This is a powerful mask. It's also a powerful peel. I've used it once so far, and boy did I feel the burn. With a 6% AHA concentration (from glycolic acid), you can use this as a step-up, step-down or supplement to prescription strength retinoids or professional strength glycolic skin care products.
As Marta noted earlier, you want to be careful when using Alpha Hydroxy Acids because they will up the potential for sunburns.
In addition to the glycolic
acid, Verdure also employs a 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid
(which will help for congested skin) and papaya extract. Papaya has
some strong research behind it. Its efficacy comes from the enzyme
papain, which has been shown to be effective for removing dead skin
cells in addition to being a powerful pain-killer and anti-irritant.
I also like the inclusion
of two select antioxidants: pomegranate and green tea. These are my
two favorite botanicals, in part because they have a long track record
of doing wonderful things for your skin. On top of being excellent
free radical scavengers, both provide enhanced photoprotective effects
that mitigate to some degree the increased sensitivity that the glycolic acid brings to the formula.
What I also like about this product is that it is paraben free.
Sadly, boasts of paraben-free
are coupled with irritants ethylhexylglycerin (according to a
Belgian study), sodium hydroxide (at very low levels will cause
irritation) and hexylene glycol, plus the toxins disodium EDTA and phenoxyethanol.
All of this gives me
pause. When applied to already stressed out skin (because of the high
levels of glycolic acid), these irritants will just fan the flame of
irritation for sensitive skin. Add to this PEG 150 distearate, which
is a skin penetration enhancer and may or may not be contaminated with
the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, I'm afraid that this masque-but-also-a-peel
should be reserved for the more robust complexions among us.
Verdure's masque is a mixed bag of tricks and treats, plus the occasional candy corn (i.e. something you get that's not all too exciting, but you'll eat it anyway). And here's what you're getting:
Moisture: Jojoba seed oil, barley extract, sandlewood extract, and corktree extract.
Exfoliate: Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and papaya.
Protect: Pomegranate and green tea.
Purge: Kaolin and bentonite
Irritants: ethylhexylglycerin, sodium hydroxide, and hexylene glycol.
Toxins: disodium EDTA and phenoxyethanol, plus (possibly) 1,4-dioxane.
Mugwort: doesn't do much except warm the skin.
Allantoin: while an anti-irritant and skin soother, there is no hard evidence to back up anti-aging claims.
Algae extract: while also an anti-irritant and skin soother, some forms of algae are actually nothing more than plain old filler.
water (aqua), kaolin, bentonite, glyceryl stearate
citrate, butylene glycol, glycerin, sodium hydroxide, titanium dioxide,
simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, hordeum disticon (barley)
extract, santalum album (sandlewood) extract, phellodendron amurense
(amur corktree) bark extract, carica papaya (papaya) fruit extract,
algae extract, artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) extract, camellia sinensis
(green tea) leaf extract, punica granatum (pomegranate) extract,
glycolic acid, PEG-150 distearate, allantoin, disodium EDTA, salicylic
acid, panthenol, xanthan gum, chromium hydroxide green, phenoxyethanol,
caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, ethylhexylglycerin.