My left hand was recently scalded and though luckily the worst of it didn’t cover the whole hand quite a large and noticeable area was affected so I was looking for a product that would help. To show how this item fits into the wider perspective I’ll quickly outline my actions to treat the burn thus far and the reasons why I ended up with this particular oil.
Immediately after the burn I held my hand under the cold tap for approx 15min, then held half a potato over it until the pain went, held an aloe vera soaked gauze over it for a while and then packed grated potato over it with bandage, replenished every 3 hours for 9 hours.
Got my strength and mobility back in that hand, no pain and the skin looked good and smooth in general but after a while the most affected area showed itself and was very Red with an obvious outline/perimeter. Over the next few days I applied aloe vera and lemon juice to it (no more bandages whilst indoors), I was satisfied the residual inside heat had passed but didn’t have access to an oil I wanted I use yet.
Approx 1 week later
Time for a change, the aloe vera and lemon were great but since they were both juice (would have preferred raw aloe vera gel) they were drying, which isn’t a bad thing but it was a toss up between wanting to let the affected skin dry and fall off but also needing the rest to be well nourished and heal as much as possible. The skin was a lot darker, itchy over 2-3 days, still Red in places but more Brown and very distinct from the rest of my hand. I was leaning towards a Dr Organic’s lotion (preferably the Vitamin E, Aloe, Coconut or Tea Tree) but ended up with the Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex instead.
Approx 1 week after that
Prickly Pear Seed oil on affected area and the above oil around it.
A very similar incident happened when I was a child, my Mother immediately plunged my hand in a bowl of cold water for what felt like ages (which is something to be careful of since it doesn’t always soothe and you mustn’t add to the stress on the skin by potentially ‘freeze burning’ it), someone else suggested putting butter on it (never put butter or oil on just after the burn unless you’re sacrificing a body part for a cannibal who likes fried meat). Thankfully Mum didn’t listen, she used Sudafed and later we went to a doctor and got something prescribed. That all led to weeks of heavy bandage, skin that looked like bacon, lots of uncomfortable itching, stinging, then all the peeling and general ‘grossness’. Being a lot older now I don’t have the masses of regenerative ability I used to and my skin is prone to scarring, the above actions are not a recommendation just a run through of my actions for myself and if I had more of a choice there are other products I’d use but as it is this review focuses on the second week when using Dr Organic’s Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex.
Advice from staff at Holland & Barrett, compromises and being budget friendly
I had intended to get a lotion because oils are generally expensive though I wasn’t too keen on the lotions because Dr Organic include a lot of formulation ingredients (e.g. preservatives) but they do use aloe vera as the base and in comparison to other organic, cruelty free and mainly natural products readily available on the highstreet you get more for your money with 200ml at approx £7 (more or less depending on the particular lotion).
That said I was in two minds about lavender oil and tea tree oil, both are supposed to be very good for burns and I usually like to mix them as I find the latter makes the former more moisturizing and the lavender compliments the tea tree but again, essential oils are very costly and you’ll be lucky to find big sizes in ready made blended oils on the highstreet. Bigger bottles of both refined blended oils and higher quality and higher concentration blended oils are available online but then you’re balancing delivery time and higher prices. I mulled over a tea tree tincture but decided against it and then against tea tree altogether as it encourages scar tissue to form, not a bad thing in terms of quick healing but not what I wanted.
It came down to a couple of the Dr Organic aloe vera gels and the lotions so at that point I asked for advice. In my experience most H&B staff are well informed about their products, a bit like Lush staff but less effervescent, and in their favour also open to possible as well as specified uses for products and not reticent in recommending other stores if they don’t have something suitable. The H&B lady thought a Vitamin E product would be best since Vitamin E focuses on regeneration, it had been my first choice for the lotion but we agreed the oil would be better since this case wasn’t just for normal skin; overall it’s more pricey but for an oil, organic oil at that and considering that a little goes a long way it was probably the best option. There was also the Dr Organic Vitamin E Scar & Stretch Mark Serum available but she thought that was better for once scarring had occurred and older scars in general, from my point of view that one’s not vegan so I couldn’t use it anyway.
This currently costs £8.99 at 50ml (though they have great sales & a rewards card).
The proof is in the pudding
The ingredient list is very simple; sunflower seed oil, rosehip oil, tocopherol (compounds associated with Vitamin E, source unknown here), jojoba seed oil, calendula flower extract, Damascena rose oil, citronellol and geraniol. To me that suggests rosehip and rose oils diluted into sunflower and jojoba seed oils as otherwise the price would be much higher, their scent is also very faint instead of heady which fits that theory. All of the oils are well known for their extra smoothing and softening effects with the rosehip and rose having a focus on anti-aging and the calendula a refreshing/revitalising component.
I find this oil very easy to use in that it feels light, isn’t sticky and spreads well only needing upto 3 drops per application to fit that part of my hand. When I first used it on the burn I felt a slight ‘stinging’ sensation but only that time, with regular use I found the affected area quickly and visibly retracted, the Redness decreased and the Brown increased particularly around the perimeter. The top layer(s) of skin became more noticeable in readiness to and indeed started to peel off but instead of being crispy and flaking it came off neatly and without pain when reaching the surrounding skin. Interestingly enough the skin underneath didn’t look as ‘ready’ to be revealed as I would have expected with even a couple of White bits (something I’m not used to lol) but they’re slowly getting darker, other parts were Pink but that wasn’t an issue. The perimeter was and is darker than my regular skin so a bit of a concern but since Vitamin E is associated with treatment for uneven skin tone I’m hoping it’ll all reach a good balance.
