The Method: Polish

Price:
$75 - 4.2 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Scrubs > Scrubs
Last Updated:
2/18/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

The benefits of scrubs are often confused with the benefits of using a well formulated AHA (glycolic or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant. Scrubs cannot treat issues like sun damage, wrinkles, blemishes and uneven skin tone, as they are best thought of as an extra step (much like using a soft washcloth or Clarisonic) to boost the "strength" of your cleanser. The caution with scrubs is avoiding those that are too abrasive and cross a line where they have the potential to damage and irritate skin.

The latter range is where The Method: Polish falls into, unfortunately, due to its aggressive combination of magnesium oxide, sodium bicarbonate and fragrance ingredients (like lavender). While magnesium oxide crystals are the same used for dermatologist-administered microdermabrasion treatments, you won't get the same results with a scrub (the microdermabrasion machine does a lot of the work). The plant enzymes don't add benefit to this product given it's a rinse-off formula and enzymes don't offer exfoliation benefits. Despite the emphasis in the marketing messaging, the warming sensation (a result of the magnesium oxide mixing with water) this scrub exerts on skin has no added benefit—it's purely for aesthetic appeal.

As mentioned, this contains sodium bicarbonate, more commonly known as baking soda, which has a high pH (alkaline) that's problematic for skin. One more concern, the amount of radish root extract (leuconostoc/radish root ferment Filtrate) and lavender oil isn't clear, but it's at an amount that may be problematic for some, especially given the enhanced sensitivity this formula over all may give to skin.

In terms of anti-aging benefits, you will see much greater results with a well formulated AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliant. Check out the many recommended AHA and BHA picks in our Best Products section. For scrubs that contain skin-friendly ingredients, see the Best Scrubs section, where you may sort by skin type.

Pros:
  • Will temporarily smooth flaky, dry patches.
Cons:
  • Contains a mix of irritating ingredients, the alkaline sodium bicarbonate, lavender oil
  • The combination of irritants + potent scrub agent magnesium oxide is a recipe for irritation, and it's easy to overdo it with gritty scrubs like this.
  • Expensive; there are gentler & more effective options available for less.
More Info:

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. Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (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).

Pure minerals, plant enzymes, and a warming element make this polish a gentle skin resurfacing treatment. Polished skin is infused with oxygen and dull, dead surface cells are removed to prepare skin for additional treatments. Natural cell turnover is boosted and underlying cells are signaled to help produce fresher, younger-looking skin.

Butylene Glycol, Sodium Bicarbonate, PEG-8, Magnesium Oxide, Glycerin, Oleth-20, Trihydroxystearin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Silica, Alaria Escilenta Extract, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatim Fruit Ferment Extract, Helianthis Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Water (Aqua), Linalool.

Dr. Harold Lancer is a Beverly Hills dermatologist with celebrity clientele, two credentials that pique the interest of many women interested in skin care. His specialty is cosmetic rejuvenation and, like many dermatologists before him, Lancer has his own line of products: Lancer Dermatology Skincare.

Lancer's skin-care line is built around four steps: polish, cleanse, nourish, and protect. According to Lancer, these steps work for every skin type or aging concern. The polish (i.e. scrub) step involves applying a fairly abrasive, alkaline scrub before cleansing. Lancer's idea is that the polish loosens soil and cellular debris, which the cleanser you apply next will easily wash away.

After you cleanse, you're supposed to nourish skin with an anti-aging moisturizer. During the day, you're advised to protect your skin with sunscreen and, occasionally, if needed, you can apply a treatment product (such as a vitamin C cream).

Although Lancer's method is being hailed as unique or somehow different, it's ultimately nothing new to the skin-care industry: Exfoliation is necessary for younger-looking skin (but scrubs aren’t the best way to get this benefit), sun protection is vital, and a moisturizer loaded with skin-repairing ingredients helps replace what young skin produces naturally before it becomes damaged.

The polish (scrub) before the cleansing step is a new twist, but it's actually a problem if you're wearing makeup. Scrubbing skin before you remove your makeup will grind the makeup deeper into your pores, making it harder for the cleanser to remove. If anything, you should cleanse first, polish second.

Although Lancer's method is being hailed as unique or somehow different, it's about as interesting as white bread. If anything, it's a mix of dated and modern concepts built on information that researchers have known about for years: Exfoliation is necessary for younger-looking skin (but scrubbing isn't the best way to get this benefit), sun protection is vital, and a moisturizer loaded with skin-repairing ingredients helps replace what young skin produces naturally before it becomes damaged.

Unfortunately, Lancer’s scrubs are all alkaline (high pH) and contain overly abrasive scrub ingredients and fragrance extracts that skin doesn’t need. The nighttime moisturizers are all packaged in jars (exposing their beneficial ingredients to air), and the one sunscreen in the line is alcohol based (which isn’t a good thing for skin, as we’ll discuss in the product review).

There are some highlights in the line, such as good options for a 10% vitamin C treatment and AHA exfoliant, but ultimately you don’t need to spend this much to have healthy, younger-looking skin. In fact, because many of Lancer's products contain one or more problematic ingredients, you may end up thinking, “why bother?”

For more information about Lancer Dermatology Skincare, call (310) 278-8444 or visit http://www.lancerskincare.com/.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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