme caution.
The line does have a few bright spots: many of Brandt's products do contain significant amounts of antioxidants, though that certainly doesn't make his line unique because many other product lines do that too. (Here it's fair to say that while no specific amounts have been established for any antioxidant that will ensure their effectiveness, the general consensus among researchers is that more antioxidants are better than less, and less is still better than none at all.) Unless you're a devoted patient of Dr. Brandt and would be racked with guilt for not purchasing his products while visiting for an appointment, there is no reason to seek out this disappointing line.
For more information about Dr. Brandt's products, call (800) 234-1066 or visit www.drbrandtskincare.com.