I have to reiterate that I would have preferred a stronger oil and this is very mild with sunflower and jojoba being gentle bases for more intense oils so after a week’s use I wasn’t too happy with the outcome. I hadn’t expected miracles, it had initially proved helpful by dealing with the top layer(s) but the underneath wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped. Being a pessimist-realist I worried that it’d end up scarred and it was showing signs of that overly smooth/non lined and shiny texture/look of scarred skin but I was given a stronger oil that I then switched to for the affected area. I’m still using the Vitamin E blend around the skin though as I find it a good maintainer for normal skin.
Stretch marks, scars and more, oh my
The packaging states that this is helpful for dry skin, uneven skin, scars, lines/wrinkles and stretch marks. Having been an active youth subject to a lot of incident and injury from freewheeling ok falling/tumbling down slopes landing underneath my bicycle, jumping off swings at high arc, street hockey to more mundane indoor things like apparently falling off a chair as a child and breaking an arm (too young to remember it seems) I’ve alot of scars. I tested this on a range of them; some old (over a decade) stretch marks on my arm (thank you push-ups, not), a bite mark on my hand that’s relatively recent and a breakout on my face (I rarely eat refined White sugar but did recently for filler and immediately suffered for it with inflammation and spots) and the results varied. I found this worked best on my face with the spots automatically feeling slightly itchy and being visibly reduced overnight, whereas on the older scars there wasn’t any difference. I hadn’t really expected any either since scars are notorious that way and this is a light oil. I find the best ones are the really thick oils and butters like olive, cocoa, shea and coconut – they don’t really reduce old scars as much as disguise them like a soft lens in a romantic film when a lead character comes on screen. They soften the skin enough to make the appearance of scars less ‘harsh’ and jagged, that smoothing also makes the skin look and feel younger which in my experience adds a little glow (more noticeable on darker skin) though if you stop using them the scars become more noticeable again.
In regards to dry skin perhaps the cold weather is hindering it because it’s softening but not really making the skin ‘fill out’ which in itself would combat lines/wrinkles too. It doesn’t tone or tauten – though it doesn’t claim to – but just in case you were hoping for that this is not one of those (fruit oils are better for that). Again, I can imagine this working better in warmer weather.
What is Vitamin E?
I generally know the term ‘Vitamin E’ to apply to a group of health promoting compounds from various plants/foods rather than a single vitamin. A fat soluble nutrient and an antioxidant, which infers to me that it’s a healthy fat (obviously if consumed consciously as part of a lifestyle/diet read up on the possible effects of large quantities and remember that fats are used for many functions in the body not just affecting weight) which is easily broken down and helps prevent oxidization in the body which can lead to degenerative effects such as the ever dreaded aging but also health maladies. It’s linked to a healthy immune system, skin, hair and eyes but the benefits and risks are different depending on topical use or ingesting with the latter needing more careful consideration and recommended amounts for internal use are much lower than the ‘Tocopherol Enriched (10,000iu)’ of this product.
As a now common term in the skin care industry Dr Organic describes it ‘as a moisturiser it helps combat premature skin aging and also protects and soothes dry dehydrated and sun exposed skin. It also restores elasticity and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections by increasing hydration.’
The packaging – Mainly a Disadvantage
This is the one point where the brand falls down on the whole imo. There’s generally too much of it or its awkward. In this case the oil itself comes in a dark Brown glass bottle with inbuilt dropper pipette which is handy and hasn’t clogged in use but the box is twice as big as it needs to be (as you can see from the photo), has an two lids and is literally half empty. I’m guessing they thought they could print the info they wanted on it instead of adding a leaflet inside but its unbalanced and almost makes you think there’s something missing.
About the brand
Dr Organic or ‘dr.organic’ is a cosmetic brand primarily available at Holland & Barrett. The ‘Dr’ is a British brand, are enrolled in a number of organic standard certifications and have a plethora of awards.
They describe themselves as providers or ‘bioactive skincare’; bioactive basically means a substance that can be used to affect or promote a response from a living organism, and/or can extracted from a living organism. To me it sounds like a very general slogan which can be applied to any number of cosmetics and non-cosmetics alike however from what I’ve seen of the brand it seems to imply that they are interested in conveying the beneficial properties of the items used without clashing or heightening/playing down some characteristics over others. It’s a lot to ask/a big claim and of course different people have different experiences, their products seem quite mild in general but there are some ingredients I’m not keen on.
Quoted from http://www.drorganic.co.uk/about.asp
Natural ingredients are used in all formulations.
No harsh chemicals
No animal ingredients
All our products are suitable for vegetarians. In some products we used by-products from animals, most of which revolve around honey, these include; honey, royal jelly, propolis and bees wax.
No animal testing
No mineral oils
No GM ingredients
Preservatives (naturally derived)
The ranges available are Aloe Vera, Pomegranate, Tea Tree, Vitamin E, Lavender, Manuka Honey, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Rose Otto, Coconut Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil and Dead Sea Mineral. All of the ranges are vegetarian friendly and most vegan friendly.
Each range has a variety of products available including the usual Lip Balms, Body Butters, Hand & Nail Creams, Face Masks, Face Scrubs, Soaps, Body Scrubs, Body Washes, Face Washes, Shampoos, and Conditioners etc. Some more interesting items are toothpastes, deodorants and items focusing on the foot care.
All in all
Some of the glossiest (and feathery-iest) people I know eat tons of sunflower seeds so even though it sounds like a common oil and not particularly impressive, this unrefined version contains a lot of Vitamin E and thankfully in this blend doesn’t have that heavy, greasy feel or smell usually associated with it. Jojoba is also not the best for smell but is also subdued in that respect here. It’s lightweight and whilst not a quick absorber it’s not too slow and doesn’t thicken in the cold weather so makes a decent barrier oil that protects, nourishes and encourages skin growth. On the whole it’s value for money.