DMAE, also known as dimethylaminoethanol or dimethylethanolamine, is a popular ingredient in anti-aging skincare products because of its demonstrated on-contact rejuvenating properties. However, Canadian researchers have questioned its safety.
DMAE produces an almost-instant plumping of skin cells, namely the fibroblast, which play a big part in healing. This “thickening” of the cells accounts for why skin looks smoother and more youthful. But what happens after that swelling is what raised the researchers’ concern: they noted that within hours of DMAE application in concentrations similar to those in skincare, skin-cell division slowed down significantly or almost stopped. Within 24 hours, according to the study, 25% of cells had died.
The researchers were clear that their goal was not to alarm people, but rather to highlight that some of today’s skincare ingredients have properties as strong as pharmacological agents. Therefore, research into how they act and what benefits and risks they produce for both the short and long term are important to consumer safety.
If you are happy with skincare that includes DMAE, you can feel comfortable continuing to use it. Every day, skin cells divide, mature, die and are naturally shed as part of the normal metabolic cycle. However, until this study, no skincare ingredient had been determined to affect the life cycle of skin cells, and we don’t know yet what that means to the long-term health or beauty of your skin.
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