This foaming cleanser is essentially soap in a tube. The mix of cleansing agents plus a high amount of potassium hydroxide (lye) cleanses thoroughly but can leave skin feeling tight and dry, not smooth and soft.
Making matters worse is the inclusion of fragrant orange oil, papaya, and several fragrant ingredients known to cause irritation. Ordinarily these ingredients present minimal risk in a rinse-off product but, combined with what amounts to a drying cleanser, your skin is in for a less than pleasant ride, especially your eye area.
One more comment: Nothing in this cleanser can restore a more even (meaning discoloration-free) complexion. Cleansing is an important step in any skin-care routine, but cleanser alone cannot undo sun damage or hormonal influences that lead to an uneven skin tone and brown spots.
Some people believe that the tight sensation they feel after washing with soap means their face is clean; tight like you almost can't open your mouth without feeling your skin stretch. The thinking is that the more squeaky-clean your face feels, the better off you are. Yet the feeling you associate with being clean is nothing more than irritated, dried-out, and stressed skin. The difficulty with asking someone to break a soap habit is that soap really does clean the skin thoroughly. Unfortunately, it cleans too thoroughly, and ends up causing irritation and all the associated skin problems that come with irritating the skin (Source: Skin Research and Technology, July 2001, pages 49–55).
The major issue with bar soap is its high alkaline content (meaning it has a high pH). "The increase of the skin pH irritates the physiological protective 'acid mantle,' changes the composition of the cutaneous bacterial flora and the activity of enzymes in the upper epidermis, which have an acid pH optimum" (Source: Dermatology, March 1997, pages 258–262). That technical description basically explains that skin's normal pH is about 5.5, while most soaps have a pH around 8 to 10, which negatively affects the surface of skin by causing irritation and increasing the presence of bacteria in the skin. There is definitely research showing that washing with a cleanser that has a pH of 7 or higher, which is true for many soaps and bar cleansers, increases the presence of bacteria significantly when compared to using a cleanser with a pH of 5.5 (Sources: Clinics in Dermatology, January-February 1996, pages 23–27; and Dermatology, 1995, volume 191, issue 4, pages 276–280).
The essential step to deep cleanse your skin and remove any last traces of make-up. Its fresh, light texture transforms into an airy foam upon contact with water. Helps restore a clear, even and translucent complexion.
Water, PEG-8, Palmitic Acid, Myristic Acid, Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Dipropylene Glycol, Lauric Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sorbitol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-60 Glyceryl Isostearate, Propylene Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Tamarix Chinensis Flower/Leaf Extract, Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum), Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Limonene
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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