We’ve been reading a lot lately about the chemical 2-dimethyl-amino-ethanol, more commonly listed on the labels of many anti-aging cosmetics as DMAE. Some doctors and cosmetic companies claim that DMAE is beneficial in skincare products to help reduce wrinkles by preventing cell deterioration. I did a little research on DMAE myself and here’s what I found:
While it’s true that DMAE is found naturally in fish such as sardines and anchovies, and even in the human brain, when it is used in cosmetics, DMAE may cause a seriously negative reaction in skin cells. There are many doctors who do not agree with the claims that DMAE prevents cell deterioration and feel that there has not been enough conclusive scientific and medical research done.
Based on a study done in 1979, it was found that the skin firming effects of DMAE can be attributed to the vacuolization of the cells. In simple terms, this means that after the application of DMAE, thousands of large pools of water form within the cells. This swelling of the cells is what causes the skin to plump up and appear less wrinkled. But this is only temporary. If all you want is a temporary tightening of the skin, then DMAE will do the trick, but it is very important to note that vacuolization is a process that will speed up cellular death. Cells can literally drown to death if too much water builds up inside them. The cells are basically damaged from the inside out. This vacuolization may be why after DMAE was applied to cells they actually stopped dividing, they stopped secreting, and after 24 hours many of the cells die. These findings were the results of a study conducted on skin cells by The Faculty of Medicine at Canada’s University Laval.
I have always been very careful about not using ingredients that have not been thoroughly tested over a long period of time. DMAE is one that I will stay away from until there is more conclusive information available.