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Skin Care - Cosmetics Unmasked

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Skin Care - Cosmetics Unmasked

Tail of a newt and cockerel's eye - Placenta extract and azo dye - Hubble bubble toil and boil - Pro-vitamins and tea-tree oil - Away fine lines with magic potion.

Each year, billions of dollars are spent on products that promise to keep your skin looking young and healthy. For many people, it has become a normal part of the daily cleansing routine and the idea of using these cosmetics is so ingrained they do not even think about whether they need to or not.

Do these products work? are they really necessary? And what can they do for you? This chapter start by examining the structure of skin, skin types, and color, and why fine lines and wrinkles develop with age.


It goes on to look at skin-care preparations such as moisturizing creams, exfoliating products (the so-called alpha-hydroxy acid skin peelers or AHAs), astringents, hair-removal creams, and methods of removing unwanted body hair. Since this is such a vast subject, there is much more about skin care  in a later chapters, example: Sun and Skin, Salons and Surgeons.

Reference: Cosmetics Unmasked: Dr Stephen  & Gina Antczak

Help, I'm Allergic! - Toxic Beauty

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Help, I'm Allergic! - Toxic Beauty

Skin Problems, Asthma and Allergies

Did You Know
Emollients (also referred to as occlusives) are used in face and body creams to soften the skin and form a protective waterproof layer of oil or wax on the skin, thereby preventing the evaporation of water from the skin's surface. This causes the stratum corneum to swell as it draws moisture from the lower layers of the skin, leading the cells to swell and press against each other, which temporarily reduces the cracks in the skin's surface.

Emollients don't provide additional moisture they merely prevent it from escaping. What is more, synthetic emollients can clog pores and cause skin irritation, contact allergies, blocked hair follicles, inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis) or boils and rashes. If the pores and hair follicles are blocked dirt and bacteria build up, causing blackheads and acne.

Is the concern about chemicals commonly found in beauty products just hype? You've probably been using personal care products for years with no obvious ill effects, so what's all the fuss about? in the following chapters we look a bit more closely at the chemicals we're exposed to and what the evidence is for their harmful effects. I'm starting with the most common health problems, including skin, eye and respiratory irritation, allergic reactions, sensitization and cancer.

While there are statistics charting the number of people who have experienced certain negative effects, there are millions of individuals who will not report their reaction to a cosmetic product. Instead they will either stop using the product and switch to an alternative, or grin and bear the skin, eye and respiratory irritation, or the multitude of symptoms that chemical -infused products can activate or exacerbate. Others will not necessarily realize that it is their use of cosmetics that is triggering these reactions. Those who habe an existing skin condition or asthma may have increased risk of reacting adversely to cosmetic ingredients.

Specific chemicals used in cosmetics are often referred to as being allergens, irritants or sensitizers. It is important to distinguish between the three terms, because they are often in correctly used interchangeably. 

An allergy refers to an exaggerated immune system response when the body comes into contact with a foreign substance (or antigen) that does not usually cause a reaction in most individuals. In allergic individuals specific antibodies  (special blood proteins produced by the body) are activated to attack the antigens, perceiving them as a threat.

In classical allergic reactions (e.g. urticaria), after initial exposure to an antigen there is a sensitization period, during which the body develops an abnormal response and overproduces immunoglobulin E (1gE) antibodies, making the antigen an allergen. The next time the individual is exposed to the allergen, the immune system continues  to overproduce these 1gE antibodies, which then attach to specialized cells in the immune system called mast cells. 

When the allergens attach to the 1gE antibodies, the mast cells try to fight them off by releasing numerous chemicals, including serotonin and histamine, which produces allergic symptoms in the form of a runny nose, itchy skin, wheezing, swelling, anaphylactic shock, and in some cases death.

Did You Know

In 1994 the Us Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a survey into the cosmetic usage of 1, 687 consumers aged 14 and above. Almost 25 per cent of those questioned said they had suffered an allergic reaction as a consequence of using personal care products, including moisturizers, foundations and eyeshadows.

