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DMAE: The next coming of Retin-A? Maybe. But that’s not a good thing.

In this episode, we apply the AEDUCATOR Evaluation Framework to DMAE (dimethylaminoaethanol). Hailed by one YouTube skincare enthusiast as “best thing since Retin-A,” the evaluation of DMAE reveals a lot of what is wrong with skincare today. First, we see a doctor who “discovered” DMAE by cluelessly applying it to the face of a patient – it caused the face to become lopsided in 20 minutes. Based on this experience, the doctor develops a completely unsupported theory involving neurotransmitters and muscle change. He does “independent” clinical studies that are never published. We see Johnson and Johnson seize on this opportunity. They conduct 2 clinical studies that are never published (positive results) and sponsor an academic lab to do 2 others (negative results). Ultimately, they drop the idea of DMAE as a “breakthrough” ingredient. To my knowledge DMAE is not used in any products made by J&J companies, but there are so many of these, it’s hard to know. Then, we see two YouTube skincare channels grapple with this legacy. One – Mad About Skin – jumps in head first. It’s the BEST, he shouts. Better than Retin-A. In fewer than 10 minutes, the covers the ingredient, how it works, all the data, and how to integrate into a routine. The other YouTube channel – No BS Beauty – is much more circumspect. “This is controversial. Read the research yourself. Decide for yourself if you want to be a guinea pig.” This is where AEDUCATOR comes in. We take a comprehensive look at DMAE through the lens of the AEDUCATOR Framework – The What, The How, The Evidence, The Sources. We discuss the peer-reviewed research critically. Pointing out the nuance that determines whether something is solid or fluff.

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