Parabens, phthalates, sulfates...so much concern about skincare product ingredients. Yes, skincare product manufacturers must produce safe products and be held accountable. But don't let the fear-mongering articles that are so frequently seen in health and beauty magazines make you panic. Remember, sensationalism sells! And keep this in mind:
Formaldehyde is a natural substance. Every living organism produces it, including the human body. It is present in every breath we exhale. Formaldehyde is also present in fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and many beverages including alcoholic beverages and coffee.
Hyaluronic acid is also known as hyaluronan. It is a carbohydrate, or more specifically a mucopolysaccharide found in abundance in almost every cell of the body. It is a very large molecule and can be several thousand sugar molecules long.
Lanolin is an ointment like material isolated from sheep wool. Actually, it is produced by the sebaceous gland of the sheep. Lanolin can be seperated into a liquid oil or a solid wax form. If heated, a mixture of organic lanolin acids and lanolin alcohols can be produced.
These lanolin derivatives are frequently found in skincare products as they impart a smooth soft feel to the skin and act as conditioning agents in hair products. They are lubricants. In addition, lanolin helps the water and oil phases of skincare products to blend. So they also act as emulsifiers.
The hottest trend in skincare today, stem cells! (By the way, there aren't really any live stem cells in skincare products because in the presence of preservatives and without appropriate growth medium live cells cannot survive in these emulsions.) Skincare company Research & Development departments are excited to jump on board as "Stem Cell Technology" has become a part of the beauty industry's pop-culture. Claims that stem cell creams can rejuvenate the skin are not hard to find and the marketing benefit of labeling a facial cream with the words "Stem Cell Cream" is astronomical.
What are preservatives? Preservatives are compounds that when added to a skincare product, prevent the growth of microorganisms like bacteria, mold and fungus within that product.
A growing number of consumers are opting for "natural" skincare products. The media loudly and aggressively sends the message the "natural skincare products are good and synthetic products are bad". They imply that standard facial moisturizers and cleansers are filled with poisonous cancer-causing chemicals. As a result, many people understandably opt for "natural" skincare items that seem "better". In truth, the term "natural" found on skincare product labels is simply an example of brilliant marketing.
Like many ingredients touted as beneficial in skincare products, you can add activated charcoal to the list of "newest fads."
Yes, vitamn C is good for you. As an essential vitamin, one that the human body cannot manufacture or store, it must be included in your daily diet, acquired from natural sources, like citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables, or taken as a supplement. Adequate vitamn C is necessary for the formation of connective tissue, for the absorption of iron, and important in wound healing. Too little vitamin C leads to bleeding gums and general muscle weakness. Too much vitamin C results in diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, even kidney stones.
Although they contain the same exact ingredients, generic skincare products are NOT necessarily the same as "brand" products.
According to the FDA's Cosmetic Labeling Guide and the cosmetic labeling regulations themselves (21 CFR parts 701 and 740), all over-the-counter (OTC) skincare products must have a listing of the ingredients contained in that product in descending order of predominance. And although the ingredients themselves are listed, the exact recipe or formulation is not. The information that is not listed includes: