Dimethylaminoethanol, better known as DMAE, is an antioxidant membrane stabilizer. When taken orally or applied topically, it helps to firm, smoothe, and brighten skin. It also enhances the effects of other antioxidants like alpha lipoic acid and Vitamin C ester. As a result, DMAE works best when used in combination with other nutrients and an antioxidant base.
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DMAE may be best known by its reputation as an oral cognitive supplement, but it also has a great effect on skin. Topical creams that include DMAE aid in tightening the muscles that keep your skin looking healthy to diminish the appearance wrinkles, lines, and sagging. Perricone MD includes DMAE in 16 of his products because of its effect on skin and useful interactions with other ingredients.
DMAE performs two different roles in the body. It both produces the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain and acts as an antioxidant cell membrane stabilizer. DMAE’s antioxidant action comes from this ability to strengthen the cell membrane. DMAE can do this because its structure allows it to insert itself between components of the cell plasma membrane and help protect the cell from free radical attack.
When DMAE functions as an antioxidant and helps keep the cell membrane intact, this reduces stress to the cell and inhibits production of arachidonic acid and other chemicals responsible for pain and inflammation.
As skin gets older, it undergoes many changes, including:
- Mottling, or patchy skin
- Broken blood vessels
- Decrease in radiance
- Loss of firmness
The common complaint of “gravity taking its toll” doesn’t fully explain why so many people develop sagging skin as they age. There are cellular and nutritional factors at play when skin’s appearance changes as it gets older.
What are some of these factors?
- Free radical damage
- Muscle sagging
Free radical damage
Free radical damage accumulates throughout our body as we age. Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron through their interactions with other molecules. This makes the oxygen molecule extremely unstable. Since molecules always seek stability, these unstable oxygen molecules try to bond with extra electrons in order to fill their own electron shells.
Most of the time, these free radicals take the electrons from healthy cells, creating detrimental a chain reaction. In order for one free radical to stabilize itself, it has to destabilize another cell, resulting in a new free radical. Free radicals are also created by natural bodily processes like breathing and digestion, as well as environmental factors like sunlight, cigarette smoke, and pollution.
The body has a natural method of defense against free radicals, and the key to this defense is antioxidants. Antioxidants do their job by providing the extra electrons unstable free radicals need. Once the free radical has this electron, it becomes stable; this prevents the destruction of otherwise healthy cells.
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However, antioxidants can’t always keep up with all the free radical damage that occurs in the body, especially if the body is under oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can be caused when prolonged sunlight exposure or ingesting harmful substances make too many free radicals for antioxidants to neutralize. That’s why it’s important to use supplements and eat healthy, antioxidant-rich foods in order to increase the store of antioxidants your body can use in its battle against free radicals.
Muscles contract when the brain sends a signal to the targeted muscle. The signal travels along a nerve which ends a short distance before it makes contact with the muscle. At the tip of the nerve is a bulb full of chemicals including acetylcholine. The nerve releases the chemicals, and they trigger the muscle to contract.
Acetylcholine is an important component of this process because it acts as a “wake up call” for the muscles. When acetylcholine makes contact with the muscles, the muscles respond with tone and movement.
However, both the production of this important chemical and its effect on the muscles decrease as the body ages. This is one reason muscles start to lose their tone. When muscles behind the face lose tone, the skin begins to sag.
In addition to DMAE’s antioxidant role in protecting the cell membrane from attack by free radicals, it also fights against sagging muscles. DMAE does this by promoting the production of acetylcholine, a chemical responsible for creating muscle tone. By triggering a response that tones the muscles, the result can be firmer, smoother skin with fewer wrinkles. DMAE is an active ingredient in Perricone Cold Plasma, for example, and provides a lifted and firm appearance to sagging skin.
Unlike many other skincare products, such as Retin A, which only reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, DMAE actually works to address the root of the problem to help reverse muscle sagging. DMAE treats the cause, not the symptom, of loss of firmness in the skin.
DMAE is considered a safe substance with few to no side effects or adverse reactions, and it’s well tolerated by patients. The only reported side effects come from using a DMAE supplement; if more than the recommended dose is ingested, DMAE can cause muscle tension, headaches and insomnia. So always read labels carefully and follow product directions to ensure DMAE is used correctly.
All of the products containing DMAE have a special Perricone discount available as well.