Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub
If "brighter skin" is another way of saying "healthy skin," then the Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub is a letdown. Marketed as a scrub that "removes impurities from your pores," this does contain beneficial antioxidants in the form of fruit extracts, moisturizing non-fragrant plant oils, and anti-irritants. Unfortunately, the antioxidants and anti-irritants are mostly wasted in such a formula because for them to perform their free-radical protection function, antioxidants must remain on skin—not be rinsed away as would be the case with a scrub.
The abrasive agents in this scrub are a blend of dried kelp and lemon peel granules. Dried kelp is an iffy choice due to its borderline overly abrasive texture, but without question, lemon peel is an ingredient that should've been left out.
Lemon peel is a problem for skin because it contains fragrant compounds that can exacerbate redness and inflammation in skin. Coupled with the essential oils from sage and spearmint that are also present, this may be a pleasant-smelling product to some, but these fragrance ingredients are big trouble for their potential to irritate skin (and irritation can cause an increase in oil production and breakouts). See More Info for additional details.
This brings us to the ingredient list as a whole, which appears to be incomplete. Rather than list ingredients like water or additives that help hold a formula together, Acure seems to note only the ingredients that have the most marketing cachet. See More Info for additional details on why this is potentially a problem for your skin.
There's also the problematic nature of the preservative—Acure notes potassium sorbate as its sole preservative ingredient. The brand notes this is a "food grade" preservative, which is accurate. However, potassium sorbate on its own isn't sufficient to provide protection against bacteria, mold, and yeast—existing research has demonstrated it to be effective only when combined with other preservatives like phenoxyethanol.
Despite the claims of Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub, a scrub cannot unclog pores—and there are no impurities in skin that they are capable of removing (unless by impurities, Acure means dirt and oil). Scrubs, even when well formulated, are a good option for extra cleansing (like using a soft washcloth with your cleanser or a Clarisonic), but they don't replace a well-formulated AHA or BHA leave-on exfoliant in terms of anti-aging benefits, unclogging pores, or fading discolorations.
However, if you're in the market for a scrub that won't put your skin at risk for irritation (like this one can), then consider any of the higher-rated alternatives from other brands instead.
One last note: Please totally ignore the claims made about the plant and fruit stem cell ingredients this product contains (see More Info if you wish to read the considerable details explaining why). The notion that plant stem cells can "renew dormant cells, repair damaged cells, or regenerate healthy cells" may be true for a plant, but it isn't true for human skin.
- Includes a good mix of moisturizing non-fragrant plant oils.
- Preservative system that appears to be inadequate.
- Contains a mix of potentially irritating essential oils and lemon peel granules.
- Ingredient list appears to be inaccurate; thus, you can't know what it is you're putting on your face.
- Claims about the benefits of stem cells in skincare products are greatly exaggerated.
When this happens, it leads to the formation of inflammatory chemicals directly in the oil gland. These inflammatory chemicals trigger an increase in oil production, which can increase the size of the pore, and the likelihood of acne—the more inflammation that occurs, the worse the risk (European Journal of Dermatology, 2002 & Dermatology, 2003).
Bottom line: Inflammation and its resulting irritation, whether internal or external (for this discussion externally it would be due to the use of irritating ingredients, hot water, overusing scrubs, etc.), is practically a guarantee you will see excess production of oil, larger pores and more acne breakouts (Experimental Dermatology, 2009 & Dermato-Endocrinology, 2011).
That's reason enough to avoid products with irritating ingredients, which often come in the form of fragrance including the misnamed "essential" oils.
Incomplete Ingredient List: Acure Organics states that this product is based on their "Organic Curoxidant Superfruit Blend," and contains no water or anything else to hold its formula together. We thought this had to have been a mistake on their packaging, but after reaching out to Acure Organics via Twitter about their lack of water in products, they confirmed it was not a printing error.
Rather, you're to believe that this product is made up of a blend of fruits and flowers, but no water or any ingredients that would form the "base" that keeps these ingredients from separating.
A mixture of mashed-up berries, dried tea leaves, and flowers does not a moisturizer make, and whether based from an ingredient blend or not, its individual constituents are still required to be listed in full on the label—which is not the case here. Trade names, like "Organic Curoxidant Superfruit Blend" or "Echinacea Stem Cell Culture," are not permitted on ingredient labels for this very reason—this violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements.
There's also the fact that an incomplete ingredient list prevents you from knowing what's in your skincare or makeup product.
Stem Cells in Skincare: Stem cells are cells present in animals and plants that are capable of becoming any other type of cell in that organism and of producing more of those cells. Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. The claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to elastin repair and cell regeneration, so the temptation for consumers to try these is intense.
The truth is that stem cells in skincare products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells. Once these delicate cells are added to skincare products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless.
Plant stem cells, such as those derived from apples, melons, flowers, and rice, cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, but because they are from plants they likely have antioxidant properties. Actually, it's a good thing plant stem cells can't work as stem cells in skin-care products; after all, you don't want your skin to absorb cells that can grow into apples or watermelons!
There are also claims that because a plant's stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or to survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is totally unrelated to human skin—these claims are completely without substantiation.
Another twist on the issue is that cosmetics companies claim they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable so they then can work as stem cells. This approach is not valid—stem cells must be complete to function normally. Even if you could isolate substances or extracts from these cells and make them stable, there is no published research showing they can affect stem cells in human skin.
Seas the day with natural exfoliation from the ocean! Organic Sea Kelp gently exfoliates your skin while French Green Clay and Organic Lemon Peel remove impurities from your pores. Organic Chlorella Growth Factor and Argan Stem Cells help stimulate new cell growth while providing a deep cleansing, brightening experience. Sea the difference today!
Acure operates with the mission statement of using only the purest, most effective fair trade, natural and organic ingredients available. At first glance, there are a lot of interesting products in the line, as Acure includes a great deal of antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients in their formulas. Unfortunately, on closer inspection of the brand, we found quite a few inconsistencies.
First the good news: Along with the inclusion of antioxidants at nearly every turn, Acure made the effort to avoid jar packaging, which is beneficial in terms of protecting the abundance of anti-aging ingredients their products contain. They are also exceptionally affordable products, an increasing rarity in the cosmetics industry.
On the other hand, Acure stretches the boundaries of belief when it comes to what some ingredients are capable of, such as plant stem cells. While fruit and plant stem cells can function as antioxidants, they cannot lift skin, repair wrinkles, or affect the skins own growth factors when added to a skincare product. Not only are plant stem cells unable to substitute for the body's own stem cells, but also they (like all stem cells) must be alive to function. Once these delicate cells are added to skin care products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless. Plant stem cells make for a good story, but the research simply isn't there to support their use in skin care or the claims attributed to them.
One point worth noting: when we originally reviewed Acure in 2015, much of the brand's focus was on so-called toxic or harmful ingredients found in other brands' skin care products that were not present in its own. This has since shifted to a much more positive approach targeted on the quality of ingredients Acure uses as opposed to any unnecessary fearmongering.
For more information on Acure, visit www.acure.com or call 1-877-902-2873.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.