Ferulic + Retinol Fibroblast Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Last Updated:12.30.2014
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Despite having a creamy texture, this facial moisturizer isn't rich enough for dry skin and is better suited for normal to oily skin; however, it suffers from two significant issues that keep us from giving it a good rating: Jar packaging and the inclusion of fragrant ingredient bergamot oil.

This moisturizer contains several light- and air-sensitive ingredients, including retinol and ferulic acid. From the first time you open this jar and remove the protective cover, those sensitive ingredients are wide open to air and light, which causes them to become less effective, as we explain in the More Info section. Anti-aging ingredients cannot do an ideal job of strengthening and firming skin when the packaging only serves to weaken them with each use!

Bergamot oil smells fresh, but it's a volatile citrus oil that, when used topically, is a photosensitizer and has photomutagenic properties, meaning it can induce malignant changes to cells (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, September 2001, pages 458–461; and Journal of Dermatology, May 1994, pages 319–322). What that's doing in this product is anyone's guess but you'd think a dermatologist would be more aware of the risks such ingredients present.

One more comment: This product cannot reduce sagging skin. It contains film-forming agents that can make lax skin feel smoother and perhaps a bit tighter, but no actual tightening or lifting is taking place. Such feats are beyond the capacity of even the best skin-care products, which is why most of us will need a combination of great anti-aging skin care plus cosmetic surgical or corrective procedures to keep our face and neck area looking younger and, yes, tighter.

  • Very silky, lightweight texture.
  • Contains an impressive mix of anti-aging ingredients.
  • Overpriced, especially given the fact that it's packaged in a jar.
  • Contains bergamot oil, which is an irritating and photosensitizing ingredient.
  • The antioxidants will begin breaking down from the first use, as will the retinol.
  • Amounts of glycolic and lactic acids are too low to function as exfoliants.
More Info:

The fact that this anti-aging moisturizer is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins (like retinol), 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 (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).


This cream is a triple correction anti-aging moisturizer that contains the breakthrough combination of Ferulic Acid and Retinol and a trademark-pending ECG Cellular Complex to target the fibroblast cell, visibly improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles at the surface level and beyond. This moisturizer helps to counteract the visible signs of aging, increase the natural moisture barrier and restore elasticity to sagging skin.


Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Octadecane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Isohexadecane, Collagen, Ferulic Acid, Gallic Acid, Ellagic Acid, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Retinol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Tocopherol, Morus Alba Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Leaf Oil, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Adenosine, Saccharide Isomerate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Tetrapeptide-21, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Behenate, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Tetrahydropiperine, BHT, Benzophenone-3, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Citric Acid, Bis-Vinyl Dimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Cyclodextrin, Sodium Citrate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hexylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Annatto.

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.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
Sort by:
defending Dr Gross's products

Just wanted to say Dr Gross has oil free moisturizers for people who have oily skin. The anti aging moisturizer is for dry skin if you need more hydration mix one of the boosters with it or use hrdra pure intense moisture cream in pm. Also don't stick your fingers in jars use a tiny spatula for that purpose. Also one sentence you wrote was not correct English. Dr Gross is one of the ten top Dermatologist in the country you can take that to the bank!!! I use his products and don't look my age 64

Reviewed by
Deborah K
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there!  Thank you for your feedback and we are happy you've found a product that works well for you.  I just wanted to point out that part of the reason that this product did not score higher was because the ingredients in it are air- and light-sensitive, and packaging them in a jar decreases their effectiveness over time.  Each time the jar is opened, light and air enter and efficacy is diminished.

Nasty reaction

I don't have sensitive skin, but I broke out in hives after 2 days of using this moisturizer. Thanks to Paula's review, I was able to figure out what was happening! Although I like some Dr. Gross products very much – and will continue to use them – this one is a miss with its VERY irritating Bergamot oil. Ouch.

Reviewed by

I read Beautypedia all the time, & often make my buying decisions on the reviews & facts presented. But, I am also aware that a product can transcend these reviews. The Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer is one of those products for me. I have acne/rosacea/combo skin that drives me crazy, until now. This moisturizer gives my skin a wonderful glow without an oily sheen, heals angry hormonal cysts, makes it soft, comfortable, fades spots, allows for less makeup. For me, a fabulous product!

Reviewed by
Enter a title for your review
First Name, Last Initial
Email Address
How would you rate this product on the following:
500 characters left

Terms of Use

585623-IIS1 v1.0.0.431 10/4/2015 2:51:40 AM