I was recently asked to review some skin care products from Darphin, a skin care company that I’ve been really curious about for years. I’ve only had the products for a short period of time (I’ll be posting an update after my typical six week trial period), but so far I’ve really been liking the products!
I started using the products two weeks ago, right as the cold(ish) winter weather was suddenly giving way to mid-70 early summer weather? What was up with that? And it was a challenging time of the month for blemishes. So, from several perspectives, these products have already been through some skincare-challenging times.
Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water
This was a completely different skin cleanser for me. It looks like water, but you basically use it like a toner. Which means you apply with a cotton round and don’t rinse it off. It did remove all of my makeup without issue, including mascara and eye liner. Since Darphin says to not rinse afterwards, I was worried about residue, but there wasn’t any. I had no after wash irritation or redness. It seemed to just get the job done and to be very gentle. Darphin says that this product has been formulated to be ultra-gentle and suitable even for those with rosacea.
I’m super picky about scrubs, particularly if they will be used on my face. My phobia stems from a comment made by one of the faculty during a lecture when I was in medical school. They showed a picture of the skin surface after using a scrub. It was full of deep scratches, and while they weren’t visible to the naked eye, it really it looked horrible. It made most of us cringe. I had a few tubes of the same scrub stockpiled in my bathroom at home, they were promptly thrown out! The problem? The grit was unevenly sized, sharp and there wasn’t enough of it. To compensate, most women really scrub with the scrub, resulting in skin injury.
This scrub really does have all of my ideal scrub qualities. When looking for a scrub I look for grain that it small, uniform in size and not at all sharp. The grit (silica, pearl and lava powders) is small, consistent in size and I haven’t had any issues with sharp edges. There’s just enough grit to spread around and get every little bit of skin. With light washing I found that this scrub has a good balance between being gentle enough to use a few times a week and still get a nice exfoliating effect.
Ideal Resource is the real star here, the anti-aging cream. Sure, it has the usual suspects such as anti-oxidants (Tocopheryl Acetate), my beloved sqaulene and sodium hyaluronate are there for some hydration, and there’s even caffeine for some added temporary skin tightening. But, you’ll also find some new ingredients here such as Centella Asiatica, Knotweed, and White Hibiscus.What exactly do these things do? Truthfully, I was a bit confused by the paperwork sent to me by Darphin on these ingredients. (What exactly does “increased oxygen resource” mean?) The MD in me needed more info, so I dug some up.
Centella Asiatica: According to Darphin, Centella recharges the dermo-epidermal junction with oxygen resources by stimulating cutaneous microcirculation, resulting in an increased “glow.” What does this mean? It took me a while to figure out because that term “oxygen resources” was confusing me. What I can figure out from that sentence is that the underlying levels of the skin see improved oxygen delivery because their microcirculation is better, essentially because there are more blood vessels in the area. Is it true? A quick search for this ingredient over in Pubmed found that it is used in a wide array of applications, and this reference in particular mentioned decreased edema, anti-oxidant properties, anti-inflammatory actions, collagen modulation to prevent scarring, and yes effects on blood vessel creation in the area. I even found quite a few references about wound healing (2, 3, 4). Perhaps more encouraging was the effects on fibroblasts, preventing them from early death (reference 5).So, overall there are quite a few ways that this little extract could fight aging, and the increased “oxygen resource” claim is true as there is evidence in the literature for improved microcirculation in the area.
Knotweed: Knotweed extract is rich in Resveratrol, the amazing wondrous anti-oxidant found in red wine. Preventing damage from reactive oxygen species will help fight the signs of aging, but in particular premature aging due to sun exposure (reference).
White Hibiscus: Here’s another claim that I was confused by when reading the info sent to me by Darphin. White Hibiscus is present to “recharge the epidermis with cellular vitality resources by stimulating keratinocyte renewal” and the “epidermis is transformed progressively, and skin surface imperfections are removed.” Which I think means improved cell turnover and maybe improved cellular life so that the cells are around to improve that skin surface.White Hibiscus was a bit harder to find information about, and surprisingly enough a lot of what I initially found was about insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia (1 and 2).
What was more interesting about those references was the potential for anti-oxidant activity, which was then confirmed in reference 3, and then in reference 4 there was event discussion of specifically improving White Hibiscus for topical application. I’m not certain that what I found matches what was in my paperwork, but it does sound promising as an active ingredient in skin care.
So, get to the pointAfter all of that, how did I actually like the cream? I really like it. It is thick, light ivory color, and it has a subtle floral scent. It feels really, really good going on. It seemed like it should have been much too heavy for my combination skin, in particular once the weather turned so warm. But it really wasn’t. The cream absorbs within 1 or 2 minutes and there wasn’t a residue left behind. I can use it at night or in the morning since it doesn’t interfere with makeup application at all. And since it is so hydrating it seems to just make me glowy. All sorts of glowy goodness is going on. And there were no issues with blemishes, despite some hormonal issues and weather changes. So far I really like this cream!