Dermalogica has taken an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to exfoliation, and as usual with their products, the results backfire as they make several poor formulary choices. Let’s begin by discussing the thermal reaction alluded to in the product’s name, which is nothing more than a high school student’s science class project. When two of the ingredients in this product, polyethylene glycol and baking soda, are mixed with water, heat is released (you start the reaction when you splash your face with water). The fleeting heating sensation may psychologically feel good, but it isn’t doing anything to help your skin (if anything, making your skin too warm can lead to problems).
The real exfoliating component of this product consists of abrasive magnesium oxide crystals, which provide manual exfoliation as you massage them over your skin (just like any scrub). This also includes an AHA (lactic acid) and BHA (salicylic acid). Although the latter ingredients are present in a potentially functional amount, the alkaline pH of this product keeps them from exfoliating, not to mention that they are rinsed down the drain before they can have any effect on your skin.
Dermalogica included some emollient plant oils to protect your skin during the scrubbing process, but they also added several fragrant oils and fragrance chemicals that do nothing but irritate skin. Rosewood, lemon peel, and clove oils are not what you want to expose your skin to, especially when it is about to be scrubbed. One more point: There is a lot of retinol in this product, but this antiwrinkle ingredient is wasted in a product that you rinse from your skin.
This powerful skin polisher combines physical and chemical exfoliants to refine skin texture and enhance penetration of age-fighting vitamins into skin. Resurfacing microgranules gently polish off dulling skin cells to reveal smoother, fresher skin immediately. Unique thermal technology plus Lactic Acid activates upon contact with water to stimulate cell turnover, while Prickly Pear Extract accelerates skin’s natural exfoliation process. White Tea suppresses the formation of collagen-degrading MMPs while Licorice and vitamins A, C and E brighten skin tone, provide antioxidant defense against damaging free radicals (Reactive Oxygen Species) and help promote skin firmness.
PEG-6, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, C20-40 Pareth-10, Silica, Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus Indica Flower Extract, Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Lactic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Bixa Orellana Seed Oil, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil.
Dermalogica's name implies a logical relationship to dermatology, which makes it sound as if you are getting serious skin care. The subtitle on their products is even more commanding: "A Skin Care System Researched and Developed by the International Dermal Institute." But what is the International Dermal Institute, you ask? Are there any dermatologists there? Apparently not: The International Dermal Institute is a Dermalogica-owned school for aestheticians who want an education beyond what is required for their cosmetology license, and the classes are taught by aestheticians.
Does the professional atmosphere of the school associated with Dermalogica mean better products? The proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is, for the most part, just Jell-O, not chocolate mousse. A company so concerned with skin-care education should be ashamed of itself for offering so many products that damage skin with known irritants and, more egregiously, offering so many sunscreens that lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. Dermalogica's education-oriented, serious-minded, and clinical positioning doesn’t mesh with the majority of their products, and is on par with tobacco company executives teaching an aerobics class.
According to company history, the reason Dermalogica products came to be was that founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skin-care lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients that she believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems. If anything, quite the opposite is true. Further, if Dermalogica's founders were so concerned about potentially or definitively harmful ingredients, why do their products contain so many of them? Where is the research proving that lavender oil, camphor, balm mint, arnica, ginger oil, and citrus oils are helpful for skin?
For more information about Dermalogica, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.com.