The Method: Polish for Sensitive Skin
4.2 fl. oz. for $75
Last Updated:04.06.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

It's a mystery why The Method: Polish for Sensitive Skin is really for sensitive skin—it's virtually identical to Lancer's The Method: Polish and The Method: Polish Blemish Control. The relatively minor differences certainly don't make this product appropriate for sensitive skin—this is still a mix of magnesium oxide, sodium bicarbonate, fragrance extracts and other irritants.

Magnesium oxide crystals are used for dermatologist-administered microdermabrasion treatments, but don't get excited, as 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 that enzymes cannot exfoliate skin. The warming sensation (a result of the magnesium oxide mixing with water) this scrub exerts on skin is just for show—there is no added benefit for skin.

The sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda) has a high (alkaline) pH which can cause irritation for skin. Unfortunately, this "sensitive skin" formula also includes the problematic lavender oil and ginger extract. Combine these with the aggressive scrub agent magnesium oxide and you've got a recipe for inflammation (the opposite of what a product designed for sensitive skin should accomplish).

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. Those with sensitive skin should consider favor a BHA, as the BHA ingredient salicylic acid is also a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient. BHA will also reduce enlarged pores, and help to fade red marks and sun damage, too. See our top picks in the Best BHA Exfoliants section.

  • Will temporarily smooth flaky, dry patches.
  • Contains a mix of irritating ingredients, the alkaline sodium bicarbonate, lavender oil, and ginger extract.
  • The combination of irritants + potent scrub agent magnesium oxide is a recipe for irritation.
  • 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).


This gentle skin resurfacing treatment for sensitive skin contains pure minerals and a warming element to remove dull, dead surface cells, increase oxygen levels throughout skin, and prepare it for additional treatments. Natural cell turnover is boosted and underlying cells are signaled to help produce fresher, younger-looking skin.


Glycerin, PEG-8, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Oleth-20, Trihydroxystearin, Silica, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Bisabolol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Linalool.

Brand Overview

Strengths: Has a good option for 10% vitamin C treatment; Their 10% AHA moisturizer is a worth considering for those who have dry skin.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some products with light- and air-sensitive ingredients are packaged in jars; overly abrasive scrub.

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/.

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.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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I absolutely LOVE this line and this cleanser. I use the Sensitive Method and the last time I had results like this, is when I used the Nu Derm line by Obagi years ago. That says a lot about the amazing results I have when I use Lancer's line. I have never had such smooth and hydrated skin after using a facial exfoliator. I wish Beautypedia would not only research ingredients, but actually use the products - I know that would make a huge difference in the reviews.

Reviewed by
Tasia, E
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there! Thank you for your feedback and thoughts. SO, the product reviews the Beautypedia team writes are based on scientific and medical research, not opinion or personal feelings about a product. For example, we don’t base reviews for skincare on personal experience with the product, because without question that would force an opinion (and what we personally like or what works for us isn’t going to translate to thousands of others).  We totally get the concern you have about what influences reviews, which is why we set up our review system as we have—free of personal opinion and only concerned with the facts.

We evaluate skincare products based on what the research has demonstrated to be true, and what we know from experience, eductation, studies and interviews with dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, toxicologists, and the like. It’s just like evaluating a food product by reading the ingredient list and nutrition facts label; these labels can tell you a great deal without you having to actually eat the food (and we all know how people’s food tastes can differ). Whether you use a product from a line doesn't change whether those products do or do not contain the ingredients necessary to live up to their claims, and it doesn't change the impact of any potential irritants to skin. However, I'm glad you found something that works well for you! Hope this info helps. - Nathan

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