A reader asked me to check into a couple of products by NIA 24, in particular the Physical Cleansing Scrub ($34). I did so willingly because I remembered that the last time I looked into NIA 24 I came away with very mixed feelings and I was curious to see if that would happen again. It did.

Physical Cleansing Scrub uses jojoba beads to exfoliate, but the twist is that they are supposedly infused with the company's signature ingredient, Pro-niacin, a slow-release niacin (a vitamin B). NIA 24 uses myristyl nicotinate as the delivery system. It was developed by the Drs. Jacobson (the husband and wife team behind NIA 24) to fight skin cancer.  In addition, there is sunflower oil and oat kernel extract, plus some botanicals including nettle (an astringent) and sage. I have the same feeling that I had last time I looked into NIA 24:  you have to put a lot of faith into Pro-niacin because there aren't many other things to get excited about.

Then there are few things that wave little red flags. There are several surfacant ingredients in Physical Cleansing Scrub, including PEG-2 cocamide. This is a known irritant and concentrations used must be limited. There is also a milder irritant, the surfacant sodium cocoyl isethionate. Triethanolamine is a PH balancer that can be an irritant as well as a possible carcinogenic, according to one animal study. Plus the usual suspects in the preservative camp.

I got rather sidetracked trying to decipher Dodecahydro 3a, 6, 6, 9a-tetramethylnaphtho(2,1-b)furan. It took a little while to get to the bottom of this one. It is a perfume and a flavoring that is apparently safe.