St Ives appear to be facing a $5m lawsuit by two women who claim the Apricot Scrub caused irritation. Er, hello.. if you rub crushed walnut shell all over your face, you can expect no less to be honest. And yet, St Ives Apricot Scrub is a best seller – I used it in my 20’s and was thrilled with how smooth it made my skin feel. In the days when we just didn’t question formulas in the way we do now, it was a staple in beauty regimes, such as they were.
St Ives is owned by Unilever, who should know better to be honest, but until now, the brand has taken an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude. The two women also contest the ‘dermatologist tested’ claim – I don’t think there is a dermatologist in the land who would suggest that abrasive walnut shell can do anything other than scratch your face (in micro form) and that’s their point – if they had known it could cause skin damage, they wouldn’t have bought it. Allure magazine features a derm quote from someone who is conflicted over upsetting Unilever with an outright ‘never, ever’, and while he doesn’t recommend it as such, he suggests that you can use it as a wash without actually ‘scrubbing’. But why would you not use the scrub aspect of a scrub.. better to buy an actual wash. The general derm consensus is that the micro tears that walnut particles can cause clearly aren’t good for your skin. Also, consider that St Ives uses their wording cleverly when it comes to ‘natural’ claims – ‘inspired by nature, bringing you the best of nature’ when a drill down of ingredients tells you that the ‘natural’ ingredients are sparse in comparison to the non-natural.
The problem for Unilever is that once the product has been bought, they have no control, despite recommendations, over how it’s used. You might get one person literally scrubbing it into their complexion daily as though their life depended upon it, and another using it in more gentle, skin respectful form. I like a scrubby scrub to be honest, but over the years have come to prefer enzymatic exfoliators, such as Peter Thomas Roth Peeling Gel (HERE) and Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel (on offer HERE) that are a mixture of the two. It’s interesting that many derms don’t recommend exfoliating at all – they say that good cleansing keeps cell turnover healthy but try telling that to the millions who love that smooth and fresh feeling that only exfoliation brings.
I’m interested, in the light of the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder suit, to see how this works out for Unilever and St Ives because it does raise the whole point about ‘dermatologist tested’ (for what? by how many? independently?) products and whether that claim causes more harm than good. Also on my radar (waiting for my product to arrive so I can test it for myself), is the Shills Purifying Peel Off Mask which has been getting some terrible reviews in forums.
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Wow, I guess common sense is really going down the drain! I remember using that product in my youth and it was some rough scrubbing with those walnut shells. I just stopped using it.
As what you say in Dermatologist tested, I often wondered too. What way are they allowed to use that term? Did the dermatologist test it on themselves, as a face scrub, as a foot scrub which would be better. Or did the derm test on an armadillo?
I don’t think it’s even really regulated. One dermatologist washes their face with it and says yeah it’s fine, boom DERMATOLOGIST TESTED.
I am glad that someone is facing the consequences of their claims. Thinks how many very rough scrubs are available on the market, claiming they will clear your acne prone skin? Most of them will only make it worse. To be honest, when I was a teenager I took all the claims of these products literaly and never doubted that what is written on the product could be wrong. So altough it seems obvious a scrub will irritate your skin, in the same time you want to believe the claims that somehow your skin will be better after using the product as directed.