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7 exclusions your wellness products must have

harmful chemicals in personal products

How often do you use wellness products? A simple count in the mind would be enough to gather an idea of how indispensable a part of our live have wellness products become. Therefore, it is all the more necessary to learn about their composition. One important term in that regard is ‘excipients’. Excipients are the components that are added to the drug to facilitate effectiveness of a drug. The purpose of adding them to the drug is basically long term stabilization, thereby facilitating drug absorption and enhancing solubility.

Not all excipients are good for consumption. The cosmetic industry and the personal wellness industry are 2 industries that massively use excipients in their products that hamper health and wellness. We bring a list of excipients that your wellness products better be free of:

PARABENS

Parabens are a type of preservative and used to prolong shelf life in many health and beauty products. In 2004, a British study found traces of five parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of 20 women studied, suggesting their might be some links to cancer. A scientific study reported that parabens have been found for the first time in the bodies of marine mammals. Researchers believe that it is likely these parabens come from products we use that are released into the environment. Read more about Parabens here.

PEGs

PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of known carcinogens. The industry panel that reviews the safety of cosmetics ingredients concluded that some PEG compounds are not safe for use on damaged skin. Read more about PEGs here.

MINERAL OILS

Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless oil that’s made from petroleum and helps reduce water loss from the skin. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that this unpurified form contains contaminants that have been linked in studies to an increased risk of cancer. Mineral oil is considered “comedogenic,” which means it can clog your pores and increase the risk of acne and blackheads. Read more about Mineral Oils here.

EDTA

Disodium EDTA is in many products as a preservative, to stabilize it, or to enhance the foaming action. Tetrasodium EDTA is made from known carcinogens according to the National Cancer Institute. Even though, it has been scientifically not proven that EDTA itself is carcinogenic, it is better to be on the safe side of this ingredient. A study conducted in 2003 concluded that EDTA behaves as a persistent substance in the environment and that its contribution to heavy metals bioavailability and remobilization processes in the environment is a major concern. Read more about EDTA here.

SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES

Fragrances in perfumes and cosmetic products may cause irritant reactions. According to the European Cosmetic Directive, a set of 26 fragrance allergens with a well-recognized potential to cause allergy have been identified.

PPGs

Propylene glycol is a synthetic organic alcohol that attracts/absorbs water. Prolonged skin exposure has caused irritation, possibly due to its dehydrating effect on the skin, despite being used in skin care products that advertise to do the opposite. PPG can also cause an allergic response on contact with the skin particularly in people that suffer with eczema, fungal infections and in people with lower sun exposure and vitamin D stores. Read more about PPGs here.

PARAFFIN

Paraffin and Microcrystalline Wax are derived from petroleum. After someone uses a cream with paraffin, the soft, silky sensation on the skin is that of mineral oil on the surface, and not of the actual skin texture. Some eczema sufferers seem to experience an exacerbation of symptoms when using creams with paraffins.

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Paraffins are wax-coffins for your skin

Parrafin wax, chemicals in cosmetic

Paraffin and Microcrystalline Wax are derived from petroleum. Emulsifying Wax, Synthetic Wax and Synthetic Beeswax are manufactured waxes. In cosmetics and personal care products, these waxes are used in many types of products including lipsticks, baby products, eye and facial makeup, as well as nail care, skin care, suntan, sunscreen, fragrance, and noncoloring hair preparations.

Why is it harmful?

One of the criticisms of paraffin is that it doesn’t actually moisturize the skin. It’s certainly important to reinforce the skin’s natural moisture barrier, but many skin care experts suggest that the feeling of moisture isn’t real. After someone uses a cream with paraffin, the soft, silky sensation on the skin is that of mineral oil on the surface, and not of the actual skin texture. Some eczema sufferers seem to experience an exacerbation of symptoms when using creams with paraffins.

Part of “7 exclusions your wellness products must have“.

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PPG – harbinger to irritations & allergies

allergies, irritation, dry skin

Propylene Glycol, also known as 1,2-propanediol, is a synthetic (i.e., man-made) organic alcohol that attracts/absorbs water. Due to this property, propylene glycol is broadly used by food, drug, and cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers.

Why are they harmful for you?

Prolonged skin exposure has caused irritation, possibly due to its dehydrating effect on the skin, despite being used in skin care products that advertise to do the opposite. PPG can also cause an allergic response on contact with the skin (allergic contact dermatitis), particularly in people that suffer with eczema, fungal infections and in people with lower sun exposure and vitamin D stores.

Part of “7 exclusions your wellness products must have“.

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EDTA a chemical curse to you & environment

EDTA in cosmetics curse to you

EDTA is in many products as a preservative, to stabilize it, or to enhance the foaming action. It’s also used as a chelating agent, which means it us used to precipitate out metals from the formulation (if tap water were used to make the formulation instead purified water, for example, and it can bind with metals dissolved in your shower water).

Why is it harmful for you?

