Despite claims of "advanced clarifying and toning of the skin" and "reduced appearance of pores and oil" this serum-like booster product falls flat on execution and, for reasons we'll discuss in a moment, can't deliver on its promises to reduce the "appearance of pores and oil". The multiple fragrant and other problematic plant extracts this contains are strong triggers for irritation and are what earned this product its negative rating. See More Info for the details on fragrance in skin-care products being irritating.
Dr. Gross included a mix of chemical exfoliants in the Clinical Concentrate Purifying Booster—glycolic, lactic, tartaric, mandelic, and salicylic acid. That's quite a list! With this array, you may expect that the results would be remarkably improved skin tone, fewer visible pores and reduced discolorations. Unfortunately, the pH of this formula ranges from 4.4-4.7, which is too high to work be relied upon as your daily AHA/BHA exfoliant.
We mentioned the fragrant ingredients this contains have potential to irritate skin. They include Opuntia ficus-indica extract (Contact Dermatitis, 2004) and farnesol, which carries with it a potent risk for irritation in topically-applied products (Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, 2010.) If that wasn't enough, Clinical Concentrate Purifying Booster also contains additional added fragrance and witch hazel extract, an astringent ingredient that also poses a risk of irritation. Ouch! See More Info to learn how irritation can make oily, breakout-prone skin worse.
Despite the presence of some beneficial ingredients (antioxidants and anti-irritants), there isn't any reason to consider this product given the significant drawbacks discussed above. If treating discolorations, uneven skin tone, breakouts and enlarged pores are among your anti-aging concerns, consider a well-formulated BHA exfoliant instead. BHA (salicylic acid) will smooth your skin's texture, penetrate to unclog pores and help fade breakouts—see the top-rated alternatives from all brands in the Best BHA Exfoliants section of this site, most of which cost less than this product.
- Contains a few antioxidants known to be beneficial for skin.
- Contains ingredients (ficus and farnesol) with the ability to irritate skin.
- Added fragrance compounds the irritation potential of the problematic ingredients.
- Nearly transparent glass packaging should be kept away from direct light sources.
Irritation from Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Irritation and Oily Skin: Applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so skin ends up being more oily and pores become (or stay) enlarged. If you want to see improvements in oily skin, the best approach is to treat your skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function (Sources: Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366; and Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23).
These clarity boosting microdroplets contain willow bark extract, lactic acid, and farnesol for advanced clarifying and toning of the skin. It reveals a more even skintone with reduced appearance of pores and oil. Multifunctional and easy to use, you can simply apply directly to targeted zones or mix into your favorite skincare products for a customized treatment and enhanced benefits.
Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Algae Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Farnesol, Bisabolol, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Mandelic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Salicylic Acid, Phytic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex (CI 75810).
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.