Updated Jan 29 2017
A DMAE serum is a unique anti-aging product because DMAE is one of the few ingredients that makes a noticeable difference on sagging skin. The skin tightening effect upon application is temporary but noticeable, and it usually lasts all day.
There are many products that are effective at treating wrinkles and discoloration, but facial sag is another matter. Best of all, you don’t need to wait long to see results, unlike most anti aging serums.
Our Top Pick
Tighten and firm with a DMAE serum for younger looking skin
This product addresses one of the most frustrating signs of aging: sagging skin. There are many products that reduce wrinkles and age spots, but sagging is significantly more difficult to remedy without resorting to surgical options.
DMAE skin care products will tighten your skin within a week of starting to use it. When used daily, it can reduce further sagging. The effects are temporary and only last throughout the day, and will fade entirely after you stop using the product.
DMAE works best on people with mild to moderate facial sag. The tightening effect isn’t noticeable on young skin, and severely sagging skin won’t be improved without surgery. It is also a good choice for “crepey” skin on the eyelids and under the eyes.
Formulations only need a small percentage to be effective. Most DMAE serums will contain between 1% and 3%, which may or may not be listed on the label. Stronger serums will contain around 4% or 5% DMAE and will often list the concentration. If the percentage is not listed, it is most likely a mild product.
Avoid DMAE serum side effects by starting slow
DMAE can be irritating to new users. It’s best to start off with mild serums every other day in the beginning. Gradually work your way up to daily use and then to stronger products.
Most side effects are mild. You will typically experience dryness, redness, and flaking if you are using something too strong at first. But some people don’t have any problems at all!
You should be ready for the best DMAE serum you can find after two weeks to a month of using mild products. Introduce it into your routine gradually by alternating days with a lower strength product until your skin can tolerate daily use of the strongest concentrations.
If you don’t want to buy two products, you can start off with something strong and dilute it with equal parts of a neutral, active-free moisturizer. This would take an effective 4% serum like this one and turn it into a milder 2% concentration that is ideal for new users. Then gradually work your way to using the 4% serum on its own.
Use more actives at once with a Combination product
Because DMAE is so effective in low concentrations, there is often plenty of room in the formulation for other anti aging active ingredients. These serums will often contain Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, peptides, or antioxidants.
DMAE doesn’t stimulate your skin to produce collagen the way other actives do. A combination serum will give you the immediate tightening benefits of DMAE and the long-term skin restructuring abilities of other actives. That’s why we love this serum.
Create an effective routine that works for you
A DMAE serum works well in an anti aging routine that uses other products in a separate session, like alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids used in the evening.
DMAE products need to be used in the morning because the tightening effect only lasts throughout the day. You’ll also get better results by making sure your skin is properly exfoliated.
Stop sabotaging your skin care products!
What’s the use of spending time and money on skin care if the ingredients can’t penetrate the skin?
Dead skin cells often over-accumulate on the surface of functional skin and inhibit proper absorption. Exfoliating removes this problematic layer and ensures your skin care actives can work as intended.
Some of the most effective routines combine topical products with a diamond headed microdermabrasion machine.
It doesn’t take long to see DMAE serum benefits
Users often report a cumulative effect after using DMAE for a while, so don’t give up on the products if you don’t notice anything right away. Some people can take a week before they notice any skin tightening.
Over time, the tightening effect lasts longer and is more noticeable. In some ways, the skin firming abilities of DMAE are permanent because it can delay the development of further sagging.
If you use a DMAE serum for several years and then stop, your skin should be roughly at the same point it was when you started.
The results are the most noticeable around the eyes and jawline. Unlike many products, DMAE can be used directly on the eyelid, where loose, crepey is very difficult to treat. It can also firm up the area underneath the eyebrow that is prone to drooping.
Is it safe?
A DMAE serum is a safe product. It’s actually taken as a nutrition supplement. The topical side effects, if any, are generally mild and temporary.
There is virtually no risk of over exfoliating or burning your skin like you can with strong concentrations of Vitamin C or glycolic acid.
The active ingredient is dimethylaminoethanol. It has been studied internally as an anti aging agent that protects against decline in cognitive function and may also contribute to longevity.
DMAE in anti aging products have been used for over 30 years and have a devoted following in parts of Europe. There have been no significant reports of skin damage from long-term users and some people have used it for decades.
How does DMAE work?
Scientists don’t exactly understand how DMAE firms the skin. It is thought that it stabilizes cell membranes, or works as it does internally to reduce the accumulation of lipofuscin, a byproduct of aging, by stimulating synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.
There has been some misinformation circulating skin care forums about a study claiming that DMAE causes skin damage over time, but these studies were done on the high pH DMAE amine, which is not often used in skin care products because the pH and objectionable “fishy” odor.
DMAE bitartrate is the form used in a DMAE serum and has a much more neutral pH.
A serum or a cream?
Although a lot of people think serums are stronger than creams, that’s not necessarily the case. It’s all about the formulation. And there’s no technical definition about what makes a serum a serum anyway. A lot of them are simply thin moisturizers that could just as easily be called a lotion.
A DMAE cream might be best for you if you have dry skin. Creams often have soothing ingredients that can offset irritation. They can make great starter products before you graduate to a serum.
Andalou naturals makes a very popular firming cream with DMAE. You can get on Amazon.
Should you try it?
Yes! DMAE is effective and affordable with a low risk of side effects.
There aren’t many topical treatment options available for sagging skin, and most anti aging products take over a month of consistent use to see results. If you are looking for a quick pick me up before a special event, or consider sagging skin your most concerning issue, a DMAE serum may be the best product for you.