Dermalogica describes its Super Rich Repair as a nourishing skin treatment designed to treat chronically dry skin. While it's certainly got the goods to do that, unfortunately there are a number of potentially iffy ingredients included in the formula, meaning ultimately this moisturizer doesn't earn our seal of approval.
First, here's what Super Rich Repair gets right: It includes a host of great emollients designed to soothe dry skin. Among them are jojoba seed oil, shea butter, evening primrose oil, and coconut oil. This moisturizer adds to the good ingredient list by including cell-communicating peptides and antioxidants, too—and they're all in a pump-style plastic container that ensures they'll remain stable because they aren't exposed to light and air.
So why is this earning our lowest rating? The issue is that in addition to the beneficial ingredients included, there are a host of potentially-problematic fragrance ingredients that pose a risk of irritation, which is the last thing dry skin needs! Among them are potent oils such as cedar bark oil, geranium oil, rosewood oil, and sandalwood oil. These would make an excellent perfume, but as we've said time and again, fragrance isn't skincare. (You can read more about the risk of skin problems fragrance ingredients pose in our More Info section below.)
Were it not for the inclusion of these ingredients, there's no question Dermalogica's Super Rich repair would earn much higher marks from us. As it stands though, it's a moisturizer we just can't recommend. For superior options, see our list of Best Moisturizers.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: 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 for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
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.
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