DMAE (also known as dimethylaminoethanol and 2-(Dimethylamino)ethanol comes as a water soluble, white crystalline powder we can use in our products at 1.5% to 3% in the cool down phase. It has a pH of 10, and doesn't play well with acidic ingredients.
So what's claimed about DMAE? It's claimed that it can reduce skin sagging and increase firmness. It can improve the overall face texture of aging and photo-damaged skin. These are pretty big claims! Around here, if you're going to make big claims, you better have some big evidence! And we have it!
A 156 subject, 16 week clinical trial using a moisturizing gel with 3% was tested and the results were pretty freakin' amazing. There was a decrease in the appearance of fine lines and an increase in skin firmness, as measured in a variety of ways but mostly along the jaw line. The results were seen as early as 2 weeks - although it was noted that skin was perceived to look better in 15 minutes - and continued to improve over the 16 week trial.
What's interesting about DMAE is the almost complete lack of irritation for subjects using this even at 3%, the maximum suggested usage. It is considered safe for all skin types, and those with sensitive skin are supposed to be able to use it (as usual, test your skin's reaction first before making a 32 ounce batch of lotion!)
How does it do it? DMAE is a synethetic analogue of choline (a B vitamin). It might stimulate the synthesis of phosphatidyl choline, which is an important component of cell membranes, or it might stimulate epidermal keratinocytes to contract, which will result in visual tightening or firming of the skin. Right now the mechanisms of how DMAE works isn't really known, but the results are incredibly promising based on this study and other smaller studies that show this tightening effect.
This would be a wonderful addition in your facial moisturizers at 1.5% to 3% in the cool down phase with two disclaimers. One - you might need to reduce the pH of your product as it does have a pH of 10, so check with your meter or strips to ensure you don't end up with something alkaline. (Click here for ideas on how to increase and decrease pH in your moisturizers.) Two is that although this seems like it would be a great addition to an AHA lotion - reduce the look of aging skin now and prevent it later - it doesn't play well with acidic ingredients. You want to keep this lotion at pH 6.0 to 7.0 or you'll neutralize the DMAE and make it pretty much pointless.
DMAE is a fairly low cost cosmeceutical. I found it at the Personal Formulator for $7.16 for 4 ounces (120 grams). So if you're using 3% in a 100 gram lotion you're looking at a cost of 6 cents per gram! Considering some of our cosmeceuticals can run us $7.16 for 1/2 an ounce, this is pretty remarkable.
This is not an endorsement of the ingredient found at the Personal Formulator, but some information on where you can purchase it. If you have any other supplier information, please post it in the comments. I will check the posts to ensure this is a genuine recommendation from a satisfied customer as opposed to a cheap excuse to put ads on my blog!
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at another cosmeceutical - GABA