I know you like to scrub, but seriously, stop it. Also, apologize profusely to your skin.
"Naturally" lying to your face about all of its "natural" ingredients.
This is one of my biggest 'pet peeve' products to hear my clients are using. Always they're complaining of breakouts, and they think that this can "scrub away" their acne. Some of them are using scrubs like these twice a day. How often you should exfoliate depends on your skin, but I very rarely advise exfoliation more than 4 times a week.
They always have blackheads, whiteheads, and varying degrees of acne scarring. Skin is so raw that it's more prone to burning and sun damage.
Why? Let's look at the ingredients, almost all of which are irritating or clog pores.
- Water is water is water. I wouldn't be surprised if this product was more than half water.
- Walnut shell powder creates microscopic tears in the top layer of the skin. This allows surface bacteria enter into deeper layers of the skin. The action of scrubbing the skin also causes inflammation, especially in this type of client, who believes the more you scrub the better. your skin will be. The creates raw, red, open skin, increasing future inflammation. When pores are inflamed, they swell, closing the top of the pore in a balloon shape instead of a cylinder, trapping p. acnes bacteria in the pore, giving it an oxygen free environment, where it flourishes, causing even more inflammation and creating a battle ground for white blood cells to fight off invaders, resulting in more breakouts. Scrubbing is the worst type of cleanse you can do to acne other than pouring Comet Cleanser on your face. The fact that this product is targeted towards acne sufferers is simply unbelievable.
- Glyceryl Stearate SE is highly comedogenic= meaning it clogs your pores, also limiting oxygen, making acne bacteria flourish.
- Propylene Glycol leaves a film on your skin and is toxic in very high doses. It's added to skin care as a humectant because it can attract water, but attracts water from the lower layers of skin and moves it to the surface, which creates an appearance of plumpness but in the long run dries out your skin. There are conflicting studies done on this ingredient, some saying it's toxic and an irritant and some saying it's not. If you're going for a humectant, hyaluronic acid is far more effective.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a foaming agent that's found in lots of cheap drugstore products. It's both comedogenic and a skin irritant.
- Zea Mays (Corn) Kernel Meal is a really fancy way of saying rough corn starch. It's added as an abrasive, and it's both irritating and comedogenic. It's alkaline in pH, which disrupts the acid mantle of the skin.
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a synthetic surfactant which strips oils from your skin and in high concentrations is a skin irritant.
- Cetearyl and Cetyl Alcohol are fatty alcohols that are used as thickeners and are also comedogenic.
- Triethanolamine is a surfactant & emulsifying agent that is a strongly suspected respiratory irritant and allergen.
- Glyceryl Stearate is a waxy surfactant & emulsifying agent that is comedogenic in high doses.
- PEG-100 Stearate (polyethylene glycol ester of stearic acid) is an emolliant that is both potentially irritating and comedogenic on sensitive skin.
- Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract is the first "good" ingredient and 10th on the list. It's a skin conditioner, and can be good for skin when it's not combined with these other ingredients.
- Cetyl Acetate is an ester of cetyl alcohol and acetic acid and is both comedogenic and irritating.
- Carbomer is simply a thickener and can be irritating for many.
- Polysorbate 60 is an emulsifier that is mildly irritating.
- Ceteareth-20 is an emollient, emulsifier that is very comedogenic and an irritant. Claims have been made that it is also carcinogenic, but more studies are needed. It is considered unsafe for damaged or irritated skin, which is the exact kind of skin that this product is marketed to. When this ingredient was used on burn victims it was shown to cause kidney damage.
- Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol is used as an emollient and is very comedogenic and irritating.
- PPG-2 Methyl Ether is for fragrance and is also used as a solvent. It doesn't harm skin, but it also doesn't do anything good for your skin, either.
- Phenethyl Alcohol is for fragrance and can be irritating.
- Glycerin is a moisturizing agent and can be beneficial, but at the fourth to last ingredient, combined with all of the other stripping surfactants, it isn't doing any good.
- Methylisothiazolinone is a biocide preservative to keep products shelf stable that in high doses is very toxic and can cause nerve damage. Cosmetic companies defend their use of it because it's in such low doses and is usually only used in "rinse off" products. It's also an allergen. Not enough studies have been done with long term use to really prove it causes nerve damage, but you won't find me lining up to participate.
- Fragrance is a catch-all term that could mean practically anything from organic essential oils to synthetic fragrance. With all the other cheap, terrible ingredients in this product, I highly doubt this is an organic essential oil.
- Titanium Dioxide is usually used as sunscreen. In rinse-off cleansers, however, it's used as a colorant. It isn't harmful to the skin, but used in this way it isn't helpful, either.
Another thing that really bothers me about St. Ives products is how they present themselves as a "natural" line. Their packaging and website is covered with pictures of plants and fruit, they focus on being paraben-free and "committed to nature" and "making skin naturally beautiful." On the St. Ives website it claims to use "100% Natural Moisturizers and Exfoliants" but they fail to mention all of the synthetic surfactants, emulsifiers, preservatives, and fragrances that are in their products, especially when they outnumber the natural products five to one and the "good" ingredients ten to one. Their website contains a Natural Ingredients Glossary which has good information but doesn't mention that the products themselves contain very little of these natural ingredients. These products are incredibly misleading!
Aside from really misleading packaging and ingredients, the published reviews of this product also raise some red flags for me. I can't prove it, but many of these reviews read as if they were written by the same person. If you have to hire a (poor) writer to give you enough 5 star reviews to get a good average, there's a problem.
If you really need that "scrubby" feeling, get a scrub that contains sugar and jojoba oil. Rub it GENTLY across your skin and rinse very, very well.
When clients tell me they use any of these products, I tell them to throw away the bottle or give it to someone they don't like. Even if you're not seeing the damage or redness, the damage is being caused on a microscopic level.
Start using a gentle acne cleanser created by a professional skin care line. Aveda's Outer Peace, Merle Norman Anti-Redness, and Bella di Terra Combo/Acne lines are all fantastic, filled with actual fruit extracts and anti-inflammatory ingredients to calm the skin instead of irritating it further.
Exfoliate with chemical peels and plant enzymes, which dissolve dead skin and oil instead of scraping them away. Acids, especially plant-derived salicylic, lactic and glycolic, can cleanse inside the pores instead of just scraping over the top. Another option for exfoliating properly is to use kaolin and benzonite clay, which pull impurities and dead skin cells out of the pores, and is very gentle and effective, especially on oily skin.
There are a million skin care options on the market. To find the right one, go to an Aesthetician who can work with you to find your ideal skin care regimen. Be patient with your acne, and eventually you will find your own routine for healthy skin.
Please share with everyone you know that uses these products!
Have you used this product? What was your experience? Tell me in the comments below!