Tetrasodium ETDA is made from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde—a known carcinogen according to the National Cancer Institute—and sodium cyanide (which is made from the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide). Even though, it has been scientifically not proven that EDTA itself is carcinogenic, it is better to be on the safe side of this ingredient.

EDTA is also a penetration enhancer. That means it breaks down the skin’s protective barrier, making it easier for other potentially harmful ingredients in the formula to sink deeper into your tissues.

Why is it harmful for the environment?

A study conducted in 2003 brings EDTA use under scrutiny. The compound has one of the highest concentrations in inland European waters. In natural environments studies detect poor biodegradability. It is concluded that EDTA behaves as a persistent substance in the environment and that its contribution to heavy metals bioavailability and remobilization processes in the environment is a major concern.

Part of “7 exclusions your wellness products must have“.

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Mineral Oils are all but good for your skin

side effects of mineral oil in cosmetics

Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless oil that’s made from petroleum—as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It’s long been used as a common ingredient in lotions, creams, ointments, and cosmetics. It’s lightweight and inexpensive, and helps reduce water loss from the skin.

Why are they harmful for you?

  1. It May be Contaminated with Toxins

The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that this unpurified form contains contaminants that have been linked in studies to an increased risk of cancer. A 2011 report by the National Toxicology Program, for example, stated, “Untreated and mildly treated mineral oils are known to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans.”

Cosmetics, on the other hand, use “cosmetic grade” mineral oil, which is more purified than technical grade. Studies have not linked this oil with cancer, but scientists have expressed concern about it. A 2011 study, for example, reported that contamination could be a relevant source of “mineral oil contamination.” Researchers stated, “There is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting to approximately 1 gram per person. Possible routes of contamination include air inhalation, food intake, and dermal [skin] absorption.”

The went on to remove fat specimens from women who underwent cesarean sections, and also collected milk samples from the women after delivery. They found that both fat and milk samples were contaminated with mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons—and stated that these compounds likely accumulated over time from repeated exposure. “Cosmetics might be a relevant source of the contamination,” they stated.

An earlier 2008 study noted a similar concern about “mineral oil contamination,” and stated that it has “not been proven convincingly” that this contaminant can be tolerated without health concerns. “It has been shown that the molecular mass of the mineral paraffins [another name for mineral oil] resorbed by our body is higher than assumed by the safety evaluation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Further, probably a majority of the mineral oil products are not ‘white paraffin oils’: they easily contain 30% aromatic component, a substantial proportion being alkylated adding to the health risk.”

In lay terms, that means that these scientists are concerned that much of the mineral oil we are exposed to on a daily basis does contain contaminants that could affect our health.

  1. It Clogs Pores

Mineral oil is considered “comedogenic,” which means it can clog your pores and increase the risk of acne and blackheads. The more refined, the less comedogenic, but there’s no way to know how purified the mineral oil is that’s in the product.

Even high grade of mineral oil can trap ingredients in your pores, however, because the oil is an “occlusive agent”—which means that it forms a physical barrier over your skin to reduce moisture loss. So if you already have bacteria on your skin (most likely), or if you have other ingredients in your product that can clog pores, even the most refined mineral oil will keep all of that close and tight to your skin, increasing risk of breakouts.

  1. It Doesn’t Give Your Skin Anything Beneficial

It’s not infusing it with nutrients. It’s not providing hydration that actually goes into the skin where it counts. It’s just sitting there on the top of the skin preventing moisture loss.

That may have been okay fifty years ago, but today we have so many better alternatives! We have natural plant extracts, nut butters, natural oils, and more that provide so many benefits, including essential fatty acids that plump up skin, antioxidants to fight free radical damage, and nutrients to help maintain skin firmness. Why settle for a film made from petroleum when you can do so much more for your skin?

Part of “7 exclusions your wellness products must have“.

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PEGs (Polyethylene Glycols) – Friends or Foes

PEG in Cosmetics

PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases. They are also used in pharmaceuticals as laxatives.

Why are they harmful for you?

Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system. While 1,4-dioxane can be removed from cosmetics during the manufacturing process by vacuum stripping, but there is no easy way for consumers to know whether products containing PEGs have undergone this process. In a study of personal care products marketed as “natural” or “organic” (uncertified), U.S. researchers found 1,4-dioxane as a contaminant in 46 of 100 products analyzed.

While carcinogenic contaminants are the primary concern, PEG compounds themselves show some evidence of genotoxicity and if used on broken skin can cause irritation and systemic toxicity. The industry panel that reviews the safety of cosmetics ingredients concluded that some PEG compounds are not safe for use on damaged skin (although the assessment generally approved of the use of these chemicals in cosmetics). Also, PEG functions as a “penetration enhancer,” increasing the permeability of the skin to allow greater absorption of the product — including harmful ingredients.

Why are they harmful for the environment?

California Environmental Protection Agency has classified Ethylene oxide as a developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development. 1,4-dioxane is also persistent. In other words, it doesn’t easily degrade and can remain in the environment long after it is rinsed down the shower drain.

Part of “7 exclusions your wellness products must have“.