After a lengthy email to and fro with a Truth In Aging reader, my correspondent asked me what I thought of Dr Mercola’s skincare products. This was ironic since we’d been discussing skincare products and Dr Mercola, who is notoriously controversial, has said that he thinks sunscreen causes cancer. Amongst his other, shall we say unorthodox, views is the opinion that HIV does not lead to AIDS. The FDA recently upbraided him for making claims for supplements he sells (such as chorella “will help to virtually eliminate your risk of developing cancer in the future"). I wondered if Dr Mercola’s organic skincare would be characterized by hubris as well.

I have before me Dr Mercola’s Organic Sea Buckthorn Serum ($22) and, surprisingly, it is modest in price and formula. Dr Mercola claims that the key ingredient, sea buckthorn, has over 100 nutrients. I’m not so sure about that, but it is a powerful botanical. The fruit that grows from sea buckthorn plants provide (per 100 grams) 600 mg of vitamin C, 180 mg of vitamin E, 80 mcg of folic acid, 35 mg of carotenoids (beta carotene, lycopene, etc.), 6 – 11% omega fatty acids, and up to 1% of flavonoids. What does all that mean from a beauty perspective? Wrinkle and hyperpigmentation reduction, protection against photoaging, collagen stimulation and more. Apparently, palmitoleic acid, an ingredient in the oils from the fruits’ seeds, nourishes skin with antioxidants. Sea buckthorn oil may also protect you from UV rays and serve as an emollient.

Dr Mercola’s Organic Sea Buckthorn Serum also has antioxidant green tea and soothing calendula. It should be commended for including nothing nasty at all, although an almond oil base might be pore clogging and I would prefer a product that is more emollient.

For comparison, I thought it would be worth reminding myself of Tilvee’s sea buckthorn cream. It costs a little more: $35. However, it is likely to be more moisturizing and there is certainly more going on with the inclusion of shea, mango and cocoa butter, the aloe base, argan oil, plus antioxidant avocado and carrot.

It would be interesting to see how they compare in use. If anyone is interested in a Tilvee/Mercola face off and writing about it for us, let me know and I’ll send them your way.

Ingredients in Dr Mercola

Prunus dulcis (almond) oil*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry) oil*, camellia sinensis leaf (green tea) extract*, rosmarinus officinalis extract*, calendula officinalis extract*, matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract*, citrus sinensis (sweet orange) oil*, tocopherol.

Ingredients in Tilvee

Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Juice*, Rosa damascena (Rose) Distillate, Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Butter*, Calendula o­cinalis (Calendula) Extract*, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) Butter, Emulsifying Wax NF, Persea americana (Avocado) Oil, Hippaophae rhammnoides (Sea Buckthorn) extract*, Argania spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Daucus carota (Carrot) Oil, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Garcinia indica (Kokum) Butter, Mangifera indica (Mango) Butter, Palm stearic acid, (Polysaccharide gum) Xanthan Gum, Essential oils of Vanilla (Vanilla) planifolia, Citrus limonum ( Lime), Citrus bergamia (Bergamont), Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang), Lavendula (Lavender) angustifolia, Citrus reticulata (Mandarin)