Trying to stay on top of the major trends in skincare can be a headache. It seems like new ones appear so regularly that it is hard to keep up with them and that last week’s fad gets tossed out at the start of the new week for not actually being effective. That’s why a lot of us end up sticking with products that we know work based on years of use. This has the unfortunate effect of making us shy away from potentially effective products simply because we don’t understand what the special ingredient in them is or what it does. Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is a good example of this. It has been a popular ingredient in a variety of products for the last few years, but that four letter acronym is just as opaque as its full chemical name. This doesn’t really help anyone when it comes to skincare and simply ends up leading people to shy away from potentially useful products. That’s why we’re going to take a closer look at DMAE and its place in skincare in this article. Hopefully we’ll all come away better informed and knowing whether we want to use DMAE or not.
What Is It?
DMAE is in an interesting position as a compound. It is technically a nutrient formed by the body to fill specific functions but can be easily produced outside of it. DMAE is also a relatively flexible compound that can be used both internally and topically for two very different reasons. When used internally, DMAE is known for being used in the treatment of cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and other conditions. It gives a boost to many generalized cognitive functions. However, the topical applications are what concern most of us. Research may show that DMAE is also a potentially potent anti-aging compound when utilized topically. Many marketers have seized on this by calling the compound a “face life in a bottle” despite it not necessarily having earned that title. The anti-aging properties of DMAE are still particularly good for helping to counter sagging skin despite that though. DMAE’s potential in skincare is worth examining closer to see the potential extent of its effects and how it may work.
Understanding DMAE in Skincare
This is where things get confusing. The popularity of DMAE has led to a varied amount of claims for both how it works and the mechanism through which it works. That rarely bodes well when we’re looking into a popular skincare ingredient, but DMAE may be the exception. Researchers are still narrowing down the exact mechanisms by which DMAE works as there isn’t a clear answer yet. What they do know is that the compound demonstrates skin tightening effects when utilized in topical products. The effect isn’t larger, but it can appear within a relatively short amount of time. Furthermore, DMAE appears to help reduce visible skin sagging and noticeably decrease the rate at which is progresses over time. DMAE products need to be used continually to maintain the effect though. Notably, you’ll get a lot more out of hybrid products that don’t rely only on DMAE as these, while reducing the amount of DMAE in the product, will help to encourage your skin’s health in other ways that can also contribute to an overall reduction in the signs of aging.
It is worth noting that researchers have stressed that they do not know the long term effects of DMAE used topically. As a result, it can’t be confirmed as perfectly safe. Their concerns largely center on the fact that, like most cleansers and chemical exfoliating products, DMAE actually does a small amount of skin damage to do its job. Most professionals believe that the research will eventually show that the concerns are no greater than any other skincare product similar to it, but the fact that the information isn’t in yet inclines many people to reserve judgment for the time being. Additionally, they advise caution in paying attention to the concentration of DMAE in a product. Most advice suggests making sure products only use DMAE diluted to around 1% of its total potency to minimize the chances of there being any unexpected issues. This is more or less the exact same thing the skincare industry regularly does with the various skin friendly acids used in various products. As a result, you should be mindful of using DMAE products if you have sensitive skin, but most people should be fine.
DMAE isn’t a perfect skincare ingredient like many people talk it up to be, but it is potentially a solid addition to anti-aging skincare. The simple fact is that very few topical products can actually do much for already sagging skin. DMAE’s ability to do this is what makes it so promising. Current products are a valuable addition to skincare, but as we understand the compound more there will inevitably be improvements to how it is used and we’ll know more about long term effects. For now, it is up to you whether you wish to try using products with DMAE.