A chemical free moisturiser and a no chemical body cream is the ultimate in nourishing and hydrating the skin.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that a Moisturiser or a Body Lotion is generally used to smooth, soften and hydrate the skin.
Our first impressions of a cream when we apply it, is usually the most powerful!
We expect the product should absorb without leaving a sticky, greasy residue while leaving a pleasant fragrance.
Which came first? … The chicken or the egg?! … Cosmetic manufactures certainly are aware of this expectation, do they produce their moisturiser range to fit with those qualities.
OR … was it consumer values that dictated this criteria to the manufactures?
Whatever the answer – it is fair to say that a cream or lotion will be quickly rejected if these basic rules are not observed. Many cosmetic ingredients will draw natural moisture from deeper layers in the skin to hold on the top most layers if there is also a barrier such as a mineral oil to prevent evaporation. This gives the skin a temporary soft, smooth feel and often a ‘firming’ feel because the cells are plumped
As competition for the consumer dollar is fierce, many products will be formulated with the bottom line – the final cost of production – as the ONLY consideration when the ingredients are chosen to produce the next…
‘Age defying, wrinkle removing’ … wonder product is launched onto the market.
Some in the cosmetic industry would have you believe that your skin can be improved with the application of their creams containing collagen, for instance. But the molecular size of the synthesised collagen cannot penetrate the epidermis.(outer layer of the skin)
Denatured alcohol and glycerine can dry the skin with repeated use.
Reported in the ‘Guardian’ … cosmetic companies request Laboratories to design a test that will allow them to make particular claims and with no regulatory bodies controlling the scientific studies conducted within the lab. Cosmetic companies regularly trade mark their ‘secret’ ingredients to avoid peer review or criticism. This also means the consumer is unable to find information on what they are using!
AHAs have had their day in the sun, too (sorry for the pun!) Alpha Hydroxy Acids … the natural ones are glycolic acids from sugar cane, Lactic acid from soured milk (Cleopatra reputably bathed in it) and malic acid from grapes and apples. It has been suggested that AHAs may cause the skin to age more rapidly and elevate the risk of skin cancer, due to their ability to remove the outer layer of skin which can elevate sensitivity to sunlight, thereby increasing photo-ageing. In one study the AHA glycolic acid elevated the sensitivity of human skin to sunburn by as much as 50 per cent in some individuals
‘NICNAS: Priority Existing Chemical Assessment Report,’ Australian Government, Department of Health and Aging, National Indus
Research carried out on guinea pigs found that the AHA glycolic acid caused skin damage, with higher doses altering the structure of the skin and destroying some parts of the epidermal layer, as well as increasing UVB-induced skin damage, to a far greater degree than either glycolic acid or UVB in isolation.
Park, K.S. et al, Effect of Glycolic Acid on UVB-Induced Skin Damage and Inflammation in Guinea Pigs, Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, July-August, 2002: 15 (4): 236-245.
Trial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), Marrickville, NSW, 2000 (12): 128;
Commercial glycolic acid is a by-product in the manufacturing of ethylene glycol, through the reaction of formaldehyde (a carcinogen) and carbon monoxide (a poison)!
Retinyl Palminate vitamin A derivative, shown to improve tiny wrinkles – it decomposes under UVA into chemicals shown to cause mutations in mouse lymphoma cells. Is photo toxic- will cause skin ageing, educed DNA damage. Restricted in Canada.
Vitamin C topically applied Vit.C improves sun damage and enhances production of collagen and elastin – commercially available products contain low concentrations that are not easily absorbed into the skin and are unstable when exposed to oxygen – oxidization may actually promote production of free radicals
What are pentapeptides? (Peptides)
In simple terms they are five amino acids linked in a chain. The overall term for linked amino acid chains is peptides. If there are two amino acids they are called dipeptides, if it is three – tripeptide …and so on.
