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Review of St Ives Blemish and Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub

St Ives

Exfoliators/Scrubs

St Ives Blemish and Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub

3 stars
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  • The Essential
  • The Ingredients
  • The Basics
  • The Good
  • The Not-So-Good
  • The Others

The active ingredient in this product, 2% salicylic acid ( also known as Beta hydroxy acid, BHA), is a multifunctional acne-fighting ingredient. Salicylic acid is an effective exfoliant and also an anti-irritant. In concentrations of 0.5% to 2%, it gently exfoliates the surface of skin and penetrates into the pore, and thus can exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of the skin, which makes it effective for reducing blemishes, including blackheads and whiteheads. It also treats acnes due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. So indeed this scrub is effective towards blackheads and acnes.

In fact another ingredient willow bark extract is the precursor of salicylic acid when eaten. But the chance of the transformation on skin is next to none. However it still has some anti-inflammatory benefits for skin.

Another acne control ingredient is chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower oil. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to acne treatment products.

Besides BHA the other main exfoliator is crushed walnut shell. The finely crushed powder is multifaceted and an effective yet gentle abrasive.

Now for the BAD ingredients...I am most worried about two, propylene glycol (PG) and triethanolamine (TEA). PG is derived from petroleum and used in cosmetics as solvents mostly. It is the fourth abundant ingredient in this product. The problem with PG is that it is easily absorbed through skin and is a potent skin irritant. PG could provoke skin irritation and sensitization at concentration as low as 2%. PG being the fourth abundant ingredient makes me worry about how likely it will cause problem. In fact U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a warning to avoid PG skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.

TEA appeared at the middle of the ingredient list. The problem with TEA is that like all amines, it has the potential for creating nitrosamines. It may or may not. There is no way of knowing, at least without a well-equipped chemistry lab. But it will be really bad if it does. Nitrosamines are readily absorbed through skin and they have been proved to be strong carcinogen. Whether or not the concentrations used in cosmetics should be of concern is still a matter of debate. Better avoid if possible. If you have to use this product, rinse off completely and use cold water to reduce absorption.

Safety alert: Cautious
review based on scientific information of the product ingredients.

1st ingredient
oj_line is water.
2nd ingredient
Juglans gegia (walnut) shell powder is finely crushed walnut shell. It is a hard fibrous material used as durable yet gentle abrasive in cosmetics.
3rd ingredient
Glyceryl stearate SE is used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.
4th ingredient
Propylene glycol is derived from petroleum and used in cosmetics as solvents, surfactants, and wetting agents. It is used to enhance ingredient penetration and as a humidifying agent. It is easily absorbed through skin and is a potent skin irritant. PG could provoke skin irritation and sensitization at concentration as low as 2%. In fact U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a warning to avoid skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
Alcohol Fragrance Preservative Allergy Price Color Additive Sun Protection Suitable Skin Type
oj_line
Yes
Yes
Yes
Low-Mid
$4.59
Yes
No
Normal to Oily

 

Moisturizing
oj_line Zea mays (corn oil), Prunus armeniaca kernel (apricot) extract, Sunflower extract
Anti-oxidants
Sambucus nigra (black elderberry) flower extract
Oil/Blemish control
Salicylic acid (2%), Willow bark extract, Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower oil
Exfoliators
Walnut shell powder, Sodium chloride (salt)
Skin irritation
oj_line
  • contains propylene glycol (PG). PG is derived from petroleum and used in cosmetics as solvents, surfactants, and wetting agents. It is used to enhance ingredient penetration and as a humidifying agent. It is easily absorbed through skin and is a potent skin irritant. PG could provoke skin irritation and sensitization at concentration as low as 2%. In fact U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a warning to avoid skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
  • contains sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). SLS is a cheap and strong cleansing and foaming agent often used in detergent. It could be extremely drying and cause skin sentisization. SLS denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also exposes deeper layers of the skin to hostile environment.
Illness
Contains triethanolamine which is used in cosmetics as a pH balancer. Like all amines, it has the potential for creating nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are readily absorbed through skin and they have been proved to be strong carcinogen. Whether or not the concentrations used in cosmetics should be of concern is still a matter of debate. Better avoid if possible. If you have to use containing products, rinse off completely and use cold water to reduce absorption.
Fragrance
Should be avoided by people who are allergic to fragrance.
Preservatives
oj_line Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben
Colorants
Titanium dioxide
Thickening agents
Sorbitol, Carbomer, Ceteareth-20
Emulsifiers
(oil/water mixers) Polysorbate 60
Emollients
Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, PEG-100 stearate, Acetylated lanolin alcohol (form of sheep oil), Cetyl acetate
Surfactants
Cocamidopropyl betaine
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