Emollients are used in cosmetic products to form a protective waterproof layer of oil or wax on the skin preventing the evaporation of water from the skin’s surface. Emollients don’t provide additional moisture, they merely prevent it from escaping.
Synthetic emollients are often produced under energy-intensive conditions at high temperatures, which destroys nutrients, antioxidants and essential fatty acids present in the vegetable oil-derived substances used and may leave the ingredients contaminated with petrochemicals or metal catalyst residues. Synthetic emollients can clog pores and cause skin irritation, contact allergies, blocked hair follicles, and rashes. Excessive use of facial moisturisers containing synthetic emollients can worsen acne or cause an unpleasant rash known as perioral dermatitis, which is characterized by small red lumpy spots around the mouth. Synthetic emollients include many vegetable oil and petrochemical derived ingredients such as:
Butylene glycol | Capric/Caprylic triglyceride | Ceteareth-20 | Cetearyl alcohol | Cetyl alcohol | Coconut fatty acids | Silicones (cyclomethicone, dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane ) | Emulsifying wax | Petroleum jelly | Fatty acids | Glyceryl stearate | Hydrogenated oils | Mineral oil | Octyl palmitate | Paraffin | Squalene | Stearic acid | and others…
Natural emollients such as certified organic and cold-pressed almond oil, jojoba oil, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, wheat germ oil, apricot kernel oil, and natural waxes such as unrefined beeswax, shea butter and cocoa butter are a preferable alternative as they do not restrict the skin’s respiration in the same way as synthetic emollients and do not contain residues of toxic metal catalysts or petrochemicals.
The process of cold-pressing involves the fruit, seeds or nuts being ground into a paste at low temperatures. Pressure is used to extract the oil. Cold pressing preserves the phytonutrients in the oils, so they are better for your skin and the planet.
Source: Dawn Mellowship, journalist www.beingcontent.com
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
No one really knows how certain chemicals affect us over time, or how they react in our bodies in combination. Other chemicals have known dangers. Phthalates, for example, which are often found in artificial fragrances, are a class of hormone disruptor which can be linked to birth defects, sperm damage, infertility, and the feminization of baby boys for instance.
Toxic synthetic chemicals are the biggest issue in the beauty industry today, so it pays to hone a keen eye when it comes to examining product labels. For example, it’s counterintuitive, but unfortunately, the words “natural” and “all-natural” are not regulated labeling terms.
A loophole in law doesn’t require companies to declare any of the dozens of toxic chemicals that a single product’s fragrance mixture could contain. Artificial fragrances, which frequently contain phthalates, can also trigger allergic reactions and other health problems. Be mindful of the hidden dangers that “fragrance” or “parfum” listed on ingredients labels can pose, and always choose fragrance-free products.
A known animal carcinogen and probable human carcinogen, according to the EPA. It’s also a byproduct of a petrochemical process known as “ethyoxlation” which involves adding ethylene oxide (a toxin linked to breast cancer) to other chemicals to render them less harsh. More than 56 cosmetics ingredients are associated with 1,4-dioxane, including sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene glycol, and chemicals that end in “xynol, ceteareth, and oleth.”
A chemical plasticizer found in nail polish and mascara that helps prevent cracking. Studies have shown that it causes birth defects and harms male reproductive organs.
MAKE SURE ‘NATURAL’ IS REALLY NATURAL
FOOD GRADE SKINCARE
Did you know that there is a big difference between organic, natural, food-grade ingredients and cosmetic-grade cosmeceuticals?
Organically grown plant oils processed for food consumption are holistic by nature, and their minimal processing allows their substance integrity (literally “the heart of the matter”) to remain intact and vital.
These substances better nourish and absorb in to the skin than cosmetic-grade ingredients because their molecule structure has not been disturbed and hardened through high temperature refining, bleaching, decolourisation, standardisation and other processes.
Natural products remain the best source of drugs and drug leads, and this remains true today despite the fact that many pharmaceutical companies have deemphasised natural product research in favour of HTP screening of combinational libraries during the past two decades. From the 1940’s to date, 131 out of 175 small molecule anti-cancer drugs are natural product-based/inspired, with 85 being either natural products or derived therefrom.
Natural products represent the richest source of novel molecular scaffolds and chemistry. No one can predict in advance, the details of how a small molecule will interact with the myriad of targets that we now know drive fundamental biological processes. The history of natural product discovery is full of remarkable stories of how the products profoundly impacted advances in biology and therapy.
SKIN CARE BY THE NUMBERS
- 4 pounds: Average amount of lipstick a woman will ingest over her lifetime.
- 11% of the 10.500 ingredients used in personal-care products that the U.S government has documented and publicly assessed for safety.
- 1110+: The number of ingredients banned in cosmetics in the European Union.
- 10: The number of ingredients banned in cosmetics in the United States.
- 600: The number of companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
- 20: Percentage of personal-care products that contain at least one chemical-causing impurity 1,4-dioxane.
- $160 billion: Amount spent annually on skin and hair care, makeup, cosmetic surgery, fragrances, health clubs and diet products.
Source: The Economist
Natural products possess enormous structural and chemical diversity
that is unsurpassed by any synthetic libraries
CHEMICALS LINKED TO BREAST CANCER
Every day women are surrounded by harmful chemicals in cosmetic products. Some of these such as “parabens”-one of the most widely used preservatives in conventional personal care products, have been directly linked to breast cancer.