The ‘Skin’ny on St Ives Apricot Scrub
March 2, 2016
Here on the BE blog, I talk a lot about hair removal. I think it’s time to stray away from that topic and talk about something else that we’re passionate about: skin care. Yes, we are known for our waxing services, but did you know that all of the aestheticians here are just that, aestheticians? They have a wealth of knowledge about the dos and don’ts of skin care. I’ve been lucky to work with a group of ladies who know so much about a topic that I, honestly, don’t know too much about.
We often ask our clients if they are using an exfoliator on their skin, especially for those who are prone to breakouts or ingrowns. A lot of the time the answer we get back is, “Oh yeah! I use St Ives Apricot Scrub!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard one of the girls reply, “Oh, no. Please stop using that.”
I have to admit, I really had no idea why this was such a huge concern until Laurie asked me to write something about it. I had used it in the past and it just never really worked for me. I found that it really dried out my skin and caused my acne to flair up even more. Not really what you want from a scrub, right?
After some pretty thorough research, I am here to tell you: please, please, please stop using this scrub!
Let’s start with the basics before we dive too deep into the scientific side of things. The main exfoliants in this scrub are walnut shells and apricot pits. While they are all-natural, they are far too abrasive for the skin. Their main purpose of the scrub is to clear dead skin away, however these pieces are far to sharp to be used on your face. They leave tiny cuts in the skin which allow bacteria and dirt even deeper into the pores.
This should send up alarm bells for anyone using this product to help with acne. The bacteria and dirt then get trapped under the skin by some of the other ingredients that create a layer on the skin. This causes breakouts and irritation in those with sensitive skin, and even those with not-so-sensitive skin.
Moving on to some of the more alarming ingredients in St Ives…
EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database rates various products and the ingredients in them, giving them a rating between 1-10 on a hazard scale (1 being least hazardous). St Ives Apricot Scrub is rated 6/10 – moderately hazardous bordering on highly hazardous. Um, what? I was a little shocked to find that it rated so high. Here are some of the reasons why:
Propylene Glycol/Cocamidopropyl: Both of these ingredients are toxic to humans in high doses and strip the skin of moisture from the lower layers. This can cause inflammation for those with sensitive skin and will cause dry, dull skin.
Fragrance: This is a broad term meaning that it could be essential oils or it could be a chemical compound. Fragrance is a big irritant for a lot of people and can cause allergic reactions. Depending on what the fragrance is made of, it can also cause organ system toxicity.
Methylisothiazolinone: This a preservative widely used in many cosmetics. It is a common irritant for a lot of people, but more alarmingly, tests on mammals suggest that it may be a neurotoxin as well and may seriously affect development in humans.
These are just a few of the ingredients that EWG found most hazardous. Lower down on the scale were ingredients which are also found in floor cleaners, or were found to be toxic for humans even in low doses. The last ingredient on the list is apricot, ironically, which means it’s also the least concentrated in the scrub.
What’s more alarming than what’s in the bottle is what this chemical goo is covered in: false marketing.
St Ives has been pushing that it is all for natural ingredients and saving the environment. However, the natural ingredients in this particular product are outweighed 5-to-1 by chemicals and ‘good’ (things that are actually helpful to your skin) are outnumbered 10-to-1. For a company that relies heavily on environmental awareness and claims to use all natural ingredients to sell it’s products, the numbers don’t back their claims.
So what should you be using on your skin?
I think first and foremost, it’s important to remember that just because a product claims to use all natural ingredients, you need to do your research. We sell a sugar scrub here from a brand called Lalicious. The ingredient list is short and sweet: Sugar, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Tocopherol (a family of vitamin E compounds naturally found in vegetable oils, nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables), Soybean Oil and Honey. It comes in a variety of scents and is gentle enough to use everyday (from the neck down).
If you’re concerned specifically with your face, using a really gentle sugar scrub 3-4 times a week will help preserve moisture while still getting rid of dead cells. Using a good toner and cleanser can really help improve the look of acne and blemishes in between scrubbing sessions. Bare Essentials also offers facials and SilkPeels to help liven up tired skin.
If you have specific skin concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask one of the lovely ladies here! We would love to share our knowledge with you!