DMAE Supplementation: A Fountain Of Youth?

Manufacturers claim it has an anti-aging benefit. The media and the manufacturers have even referred to the compound as 'a facelift in a jar.' Learn more.

DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol), also known as N,N-dimethyl-2-aminoethanol, beta-dimethylaminoethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyldimethylamine and Deanol is an organic compound used as a curing agent for polyurethanes and epoxy resins.

It is used to the synthesis of dyestuffs, textile auxiliaries, pharmaceuticals, emulsifiers, and corrosion inhibitors. Also it is an additive to paint removers, boiler water, and amino resins. Strangely enough this compound that has received recent attention in anti-aging skin products is also taken as an oral supplement.

Manufacturers claim it has an anti-aging benefit. The media and the manufacturers have even referred to the compound as "a facelift in a jar." DMAE won't accomplish anything approaching a surgical face lift, or even a laser skin tightening procedure if done correctly however, DMAE may provide some benefits in the fight against facial sagging. How this occurs is still just speculation.

How DMAE Benefits The Skin

It remains unclear how DMAE firms the skin. There is speculation that it does so by stabilizing the membranes through the stimulation of acetylcholine. Other studies believe it stabilizing the skin membranes by reducing the accumulation of lipofuscin deposits inside cells; a cellular pigment consisting of molecular waste that is said to contributes to the aging process.

Worth The Money?

DMAE will not cause dramatic changes in your skin, like a surgical face lift, or an aggressive CO2 laser skin peal, however the effect of DMAE can be noticeable, and there are many studies that report that DMAE supplementation may reduce the further progression of skin laxity (looseness/sagging).

There are also several studies that demonstrate that continued use of DMAE (primarily topical) can provide cumulative benefits with its continued use.

Is Topical DMAE Safe For The Skin?

DMAE has been extensively used in skin care as a topical agent for approximately 20 years without widespread reports of skin damage. However recently, a 2007 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology raised concerns about DMAE's potential to damage skin cells. There is no definitive proof at current time that DMAE is a health risk when used as directed.

Another issue is whether topical DMAE is safe. On one hand, it has been extensively used in skin care since the 90's without widespread reports of obvious skin damage. This makes major toxicity of commonly used strengths unlikely. However, this does not rule out a possibility of low-level skin damage.

Why Has DMAE Become So Popular As A Skin Agent?

Cost! or lack there of, by the skin care manufactures. This translates to high profit margins. DMAE is a simple substance to produce and as such a relatively cheap ingredient. Unlike the skin care anti-oxidant Vitamin C, DMAE does not need special stabilization to be used as a topical agent which makes it very economical and profitable for the manufacturers.

Making Your Own Customized DMAE Skin Care Product

Because DMAE is cheap, and is a stable product it is easy and affordable to make your own DMAE cream, which can also customized by concentration to fit your individual skin needs.

Note: Individuals with a PABA (Para-Amino-benzoic-acid) allergy should avoid supplementing with DMAE because DMAE is a chemical relative of PABA.

Advantages Of Making Your Own DMAE Anti-Aging Product

Many skincare products often have too low a concentration of active ingredients to make any real difference. When preparing a cream yourself, you can put in as much of active ingredient(s) as you need to fit your specific requirements.

When you make your own products you can have the most active ingredients. When you purchase an off-the-shelf product you do not know what you are getting and whether the ingredients are still bioactive and capable of producing the desired effect.

Chemicals, whether natural or synthetic, decay over time because they react with water, air or each other and as such the product will lose its benefits. Partially decayed ingredients can also sometimes be toxic and cause damage to your skin as well.

How To Make Your Own Product

When making a cream of your own, you just need to purchase an appropriate base cream (i.e. a very inexpensive cream that already has inactive ingredients mixed together, like any skin moisturizer) then add the active ingredients desired. In this case the DMAE.

