Another product claiming that toxins are keeping you from having the skin you want. It's not true; skin isn't harboring toxins that lead to breakouts or other complexion corruptors, and even if it was an irritating product like this isn't the way to detox. True detoxification doesn't happen in or on skin—it occurs in the body via the liver and kidneys, end of story. We know lots of people, including lots of estheticians, go on for days about toxins lurking in skin but that's simply not how it works—and none of them can ever name one toxin that needs to be expunged (a true toxin is a poison, so excess oil, acne-causing bacteria, and even daily grime aren't actually toxins).
Getting past the skin detox myth, this AHA peel is not recommended. Although it's only left on skin for a few minutes, the second ingredient is alcohol and this contains a high amount of irritant bergamot oil, which can also make skin extra-sensitive when exposed to sunlight (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). Moreover, this peel doesn't contain any pure AHA ingredients. Instead, it contains a blend of fruit and sugar cane extracts, yet these do not work like AHAs such as glycolic or lactic acids.
Even if sugar cane and citrus extracts were exfoliation wonders, this peel contains far too many irritants to make it worth using for even one minute, let alone several. See our list of Best AHA Exfoliants for tried-and-true exfoliants with proven ingredients.
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: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "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).
When toxin-retention prevents your skin from truly coming clean, it’s time to peel away the problem. Powered by 6% Alpha Hydroxy Acids, the unique Fruit Acid Detox Fusion helps this fast-acting gel quickly eliminate dull surface cells, dissolve stubborn pollutants and release imbedded toxins. In just minutes, pores seem to disappear and skin looks bright, smooth and completely revitalized.
Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Algae Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus/Arundinaria Gigantea Ferment Filtrate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Sea Silt, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citral, Limonene.
Alba Botanica At-a-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive; several good cleansers; some good moisturizers; nice lip balms without sunscreen; most of the facial and body sunscreens provide sufficient broad-spectrum sun protection; mineral sunscreens options are available; self-tanner that includes antioxidants for added benefit.
Weaknesses: The natural ingredients in some of the products are natural irritants; jar packaging won't keep air-sensitive ingredients stable; most of the lip balms with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; subpar toners and exfoliants.
Alba Botanica is part of the Avalon Natural Products group, which is owned by natural product marketer Hain-Celestial. In addition to owning the Jason Natural and Zia Natural brands, Hain-Celestial also owns Avalon Organics, of which Alba Botanica is a part. Although Alba Botanica is not any thinking person's definition of an all-natural line—they use plenty of synthetic ingredients, including sunscreen actives and preservatives—they shine in comparison to the mostly disappointing products offered under the Avalon Organics name, but that's not saying a lot.
As far as the "natural" visage Alba Botanica portrays—while they do use plenty of natural ingredients, for the most part it's the non-natural ingredients that contribute to each product's texture and function; but then highlighting those ingredients isn't going to attract attention from consumers seeking natural products, is it? Because there are no established standards for use of the word "natural," any cosmetics company can take advantage of the term, as Alba Botanica does.
Despite not being an all-natural line (which isn't a bad thing), much of what they offer, while not state-of-the-art spectacular, is still worth considering. The prices are competitive with those of drugstore and health food store brands, and they offer some very good options in the categories of cleanser, scrub, sunscreens for face and body, lip balms without sunscreen, and a self-tanner.
It is also worth mentioning that Avalon Products (remember, Alba Botanica is part of this master brand) is commendable in that it uses environmentally conscious business practices, including solar-powered offices and warehouse and relying on organic farming for several of their ingredients. Their environmentalism may or may not correspond to good skin care, but it is admirable. As we have said many times before, just because an ingredient is organic doesn't make it safe or effective for skin (and there's no proof that an organic ingredient is preferred to a synthetic ingredient when it comes to skin care), but the practice of organic farming is a positive step toward creating products that reduce negative environmental impact.
Turning to what Alba Botanica needs help with, you'll see they fall short of being a comprehensive line. There are no reliable exfoliants such as AHAs or BHA products, and those struggling with blemishes or any type of skin discoloration are out of luck. Also, not every sunscreen (especially those for lips) makes the grade in terms of providing sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients, and some of the toners have truly boring, antiquated formulas. Other less impressive products include the enzyme scrubs, masks, and a few of the jar-packaged moisturizers.
Overall, these products aren't the most advanced around, but comparatively speaking they best many other products from brands with a natural angle (Lauder-owned Origins comes to mind).
For more information about Alba Botanica, call (888) 659-7730 or visit www.albabotanica.com.
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