The Ingredient Combo That Actually Makes A Difference On My Annoying Little Lines

I'm going to convince you to start using at least one of these four products featuring alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE.

Who has two clubbed thumbs and has tried a million skincare products? THIS GAL.

But as a beauty editor and Jane-proclaimed nerd, I've done more than just try products; I've paid careful attention to ingredients and done a lot research on them. And as I enter my mid-thirties, I'm paying especially close attention to anti-aging ingredients.

There are some ingredients that are proven to absolutely change skin, especially in high, doctor-prescribed doses, like retinol and hydroquinone. Most ingredients' effectiveness are up for debate, however, largely depending on the individual's skin, as well as their perception of the results. So when someone says, "OMG THIS TOTALLY WORKS FOR ME" about an over-the-counter skincare product, it's basically anecdotal evidence.

Well, kids, this is my anecdote and I'm sticking to it: I've seen no more obvious difference in my fine lines than when I use products that contain both alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE.

There's just something about this pairing that makes my skin noticeably smoother, so even though neither are prescription-level compounds, I'm convinced that they're the real McCoy. (Does anyone else think of Sam Waterston when they hear that phrase?)

So, what are they?


Alpha-lipoic acid is a sulfuric compound that is widely believed to have significant antioxidant properties. It's been shown to help prevent glycation, which is basically sugar making you look older.


Dimethylaminoethanol, or DMAE, naturally occurs in your brain, as well as in anchovies, and is proof that not all long, scary, chemical-y words indicate something unnatural and harmful. It's technically a form of alcohol and, like alpha-lipoic acid, it offers antioxidant benefits, and it helps stop the same kind of "cross-linking" that glycation causes.


The only thing that kinda stinks about products with alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE is that they're usually pretty expensive. But I really do believe in the combo, so I whole-heartedly recommend the following products.

Perricone MD Advanced Eye Area Therapy is the product that made me take notice of this ingredient pairing. When I first started noticing fine lines under my eyes, I used this cream, and saw much smoother skin in about a month. When my dark circles became a bigger concern than my lines, I stupidly switched to something else, and the lines came back. LESSON LEARNED.

Goldfaden MD Wake Up Call Overnight Regenerative Facial Treatment should be placed on everyone's pillow the night they turn 30. I genuinely look forward to using this night cream because it feels phenomenal going on, and my skin looks smoother in the morning. Plus, it has everyone's favorite indisputably effective ingredient, retinol, in addition to the alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE.

I originally started using Veronica Malibu Super Antioxidant Cream because it smells amazing. But when I realized it was doing more than temporarily hydrating my skin, I took a close look at the ingredients and found--yep--alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE. Oh, and hey, retinol! These three should start a band.

If you really want to try this ingredient duo but you're (understandably) reluctant to spend hundreds o' dollars, try the far-less-expensive derma e Firming Serum with DMAE, Alpha Lipoic and C-Ester. I haven't personally tried it, but looking at the ingredients, it seems legit.

Think you'll give any of these a try? Have you already had seen success with alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE? Anyone try them as supplements? Let me know!