Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories (or DCL for short) is what I like to call a modest skincare brand. On paper, it has all the credentials you could dream of—dermatologist-backed formulas, Ivy League institution research teams, potent ingredients in worthwhile concentrations, chic packaging and proven results—but what it doesn't have is any of the marketing fluff.
It's not one of those shouty, showy skincare brands running up $$$ advertising campaigns. Instead, it's the kind of brand that funnels all its efforts and finances into creating high-quality skincare formulas you can actually see (and feel) working. So I don't blame you if you haven't yet heard of the brand, but lend me your ear for five minutes to explain why my bathroom cabinet is now full of the stuff.
DCL has had its feet firmly dunked in the pool of skincare innovation for the past 30 years, pioneering the use of many of today's most relied-on ingredients (I mean, I would be nothing without glycolic acid) and offering potencies that other brands would shy away from. This is no wishy-washy, fancy water. Which is why it's been a mainstay in dermatologist offices across the pond for years.
Now, I don't know about you, but without the time for a laborious 12-step routine, I want a handful of formulas in my toolkit that I know are going to work—and that's what DCL skincare promises. So, as my plight for glowier skin continues, I've been trialling a few of the brand's most-loved formulas for the past few months—you'll find my thoughts below.
A sturdy gel cleanser that works best in the second cleanse slot (after a balm or oil has removed makeup), it leaves skin feeling fresh but not tight. At its core are fruit acid and enzymes for mild exfoliating action, but if you're already going heavy on an acid peel or mask, then I would stick to a gentler cleanser so you don't overdo it.
I love a pre-soaked pad as much as the next beauty editor, but these must be the most potent I've tried. They're so super strength that they sting a fair bit at first, but the pain subsides with use. The thing is that there's a lot going on here, including a fair few acids, so I would approach with caution and start with once a week application and work up to three times a week max.
Mandelic acid peels away dead skin cells on the surface, whilst lactic acid smooths skin, making it soft and bouncy, and phytic acid sorts out any discrepancies in skin tone. Oh, and there's salicylic acid, which is brilliant if you're prone to a clogged pore or two. Unlike other pads, you're supposed to wash the residue off after 10 minutes, and I would recommend following up with a hydrating serum like a hyaluronic acid.
I've tried swapping this product in place of my usual lineup of multiple serums, moisturiser and SPF, and it seems to be working a treat. Inside, there's 10% glycolic to dial up the brightness, as well as vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to do the work of my regular moisturiser. It's also got SPF 30 to boot, so there's no need for the extra layer of sunscreen pre-makeup.
There's plenty of vitamin C (in fact, the highest concentration available on the market at 30%) in this formula (including L-Ascorbic acid) to plump up collagen and give skin a uniform sheen and lipids that fill in any gaps in the skin's barrier that could be draining much-needed moisture. And it does all that whilst you sleep. I'm using it once or twice a week in lieu of my usual facial oil and jade rolling routine.
As long as its rich and buttery, I rarely give the ingredients' list of my body lotion a second thought, but this formula is making me realise I was approaching bodycare wrong all along. This one contains lactic acid, which is brilliant at chipping away any bumpy skin build-up on the backs of arms or on the bottom of the bum cheeks. But the real draw is the high concentration of vitamin C (which is a little stingy to start with, FYI). Just as how the ingredient boosts the brightness and vitality of facial skin, it'll make your limbs looks silky and glowing.
Are you ready for a new addition to your bathroom cabinet?