10.28.2015
773
Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution
1 fl. oz. for $88
Expert Rating
Community Rating (5)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:10.28.2015
Jar Packaging:No
pH:>4.00
Tested on animals:No

There are plenty of anti-aging products claiming to even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Dr. Dennis Gross's Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution has what it takes to actually deliver on those claims, making it an excellent option if you're in the market for a multi-tasking serum.

Starting things off on the right foot is the packaging. Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution comes in a brown-tinted bottle with a dropper dispenser, which helps protect its beneficial ingredients from light and air exposure. As for what's inside, it's a very good, water-based serum that contains an intriguing blend of lightening and anti-aging ingredients.

The chief antioxidant in this fragrance-free serum is ferulic acid, and it's excellent for helping to boost skin's ability to defend itself from environmental damage (Anticancer Research, 1999).

This also contains retinol, which helps skin create better, healthier skin cells (which aids in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles). In addition, Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution contains a number of ingredients, such as licorice root extract, bearberry leaf extract, arbutin, and mulberry leaf extract, which have research showing they can reduce the appearance of dark spots. This serum is best for all skin types concerned with an uneven skin tone.

Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution also contains a mix of AHA ingredients plus the BHA salicylic acid, but the formula's pH is above 4, which means these ingredients won't function as exfoliants, not to mention the combined amounts of them likely remain below what research has shown to be effective. Nevertheless, this does contain a very good series of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients with the ability to improve signs of aging as well as helping to fade discolorations—and gets our enthusiastic recommendation!

Pros:
  • Packaged in a container that will keep its beneficial ingredients stable.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Contains a great mix of antioxidants, including ferulic acid and retinol.
  • Includes ingredients shown to help reduce the appearance of dark spots.
Cons:
  • None (except perhaps the price).
Community Reviews
Claims

This professional strength serum goes beyond brightening to deliver firmer, smoother, brighter skin by neutralizing free radicals with antioxidants and retinol, targeting fine lines and wrinkles and uneven skin tone. In a lightweight delivery system, this powerful fluid formulated by NYC dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, absorbs quickly for instantly smooth and long-term results and works with all skin types.

Ingredients
Water (Aqua), Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Ferulic Acid, Retinol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Arbutin, Morus Alba Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Hexylresorcinol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Quercetin, Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphates, Ubiquinone, Phospholipids, Disodium EDTA, PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Urea, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol.
Brand Overview

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare At-A-Glance

Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.

Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and what’s available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.

As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. But Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.

As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?

Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to every Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!

Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159–161).

Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.

For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.

NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.

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.

See all reviews for this brand

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare At-A-Glance

Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.

Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and what’s available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.

As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. But Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.

As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?

Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to every Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!

Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159–161).

Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.

For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.

NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.