I have some bad news to share about the beloved St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub. This scrub has been on my list of favorites for many years but I have learned it is a product that contains toxic ingredients and can be damaging to our skin.
I spend a lot of time researching ingredients for skin care and I came across some information in a book called “The French Beauty Solution” by Mathilde Thomas, the founder of Caudalie. In her book, apricot pits were indicated as one of the worst products for our skin. Immediately, I thought of my St. Ives scrub and this prompted me to further research the ingredients in the product. What I found was not good. As a matter of fact, I threw the tube I had in my shower into the trash before writing this post.
Apricot pits and other ground pits or shells are found in many exfoliation products because they are course. When used as a scrub, there is a sensation that the skin is being well exfoliated. However, the effectiveness of exfoliation is not measured by how hard you have scrubbed. As a matter of fact, abrasive products can cause irritation and a loss of hydration. If you have experienced breakouts when using abrasive exfoliators such as the Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub, the product has possibly made you prone to breakouts due to microscopic tears in the skin from the abrasion. I always felt my skin was really soft after using the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub. According to the St. Ives website, as of April 2015 this product was the number one scrub in America. It’s certainly inexpensive and that probably should be a big red flag.
St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub Ingredients
Let’s take a look at the ingredients in the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub (obtained from the St. Ives website):
Key ingredients St. Ives has indicated: Apricot, Corn Kernel Meal, and Walnut
The comprehensive lists of ingredients:
WATER (AQUA, EAU), JUGLANS REGIA (WALNUT) SHELL POWDER, GLYCERYL STEARATE, GLYCERIN, SODIUM LAURYL SULFOACETATE, ZEA MAYS (CORN) KERNEL MEAL, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, PEG-100 STEARATE, CETYL ACETATE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), POLYSORBATE 60, CETEARETH-20, ACETYLATED LANOLIN ALCOHOL, TRIETHANOLAMINE, CARBOMER, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM), PPG-2 METHYL ETHER, PHENETHYL ALCOHOL, LIMONENE, LINALOOL, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, PRUNUS ARMENIACA (APRICOT) FRUIT EXTRACT
Concerning Information Obtained About Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub Ingredients
The most concerning information I came across is the rating this product has in the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting the environment and human health. The EWG has been conducting and publishing research for over twenty years. Their site is an excellent resource to check when you want to take a deep dive look into the ingredients and safety of specific cosmetics and products. St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub is rated a 6 out of 10 for overall hazard. This indicates ingredients used are a moderate hazard. The product received a rating of 6+ for use restrictions, allergies, and and immunotoxicity. I’ve highlighted some ingredients in red that are indicated to have warnings according to EWG.
The fragrances used in the Apricot Scrub may lead to endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, allergies and contact dermatitis. (WOW, not good, right?) The synthetic fragrance Lilial is of particular concern. Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative used in the Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub. Animal testing suggests this preservative may be neurotoxic. In other words, it may damage brain cells! It’s a widely used preservative and has been associated with allergic reactions as well. These are just a couple of the synthetic ingredients St. Ives has listed as ingredients. There a several more that are indicated to potentially cause organ toxicity. If that’s enough to look for something else, keep reading.
The second most concentrated ingredient in Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub is Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder. While EWG has rated the walnut shell powder as safe, they also indicated they had limited data on the ingredient. According to Paula’s Choice Cosmetic Ingredient Directory, walnut shell powder is not preferred in scrubs because it’s impossible to make walnut shell particles smooth. The sharp edges can cause microscopic scrapes and tears in skin, damaging the skin barrier. This also makes the skin prone to bacteria which exacerbates black heads and acne.
St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub is cheap, it smells good, and it feels like it’s really doing something. However, when taking a closer look, it’s full of chemicals that can cause damage to humans. These ingredients are highlighted in blue in the ingredient list above. The gravel feel that I previously mistook for being an effective exfoliator was actually scratching and aggravating my skin. So, yes, it was certainly doing something just not something desirable.
When looking at the benefits St. Ives lists on their website, one thing they don’t indicate is that the product is non-comedogenic. That’s because it isn’t. More great news, right? The Glyceryl Stearate SE, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, and Cetyl Acetate are some but not all the comedogenic ingredients. This scrub is compounded with pore clogging ingredients. Even one of the key ingredients indicated by the brand, Zea Mays (Corn) Kernel Meal, is an abrasive that is both comedogenic and considered to be a skin irritant.
Check Out The St. Ives Website
While perusing the St. Ives website, I found it to be misleading. The company implies the products are natural but only specific ingredients are and as you can see from the ingredients list, that is not many! Their natural claims are carefully worded. The synthetic ingredients and chemicals outweigh anything that is natural and admirable in the product. The apricot fruit extract where the product gets it’s name, is the last ingredient in the list. I wonder how much is even in the product since what we actually smell are toxic synthetic fragrances. Better exfoliators dissolve dead skin or gently slough it away as opposed to harshly scrubbing it away. I am currently testing an all natural product from one of my favorite lines Repechage. Interestingly, the Repechage product was specifically developed because people over exfoliate and scrub with harsh products leading to skin damage. It’s just a coincidence I happen to get the product a few weeks ago. I’m so glad I did as you can see where my St. Ives product has now landed. Right in the garbage.
I’ll be sharing details on the Repechage product in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please think twice if you are one of the many users of the St. Ives Fresh Skin Scrub. There are many other products on the market that are safer, more effective, and healthy for your skin.