|Cosmetic Counter Intelligence*
8 9 INGREDIENTS THAT YOU WON'T FIND IN OUR PRODUCTS
cosmetics, hair and skin care industries use over 7,000 ingredients in
products derived from natural or synthetic sources. As many as
one-in-seven of these have harmful or toxic effects on the skin or body,
ranging from minor skin irritation or contact dermatitis to
carcinogenic implications. While risk factors appear to be greater with
synthetic ingredients, they still exist with certain plant-derived
ingredients. We refuse to use any ingredient where credible evidence
casts doubt over its safety. This offers an ounce of prevention by excluding potentially harmful substances from our products and your usage. The following is our list of eight nine ingredients to avoid and our reasoning. Chances are that at least one is among your non-MGA personal care products.
1. PARABENS (METHYL-, PROPYL-, BUTYL- etc.)
This is a group of synthetic preservatives widely used in foods and
personal care products, even many that claim to be ‘natural’ or
'organic'. Parabens are used because they are antimicrobial killing a
wide range of bacteria and molds that may infect products. Recent
by Darbre et al links for the first time parabens and their estrogenic
properties with human breast cancer tumors. Parabens can also be
allergenic and toxic and have also been linked to asthma and eczema.
You can read the Darbre et al full report or a layman's version.
2. SODIUM LAURYL or LAURETH SULFATE (SLS or SLES)
Sodium lauryl sulfate is an inexpensive and potent detergent commonly
found in foaming rinse-off products such as facial cleanser, shampoo,
shower gel, soft soap, shave cream, dish soap and toothpaste. Its strong
degreasing action can irritate and dry the skin, hair and scalp. Sodium
laureth sulfate is somewhat milder than Sodium lauryl sulfate yet
either used in shampoo can lead to episodes of dandruff or a dry flaky
scalp. Used on the skin, they may cause cracking of the epidermis and
severe inflammation of the underlying layer. Any product containing SLS
or SLES must be thoroughly rinsed off and discontinued if rash or
irritation symptoms occur.
3. PETROLATUM (Petroleum Jelly)
This is a heavy oil extracted from petroleum. It is comedogenic, meaning
it does not absorb well into the skin, and thus can be pore clogging.
This may trigger dermatitis, pimples or even acne. Furthermore
petrolatum smothers skin so that it cannot breathe naturally and may
cause discoloration of the skin. Frequently used in lip balms for
extended durations, petrolatum provides quick moisturization effect
while it gradually thins the skin of the lips, which eventually causes
chapping and a "lip balm
4. PROPYLENE GLYCOL
An inexpensive substance derived from petroleum, propylene glycol is
used as a humectant (moisture retainer), surfactant (spreading agent)
and solvent (dissolving agent). In the motor vehicle industry it is used
in antifreeze and hydraulic brake fluid! Studies have shown it can
penetrate the outermost skin and carry other ingredients into the deeper
layers of the epidermis where it often causes allergic and toxic
5. DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) or TRIETHANOLAMINE (TEA)
These are synthetic compounds, made from ammonia and ethylene oxide,
that are used in many skin lotions, eye gels, moisturizing creams,
shaving foams, shampoos and dermatological soaps as emulsifiers or
DEA and TEA may contain nitrosamines that are potential carcinogens and
can also cause severe facial and contact dermatitis.
6. IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DIAZOLIDINYL UREA
These are commonly used antibacterial preservatives with poor
anti-fungal action so are often combined with parabens for
broad-spectrum activity. Both compounds can potentially cause skin
sensitization and allergic reaction, especially in those sensitive to
formaldehyde because under certain circumstances they can release this
colorless and poisonous gas.
7. GSE aka GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT
Some makers of natural products claim that GSE is a natural preservative
and use it in their products. However studies have identified the
presence of synthetic antimicrobial agents - including methyl paraben -
in commercial grapefruit seed extract.
See the FDA report on GSE.
This FDA study found that when pure GSE (ie product free of
contaminants) was laboratory tested against commercially available GSE
as a preservative for personal care products, pure GSE had little or no
natural antimicrobial attributes of its own.
This impartial study documented that commercial GSE preparations contain
the synthetic compound benzethonium chloride in significant quantity to
act as an antimicrobial agent. And contrary to the manufacturer's
claim, this compound is not naturally occurring and it could not have
been synthesized from pure GSE itself. Furthermore benzethonium chloride
is a suspected carcinogen and is restricted in cosmetic use in Canada
Manufacturer's claims about GSE sound too good to be true. This is why MGA has banned the use of GSE in our products since 2007.
8. SILICONE and 'CONES
Do not confuse silicone with silica or silicon. Silicone is a synthetic
compound (commonly polydimethylsiloxane) and silicon is sand (commonly
silicon dioxide). Variations of silicone include dimethicone,
cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and others, of which have
environmental and human persistence and known bioaccumulation problems.
Silicones are commonly used in commercial hair care products to coat
hair for extreme shine, and in skin care products to coat the skin and
make it feel velvety smooth. We aren't particularly fond of hair that
looks like it's plastic. Instead we use active botanical ingredients
such as organic shea butter, jojoba oil, olive oil, macadamia oil and
rosehip seed oil that actually condition and repair hair and that are
beneficial to the health of our skin.
9. ETHOXYLATED INGREDIENTS: ie PEG-, -ETH COMPOUNDS
Ethoxylated compounds have been processed with ethylene oxide which is a
known human carcinogen, neurotoxin and potent skin irritant. The names
of these compounds begin with PEG- or end with -eth or it may be in the
middle like sodium laureth sulfate and polyethylene. In all cases, traces of ethylene oxide can remain in a product along with byproducts such as 1,4 dioxane.
9a. VEGETABLE EMULSIFYING WAX or EMULSIFYING WAX NF
This is a real sleeper because vegetables are good, right? Something is
needed to make a cosmetic emulsion into a stable cream and this is the
easiest way to do it. This seemingly innocuous emulsifying wax is
primarily a combination of an oil, a PEG- and a polysorbate.
PEG-anything is toxic (see #9 above) and polysorbate is a nice name for a
polyoxyethylene ester. Despite the name, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax is not a benign or a natural ingredient.