Dermalogica Review

Dermalogica Review: Does It Really Work?

Written By : Dr Ruby Shah   ✓ Fact Checked

Dermalogica is a skincare system claiming to use only the highest quality ingredients to treat a wide variety of skin concerns, and to improve skin health.

(Last Updated on November 29, 2022)

There are so many skin care products on the market today, sometimes it’s overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to begin when you are looking for something new.

So, do you try products from one of the many new and emerging companies, or do you go with the tried and tested long established brands?

One of these long established brands is Dermalogica.

The name may suggest a dermatologist approved product, but is that the case?

Let’s look at the company and some of the products.

What Is Dermalogica?

dermalogica skincare treatment

Jane Wurwand was trained in the UK as a tenured skin therapist. On moving to the States in 1983 she noticed a gap in the market for ongoing training of skin therapists. She started teaching aestheticians under the name of The International Dermal Institute.

She went on in 1986 to develop a range of products under the Dermalogica brand. The aim of the brand was to improve skin health rather than beauty. The vision for this brand was:

A product line free of common irritants and ingredients that could cause breakouts (including lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrances) that would improve skin health, and were only available from qualified skin care professionals trained at The International Dermal Institute.

In 2015 the company was incorporated with Unilever plc. It now has 100,000 therapists worldwide in over 80 countries, . It has won many awards. Their Facebook page has 202,000 likes.

The company is registered with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating, with only one logged complaint.

Product List

This company offers almost 100 products for different skin types and skin issues.

You can choose your products by category, product system or skin concern.

The skin concerns covered are:

  • Acne and Breakout
  • Dryness and Dehydration
  • Oiliness
  • Sensitivity and Redness
  • Shaving
  • Signs of Skin Aging
  • Uneven Skin Tone

Some of the best selling products are:

  • Skin Smoothing Cream: a medium-weight moisturizer to balance combination/dry skin.
  • Active Moist: help improve skin texture and combat surface dehydration.
  • Daily Microfoliant: daily use exfoliating powder for all skin conditions.
  • Dynamic Skin Recovery: medium-weight, daily moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF50.
  • Precleanse: a deep cleanser to remove layers of excess sebum (oil), sunscreen, waterproof makeup, pollutants and products that build up on skin.

Before buying any products you have the option of utilising an online skin analysis.

You can even upload a photograph for skin mapping.

Alternately the company advises that you visit one of their many salons so that a skin therapist can advice you.

Dermalogica Ingredients


As there are so many products on offer it is not possible to look in depth at the ingredients for all of them. We will concentrate on a couple of the best selling items, and some of the key ingredients they contain.

Active Moist

This product claims to provide effective, oil-free hydration without a greasy feel. It may smooth and help improve skin texture and has a sheer formula which goes on quickly. Some of the key ingredients are:

  • Capric triglyceride – a skin conditioning agent.
  • Lavender and Lemon Extract – preservatives1.
  • Plant Extracts – skin conditioning and soothing agents.May have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
  • Methyl Gluceth 20 – helps the skin retain moisture.
  • Pentylene Glycol & Butylene Glycol – help the skin retain moisture but may cause allergic reaction.
  • Silk Amino Acids – can increase hydration and elasticity.May have anti-aging and anti-wrinkle effects.
  • Allaintoin – promotes healthy skin2.
  • Panthenol – a skin moisturizer3.

Daily Microfoliant

This is a powder that activates on contact with water. It claims to micro-exfoliate dead cells, instantly leaving skin smoother and brighter. Some of the key ingredients are:

  • Salicylic Acid: an exfoliant4 .
  • Papain: may help remove dead skin cells, can cause allergic reactions.
  • Rice Enzymes: can smooth and hydrate the skin.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: can improve the condition and elasticity of the skin5.
  • Tea Tree Oil: can kill bacteria and reduce allergic reactions6.
  • Colloidal Oatmeal: has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.

This exfoliant promises to remove dulling surface debris.  It evens the skin tone to reveal brighter, smoother skin.

It may be gentle enough for daily use.

It is not recommended for users of medically-prescribed exfoliation products.

Dermalogica Side Effects

dermalogica real users reviews

These products are all marketed as being free of common irritants and ingredients that could cause breakouts.

  • They are free of gluten and parabens.
  • They have no artificial colorings or fragrance.
  • They are vegan friendly and not tested on animals.

However there are ingredients in some of the products may cause allergic reactions.

