Thursday, 17 February 2011

Knowing Your Organic Skincare No Nos

When I get the chance to blog about all things organic skincare, I like to talk about what we should be doing to look after our skin - whether that be what we should eat, what we should drink (or not!) or how to make sure we carry out a proper daily skincare routine.

But whilst there are plenty of beautiful natural and organic raw materials that can help our skin, there are plenty more that we should avoid. Here's three...
Reading an ingredients list is a tricky business these days. Knowing what’s bad (and why it's bad) can be a minefield for many, but still there are many skincare companies out there that list the legal INCI names - but fail to provide the plain English translation for them.

It’s easy to list both, therefore for me it has always been hard to understand why a skincare company wouldn’t want to make things simple and easily understandable for their customers? It is certainly something I have tried to do when formulating and making my organic skincare range.

There are lots of ingredients that I personally don’t use in my formulas because I wouldn’t want to put them on my own skin, so I wouldn’t expect my customers to either. The list of skincare baddies is a lot longer than three, so I’ll be writing about this more in the future; but these three ingredients are found all too often within some of the most popular products on sale today...

1. Parabens...

These are a group of preservatives that have received pretty bad press over the last few years. They are widely used to protect products from a range of bacteria, moulds, fungi and yeasts but there are several different parabens to look for and they often appear on the list of ingredients as: butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methlyparaben and propylparaben.

Their bad press is due to the fact that British doctors found parabens in breast cancer tumors and in addition to this, Parabens can also mimic estrogen. This is a naturally occurring hormone that has been known to play a role in the development of breast cancer.

Whilst there is still debate and uncertainty about their safety levels, I personally think it’s wiser to avoid Parabens and use an alternative preservative system. After all, there are so many other natural options that keep our organic creams free from fungi, moulds, bacteria and yeasts.

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate...

This is possibly one of the most well known “don’t use me” skin care ingredients around. Many bottles of shampoos, shower gels, body washes, hand washes or washing up detergents are likely to feature it.

Whilst it may have good cleansing properties, the negative aspect of this ingredient is that it is very aggressive and harsh. This means that on greasy dishes, it’s a very effective cleanser but it’s too harsh for our rather more delicate skin – which is why it often causes irritation and why you won’t find it in my natural skincare range.

3. Kathon CG...

Most people probably haven’t heard of this, but if you look on a list of ingredients its INCI name is Methyl chloroisothiazolinone and Methyl isothiazolinone. It is another common preservative that is used to prevent bacteria and fungi growing in products.

Whilst the reason for it being used is perfectly legitimate, but I suspect when you find out what else it’s used in, you won’t want to put it on your skin - Kathon CG is registered as a Class 2 fungicide and is used in anti-freeze for cars and a wood preservative.

So you can safely say it’s a bit strong!

I am reliably informed that many skincare companies use it to levels of 10 – 20% and it is known to be one of the most common causes of allergic reactions and causes of sensitivity in skin care products. Common side effects iclude redness, blisters, rashes, itchiness, swelling & peeling of the skin.

The problem with Kathon CG is that it is known and listed as many different things on ingredients lists – which makes it difficult to identify - the main examples of names are Actizide AC and Euxyl K 100.

So if you are looking for sensitive skin products, don't be fooled by the latin - plain English is always best.

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