This lightweight, generously-sized facial moisturizer may seem like a beauty bargain, and to some extent it is; however, despite containing several antioxidants, retinol, and some good repairing ingredients, almost all of them are listed after the preservative (phenoxyethanol) which means they’re barely present. That’s not too surprising given this moisturizer’s price and the fact that most state-of-the-art ingredients are expensive.
The question is whether tiny amounts of several beneficial ingredients are enough to really help your skin, and the answer is maybe. Ideally, we’d like to see such ingredients more front-and-center, but for what this costs, it’s about as good as it can get. The fragrance-free formula is best for normal to slightly dry or slightly oily skin, and it’s suitable for sensitive skin. The thin lotion texture shouldn’t be a problem for breakout-prone skin.
Note that the clear plastic bottle packaging demands storage away from light. Otherwise, the retinol and antioxidants this contains will begin to break down.
One more comment: this moisturizer contains the controversial ingredient DMAE, used in many of Dr. Perricone’s products. This ingredient is controversial because research has shown conflicting results. It seems to offer an initial benefit that improves skin but these results are short-lived and eventually give way to destruction of substances in skin that help build healthy collagen (Sources: Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, November-December 2007, pages 711–718; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Volume 6, 2005, pages 39–47).
Interestingly, there is a formulation challenge when using DMAE in skin-care products. In order to maintain efficacy and stability, the product’s pH level needs to be at least 10. A pH of 10 is highly alkaline, which isn’t good news for skin. A high pH like this can increase bacteria content in the pore and cause dryness and irritation. Moreover, since almost all moisturizers (including serums and eye creams) are formulated with a pH that closely matches that of human skin (generally 5.5–6.5, which is on the acidic side of the scale), in all likelihood the DMAE used in skin-care products cannot have any prolonged functionality. (Source: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Supplement 72, 2008, pages S17–S22).
The amount of DMAE in this product is so low that it’s likely not cause for concern, hence this moisturizer’s positive rating.
Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Polysorbate-60, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Sodium PCA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Sorbic Acid, Soluble Collagen, Panthenol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Punica Granatum Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Coffea Arabica, Chamomilla Recutita Flower/Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitan Stearate, Phytonadione, Menodione, Hydrolyzed Silk, DMAE, Copper PCA, Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Ubiquinone, Thiotic Acid, Cholecalciferol, Polysorbate-20, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Phospholipids
California-based specialty grocer chain Trader Joe's isn't the first place you may think of when shopping for skin care, and rightly so: the bulk of this store's inventory is, not surprisingly, foods and beverages. However, they've recently ventured into sun care and offer a couple of worthwhile, inexpensive sunscreens as well as a remarkable facial cleanser. The sunscreens from TJ's we recommend aren't knock-your-socks-off spectacular, but are quite the beauty bargain. If you have a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood, some of the sunscreens are definitely worth a look, especially if you have a family to cover from head to toe during summer months when more of us are outdoors for long periods of time. For more information about Trader Joe's, visit www.traderjoes.com.