Irritants cause direct inflammatory response at the point of contact. Irritation is different to an allergy because it is not mediated by the acquired immune system response. The concentration of the substance used can dictate the severity of symptoms experienced and the effects subside once the product is no longer used. Irritation caused by exposure to cosmetic ingredients is very common; in fact, according to the British Association of Dermatologists all members of the population will experience an irritant contact reaction at some point in their lives.

Did You Know?
Skin irritation is the most common problem associated with shaving. in addition to the hair being removed, the stratum corneum is stripped away, leaving the skin more permeable to the chemical constituents in applied shaving products and aftershave. Potentially between 40 and 50 per cent denatured alcohol (ethanol mixed with small amounts of foul-tasting chemicals to make the mixture unfit for consumption), which is a penetration enhancer.

Sensitizers are substances that cause hypersensitivity to an antigen on initial contact. With prolonged and ongoing use of the offending substance or related chemicals, this results in an allergic inflammatory reaction. The inflammation may appear anywhere on the skin, as opposed to being confined to the contact site and can persist for days or weeks.

The first few encounters with the substances may cause a milder reaction, which then worsens with subsequent exposures, leading to strong reactions even after brief exposure to low concentrations of the substance. Respiratory sensitizers cause hypersensitivity of the airways after inhalation of the substance.

Reference: Toxic Beauty : Dawn Mellowship

Asthma and Cosmetic Ingredients

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Asthma and Cosmetic Ingredients

Persulfate bleaches used in hair-care products have been linked to asthma in hairdressers. The ingredients are:
Ammonium Persulfate
Potassium Persulfate
Sodium Persulfate

There is mounting evidence that some food additives can be dangerous to asthmatics, eczema sufferers, and people who are sensitive to aspirin.

These people are advised to avoid sulfur dioxide, sulfite, nitrite, benzonate anf hydroxybenzonate preservatives; BHA, BHt and gallate antioxidants; flavour enhancers including glutamates such as monosodium glutamate (MSG); and certain azo and coal tar dyes.

Several of these additives are used as cosmetic ingredients but there is no scientific evidence that they are dangerous to asthmatics or linked to asthma.

But there is also no scientific evidence that they are safe. many of these ingredients have restrictions on their use and several have been linked to adverse effects such as contact allergies and dermatitis. These ingredients are easily identified:

9 sulfites are commonly used in cosmetics as preservatives. They have names ending with "sulfite," "hydrosulfite," "bisulfite", and "metabisulfite."

40 benzoates are used in cosmetics. many of these are preservatives and they all contain the name "benzoate."

23 hydroxybenzoate preservatives are used and these all end with "paraben." Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, and Butlparaben are by far the most common. In fact they are so widely used it is difficult to avoid them.

The three commonly used gallate antioxidants are:
Dodecyl Gallate
Octyl Gallate
Propyl gallate

Finally, BHT and BHA are also commonly used antioxidants.

Reference:Cosmetics Unmasked: Dr Stephen & Gina Antczak

CoronaVirus - How to Wash Your Hands

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Corona Virus - How To wash Your Hands 

What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

The symptoms of Coronavirus are, a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath. However these symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, make sure you check the symptoms.

Important Information
It is proven the best way to prevent transmission of Coronavirus is by washing your hands, thoroughly, with soap.
Due to their high pH value soaps bars are naturally antibacterial, as bacteria cannot propagate on a pH of 9 more. Which means they are also better for the environment because we are not washing chemicals into our water system; this applies to all saponified soap bars. After hand washing the pH of hands will be significantly higher and contribute to the viral inactivation of COVID-19. With Coronavirus the soap works to disrupt the fatty acid outer layer of the virus (not bacteria), causing it to dissolve, break apart and consequently wash away.

It is recommended to wash your hands with soap and water often and to do this for at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to help stop them spreading to other people and objects. 

You can use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available, although soap is the preferred and better option.  

World Health Organization Information = NHS Information
  • Our Products
    If making your own soaps or antibacterial gels you can incorporate various plant extracts, from carrier oils to essential oils, to help provide additional antiseptic properties.

