B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel is a perplexing product. Marketed as a treatment that provides "intense antioxidant protection," it contains a mix of potent irritants and fragrance. As irritation can trigger free-radical damage, using this means you're working against the very benefits (and purpose) of the beneficial ingredients included in this product. See More Info for details on irritating ingredients in skin-care products.
This does contain a good amount of vitamin C, in the form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, but, Aesop, in continuing its self-sabotaging products, packaged it in a jar. This means that any of the benefits from the vitamin C (and other beneficial ingredients) will be negated due to their exposure to air. See More Info for the lowdown on jar packaging.
Come to mention it, we're not sure what Aesop is referring to by the "Triple C" in this product's name—there is only one form of vitamin C present. Although the term Triple C could mean anything, in this case perhaps it means "three times more money wasted" when compared with other, better vitamin C products.
The final, and perhaps most significant downside of this product, is the inclusion of witch hazel and lavender oil. Witch hazel water (which is present here) has a high-alcohol content (most forms of witch hazel are 14–15% ethanol, which is another name for the bad kind of alcohol you should not be putting on your face) due to the distillation process used to extract it from the plant. Also, lavender oil may smell nice, but it's a skin irritant, as we explain in the More Info section below.
Last, as if witch hazel and lavender weren't enough, Aesop also included the preservative blend of methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone. Also known by its trade name Kathon CG, this preservative blend is known to be sensitizing, and generally is best to avoid in leave-on products (Sources: Contact Dermatitis, November 2001, pages 257–264; and European Journal of Dermatology, March 1999, pages 144–160).
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- Contains an impressive amount of vitamin C in the form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
- Jar packaging renders the vitamin C and other antioxidants ineffective.
- Formula contains a significant amount of irritants, such as witch hazel and lavender oil.
- The preservative system is not recommended for use in leave-on products.
- The price is as disappointing as the formula.
Irritation and Your Skin: Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Lavender Oil: Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. Although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Jar Packaging: The fact that this product is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and most other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also present a hygiene issue because even if you wash your hands or use a spatula to remove the product, you're introducing bacteria that cause further breakdown (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).