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Read the Label: SteamCream

Contact Author Katerina Steventon, Ph.D., FaceWorkshops LLC
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Many small brands in the natural skin care category work with traditional plant oils and butters to give users a nourishing, nurturing skin feel. SteamCream's namesake product is a good example, reported to “leave the skin deeply nourished, with its moisture reserves replenished and equilibrium restored.”

The product declares several related skin benefits: hydrates and replenishes; improves elasticity, softness and suppleness; restores vitality; calms, tones and balances; and is naturally comforting and nurturing. It also claims to harness steam to maximize the power of its ingredients and deliver unparalleled lightness, absorption and faster, more intense benefits.

The formulation is presented as hypoallergenic and suitable for all skin types: sensitive, eczematous and psoriasis-prone. Although formulated for the face, it is suitable as a body moisturizer with a light and melting texture for fast absorption. The formula also is touted for not being tested on animals.

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This column will review the ingredient listing for claims substantiation and functionality.

Basic formulation: This formulation is a w/o emulsion. The oil phase consists of plant oils and butter emollients, traditionally known for their rich, conditioning properties: sweet almond oil, cocoa seed butter and jojoba seed oil. These emollients soften and nourish the skin, provide a “comforting skin feel,” and relieve discomfort of dry, scaly skin. They contain antioxidant vitamins A and E.

The emulsifying system contains the emollients glyceryl stearate and polyglyceryl-6 palmitate/succinate. Cetearyl alcohol and xanthan gum are used as emulsion stabilizers and viscosity increasing agents. Oat kernel flour adds texture and may aid in the soothing effects of the formula. Glycerin, a humectant, provides skin hydration.

Oils and extracts: Essential oils and water extracts enhancing the scent of the formulation are: orange fruit extract and flower water, lavender and chamomile oil, and bitter orange and Rosa damascena flower oil. The benefits of these extracts depend on their concentrations and the claims are derived from traditional use. However, neroli and orange fruit extract have been used to refine skin texture, as well as orange blossom absolute/flower water to balance sebum production.

Lavender is used for antiseptic, antibacterial, relaxing and soothing properties. Chamomile is soothing and rose absolute can enhance skin softness and suppleness, and relieve skin dryness. Bisabolol offers skin-calming properties.

Fragrance, preservative, etc.: This emulsion contains a fragrance with potential allergens: hydroxycitronellal, linalool, limonene, citronellol, geraniol and citral. The preservative is phenoxyethanol, along with hydroxyacetophenone, a preservative booster, anti-irritant and antioxidant. Sodium citrate is used as a buffering agent.

In my view, these ingredients support the soothing and nurturing function of the emulsion. However, enhanced with potential allergens from the citrus family, this product should not over-extend to borderline skin disease states; e.g., eczema and psoriasis-prone skin.

Ingredients: Water (aqua), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-6 Palmitate/Succinate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Water, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Fragrance (parfum), Hydroxyacetophenone, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxycitronellal, Sodium Citrate, Bisabolol, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral.


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