Dermalogica Reviews & Complaints

Customer reviews for these products are not easy to find. It is hard to find an unbiased opinion when the products are sold either from the company website or affiliated outlets.

Of the reviews I could find the majority are a glowing 5 stars.

Some products have been sold on, but any negative reviews there reflect issues with packaging or authenticity of the product.

I did manage to find some mixed reviews.

Of the positive ones Jas writes about the Daily Microfoliant:

Tried the sample and decided to invest in one. This product has excellent texture – this scrub is really, really fine! It’s almost talc-like, so it’s non-abrasive and leaves the skin feeling truly clean. Depending on skin type, this can be used every evening for some ppl, ensuring optimal conditions for the absorption of your other skincare. A skin care specialist once told me that if your pores are clogged, then using any other (expensive) product is a huge waste, cause the product does not absorb into the skin and merely stays on the surface. This product keeps my skin clean without scratching it nor drying it out. Love the stuff.

While Miss J writes on the same product:

I have actually been a fan of Dermalogica and I’ve used a few of their products in the past that i have actually been quite happy with. I think that I was just unlucky with this product – always take the statements on the bottle with a pinch of salt! I was recommended this product by a facialist…hmmm. It really stung, itched like crazy and irritated my skin leaving it dry, red and sensitive looking (and I am not prone to redness at all.) Furthermore, I had a couple of spots at the time, and it felt like it burnt the spots off and I am still left with the scarring. This product has great reviews from other users, so maybe it just didn’t work for me.

The pattern of allergic reactions seems to be recurring in the reviews I could find.

Camilla Reyes writes from the Philippines:

I received and tried samples of Dermalogica’s Medicated Clearing Gel and it worked wonders without any irritation, clearing my skin so I had no qualms buying the actual product. I also verified the ingredients for anything I might be potentially allergic or sensitive to. I was very excited about finding something that really worked on my sensitive combination/acne prone skin. For some reason though, the actual product did nothing but give me more breakouts!! I don’t know if the product formula is different from that in the samples, but it was such a disappointment and a total waste of money.

Meanwhile Elsabe from South Africa is one of a few people who claim that the products do not deliver as promised.

She reports on the Medicated Clearing Gel:

I have had problem skin since childhood and have tried most skin products and spent more money than I care to count. I am an adult now, and really growing tired of products that do not work. I purchased the product from a beauty salon for a hefty price, with the hope that it will clear my problem skin. The instructions were to use the product after cleansing at night. I used the product for a couple of weeks and could see no difference. It did not even dry out current problem areas or lift out underlying problems as specified on the bottle. There are better skin treatments that are less than half the price of this product, and you can see and feel that they are working. I feel in general Dermalogica is overpriced for what you receive.

Dermalogica: Packages, Prices & Where To Buy

As there are so many products if you want to check individual pricing you can find them on the company website.

To give you some idea, prices range from $20 up to a $189. Majority of the products fall in the $40 – $60 bracket.

The skin sets which give you sample sizes of the products in a particular range cost from $30 – $55.

Shipping charges start from $8 or are free for ground delivery on orders over $50. If you want next day deliver it will cost you $35.

The company will accept pre approved returns of unused items within 30 days from date of purchase. They will either refund or exchange.

You need to contact the company who will email you a returns label. Make sure you itemize each one as they will not refund or exchange anything that is not listed.

See below how the official site looks like.

dermalogica official website

Dermalogica Pros & Cons


  • Established company that has been trading for over 30 years.
  • Access to skin therapists at their many outlets.
  • Products appear to work to some extent.
  • Not overly expensive.
  • Website provides lots of useful information.


  • Lack of independent reviews may hinder making an informed decision.
  • Cannot return items once opened.
  • Can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • No clinical trials to show the products work.

Dermalogica Review: Final Words

dermalogica skincare review - verdict

This is a well established International company that has been trading for many years so they must be doing something right.

They appear to be keen on ensuring their skin specialists are trained. Albeit the training is done by The International Dermal Institute, which is owned by them.

The best thing to do may be to go and have a treatment at one of their many spa/salon outlets. That way you could see how the products work for you before committing to buying them.

We laid out the facts, will you buy Dermalogica? Comment below and tell us what you think!

2 Replies to Dermalogica Review: Does It Really Work?

  1. I use the age smart moisturiser it’s amazing I ran out of it for a week and my skin was awful soon as I started using it again my skin went back to the way it was highly recommend it

  2. I met someone who had great skin and asked her what she did, turns out she works for this company and exclusively uses their products…so I am going to try

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