We always look for facts, let them be logical or scientific. Then why not get to know about the ingredients in our skincare? Don't just believe, get to know about the facts! Here we have managed to debunk myths about 5 ingredients that are often used in most skincare products and are usually not considered safe. Let's find out the truth!
Chemicals That Are Not Bad For Your Skin
1. Parabens in Skincare
Myths and facts about Parabens:-
In general, parabens are the preservatives used in cosmetic preparation to increase the shelf life of a product and protect it from breaking.
From the chemical point of view, parabens are derivatives of benzoic acid. These are most often synthetic substances created in the laboratory. They are colorless, odorless, and flavorless. Parabens vary in terms of water solubility and microbiological activity. Some of them appear in nature, like methylparaben and propylparaben.
If you ask, is it possible to avoid preservatives in cosmetics? The answer will be unfortunately not!
As you already know that creams are the combination of oils and water together and they are not miscible with each other, they need an ingredient to form a bridge between them and make them miscible. This is done by emulsifiers whereas protection of that bridge is supported by preservatives.
Why are parabens widely used?
Parabens have strong preserving properties and they don't interfere with other ingredients in the formulation. They tend to keep the product in its natural form without changing any of its properties. Not only this they also have excellent antimicrobial activity against fungi and microbes that spoil the product.
Parabens are often portrayed to be bad, this can be because of the increasing demand for the use of natural ingredients in cosmetics. But people forget that not all the parabens are synthetic, some are derived naturally, and methyl-, ethyl- and propylparaben exist in nature. They are found in various plants and animal species such as strawberries, barley, yellow beetles, etc.
Studies have shown that parabens act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with the body’s hormones. Parabens have also been shown to have estrogenic effects - they mimic the activity of the naturally occurring hormone - estrogen. This increases the risk of breast cancer in women. According to some studies, parabens are found in the tissues of women having cancer.
Facts :- Are all Parabens harmful?
Parabens have been used in the cosmetic industry for 100+ years, as preservatives. The natural derivatives of the same such as methyl, ethyl, and propyl parabens are used in creams, lotions, deodorants, makeup products, etc. These parabens are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the US FDA. The GRAS designation means the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use.
In the year 1984 CIR declared parabens as a safe ingredient even if used in high doses. Although parabens are used in the minimal quantity that is 0.1-0.5, 25% of usage is declared safe by CIR
In December 2011 the council reopened the inquiry about parabens, SCCS concluded that parabens are safe to use under limited concentration.
In March 2012, there were in addition to the safety data for parabens, the safety dosage value was reduced. The panel voted to reaffirm its earlier conclusions that parabens are safe for use as cosmetic ingredients.
If you would like to know more about the usage of parabens in cosmetics, you can read our article: Good vs Bad parabens In Your Skincare Products!
2. BHA in Skincare
Myths and facts about BHA :-
Butylene HydroxyAnisole (BHA) is a manmade preservative and antioxidant used in personal care products. They are majorly used in lipstick, hair care, moisturizing preparation, and also to preserve food.
Is BHA safe?
Well, various studies prove BHA to be carcinogenic, which means it can be the reason for a malignant tumor in humans. Some studies have also found that BHA acts as an endocrine disruptor and a collaborator to the underdevelopment of the reproductive system.
The ingredient is also the key concern for liver damage, frequent headaches, rashes, etc.
How can you get exposed to such danger?
Since BHA is widely used as an antioxidant in skincare products, it can get into your body through several routes. Such as skin absorption when applied in the form of cream, inhalation if used in spray preparation, and direct ingestion through lipsticks. It can be difficult to say which way of absorption can be more harmful because unlike other chemicals, people tend to respond differently to BHA.
Should it be avoided? :-
Maintaining a safe distance from danger is smart. People tend to feel at peace after avoiding the use of toxins in their skincare products. It makes them feel safer and more reliable with the product. However, research shows that avoiding toxic chemicals in our skincare protection reduces the chances of registering chemicals in your body in a short span.
3. Silicone in Skincare
Myths and facts about silicones:-
Have you ever come across the soft and slippery texture in your creams and gels! This is because silicone is added to such products to enhance the texture of the product and help prime your skin. Silicones are abundantly used in skincare and hair care products but are not accepted by the natural formulation.
Common Myths about silicone :-
- Silicone is occlusive and suffocates your skin.
- Silicone is not sustainable.
- Silicone is toxic.
- Silicone clogs pores and causes acne and breakouts.
- Silicone accelerates the skin aging.
- Silicone causes skin dehydration etc.
