This oil-based, thick balm is highly fragrant, plus its wax content leads to a heavy feeling on skin, even if only a small amount is applied. Although the heavy texture may not bother those with very dry skin, the fragrance (most of which comes from fragrant oils) is a problem for all skin types (see More Info for details).
Another issue is the jar packaging this comes in. This type of packaging won't keep the plant ingredients stable during use, which means their alleged benefits are diminished (see More Info for details on why jar packaging is a problem for skin-care products).
According to published research, most of the fragrant oils in this balm are irritating when applied to skin. Basil oil, in particular, is toxic to skin cells and is known to promote tumors in animals (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com and http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/pdf/estragf.pdf). What's that doing in a skin-care product? (Note that consuming small amounts of the basil plant in salads or pesto is considered safe.)
None of this is purifying for skin, nor can it positively impact skin-cell generation. As for this balm reducing excess sebum (oil), no way! If anything, the irritating fragrant oils can stimulate nerve endings in skin, which triggers more oil production (Sources: Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366; and Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23).
Why Highly Fragrant Products Are a Problem for Skin:
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Why Jar Packaging is a Problem:
The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com; and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
At night, the skin’s biological rhythm changes: its cells are repaired and regenerated. DECLÉOR, the Cosmetic Aromatherapy expert, is taking advantage of this special time to care for combination to oily skin. This 100% natural, dry-finish balm is concentrated in Essential Oils to help to deep cleanse, purify and reduce excess sebum.
Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Simmondsia (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Coumarin, Farnesol, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Eugenol, Linalool
Strengths: None of note.
Weaknesses: Expensive; pervasive use of volatile essential oils that have limited to no benefit for skin and are known irritants; almost all the sunscreens lack the right UVA-protecting ingredients; no product to address acne or skin discolorations; inappropriate jar packaging.
What can you say about a skin-care line where almost 85% of the products contain volatile, fragrant plant oils that have research showing they are irritating to skin? Few lines in this book received so many unhappy faces for this reason alone—yet those very oils are Decleor's claim to fame. This spa-oriented company was begun in 1975 by a massage therapist and is now owned in part by Japan-based Shiseido (whose sunscreens trounce Decleor's by leaps and bounds).
Decleor is all about aromatherapy for skin. They speak freely of the purity of the essential oils they use and the distillation processes that keep them active, but that's precisely the cause for concern. Yes, lavender, bitter orange, rose, geranium, neroli, and other "essential" oils smell wonderful, but the very ingredients that create those intoxicating scents are what is responsible for causing skin irritation, inflammation, and, in some cases, phototoxic reactions. These essential oils have active constituents but, because they are not regulated as such, any company can use whichever ones they like in any concentration. Moreover, companies don't have to indicate the quantities that were used, leaving the consumer to guess. The concept of aromatherapy has well-established benefits concerning inhalation of scents and the effects they have on one's mood and, sometimes, physiological function. But enjoying these oils via inhalation (where they really can be beneficial) is different from applying them to skin, where hypersensitivity is well-documented and topical usage is cautioned (Sources: Current Pharmaceutical Design, December 2006, pages 3393–3399; Phytotherapy Research, September 2006, pages 758–763; European Journal of Oncology Nursing, April 2006, pages 140–149; The Journal of Nursing, August 2005, pages 11–15; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Not only are most of Decleor's products a giant step backward for your skin, they're also a real misfortune when you consider Decleor's terrible sunscreens and lack of truly state-of-the-art ingredients. In short, experiencing these products in a relaxing spa environment may make you feel refreshed or invigorated—but if your goal is establishing a sensible, effective skin-care routine, you’ll need to keep shopping.
For more information about Decleor, call (888) 414-4471 or www.decleor.com.
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