Dermalogica's Daily Superfoliant seems like an interesting way to achieve smoother skin, but ultimately its appeal is undone by the inclusion of some problematic ingredients.
What's intriguing about this charcoal-based scrub is that it comes in powder form and doesn't "activate" until it contacts water, forming a lightweight, fluid "paste" that you can spread across your face. This process is supposed to activate skin-beneficial enzymes, but there likely aren't enough in this product to make much of a difference.
The main exfoliating action of this charcoal-based product comes from jojoba beads. They're small and smooth, so can provide gentle, manual refining of skin's surface. While this does contain the alpha hydroxy acid ingredient malic acid, its potential to exfoliate is minimal in a rinse-off product; however, it can still hydrate (see More Info for details).
The issue with this scrub, though, is that it's loaded with irritating ingredients. They include orange oil, lemon oil, rosemary oil, sage oil, two kinds of lavender oil, and fragrance ingredients. Even though they're not on skin for an extended period, the potential to cause problems for skin remains. See More Info for details on why using irritating product (especially daily as the name of this product implies) is a problem.
One more note: While this scrub is supposed to be able to rid pores of toxins, no skin care product detox skin (detoxing the body is the work of internal organs).
- Jojoba beads provide gentle polishing.
- The AHA ingredient malic acid isn't as effective in a rinse-off product.
- Contains several irritating plant oils.
- Cannot adsorb toxins "deep within the pores" as claimed.
This cleanser/scrub contains malic acid, an ingredient that when included in a well-formulated leave-on product work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in a scrub, AHA ingredients are far less effective, if effective at all, because they are rinsed off before they can begin to work.
So, if you're hoping this scrub will provide exfoliating benefits, think again. On the other hand, the AHA ingredient can provide hydrating benefits during their brief contact with skin.
Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!
Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.
Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.
A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don't get lulled into thinking that if you don't see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.
Generally, it's best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there's no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.
References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
According to company history, Dermalogica products came into being because founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skincare lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients he believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems.
The line is positioned as a no-nonsense, no frills take on skincare, with clinically-inspired packaging that does protect its beneficial ingredients from light and air. Speaking of ingredients, Dermalogica does include a lot of beneficial ones in its skincare, though there are a number of formulas in the line that also make the misstep of including potentially-irritating fragrance ingredients.
For more information about Dermalogica now owned by Unilever, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.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.