Even though I live in a climate with humid summers, my skin is still prone to dry spots, particularly on my elbows and feet. So, when we got a sample of derma e Cracked Skin Relief Crème ($25.50, amazon.com), which promises to provide fast relief to extremely dry skin, you better believe that I made sure to grab it first.
Aloe Leaf Extract: Does it Really Heal?
This popular folk remedy has been popular for thousands of years for its therapeutic and medicinal properties, and plenty of studies have found it to be effective in treating burns and soothing skin (Indian Journal of Dermatology). When applied after microdermabrasions, it can significantly improve crusting, edema (skin redness), and speed up healing time (Clinical Abstracts: Wound Healing). Aloe can also be used as an anti-inflammatory (Journal of Ethnopharmacology).
But, despite its popularity, aloe isn’t necessarily proven to be effective. A study in International Journal of Radiation Oncology found that it was not effective in helping patients undergoing chemotherapy prevent dry skin; additionally, in a comprehensive review of existing studies, researchers found that the current data is pretty mixed about whether or not it actually speeds up wound healing (Sylvester Comprehensive Medical Center). So at the very least, aloe will definitely soothe and moisturize your skin, but the jury is still out on its healing properties.
Arnica montana Flower Extract Curbs Inflammation
More commonly known as wolf’s bane, this somewhat rare flowering plant is native to parts of continental Europe. This flower is typically used for its anti-inflammatory properties because it inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandin, a lipid compound involved in inflammation. That’s why massage with arnica gel has shown significant anti-inflammatory effects on acute muscle lesions (Ultrasonics, Homeopathy).
However, there might be a downside. A. montana can also cause skin irritations. Prolonged use can cause edematous dermatitis, and long-term use can even cause eczema (Contact Dermatitis). A study published in the Contact Dermatitis journal found that those with preexistent nickel and fragrance allergies might have sensitization to A. montana. Should you have one of these allergies, I wouldn’t recommend using products containing this flower.
Bay Leaf Oil Helps Heal, But Not as Well as Other Oils
Laurus nobilis is traditionally used for its astringent, healing, and diuretic properties. It contains a variety of flavonoids, including linalool, α-pinene, p-cymene, β-pinene and limonene, which work to increase the strength of collagen fibers, promote DNA synthesis, and prevent cell damage by reducing lipid peroxidation (BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine).
Bay leaf oil can help with wound-healing, but its effects are moderate when compared with other oils, such as the Inula viscosa (BMC, Journal of Ethnopharmacology). And, although it’s rare, it can cause contact dermatitis, so be careful if you’ve got sensitive skin (Contact Dermatitis).
Clove Flower Oil: Antibacterial and Antioxidant
This pungent oil has a wide variety of beneficial properties; it has shown fungicidal activities as well as antibacterial behaviors against Listeria monocytogenes, S. aureus, Bacillus cereus, and S. epidermidis. It also has antioxidant properties that come from eugenol, which prevents the initiation of hydroxyl radicals by chelating ferric oxide (Phytotherapy Research).
Overall Rating: *
While derma e Cracked Skin Relief Crème means well, I can’t say I’m a fan of it. I love the smell of clove, but I found the scent to be overwhelming and lingering. After using it, my skin did feel softer, but it felt greasy for about an hour after application. And because of the Arnica montana, this isn’t a product that I can use regularly. So, while this product works for short-term relief of dry skin, I’ll be looking elsewhere for a more long-term solution.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Laurus Nobilis (Bay Leaf) Oil, Glycerin, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate And Peg-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Allantoin, Panthenol, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 20, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate.