We struggled with how to rate this beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliant for acne-prone skin. On the one hand, it’s medicated with 2% BHA (salicylic acid), and its pH of 3.5 ensures it will work as an exfoliant. The silky, fragrance-free lotion formula also contains some anti-irritants and cell-communicating ingredients that are helpful for (and indeed the formula is suitable for) all skin types.
On the other hand, this is pricey for such a tiny amount of product, and the amount of alcohol is potential cause for concern. We could smell the alcohol emanating from this BHA exfoliant, although based on the formula the amount is likely less than 3%; however, it would be far better for your skin if it weren’t in here at even this low concentration. See More Info below to learn about the problems alcohol can cause for skin.
Ultimately, we decided to rate this as “good” due to its efficacy and potential to help breakout-prone skin—but we’re adding the caveat that there are other BHA exfoliants you may want to consider that do not contain alcohol and are far less expensive.
Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin’s ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,” Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
clear days ahead fast-acting salicylic acid acne spot treatment helps rapidly clear and soothe the discomfort of bothersome blemishes for clearer skin.
Active: Salicylic Acid (2.0%); Other: Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Polysilicone-11, Alcohol Denat., Hexyldecanol, Glycolic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Squalane, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lecithin, Oligopeptide-10, Trimethylpentanediol/Adipic Acid Copolymer, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Laureth-12, Polysorbate 60, Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Stearic Acid, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, O-Cymen-5-Ol
Strengths: Relatively inexpensive; some of the best products are fragrance-free; very good retinol products; selection of state-of-the-art moisturizers; innovative skin-lightening product.
Weaknesses: Irritating and/or drying cleansers; average to problematic scrubs; at-home peel kits far more gimmicky than helpful; several products contain lavender oil; several products include irritating essential oils; the majority of makeup items do not rise above average status.
Believe in miracles. That's the "lifestyle" branding statement philosophy makes, which is an approach that is decidedly different from their former positioning, which encompassed family values and spirituality along with a dash of department-store élan and endearingly clever quips. The miracle angle may grab your attention, but the company is also quick to point out that its history is steeped in providing products to dermatologists and plastic surgeons worldwide (so, in addition to miracles, philosophy has a serious side, too). Although its heritage may have included providing clinically oriented products to doctors, we have yet to see or hear of any medical professional retailing philosophy products. And that's a good thing because, by and large, most of philosophy products are resounding disappointments. Moreover, several products, including almost all of their sunscreens, contain one or more known skin irritants. We would be extremely suspicious of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who recommended such products to their patients, and even more so if they actually believed some of the more farfetched claims philosophy makes.
Interestingly, when you shop this line at department stores or at the cosmetics boutique Sephora, what you'll notice is the preponderance of food- and drink-scented bath products, all in vivid colors or cutely boxed for gift-giving. It seems that somewhere along the way, the company decided to promote these nose-appeal products while downplaying their more serious-minded, simply packaged skin care. Perhaps the body lotions and bubble baths have become philosophy's bread and butter. Given the hit-or-miss nature of their facial-care products, that's not surprising. Then again, they've also heavily promoted their anti-aging-themed Miracle Worker products...
So what's to like if you're into the vibe philosophy puts out? Well, this is still a line with some well-formulated staples, including an AHA product, some retinol options, and a handful of state-of-the-art moisturizers. The products that get the most promotion at the counter are the ones you should avoid, such as the at-home peels, scrubs, pads, and anti-acne products. However, the somewhat confusing, conflicting image philosophy presents shouldn't keep you from considering their best products—but it's not a lifestyle brand in the sense that using the entire line will somehow bring you a more joyful existence, or significantly improved skin. The philosophy line is now owned Coty, a cosmetics brand primarily known for their fragrances. Their acquisition of philosophy is their first major foray into a widely-distributed skin care brand.
For more information about philosophy, call (800) 568-3151 or visit www.philosophy.com.
Note: philosophy opts to use lowercase letters for every product they sell, so the listings below are simply following suit.
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