Finding the right skincare products is difficult for everyone. It becomes even more difficult when you suffer from eczema and psoriasis, two skin conditions characterized by red and itchy skin. Eczema sufferers can also experience dryness and pimple-like eruptions. Unfortunately, there is no cure for both, but there are several things you can do to keep them under control.
One of these is using gentle skincare products free of fragrance, alcohol, and irritating preservatives. So I was very surprised to find these ingredients in many Epicé products. Epicé, founded by dermatologist Michael S. Spicer, MD, is a skincare line that specializes in therapeutic moisturizers for children with eczema and psoriasis.
It’s true, though, that recently the brand has expanded to include skincare products to help everyone, not just eczema and psoriasis sufferers, protect, achieve and maintain healthy skin. And ingredients that are problematic for sensitive and inflamed skin can work well for other skin types, so many people will be able to use these products without experiencing side effects. But are they worth checking out?
Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($27.00)
The Hydrating Facial Cleanser uses Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, a surfactant derived from coconut that allows water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed off. Not to be confused with its harsh cousin Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate is considered gentle and effective. Glycerin, a humectant that draws water from the environment into the skin, also helps to leave skin soft after cleansing.
The cleanser also contains a bunch of antioxidants such as green tea, retinyl palmitate (a weak form of Vitamin A) and Ascorbic Acid (a form of Vitamin C), but these don’t really do anything in a cleanser (bar make the price go up). They just end up down the drain. I’m also not thrilled that fragrance was added to the product, but as a cleanser isn’t supposed to stay in contact with the skin much, it shouldn’t cause any harm.
An effective and gentle cleanser. But it’s a bit too pricey for what it does.
Purified Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Cocoamphodiacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance, Macadamia Glycerides, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Aspartic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Blue 1
Restorative Toner ($27.00)
Epicé describes it as a “gentle skin toner” that “provides a cool, refreshing feeling while hydrating the skin and reducing inflammation,” yet the second ingredient is SD Alcohol 40, which can be both drying and irritating when used in high doses! Antioxidants rosemary and witch hazel also contain compounds that can be irritating, especially to people with sensitive skin. But at least these are present in smaller amounts.
To soothe inflammation, Epicé has included a high dollop of aloe vera. Made mostly of water, this plants also contains glycoproteins that help speed up the healing process by reducing pain and inflammation, and polysaccharides that stimulate growth and repair. The cleanser also contains Mandelic Acid, a Alpha Hydroxy Acid with exfoliating and antioxidant properties.
Poor. Although it contains some antioxidants and soothing ingredients, the high amount of alcohol can cause problems for all skin types, especially sensitive.
Purified Water, SD Alcohol 40, Aloe Barbadensis, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Mandelic Acid, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit, Polysorbate 20, Vitis Vinifera (White Grape) Fruit, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Phenoxyethanol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Caprylyl Glycol, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail Plant), Cymbopogon Citratus (Lemongrass), Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Honey Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol, FD&C Yellow 5,.FD&C Blue 1.
Therapeutic 8 Moisturizer ($15.00)
This scent-free moisturizer contains a blend of emollients, moisturizers, and soothing agents that hydrate, heal, and soften dry and sensitive skin. Safflower Oil, Shea Butter, and Cocoa Seed Butter create a barrier on the skin that slows down water loss. They may also have antioxidant properties. Glycerine attracts water from the environment into the skin, thus increasing its moisture levels.
Aloe vera helps soothe skin, reducing inflammation, and stimulates growth and repair. My only criticism is the inclusion of Methylisothiazolinone, which is considered one of the most irritating preservatives used in skincare. There is only a tiny amount in here, but it may still cause a negative reaction to those predisposed to it.
Despite the unfortunate choice of preservative, I think this is a good, but basic, moisturizer for dry and inflamed skin, helping to keep it soft, hydrated, and healthy.
PurifiedWater, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Glycerine, Emulsifying Wax, Glyceryl Monostearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii, (Shea Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, TEA Citrate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Benzyl Alcohol, BHT, Carbomer, Methylisothiazolinone.
Epicell Recovery Serum ($75.00)
Stem cells are all the rage now. Too bad they don’t work. Stem cells are living cells with the potential to become any type of organ so they could, in theory, be used to create new, smooth, and healthy patches of skin. But for that, these stem cells must be human and living. Those used in skincare, though, are dead, so useless. Epicé doesn’t even use human stem cells, but apple stem cells. Plant stem cells can growth leaves, fruits, etc, so I have no idea why they would help skin. But hey, it makes for a good marketing story.
Instead, what this serum does is hydrate skin. Carrageenans, a polysaccharide that’s extracted from seaweed, has excellent water binding properties. So does Sodium Hyaluronate. It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and works well both in high and low humidity conditions.
Good and hydrating, but overpriced.
Purified Water, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenans) Extract, Ethoxydiglycol, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract (Swiss Apple Stem Cells), Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum, Glycerin, Camellia Sinensis (Green tea) Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape seed) Extract, Lecithin, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Hexylene Glycol.
Hydrating Facial Mask ($35.00)
This mask contains aloe vera to soothe skin, sunflower oil to moisturize it, glycerine to hydrate it, ceramides to restore skin’s barrier function (which is often impaired by eczema), and a bunch of antioxidants, such as retinyl palmitate and tocopheryl acetate (a form of vitamin E) to help fight premature aging.
Yet, I’m hesitant to recommend it to people with dry skin. Why? It also contains Kaolin Clay and Bentonite, two types of clays with absorbing properties. Although they are considered gentle enough for sensitive skin, their ability to soak up excess oil, which is very beneficial for oily skin, may cause dryness in those with dry skin. Still, the other hydrating ingredients in the formula should help prevent this and keep skin soft.
A good mask best suited for those with normal to oily skin.
Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil, Kaolin Clay, Glycerine, Bentonite, Propylene Glycol, Olive Squalane, Titanium Dioxide, Aluminum Magnesium Silicate, PEG 100 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenans) Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Ubiquinone 50, Steareth 2, Allantoin, Panthenol, Jojoba Esters, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 1, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Butylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Phytosphingosine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Malus Domestica (Apple) Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Cholesterol, Arnica Montana Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Extract, BHT, Macadamia Glycerides, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Copper Chlorophylin, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin , Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid.
Purifying Exfoliant ($32.00)
This is basically a cleanser with polyethylene beads thrown in. These beads, when massaged onto the skin, help remove dead cells that are accumulating on the surface of the skin. The Purifying Exfoliant also contains a bunch of gentle surfactants, such as Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, and PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, that cleanses skin by allowing water to mix with dirt and oils so they can be easily rinsed away. Glycerine is added to add some moisture to the skin. I would have preferred if Epicé hadn’t included a fragrance here too though.
A good, if a little pricey, exfoliating cleanser.
Purified Water, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Polyethylene, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, PEG 150 Distearate, Emulsifying Wax, PEG 13 Carboxylate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Jojoba Esters, Grapeseed Oil, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Lanolin Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Sodium Chloride, BHT, Hexylene Glycol, Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail Plant) Extract, Pinus Silvestris (Pinetree) Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Extract), Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide.
The Bottom Line
This is just a sample of what Epicé has to offer. Overall, it is a good line with some great, if a bit overpriced, products, and a few duds. But I can’t help but be a bit disappointed. Because the line was created by a dermatologist, I expected the products to contain more antioxidants and gentler ingredients suitable for sensitive skin too.
Have you ever tried Epicé products?