You have many options for base creams, depending on your need. You can use a light moisturizer with sunscreens for day use. A light moisturizer (lower proportion of oil to water) allows the skin to breath, but still draws moisture into the skin so that it does not become dehydrated.

This moisturizer is perfect to use during the day and can be put on under makeup. Another option is the use of a heavier moisturizer (higher proportion of oil to water) as a skin base.

The heavier moisturizer is great for extremely dry skin because it will serve as a moisture barrier, locking in moisture. It is also a good choice for a night cream, however it should only be used for short periods, and then washed off. This is important because skin pores should not remain blocked for extended period of time because the skin needs to excrete toxic by products through these pores.

One option for a good base is using calendula cream. Calendula cream contains the herb Calendula officinalis. Calendula is an exceptionally versatile herb native to the Mediterranean which is known to contain high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals.

Calendula has also been shown to contain anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and because of these properties it is often used for many conditions, such a eczema, diaper rash, bed sores, psoriasis, etc.

When mixed with oils like olive oil, the effects of calendula are enhanced and are often used as a body butter when combined with hydrating oils.

Base creams containing calendula and other essential oils and other botanicals are readily available at health food stores and on-line. You can also make your own very simply and economically.

Natural Skin Creams And Oils

Calendula Cream Base

You can create a Calendula Cream to suit your needs in just a few easy steps.

  1. Pack a glass jar with dried calendula flowers and add 8 ounces of olive oil.
  2. Cover the glass jar with a tight lid and shake.
  3. Store the jar in a dark cupboard and shake well every day for approximately two weeks.
  4. Strain the infused oil into a clean glass jar or bottle.
  5. Add a natural preservative such as Vitamin E oil.
  6. Add 2 ounces of almond oil, 2 ounces of shea butter and 2 ounces of cocoa butter.
  7. Mix ingredients in a small pot on very low heat until all the ingredients have melted.
  8. Simmer for 20 minutes while stirring regularly.
  9. Carefully pour mixture into a plastic or glass jar.
  10. Add any desired additional ingredients such as DMAE and mix.
  11. Allow to solidify.
  12. Apply directly to the skin, scalp, or hair as desired.

Calendula Oil

When Therapeutic Oil Is Desired:

  1. Pack a glass jar with dried calendula flowers and add olive oil.
  2. Cover the glass jar with a tight lid and shake.
  3. Store the jar in a dark cupboard and shake well every day for approximately two weeks.
  4. Strain the infused oil into a clean glass jar or bottle.
  5. Add a natural preservative such as Vitamin E oil. You can also add any other ingredients such as DMAE.
  6. Mix.
  7. Test the oil on a small area to test for allergic reactions.
  8. If there is no allergic reaction, apply directly to the skin, scalp, or hair as desired.

Other Potential Benefits Of DMAE

  • A number of studies have shown the ability of DMAE through oral supplementation to reduce age-related decline in cognitive ability and memory.
  • DMAE may also have positive benefits for dreaming and mood stabilization.
  • DMAE may also assist children suffering from Downs Syndrome and attention deficit disorder (ADD), as well as those with mild symptoms of depression.
  • Studies have also shown that DMAE may modestly increase life span of laboratory animals.
  • DMAE supplementation has been known to increase energy levels.
  • Most people notice being more alert and focused within a couple of hours after taking DMAE. The DMAE benefit of alertness and focus can last most of the day. According to a 2003 study by Dimpfel W. Forschung und Entwicklung -, Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 9, D-35440 Linden, Germany. And published in European Journal of Medical Research (2003 May 30;8(5):183-91).
  • Subjects taking DMAE supplement for 3 months developed significant less theta and alpha1 power in sensomotoric areas of the cortex. Decreases in theta and alpha1 electrical power have been associated with increased vigilance and attention and a better feeling of well being on both levels of analysis mood and electrical pattern of brain activity in subjects suffering from borderline emotional disturbance.
  • Because of the increase in energy that DMAE may provide it is recommended that any oral DMAE supplementation be taken in the early part of the day so that not to cause insomnia.