It’s easy to be swept away by the excitement of new beauty releases, but even award-winning cult favourites can’t escape the Beauty Geeks’ Microscope! Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream has been in existence since 1930 (yep, we were surprised too!) and is now used by people all over the world to ‘calm, protect and hydrate skin for up to eight hours’.  It’s a much-loved product with a loyal fanbase, but do the ingredients stand up to our scientific scrutiny? Let’s see!

Don’t be put off by its scarily industrial-sounding name – when it comes down to protection of the skin, this ingredient is a powerhouse! One reason our skin can become dry and irritated is transepidermal water loss (TEWL): sneaky evaporation through our skin’s top layers. Petrolatum is an occlusive moisturiser, which means it reduces TEWL by forming a water-resistant barrier. Petrolatum has been shown to reduce this by a whopping 99%, by forming a layer on top of the skin that traps water beneath it. This is not only a very effective ingredient for maintaining skin’s hydration, but it also has repair properties.

Petrolatum can penetrate down into the stratum corneum (uppermost layers of skin) and is thought to trigger the production of key lipids and fatty acids that make up the skin’s barrier. By upping their production, the barrier function can be improved and water loss can be further reduced – hello hydration! Elizabeth Arden recommends using this product during long-haul flights, where the recycled air can severely sap your skin’s moisture levels. Looking at the science behind petrolatum, we can see why!

It looks like petrolatum can also behave as an emollient: sinking down into crevasses in the skin’s uppermost layers to have a conditioning effect and consequently smooth the overall feel of the skin. This could be why the product is recommended as a post-shaving treatment – super smooth summer-ready legs? Yes please!

Salicylic acid
If you’re a fan of exfoliating chemical peels (or a regular BBTG reader!), you will already be aware of this molecule which we found in the Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant. It is a beta-hydroxy acid, which interfere with the adhesion (connections) between cells. By making the interaction between adjacent cells weaker, it is easier for dead cells to be shed. If you are spot-prone, this can help prevent dead cells accumulating and blocking pores – a good move to stop an angry pimple from erupting! As well as making exfoliation an easier process, there’s some evidence that salicylic acid can also behave as an anti-inflammatory to tone down areas of redness. This isn’t quite as well established as we’d like, but we’re impressed that this molecule could be tackling both the causes of spots and the red appearance of existing blemishes.

Since the weather here in Britain is being typically unpredictable this summer, it’s easy to be caught off guard when the Sun eventually peeks out from behind the clouds. While salicylic acid has been shown to have some protective qualities against UV rays, nothing rivals the mighty broad-range sunscreens with SPF, so don’t shy away from these essential sun protectants!

Although salicylic acid has been linked to causing skin dryness at higher concentrations, when combined with the highly moisturising petrolatum in this product, we don’t think this will prove to be much of an issue. As an added bonus, salicylic acid has been shown to help with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (excessive pigment leading to uneven skin tone). Good news!

Tocopheryl acetate
This molecule is essentially vitamin E in disguise. Tocopherol (vitamin E) is often conjugated with acetic acid, to improve its stability and shelf-life in cosmetics. Vitamin E itself is an excellent anti-oxidant to fighting off free radicals that can cause damage linked to premature ageing. Let’s stave off those wrinkles as long as we can! Topical application of vitamin E has also been shown to improve the skin’s barrier function, to reduce transepidermal water loss and increase the skin’s hydration. It looks like vitamin E and petrolatum together could be the key combination that gives this product its revered protectant qualities!

The Verdict
After examining the science behind Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, we can see how it’s stood the test of time. The original promise was to calm, protect and hydrate skin:

  • Calm: salicylic acid is thought to have anti-inflammatory to soothe redness and irritation. With so many anti-inflammatories out there, we’d have liked to see a little more anti-inflammatory punch than just this ingredient though;
  • Protect: antioxidant vitamin E protects against premature ageing; petrolatum and vitamin E both improve the barrier function of the skin. Salicylic acid also protects against blemishes and can help lighten uneven skin tone;
  • Hydrate: petrolatum tackles transepidermal water loss by acting as an occlusive moisturiser and improving the skin’s barrier. This one is a super moisture saver!

Nylon magazine’s ‘Most Wanted 2014’ is only one of the many awards this product has won, not to mention a number of big blogger fans. One such fan is Ruth Crilly from A Model Recommends, who says it’s ‘A take-everywhere, use-for-everything work-horse’. Looking at the long list of recommended uses on the product website and the satisfying science behind this product, we’re inclined to agree! It’s got a long list of beauty awards to support it too. All we want is a little more anti-inflammation action, then we’ll be happy! If it’s moisture you want, this product is for you!

You can find Elizabeth Arden 8hr Cream HERE 

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