03.11.2013
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Light Years Away Whitening Cream
Rating
1.7 fl. oz. for $110
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:03.11.2013
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

The ingredients in this moisturizer are quite similar to the ingredients Dr. Brandt includes in his Light Years Away eye cream, proving once again how similar facial moisturizers are to eye creams—and also proving why you don’t need an eye cream if you’re using a well-formulated facial moisturizer. As it turns out, this doesn’t qualify as a well-formulated moisturizer, for any part of your face!

This moisturizer claims to reduce dark spots and prevent them from resurfacing. The problem? The skin-lightening ingredients it contains (including a form of vitamin C) will not remain stable once this jar packaging is opened. That means you’re left with an expensive moisturizer that can hydrate and soften skin, but your skin deserves a lot more than that, especially if you’re going to spend this much money; although it must be said that for skin care, expensive doesn’t mean better. In addition, because this product doesn’t contain sunscreen it’s not adept at preventing other dark spots from surfacing.

Like all of Brandt’s other Light Years Away products, this contains the potent skin irritant lavender oil, making this impossible to recommend (and a dermatologist should know better than to include such a problematic ingredient in skin-care products). Please see More Info for details on why lavender oil is so bad for your skin and the problems jar packaging presents. Also, please refer to our list of Best Skin-Lightening Products for superior options that cost less.

Pros:
  • None.
Cons:
  • Expensive.
  • Contains skin-damaging lavender oil.
  • Jar packaging means the key skin-lightening ingredients will break down shortly after you open this product.
  • Absurdly expensive.

More Info:

The fact that it’s packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. Here’s why: All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you’re dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.

Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, are cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, but is fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).

Claims

High performance whitening cream reduces dark spots prevents them from resurfacing as it reveals a more even, lighter and brighter complexion.

Ingredients

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Methylsilanol Hydroxyproline Aspartate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Panthenol, Jojoba Wax PEG-120 Esters, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Phytosterols, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Squalane, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Adenosine, Astaxanthin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Bisulfite, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Halidrys Siliquosa Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Lecithin, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Ceramide 3, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Oil, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Pea Protein, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, PVM/MA Copolymer, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate

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; several products make claims on par with what cosmetic procedures (not skin care) can do.

The late Dr. Fredric Brandt (he passed away in April, 2015 at the age of 65) was a Miami- and New York City–based dermatologist whose claim to fame rested on two main points. The first (and it is a very important credibility factor for consumers) included the many celebrity clients worked with, while the second was his assertion that he performed more Botox and collagen injections than any other dermatologist in the world. 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 was using so much Botox and collagen if his products truly fight wrinkles, sagging, and on and on.

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 on the disappointing side, especially given the product's price points.

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 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 positioned his products as clinically superior to what you would find in other cosmetics lines, an unproven assertion to say the least. Many of his products tout benefits that don't just stretch the truth, but snap it in two—and these fallacies were 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 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 were 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 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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