  • These essential oils have antibacterial properties and are antimicrobal:
    Tea Tree
Clovebud especially, as it is known to relieve respiratory conditions like coughs and colds, as well as problems like asthma and bronchitis. It's disinfecting property is useful in cases of infectious diseases. Researchers have also found that the spicy aroma of clove reduces drowsiness, irritability, and headaches.
  • As stated by Formula Botanica, plants also have antibacterial properties. These include:
    St. Johns Wort

  • These ingredients are just some that contribute towards making soaps and gels, and are potentially very effective in the recommended hand washing routines that are so widely publicised right now. Giving your formulations a disinfecting boost and helping with personal protection against COVID-19.
  • We also have a variety of Aloe products as well as Isopropyl Alcohol.

  • Some products have maximum order quantities due to the recent surge in orders.
    A few of our melt and pour bases also have a pH higher than 9, as stated above high pH value soaps are naturally antibacterial. Our Crystal Aloe Melt and Pour bases and our Crystal Honey Melt and Pour bases both have a pH higher than 9.
  • Need Soap?
    Limited Stock Available  

    As we all know supermarkets are selling out of soaps, hand sanitisers
    and not forgetting toilet rolls! Luckily we are an ingredients supplier for the cosmetics industry so have the ingredients required to make your very own soaps and hand sanitisers, not toilet rolls unfortunately.

Good hygiene, hand washing and overall cleanliness are a massive factor in preventing you getting Coronavirus. You need to ensure you are washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, in between your fingers, your wrists, your palms, tops of your hands and your finger nails. Sing a song to yourself which lasts 20 seconds so you know you have washed your hands for a sufficient amount of time.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work, after and before eating food and after using the toilet or leaving a bathroom. Other important facts to avoid catching or spreading Coronavirus are to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. Put any used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards. Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell, do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Being aware of your surroundings and people around you is so important, carry hand sanitiser with you if you have no access to soap. If 
Public transport is a scary place at the moment so being prepared is essential.

If you have any massive concerns about Coronavirus there are apporiate help lines available, remember do not go to your GP or hospital if you have symptoms.
  • Always ring 111 (UK) first.

This is just our tips and advise based on our own knowledge and research. Our ingredients are available to help you protect yourselves.
  • Reference: The Soapkitchen - Newsletter

Cosmetic Ingredient Review-Toxic Beauty

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Cosmetic Ingredient Review-Toxic Beauty

In 1976 the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) was set up to review and test the safety of cosmetic ingredients. Its safety assessment monographs are submitted for publication in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Toxicology, but the CIR is funded by the cosmetics industry body in the USA known as the Personal Care Products Council and the FDA is not legally obliged to enforce regulations based on conclusions.

The CIR does not safety test all cosmetic ingredients. As of 2005, 1,285 of the 10,500 ingredients used in cosmetic products had been assesses for safety and only nine of those reviewed since 1976 have been deemed to be unsafe. Only the nine considered as unsafe are banned outright in cosmetic formulations.

The CIR panel of dermatologists have been accused by some of directing their attention towards testing substances for skin sensitization, irritation and contact allergies, rather than more long-term adverse effects such as cancer, neurotoxicity (damage to brain cells and other parts of the nervous system caused by toxic substances) and endocrine disruption. According to Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and autor of the book Not Just a Pretty Face: The ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.

The beauty industry has a different definition of safe than we do. They consider products to be safe if they don't cause a rash or allergic reaction; We're concerned about long-term health effects caused by repeated and prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals in personal care products. These products should be safe for pregnant women, developing babies, children and for everyone else.

The largely self-regulated cosmetics industry often flouts the advice of the CIR. An investigation by the Environmental Working Group  (EWG) of the ingredients in over 23,000 products discovered that nearly one in every 30 products sold in the Us does not meet one or more industry or governmental cosmetics safety standards. They also found close to 400 products  containing chemical ingredients that cosmetic industry safety panels, including the CIR and the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), have identified as unsafe.

The Bottom Line
So where does all this leave the average cosmetics user? Over the past few decades we've seen a phenomenal worldwide increase in the use of synthetic chemicals in virtually every household item. Every year around 1,000 new chemicals come on to the market. Currently we rely on cosmetic manufacturers to assure us that all the chemicals in these products have been fully tested and are safe to use over the short and long term. However, there is growing evidence from scientists that this may not be the case.

It makes sense for all to become better informed about what's in the personal care products we use and what the health implications may be.

Reference: Toxic Beauty: Dawn Mellowship



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