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It’s hard for me to get excited about a cleanser, and even harder for me to get excited about a natural cleanser. There just aren’t that many great ones out there that produce effects on the skin.
Glycerin may be as old as the hills, but it still has potent benefits.
Glycerin is both a natural moisturizing factor and a humectant. Natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) mimic the skin’s structure and function and provide hydrating benefits within the skin. On the other hand, a humectant can bind with several times its weight in water from the environment (Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D.).
In addition, unlike hydrators like mineral oil or petrolatum, glycerin has notable anti-aging properties as well. Studies show that glycerin strengthens the skin barrier by speeding up skin cell maturation and turnover (International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2003). Glycerin also makes the skin less vulnerable to transepidermal water loss (TEWL) by expanding both skin cells called corneocytes and intercellular lipids within the skin (Treatment of Dry Skin Syndrome: The Art and Science of Moisturizers).
There is nothing toxic about glycerin. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: Glycerin is extremely beneficial for your skin, mimicking skin’s natural moisture, drawing in moisture from the environment, increasing cellular turnover, and strengthening the skin.
Jojoba oil is actually a wax with a chemical composition mimics your skin’s sebum more closely than any other oil. In fact, because jojoba is so similar to our skin’s natural oil, it is thought that jojoba oil can “trick” the skin into thinking it’s producing enough oil, which helps balance oil production [Source: Acne.org]. “Jojoba oil is rich in natural fats that mimic those in the outer layer of the skin,” explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “This means it can help the skin retain moisture and heal itself.” (source)
Scientific research confirms this. One study shows that use of jojoba oil shows modest swelling, indicative of moisture retention, in the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of skin) after use (Journal of Dermatological Science, 2008). Jojoba oil can also help to increase the penetration of other ingredients into the skin, something that may be useful for anti-acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids (Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 1984).
Olive Oil Esters
But that doesn’t mean that Poethique Deeply Cleansing Milk is only best for those with oily or acne-prone skin. On the contrary, it also has hydrating olive oil and neem oil. Olive oil is considered to be a “super antioxidant” that makes skin “smoother and more radiant.” It has also been proposed in the journal Toxicology that regular use of olive oil-containing products (food and topical skin care) may protect against UV-induced skin damage, as does use of vitamins C (as L-ascorbic acid) and vitamin E (as tocopheryl acetate).
Neem, found in India, is an evergreen tree used often in folk medicine to treat skin conditions (Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements). It’s also been shown to be an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial substance. That’s part of the reason it has been recently tested and shown to be effective as a spermacide and lice shampoo additive (Skin and Allergy News). The anti-fungal capabilities of neem were tested and found to be effective on pig skin (Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology). It’s also been classified as non-irritating (Consulting GmbH).
It’s hard for me to find a high-quality all-natural cleanser, but Poethique Deeply Cleansing Milk is as good as it gets in this regard. It has water- and oil-based ingredients to remove both kinds of residue, has a balanced formulation, and its ingredients have strong anti-aging backing in peer-reviewed research. Two thumbs up.
Ingredients in Poethique Cleansing Milk
Water/Aqua, Decyl Glucoside*, Vegetable Glycerin*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Cetearyl Olivate (Olive Oil ester)*, Sorbitan Olivate (Olive Oil ester)*, Melia Azadirachta (Neem Oil)*, Yucca Filamentosa Extract (Yucca Root extract)*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Cucumis Sativus* (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Xanthan Gum*, Tocopherol*, Sodium Phytate*, Glyceryl Caprylate*, Sodium Levulinate+, Sodium Anisate+, Citric Acid*, Natural Fragrance*.