Skyn Iceland

Skyn Iceland At-A-Glance

Strengths: The company provides complete ingredient lists on the Web site.

Weaknesses: Expensive; there is more fragrance in these products than beneficial ingredients; a majority of the products received an uhappy face rating because they all contain one or more serious skin irritants.

Resolving stress is a major theme in the ad copy for Skyn Iceland products. Of course, they claim that the cure for stress is in their products because they contain pure ingredients capable of relaxing skin and erasing visible signs of a stressful lifestyle from your face. We imagine that many busy, stressed-out consumers (and who isn't stressed out nowadays?) who encounter this line will actually wonder if there might be something to be gained from using these allegedly stress-reducing products. Wonder no more, because as you will see, Skyn Iceland products actually cause a great deal more skin stress than they could possibly relieve.

As with most skin-care lines denouncing "chemical" and synthetic ingredients in favor of natural ingredients, Skyn Iceland brags about what their products don't contain. Of course, parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, and other bad-rap ingredients are not allowed, while all manner of plants, particularly the exotic ones sourced from, where else, Iceland (plants from Atlanta or Philadelphia are never the ones that can solve your skin problems), are included (those Icelanders must be so stress-free, right?). In reality, Skyn Iceland products are about as natural as polyester. Ingredients such as EDTA, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, perfluorodecalin, Red 33 Lake, and Blue 1 Lake are anything but natural, and ingredients like these are absolutely present in every Skyn Iceland product. (That doesn't make them bad, it just makes the company's claims hypocritical.)

The company's marketing angle is that they've tapped into Icelandic folklore about the benefits of indigenous medicinal herbs and coupled that with modern technology to create skin-care products second to none. What a great story, of epic Nordic proportions, sort of an updated Icelandic fable, which is exactly what you'd be buying—a good story with images of gorgeous glaciers, and nothing more.

Back to the skin/stress connection and why the company's reason for existence doesn't jibe with the formulas they've developed. Stress, be it from everyday struggles or major life changes, definitely takes its toll on skin. A person under stress often has an impaired healing response, so wounds take longer to repair, and the skin's barrier function becomes less resilient. Whether from internal or external sources, stress causes inflammation that results in collagen loss and cell death. And if that weren't bad enough, research shows that stress can also exacerbate skin disorders such as acne, eczema, and rosacea (Sources: The Clinical Journal of Pain, November-December 2008, pages 767–775; Der Hautarzt, October 2008, pages 841–850; Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, July 2008, pages 312–317; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 2008, pages 1273–1279; and Acto-Dermato Venereologica, 2007, pages 135–139).

A skin-care line claiming to alleviate stress and bring skin to a more balanced state is an intriguing, enticing concept, but there is nothing you can put on your skin that is going to make you feel better about juggling work, carpool, paying bills, grocery shopping, getting dinner on the table, laundry, the fight you had with your mother, and on and on. There will always be stress in our lives (and in our bodies) that we cannot control. Even the best skin-care formulas and the best skin-care routines aren't going to eliminate stress; but, choosing well-formulated products with anti-irritants that can reduce the inflammatory response caused by stress and with ingredients that strengthen the skin's barrier and improve collagen production is a very positive step. If Skyn Iceland's products could do that, then despite their claims of making you feel better about daily life, they would've rated a happy face; unfortunately, that isn't the case, the formulas just fall flat. It's sort of like the promise of chocolate cake without the sugar or chocolate, and who'd want to eat that?

It would've been wonderful if Skyn Iceland's products were soothing, gentle products capable of helping skin defend itself against what stress does to skin, but that's not the case. Instead of loading their products with ingredients that reduce inflammation and restore a healthy barrier function, they chose to pepper their products (in some cases heavily so) with known irritants. Irritation is always going to provoke some amount of stressful response in skin. When products contain irritants that have no established benefit for skin, what's the point? It's ludicrous for Skyn Iceland to go on and on (and boy, do they go on and on and on) about how stress impacts skin, especially when their products contain alcohol, witch hazel, angelica, peppermint, and menthol derivatives. These are without question inflammatory, irritating, and drying skin stressors.

Although Skyn Iceland seemingly has good intentions, their execution is terrible and there is no legitimate reason to consider any (yes, any) product from this line. The only redeeming quality is that the company posts ingredient lists for each product on their Web site. At least you know exactly what you shouldn't be putting on your skin.

For more information about Skyn Iceland, call (888) 333-7596 or visit www.skyniceland.com.

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