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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Smoothing Body Towel

November 5, 2012 Reviewed by Copley 4 Comments
Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel pads have been a favorite product of mine since he created the two-step at-home peel pads years ago – of course I switched to the extra-strength version when introduced. The pads are just large enough for me to use on my face and neck, and I admit I would sometimes break out another set to use on my arms and upper body during the summer. The good doctor must have known that his clients were in need of a bigger peel pad as has cleverly created a one-step Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Towel ($36 for 8).

The juicy, textured “towel” is actually more of a “washcloth” (5.25 in. squares) but certainly has enough surface area to cover the body and is full of skin beneficial ingredients to address several skin concerns. There is glycolic and mandelic acid to slough off dead, dry skin as well as salicylic and azelaic acids (in the gentler disodium lauriminodipropionate tocopheryl phosphates form) to treat chest and “back-ne” by reducing pore blockage  and helping to control oil secretion. The combination of AHAs, willow bark and witch hazel should aid with reducing keratosis pilaris. There are also citric acid and lactic acids which gently aid in cell turnover. Genistein, a soy isoflavone, which reportedly stimulates collagen growth (read Marta’s view). Lastly, there is soothing tea tree oil and chamomile extract as well as the antioxidant properties of green tea and ubiquinone (CoQ10).

The exfoliating towel is meant to be rubbed onto clean, dry skin until it is completely dry. My skin is indeed smoother after use of the exfoliating towel. What I found to be even more impressive was that I noted a reduction in those annoying razor bumps on my legs with regular use of the exfoliating towel! The towels are individually packed, making them ideal to travel with and were featured on Allure’s article “Hurricane Beauty: How to look good when you’re without water.” I actually forgot to pack the handy serviettes when I had to vacate powerless Downtown Manhattan post-Hurricane Sandy to crash on a friend’s couch in electrified Brooklyn. Interestingly enough, the texturized towel was one of the items I used when I returned home after almost a week without beauty products.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), SD Alcohol 40-B, Glycolic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Mandelic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Larrea Divaricata Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Ubiquinone, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Menthyl Lactate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Phytic Acid, Copper PCA, Sodium PCA, Lecithin, Zinc PCA, Butylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Benzoate
  • November 5, 2012

    by Dennis

    Thanks Nisha! Glad to hear your power is on. Hope you're doing ok.

    There's just so much contradictory information out there on certain ingredients -. it's all so confusing! speaking of, I was just reading an article on the very site you linked, and you're right: it's not that bad

    "The toxicity of SD Alcohols has also been tested, with implications for the particular denaturant used. An irritation test of 55.65% SD Alcohol 40-B denatured with Denatonium Benzoate using rabbits produced minimal effects. A spray formula containing 12% SD Alcohol 40-B was found to be nonirritating when evaluated for vaginal mucosal irritation in New Zealand white rabbits. Cosmetic formulations containing SD Alcohol 40-B (denatured with Denatonium Benzoate) were not sensitizers in repeated insult patch tests. A gel formula containing 29% SD Alcohol 40-B and a spray liquid containing 12% SD Alcohol 40-B did not induce photoallergy, dermal sensitization, or phototoxic response in human subjects. Although the absorption of ethanol (aka Alcohol for purposes of cosmetic ingredient labeling) occurs through skin, ethanol does not appear to affect the integrity of the skin barrier nor reach a very high systemic concentration following dermal exposure"

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18569160

    Thanks again!

  • November 5, 2012

    by Nisha

    Hi Dennis - Nothing gets by you!
    I was aware of where SD alcohol sits on the ingredient list & had decided not to delve into the topic as my power was only just restored & I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to write the article as scheduled.
    However, that's not fair to you as my local power outage issues are short term & what is posted on TIA is for the long term & I thank you, Dennis, for holding me accountable.
    I'm glad Marta already posted the link to the 2010 article on Safety of Alcohol in cosmetics - which I should have done.
    However, I'd like to add to it as I have new information from speaking with cosmetic chemists who have clarified some misconceptions that I even had about the use of alcohol in cosmetic formulations. It's not always bad - depending on the purpose of the alcohol in the formula. You are correct that SD alcohol (or denatured alcohol) can reduce the skin's water content (TEWL) which compromises the skin barrier & lipid balance. However, the very presence of the substance does not mean it is there to dry out the skin. The alcohol can be used to dry or rather "thin out" the other ingredients in the formulation such that they evaporate faster, thus penetrate better. This is the general idea with the towel, which is wet with ingredients when first applied but dries during application, leaving the most potent ingredients on the body as the alcohol evaporates & dries out the towel itself, hopefully not not your skin. I believe Dr Gross has put a lot of thought into his formulations (I don't work for him & was not compensated for any of my reviews which were completely independent). Yes, there is a large amount of alcohol & some will inevitably get on your skin. Thus, he has specific instructions on the package itself to follow up with a moisturizer & avoid any products containing alcohol.Also see below link. I hope this helps alleviate some of your concerns.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7918560.

  • November 5, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Dennis, that may be true. Here's our article with more information: http://www.truthinaging.com/ingredient-spotlight/alcohol-in-cosmetics-is-it-safe

  • November 5, 2012

    by Dennis

    Doesn't sd-alcohol harm the skins protective barrier? it's kind of shocking to see it as the second ingredient.

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