01.06.2012
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Purifying Mask
Rating
2 fl. oz. for $56
Category:Skin Care > Facial Masks > Moisturizing/Firming Masks
Last Updated:01.06.2012
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This mask is a problem almost from start to finish. Its mix of absorbent clay and pumice, which is too abrasive (ouch!), with plant oils will only confuse oily, breakout-prone skin, and the numerous fragrant oils it contains cause irritation that’s likely to make oily skin, acne, and enlarged pores worse, not better. The formula is also difficult to rinse, which isn’t surprising given the ingredient list.

All the formulary issues mentioned above, plus a price that is best described as “outrageous,” make this a mask to not think twice about, and if you happen to choose a salon that uses PCA Skin products, do not let an aesthetician apply this to your face!

This mask “takes skin to an entirely new level,” but it’s not the upward improvement you may imagine after reading the claims! Please see More Info for details on why irritation is a distinct problem for oily, blemish-prone skin.

Pros:
  • None.
Cons:
  • Odd mix of absorbent ingredients with oily ingredients and overly abrasive pumice.
  • Contains numerous fragrant oils known to cause irritation, which makes oily skin and enlarged pores worse.
  • Outrageously expensive.

More Info:

Applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so your skin ends up being more oily and your pores become (or stay) enlarged. Treating oily skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function is the best approach to see improvements—and that’s far from what Purifying Mask provides!

Claims

Take your skin care regimen to an entirely new level. It renews dull, stressed, and tired skin with exotic ingredients that deeply cleanse the pores, exfoliate dead skin, and promote healthy cell regeneration.

Ingredients

Water, Algae, Montmorillonite, Pumice, Olivoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Coco-Glucoside, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium PCA, Lavandula Augustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Thymus Vulgarius (Thyme) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Wine Extract, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Potassium Sorbate

Brand Overview

PCA Skin At-a-Glance

Strengths: Every SPF-rated product provides reliable broad-spectrum sun protection; several products are fragrance-free; good eye cream and retinol serum.

Weaknesses: Way too expensive for what you get; several products contain irritating fragrant oils; the toners contain irritants; there are too many serums and many contain irritating ingredients; the acne products contain problematic ingredients.

PCA Skin is a product line you may have seen at your spa, salon, or dermatologist's office. Founded by an aesthetician in 1990, the brand became relatively popular after developing a series of professional alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels marketed as "medical clinical aesthetics"; in other words, these products are sold to dermatology practices offering cosmetic services such as facials. More recently, PCA Skin has teamed up with a dermatologist and other medical professionals to develop skin-care products. The peels are for professional use only and, in fact, except for a facial scrub, PCA Skin does not sell exfoliants that consumers can use at home.

Not surprisingly, PCA Skin's medical and aesthetics background is supposed to be rooted in science. The company states that "we use rigorous research and science to develop safe, highly effective products that deliver healthy, beautiful skin." Although PCA Skin products contain many beneficial, research-supported ingredients, they also contain numerous problematic ingredients that cause irritation; somehow, that "rigorous" research overlooked those. Irritation is always a problem for skin, causing inflammation and collagen breakdown, and impairing the skin's ability to heal.

Chief among the irritants you'll find throughout the PCA Skin line are witch hazel, citrus and numerous other fragrant oils (whether synthetic or natural, fragrance is almost always a problem for skin), drying cleansing agents, and alcohol (we mean, really, alcohol?!). In our Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary, we provide detailed information on why each of these ingredients is a problem; for all of their talk about science, chemistry, and research, PCA Skin should know better.

If you remain intrigued by this brand (or find the sales pressure from your aesthetician too intense to ignore), there are some worthwhile products. It’s great that every SPF-rated product from PCA Skin includes reliable broad-spectrum sun-protection ingredients, and fans of facial scrubs should know this brand does offer a gentle option. Also, their eye cream and retinol serum are worth a look, and several products are fragrance-free, although you need to choose carefully because many of their products contain fragrant plant extracts or oils despite being listed as fragrance-free.

PCA Skin's science-based mission is admirable, but just because an aesthetician and doctor teamed up, the results for these products aren't going to be spectacular, or even all that helpful.

For more information about PCA Skin, call (877) 722-7546 or visit www.pcaskin.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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