Peptides have numerous useful functions within the body but most studies on the skin benefits of peptides have been conducted in cell cultures not on human beings and a study conducted by Proctor & Gamble on human test subjects does little to support any anti-ageing claims. According to the ASA the majority of test subjects in the paper published by P&G in the peer reviewed International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2005), reported no effect.
Peptides cannot usually penetrate the skin and maintain stability due to their hydrophilic (water-loving) nature. In addition, when they are able to penetrate the skin enzymes can break them down, dramatically inhibiting their effects.
Disodium EDTA irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Penetration enhancer (allows deeper penetration of other chemicals) Animal studies show: seizers, gastrointestinal problems, liver, kidney and endocrine system effects and reproduction abnormalities. It is a weak mutagen in microbial systems. In a number of studies on mammalian cells in vitro, inhibits DNA synthesis. Some moisturisers may contain penetration enhancers to help deliver the ‘active’ ingredients deeper into the skin. This can have a knock on effect as compounds like Disodium EDTA can also drive toxins deeper!
One of the most popular ingredients used in a moisturiser or body lotion is mineral oil . It could also be listed as Petrolatum. As the name implies, these ingredients are a petroleum by-product. It interferes with the elimination of toxins from the skin as it covers like plastic wrap. Because of this, mineral oil can promote skin disorders such as acne. It has also been associated with premature ageing … great stuff to have in a moisturiser!
Regrettably this ingredient is in the majority of skin creams … it makes up 100% of baby oil! Any product that contains mineral oil is likely to be contaminated during the manufacturing process with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) known to cause cancer. This was highlighted in the ‘Contaminants’ email.
PEGs (polyethylene glycol) alter the natural moisture content of the skin and leave it vulnerable to bacteria. Although common in lotions and moisturisers, PEGs have been connected with liver and kidney damage in scientific studies.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL breaks down protein in the skin layers and has been connected with common skin rashes and skin damage.
Both these chemicals are listed on the FDA web site as known carcinogens!
Synthetic fatty acids and waxes can dry the skin with repeated use. The more you use, the more you seem to need! Various alcohols are used as emulsifiers and they, too, can be drying.
DIMETHICONE is a silicone originally used in the paper making industry, but cosmetic manufactures found it to be a nice cheap additive for moisturisers and hair conditioners. It is a plastic and coats the skin, trapping undesirable ingredients and sweat next to the skin longer.
FRAGRANCES take up a lot of space in the regular moisturiser … sometimes up to a third of the entire product! Fragrances are known to be skin irritants and sensitisers.
Again, I will mention paraben preservatives, as they will inevitably be a large part of the ingredients list. You may remember the notes on parabens from the first email. There can be up to 4 or 5 preservatives in a single moisturiser. They are also hormone disrupters. Beware of methyl, butyl, propyl and ethyl such as methylparaben and isobutylparaben.
It may appear a to be a little tedious that I have been stressing the ‘cancer’ causing ingredients … but when you begin to count up the number of chemicals we expose our bodies to every day, day after day, you can see why I am concerned. These chemicals also end up in our water ways and most are also toxic to aquatic life. We just might be eating those same fish that have a toxic burden!
CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE Is occlusive – acts like plastic wrap, prevents skin from breathing or eliminating toxins. This ingredient has never been tested for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel. Although expected to be low hazard, data gaps suspect it to be an environmental toxin.
GLYCERIN although not toxic, can actually cause skin dehydration! Draws moisture from the atmosphere to the skin in humidity over 65%. In humidity below that, glycerin actually draws moisture from the deeper layers of the skin – causing dehydration. In concentrated solutions it can be irritating to the mucous membranes. You will find this ingredient listed second or third on the ingredients label list of most moisturisers.
I hope this has shed some light on the huge array of moisturisers and body creams so you have the knowledge to choose what is right for you…
If you would like to use a moisturiser that in Certified Organic to food standards, here is the link.
Ditto a beautiful Body Cream that will hydrate and actually feed the skin.