We're being harder on this moisturizer than we normally would due to its name. A "Comforting Cream" sounds like a good choice for sensitive, easily irritated skin, right? We think so and are wondering why in the world Ahava thought it would be a good idea to add skin irritant grapefruit oil to this formula? Topical application of grapefruit oil may cause contact dermatitis or a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to sunlight (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). Now that doesn't sound too comforting, does it?
Although the formula also contains a few other problematic fragrant plants, it also gets a lot right, including a very good mix of water-binding agents and some barrier repair substances—ingredients that really will comfort skin, but not when commingled with irritants. What a shame; this moisturizer had a lot of potential to help those with normal to dry skin that's also sensitive. As is, the claims of providing "total relief" from sensitive skin and reducing flare-ups cannot be taken seriously; in fact, there are ingredients in this moisturizer capable of making redness and sensitive skin worse, not better.
- Silky, emollient texture contains a good mix of water-binding and barrier repair ingredients.
- Packaged to keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
- Contains grapefruit oil, a significant skin irritant.
- This product is likely to make sensitive, reddened skin worse.
This effective calming moisturizer provides total relief from sensitive skin and can be used everyday or for occasional flare-ups. It soothes irritations, reduces redness and lessens the skin's reaction to agressors by fortifying skin's natural barrier and providing deep hydration.
Strengths: Most of the cleansers are good.
Weaknesses: Expensive; several of the daytime moisturizers with sunscreen do not list active ingredients; Dead Sea mud is not the cure-all for anyone's aging skin; disappointing toners;lackluster moisturizers and serums; jar packaging; no AHA or BHA products; no products to manage acne; no products to lighten skin discolorations; average masks; irritating men's products.
Ahava is the Hebrew word for love, and this group has adopted it for these skin-care products imported from Israel. Other than the endearing title, the point of difference for Ahava is that their products contain salts and minerals from the Dead Sea in Israel. So, you ask, is your skin going to love these products because they contain Dead Sea water? Supposedly, Cleopatra did, and, of course, she must have had skin to die for, or else Mark Antony wouldn't have risked everything for her. Is that a good enough reason to consider these products for your own skin-care routine? We hope not. Aside from the folklore, there is little truth behind the hype, why would anyone believe that Cleopatra knew any more about skin care than she did about computers or cell phones, and skin care in this millennium is indeed akin to rocket science.
Keep in mind the Dead Sea in Israel is called "dead" because nothing can live in it (technically, there are some bacteria and fungi that can). There are many environmental factors that contribute to making the Dead Sea one of the saltiest lakes in the world, but we won't get into that discussion. A comparison should give you an idea of just how salty it is. The seawater in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has a salt content of 34%, while the Dead Sea has a salt content of 32%, as well as a large concentration of minerals such as sulfur, magnesium, calcium, bromide, and potassium. If you haven't been to the Dead Sea, we can tell you the aroma of the sulfur in the water is overwhelming. It is hard to imagine that anything so noxious would be considered a desirable beauty treatment.
Despite the smell and the high mineral content, there are no clinical studies or research showing that Dead Sea minerals have any effect on wrinkles, discolorations, sagging skin, or acne. There are, however, several studies demonstrating that Dead Sea minerals can have a positive effect on psoriatic skin, a practice known as climatotherapy (Sources: International Journal of Dermatology, October 2007, pages 10871091; Journal of Dermatological Treatment, May-June 2005, pages 308313; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, September 2003, pages 451457). Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by rapidly dividing, overactive skin cells. How the Dead Sea minerals and salts affect psoriasis is still being debated. One of the more popular theories is that the mineral content of the water slows down the out-of-control cell division. Some research indicates that the benefit is cumulative and that the results can last for up to five months. Immersing psoriasis-afflicted skin in Dead Sea minerals is also a treatment that is better-tolerated than many conventional medical options.
Studies by the Department of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology and Dermatology at the Soroka Medical Center of Kupat-Holim in Israel and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on psoriasis and other skin rashes noted that "improvement [in skin] was found when patients soaked in two pounds/one kilo for three baths per week, for a period of six weeks." Now that's a lot of Dead Sea water, and certainly not the amount you would get by using these products. Most important, however, if you are looking for Dead Sea water to heal wrinkles, think again, because wrinkles are completely unrelated to psoriasis or other skin rashes.
Even if Dead Sea salts could benefit normal skin in some way, the amount you'll find in the Ahava products and products from other Dead Sea-oriented lines are infinitesimally small in comparison with the amounts used in the published studies, and your skin deserves so much more than these one-note products can deliver. For more information about Ahava, call (800) 366-7254 or visit www.ahavaus.com.
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.