Blemish Gel for Oily/Combination Skin doesn't contain any ingredients with proven benefits for treating breakouts, but it does contain a generous amount of skin-damaging alcohol! While alcohol can have a mattifying effect on oily areas, the long-term consequences to the health of the skin are far worse than the immediate benefit. See More Info for details on why alcohol and irritating ingredients are a problem for skin, especially oily skin.
For this rather pricey product, what you get is a primarily alcohol-based formula that also includes aloe, olive leaf extract, and glycerin. It also includes small amounts of noni juice and acerola powder, but neither adds anything all that helpful for the skin, although they do make for a good story. Noni juice has little research demonstrating any special benefit for skin beyond what you can get from hundreds of other non-fragrant plant extracts. Acerola cherry powder (Malpighia glabra) is a viable source of vitamin C when consumed orally, but this delicate vitamin doesn't retain those properties when it's processed for formulation in skin-care products; besides, there are far better pure, stabilized sources of vitamin C for skin (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).
If you truly want to treat breakouts, avoid products with irritating ingredients and look to proven formulas that treat your skin with respect. Consider any of the well-formulated products we recommend on our list of Best Anti-Acne Products.
Irritating Ingredients and Oily Skin: Applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so your skin ends up becoming more oily and your pores become (or stay) enlarged. Treating oily skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function is the best approach to see improvements.
Alcohol in Skin Care: There is a significant amount of research showing alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels. Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol causes skin cells to self-destruct. The research also showed that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer their exposure to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration. (Sources: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, August 2009, pages 20–24; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; Alcohol, Volume 26, Issue 3, April 2002, pages 179–190; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, April 2001, pages 109–166; 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).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see our article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.
KORA Organics Blemish Gel is a powerful blend of concentrated botanicals specifically designed to naturally help with and address problematic skin. Noni extract and Lemon Myrtle combine to simply, quickly and effectively support the skin against blemishes.
Olea Europea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbardensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Alcohol, Glycerin, Cocoyl Proline, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola Cherry Powder), Maltodextrin, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni Fruit) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Backhousia Citriodora (Lemon Myrtle) Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Chloride (Macrobiotic Sea Salt), Lactic Acid, Aqua (Water,) Citral.
Strengths: No jar containers, which helps preserve the beneficial antioxidants and other light- and air-sensitive natural ingredients.
Weaknesses: Products contain an overwhelming amount of fragrance; nearly all have multiple irritating ingredients; makes unsubstantiated claims about ingredients; no reliable sunscreens; average, dated formulas that are overpriced for what you get.
Our introduction to KORA Organics began with this quote from its founder, Australian Victoria’s Secret lingerie model Miranda Kerr: “All of the water used in our mists has been infused through rose quartz crystals … so that the vibration of love associated with rose quartz flows through each product.”
That’s one way Kerr describes the science behind how her products have been developed. It also succinctly summarizes why, from our perspective, celebrity status of any kind does not make anyone a skin-care expert. We can’t think of a bigger mistake than trusting your skin to a love-infused vat of problematic formulas, at least not when it comes to dealing with concerns like acne and wrinkles.
Kerr created the KORA Organics brand with the belief that only organic ingredients are suitable for skin. The KORA line makes the unsurprising (and unsubstantiated) claims common to many natural brands, which is that “natural = good” for your skin and everything else is terrible for your skin.
Let’s begin by addressing the “organic” claim. First of all, the term initially was used primarily in reference to food products, where “organic” referred only to the raw materials (i.e., the vegetable you pull out of the ground) and/or described food produced without the use of pesticides or artificially created or administered hormones—it didn’t have any bearing on skin-care products. Nowadays, as we’re sure you’re aware, it’s commonly used in marketing for cosmetics and their ingredients. BUT—and this is a big BUT—there is no legitimate, published research that demonstrates organic ingredients have any special benefit for skin. There’s literally zero research—it’s all about the emotional pull of the term “organic.”
It’s important to note that any natural ingredient must be processed to make it safe and usable as a cosmetic ingredient, and that processing modifies the ingredient significantly, leaving it about as natural as polyester!
Many natural ingredients have benefits for skin, but many natural ingredients also are irritating and skin damaging as well. The natural pleasant-scented lavender oil is a notable example, as are most citrus extracts, some of which can cause phototoxic reactions when skin is exposed to sunlight. On the other hand, some of the best ingredients in skin-care products are synthetically derived, such as retinol, salicylic acid, peptides, and others. When it comes to evaluating skin-care ingredients, the critical factor is what the published and peer-reviewed research has demonstrated to be true, especially if your goal is to take great care of your skin.
Among the key natural ingredients present in KORA Organics products, those called out most often are rosehip oil and noni juice. Kerr claims she has been applying noni juice topically for years to treat all her skin-care woes. Unfortunately, noni juice has little research demonstrating any special benefit for skin beyond an antioxidant benefit, which is found in hundreds of other plant extracts as well. Kerr claims that the noni plant contains “more than 170 vitamins and minerals alone,” but that’s inaccurate—the noni plant is a fairly simple mix of about 40 chemical compounds, none of which are unique.
Rosehip oil does contain high amounts of vitamin C, but only when freshly extracted—when rosehip oil is processed and added to the formula of a skin-care product, the majority of its vitamin C content is destroyed. Fortunately, even after the processing, rosehip oil remains a good emollient for dry skin, but it isn’t as magical as Kerr makes it out to be. Pure, stabilized vitamin C is a far better ingredient for skin, but that’s not what these products contain.
What you’re left with in this line is a collection of products that are potently fragranced—the toners could actually double as perfume in a pinch. Almost every product in the line has a formula that’s a blend of ordinary plant-based emollients, such as olive and jojoba oils, aloe, shea butter, and fatty acids (which is nice for dry skin but that’s about it), and a mix of irritating essential oils and fragrant flower extracts. Unfortunately, all of the products are quite expensive considering what you’re getting in return, which is a mostly just a headache for your skin.
If you’re interested in natural products, there are far better options than the disappointing ones from KORA Organics. Check out our reviews of Alba Botanica or Yes To for comparable or superior alternatives for far less money.
For more information about KORA Organics, visit www.koraorganics.com or call +61 2 9979 5672.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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