When I sat down to work on this, I thought I would write a raving post on how much I love Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, A.K.A. baby skin in a jar, BUT after researching for the review… Yep, unfortunately there’s a ‘but’.
So, let’s start from the beginning. On my last trip to SEPHORA, I was delighted to spot this cute little Peter Thomas Roth set for the first time (SEPHORA Italia has just started carrying the brand), mainly because I had wanted to try the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask since ViviannaDoesMakeup wrote this enthusiastic post last year. Now that I’ve given it a go, I can totally see why she’s been going on and on about it ever since.
First of all, Pumpkin Spice Lovers, rejoice! This mask basically looks and smells like something you could fill a pie crust with and bake in the oven. Seriously, it feels like such a treat to use! You’re not supposed to eat it though, you should just slather it all over your face, wait 3 to 7 minutes, rinse and… Ta-daaah, baby-soft skin that you won’t be able to stop touching.
As you can probably tell by its name, this mask contains pumpkin, which is naturally rich in AHAs and enzymes that do an amazing job at getting rid of dead skin cells, leaving your complexion super smooth and radiant. On me, it is also great at temporarily minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines. The full ingredient list goes as follows:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin), Aluminum Oxide, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Edta Edetate Discodium Dihydrate Usp, Methyl Eugenol, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.
Besides pumpkin, other favorable ingredients include Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate, as well as Vitamins A, C and E, which are potent antioxidants. If after putting the mask on you gently massage with your fingertips, the Aluminum Oxide crystals will also give you a physical exfoliation.
The mouth-watering spicy scent is most likely given by Methyleugenol, a substance with a clove-like aroma naturally found in many essential oils. This is the Opinion of the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety of the European Commission) concerning this ingredient:
‘The Opinion has only considered the genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of methyleugenol. A risk assessment has been made on the basis of a long-term carcinogenicity study on rats.
Methyleugenol should not be intentionally added as a cosmetic ingredient.
However, when fragrance compounds containing methyleugenol naturally present in essential oils are used as components in cosmetic products, the highest concentration of methyleugenol in the finished products must not exceed 0.01 % in fine fragrance, 0.004 % in eau de toilette, 0.002 % in a fragrance cream, 0.0002 % in other leave-on products and in oral hygiene products, and 0.001% in rinse-off products.’
I know that dosage is essential in determining the toxicity of a certain substance. I mean, you can eat a pinch of salt and be totally fine, but if you ingest a pound you’re probably gonna die. Does this make salt an ingredient you should completely eliminate from your diet? Probably not… But for some reason I don’t really feel comfortable consciously using a product that contains a proven carcinogen (at least in rodents), even though the small amount found in the product shouldn’t pose any risk to my health.
Also, the SCCS states that Methyleugenol should not be intentionally added as a cosmetic ingredient, but can only be contained in fragrance compounds. Why is it included in the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask INCI listing then? Doesn’t that mean that it is an added ingredient (rather than something naturally present in an essential oil)? I really hope any INCI experts will cast some light on this in the comment section.
Anyways, if you want to give this mask a go, but you’ve never used any chemical exfoliants, I recommend using a milder product for a few weeks first (Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner comes to mind), because this one seems pretty strong.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what I thought of the other two masks in the set (the Cucumber Gel and the Rose Stem Cell), just let me tell you that I didn’t find them particularly noteworthy. I have no intention of buying the full size, so I didn’t really look into them.
I’d really like to hear your opinion on this. Would you get the full size of the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask? Do you guys research the ingredients in your skincare? When you find one that has been proven to be harmful if used at high concentrations, do you avoid it altogether or trust the fact that it’s been used at a low enough concentration not to pose any risks? I really hope someone will dissipate my worries, as I actually really love this mask!
UPDATE: I did eventually get the full size and noticed that methyleugenol is not listed among the ingredients.