Let's note the facts :-
Silicone makes a permeable layer on the skin that allows only oxygen and water molecules to pass through them, in fact, the molecules of silicone are too large to get into the skin and clog the pores.
According to the general standard test, silicones are non-comedogenic ingredients, they don't cause any acne or breakouts on the skin, for example, dimethicone is ranked 1 here while cyclo methicone is ranked 0. In that case, silicone is the same as any other ingredient in a formulation may suit or may not suit your skin type, there is no such evidence that claims that silicone causes skin suffocation and breakouts.
Silicones allow the water to penetrate the skin and are responsible to form an occlusive layer for other ingredients, some studies show that certain silicones - like dimethicone, improves skin moisture by preventing the TEWL from the skin.
As silicone takes care of transepidermal water loss in the skin after application, it keeps the skin hydrated and prevents it from sagging. Silicone is not biodegradable but is degradable when they break down into the water, silicic acid, and carbon dioxide. In hair care formulation silicone’s only function is to impart shine to the hair. It doesn't interfere with any other functions.
As mentioned above silicone are likely to act as an ingredient in cosmetic formulation and has its pros and cons.
4. Alcohol in Skincare
Myths & Facts about Alcohol in cosmetics
Alcohol is classified into a bros spectrum, the alcohol for beverages is quite different from the alcohol used in cosmetic preparation. There are several alcohols used in the cosmetic preparation such as ethanol, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, etc. All these alcohols are different from each other, whereas in cosmetic preparation it is denatured and fatty alcohols that are used to emulsify, moisturize or give antibacterial properties to a formulation.
Certainly, there are some misconceptions about alcohol. People tend to confuse drinking alcohol with denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol is a solvent compound that blends ingredients and is not meant for drinking purposes. While fatty alcohols are emulsifying crystals that prevent the oil and water to separate from each other.
People tend to believe in some myths like :-
- Alcohol is a skin irritant.
- It dries out the skin.
- Alcohol causes allergies.
- Alcohol damages the skin.
Well, alcohol does none of the above. Alcohol is highly volatile and evaporates faster than water, hence, it is confused with skin drying. There are conflicting data and results that alcohol promotes skin drying, but according to some studies, alcohol has nothing to do with a transepidermal water loss of the skin after topical application.
On the other hand in some studies, it is found that alcohols are far better for hand hygiene in comparison to hand washes.
In the case of skin irritation, there are no results or studies that show that alcohol is a skin irritant. Alcohol can sometimes cause skin allergies if the skin is already pre irritated it can give a burning sensation, but not harm the skin any further.
Unlike other ingredients alcohol does not stay in the skin for a longer time; it evaporates quickly; it contributes to antimicrobial activity and is claimed as the best disinfectant. Whereas fatty alcohols do not contribute to skin-damaging or drying of the skin; studies quote.
5. Triclosan in Skincare/Cosmetics
Myths and Facts about Triclosan :-
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent used in cosmetic preparation like antiperspirant, deodorant, body wash, as well as some makeup products. Triclosan is regulated by US FDA in products like toothpaste, creams, antibacterial preparation, etc. Triclosan or triclocarban is mostly considered to be harmful to human health.
Is Triclosan safe?
Triclosan and triclocarban have been declared safe for consumer use by expert bodies around the world, including Europe's Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) and the US Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel (CIR). FDA has been reviewing safety and effectiveness data on triclosan in the agency’s OTC antiseptic rulemakings. They are used in very minimal quantity in the formulation.
Myths/Health concerns :-
Well, as triclosan is an antibacterial agent it can be classified into the category of preservatives, or protecting ingredients. It is said to be an endocrine disruptor and can affect hormones. In topical application; prolonged application of triclosan can cause eczema or severe skin irritation.
People with sensitive skin should avoid the use of products that have triclosan in them. It would take many years of regular application of the ingredient to harm our skin. Although some studies suggest that the use of triclosan can be toxic to the environment, hence, use of triclosan is reduced in cosmetic preparation.
In recent years FDA has given new regulations for use of triclosan in cosmetic preparation and has banned its use in toothpaste and antiseptic products.
Whereas the SCCS has issued several regulations for use of triclosan as a safe ingredient in cosmetics. 0.3% to be used in toothpaste, hand and body soaps, shower gels, deodorants, face powders, blemish concealers, and nail cleansers; and up to 0.2% in mouthwashes.
All ingredients have their properties and characteristics, some may act as a blessing while some may act as a curse for our skin. It's all about finding what best suits our skin and avoiding the controversial ingredients in our skincare. We make sure to deliver the best skincare and nail care to you by avoiding paraben, triclosan, and BHA and using safe % for the ingredients that work magic for your skin.