It seems every beauty editor in town is gushing about the latest foreign brand to hit U.S. shores, Aesop. Originally from Australia, Aesop will launch three American concept stores in NYC this year. Leading the way? The all-new Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub ($35.00).
What I love about Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub is the degree to which this product exfoliates the skin. First documented in Egyptian, Babylonian, and Indian civilizations to exfoliate (Dermatologic Surgery, 2001), pumice is still considered one of the strongest mechanical means of exfoliation available today (The Encyclopedia of Skin and Skin Disorders, 2006), and Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub contains not one, but two forms of pumice. Micronized bamboo stem, another exfoliant, is used by institutions like the Viceroy Spa in Palm Springs to revitalize the skin (Spa: The Sensuous Experience, 2006). While its effects are not well-documented in scientific or western medical literature, bamboo has long been used in Chinese medicine to treat disharmony within the body, including skin rashes (source).
The geranium in Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub is also likely to calm and soothe the skin as exfoliation takes place, as topically applied geranium oil has been found to suppress inflammation (Journal of Inflammation, 2005) and relieve nerve pain after herpes breakouts in a condition known as postherpetic neuralgia (American Journal of Medicine, 2003).
I like Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub, so I hate to knock it, but I have to make like George Washington and be honest: Bergamot oil and sodium laureth sulfate are bad.
Bergamot oil was once thought to increase protection to UV light (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemistry, 1987), but has since been found to make skin more sensitive to the sun, resulting in allergic reactions (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2001) and tumor formation in mice (Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, 1990). However, Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub is a rinse-off formula, so it is not as though bergamot oil is directly on your skin before you go outside.
That leaves sodium laureth sulfate, my main problem with Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub. The main ingredient next to water, sodium laureth sulfate is included as a detergent, but it does nothing for the skin but irritate it. According to Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D., “[Sodium laureth sulfate] is such a consistent irritator for skin with an impaired barrier that it is actually used in ‘challenge patch tests’ to evaluate the barrier function of skin…it strips the natural lipids from the skin, disrupting the barrier and rendering it more susceptible to external irritants.” (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2001)
Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub is an effective weekly exfoliator for the skin, with two types of pumice and micronized bamboo. I also love that it contains geranium oil, which helps to alleviate pain and inflammation associated with vigorous exfoliation. Now, if only Aesop would reformulate the Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub without the sodium laureth sulfate and bergamot oil, I’d give this one a top recommendation. As it stands now, I like Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub, but would not use it regularly because the sodium laureth sulfate and bergamot oil may be too jarring for my sensitive skin. Worth a try if you wish, but (sob!) can’t make it a favorite without these changes…(!) Product Rating: 6/10 (High concentration of proven effective ingredients: 2/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 2/3. Value for the money: 3/3. Sunscreen: 0/1).
Other Posts & Sites You May Enjoy
- Product Review: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate << FutureDerm.com
- Do Beauty Products Really Damage Your DNA? << FutureDerm.com
- Product Review: Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads << FutureDerm.com
- Aesop Skin Care – Official Site
Ingredients in Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub
Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Pumice, Acrylates Copolymer, Coco-Betaine, Cocamide DEA, Polysorbate 20, Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Stem Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, d-Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool