Dr. Brandt
Laser Lightning Toner, for All Skin Types
8 fl. oz. for $45
Category:Skin Care > Toners > Toners
Last Updated:03.12.2013
Jar Packaging:False
Tested on animals:Yes

The backbone of this toner for normal to dry skin is fairly standard. Things get more interesting with the inclusion of ingredients such as the plastic polymer polypropylene tetraphthalate and the alanine amino acid component aminoethylphosphinic acid; the trouble is that these ingredients have no effect on lightening skin discolorations, whether they’re laser-precise or not (and there is absolutely nothing laser-like about this product).

Brandt also includes fullerenes in this product and this is where this toner gets its potential for lightening skin discolorations. A fullerene is a cage-like, hollow molecule composed of hexagonal and pentagonal groups of carbon atoms which can have other elements attached to that means there can be various forms and adaptations of a fullerene, though “fullerenes” is the term defined in the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook.

There is one study that compared the effects of a fullerene derivative (C60-fullerene) with the effects of arbutin and vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). It revealed that C60-fullerene has an inhibitory effect on melanin production in the presence of UVA radiation. The study also demonstrated that this fullerene derivative was better at inhibiting melanin formation than arbutin or L-ascorbic acid, although the publication did not reveal the concentrations that were used in the study. (Source: Archives of Dermatological Research, August 2007, pages 245–257). Whether or not Brandt used this specific fullerene derivative (C60) is not known, and one study isn’t much to go on (not when tried-and-true skin-lightening agent hydroquinone has volumes of research attesting to its efficacy). All in all, this product is at best a leap of faith and definitely not better then staying out of the sun and being diligent about using a mineral-based sunscreen.

Still, if your budget allows, this is a novel way to approach skin lightening and it may have benefit. The inclusion of a tiny amount of orange peel oil isn’t great, but such a small amount is unlikely to be much of a problem for skin.


Purifying toner, hydroquinone free, specialized to balance complexion. Helps fade freckles, even out skin tone and minimize the appearance of dark spots and post blemish discoloration. Contains a unique melablock system formulated with lightening properties and powerful anti-aging ingredients to help inhibit melanin production.


Water, Glycerin, Peg-8, Urea, Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Peg-40, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polypropylene Terephthalate, Aminoethylphosphinic Acid, Fullerenes, Butylene Glycol, Allantoin, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Pvp, Peg-12 Glyceryl Distearate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben

Brand Overview

Dr. Brandt At-A-Glance

Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on the company website; a good daytime moisturizer with sunscreen.

Weaknesses: Expensive; overwhelming number of products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; no products to comprehensively address acne or oily skin; every Pores No More product is a disappointment; jar packaging.

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.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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