24 February 2012


Moisturizers are chemicals specially formulated to make the external layers of the skin (epidermis) softer and more elastic. They increase the skin's hydration (water content) by reducing evaporation. Naturally occurring skin lipids and sterols as well as artificial or natural  oils, humectants, emollients, lubricants, etc. may be part of the composition of skin moisturizers available in the market.

Moisturizers prevent and treat dry skin, protect sensitive skin, improve skin tone and texture, and mask imperfections.

Moisturizers can be used to prevent the skin from becoming too dry or oily, such as with light, non greasy water-based moisturizers. Such moisturizers often contain lightweight oils, such as cetyl alcohol, or silicone-derived ingredients, such as cyclomethicone.
Moisturizes of the new generation has substances of the natural plant products, vitamins, collagen, elastin, desoxyribonucleic acid, ribonudeic acid, lecithins, retinoids and etc.
Some active ingredients in moisturizers are vitamin C, Aloe Vera, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 and vitamin A

Mechanisms of action over skin:
There are three mechanisms applied to moisturize skin.
·        Occlusives: These work by forming a thin film on the outer surface of the skin to prevent any loss of moisture.
·        Humectants: These attract water from the air in order to moisturize the skin.
·        Restoration of Deficient Materials: These are more complex and try to restore natural moisturizing factors on the skin such as amino-lipids.

We use skin care products on a daily basis. We want to smell good, have and moist shiny skin. But something nasty lurks beneath the sweet perfume and creams. Cosmetic companies are using chemicals that are known to cause cancer and birth defects, and there are no regulations at all to control the amount of toxins that are entering our bodies.

Personal care products do not need approval from the Government Drug Agencies before reaching the shelves of your local stores and chemists. There are virtually no restrictions on the ingredients that may be used in personal care products since the Government Agencies cannot require safety testing of products before they are sold to the public. The cosmetic companies themselves are held responsible for the safety of their own products. As a result and driven by profit rather than a concern for human health and well-being, personal care products are often filled with synthetic and hazardous chemicals. A study done by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health lists 884 chemicals in use by the cosmetic industry as toxic substances. But according to the US FDA, cosmetic companies are responsible for testing their own products to ensure safety, and they don’t have to file data on the ingredients they use.
Two factors have to be considered when assessing the safety of a moisturizer:
·        The safety of the ingredients it contains.
·        The risk of bacterial contamination.

A recent study discovered that the application of certain moisturizers increases the incidence of skin cancer in high-risk mice, though it should be noted that these animals were subjected to UVB radiation in high doses over a long period of time prior to application of moisturizers.  

As with most skin-care products, there is a risk of moisturizers being contaminated with bacteria that can cause disease.

Ingredients in Moisturizers :

We believe that reputed cosmetic companies would avoid using harmful ingredients in the moisturizers, considering how expensive some of them are. But sadly, even some of the best available moisturizers contain harmful ingredients that in the long run would dry up our skin and speed up the aging process.

Here is a list of moisturizer ingredients that might harm your skin's structure.

·        Petroleum Products: Petroleum based ingredients are commonly used in many skin care products such as moisturizers. This is because these ingredients can produce an inexpensive cream which has a nice feel to it, creates a good dermal barrier, is effective at keeping moisture in the skin, all while hydrating the skin to a small degree. Mineral oil (a form of kerosene), also referred to as paraffin oil or liquid paraffin, white petrolatum, and paraffin wax are the most commonly used ingredients in skin care products today, used in the base cream for creating an oil and water emulsion. The industry is changing. Petroleum products like paraffin and mineral oils clogs up the pores causing the appearance of whiteheads and blackheads. It also slows down the development of collagen and regular use of such products causes build up of toxins. Many women who breastfeed will apply cream to their breasts without too much consideration for what's in it. Studies have actually found that mineral oil paraffins can bio accumulate in both fat tissue and human breast milk.

·        Parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, ethyl):  This is a very widely used preservative that is used in moisturizers as well as other skin care products. They disrupt the body's hormonal balance and also adversely affect the adrenal system. Some research has also linked parabens with cancer. Some combinations of these synthetic preservatives are used in 99% of the skin products available today.  Recent medical studies indicate these chemicals are estrogenic - they mimic estrogen in the body with butylparaban being the most potent. Parabans have also been found in breast cancer tissue. The major controversy surrounding parabens stems from a 2004 Scottish study that found and examined trace amounts of the substance in 20 sample malignant breast cancer tumors. Given the observed ability of parabens to mimic estrogen, a naturally occurring hormone that has a role in the development of breast cancer tumors, some scientists have correlated exposure to parabens with increased cancer risk and have made a call to investigate the possibility of a causal link between the two phenomena. While the limited scope of the study cannot conclusively identify the cause of the breast cancer as paraben exposure, the lead molecular biologist of the research team noted that the type of parabens found in the tumors is found in commercial health and beauty products, such as underarm deodorant. The location of the tumors was also similar, as they were found in the upper quadrant of the breast, near the underarm, which could indicate that long-term use of paraben-containing commercial beauty products could increase an individual's risk of developing breast cancer. A small percentage of the population has an intolerance of parabens. An allergic reaction to parabens may manifest itself as a rash, redness or irritation. Paraben allergies can also cause contact dermatitis - a blanket term for persistent skin irritation caused by contact with an allergen - and rosacea, a chronic skin condition characterized by redness. So it’s a long term health hazard.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate: This is also a harmful moisturizer ingredient. It can very easily penetrate the skin by breaking down the moisture barrier of the skin. When sodium laureth sulfate combines with some other chemicals found in the moisturizer it turns into nitrosamine which is a carcinogen.
·        Propylene Glycol: Propylene glycol can inhibit the growth of skin cell and also cause dermatitis. Prolonged use can give rise to skin irritation and kidney and liver abnormalities.

·        Phthlates: as Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate. These toxic cosmetic ingredients are found more in perfumes, hairsprays, and nail polishes. Phthlates are used as skin moisturizers, and to enhance penetration of skin. They are also used as plasticizers to soften plastic. Phthlates are known to have negative effects on the reproductive system and early development. It acts as hormone disruptors. Associated with premature breast development in girls and problems with reproductive development in male fetuses.

·        Fragrance: Usually listed as 'fragrance', or 'parfum' Commonly used in cosmetic ingredients and personal care products, fragrance may contain up to 4000 separate ingredients, although typically most products use an average of 50-100 fragrance ingredients. These ingredients have no restrictions and are not required to be listed separately. Often used to mask the scent of other ingredients or to make the product smell more appealing. Fragrance is added to most personal care products on the market. 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic derivatives of petroleum.

·        Hydroquinone: Found in skin lightening products and moisturizers. A possible carcinogen, neurotoxin (substance which affects the nervous system), and a skin sensitizer. It causes ochronosis, a disease of the skin which results in black and blue lesions on the skin and is irreversible.

·        Triclosan: It is used in anti bacterial moisturizers. Also known as 5-cholor2 (2,4 dichlorophenoxy)-phenol. It may not appear on the labels of cosmetic ingredients due to trademark associations. It is one of the antibacterial agents that have been found in human breast milk and fish. It helps form cancer causing dioxins when manufactured or incinerated and its cosmetics safety is a concern for women only.

    Surveys show that on average, women use 12 products containing 168  
    ingredients every day, men use 6 products with 85 ingredients (EWG
    2004), and children are exposed to an average of 61 ingredients daily
    (EWG 2007a).

Remember, we can absorb more toxins from Skin Care Products than Food.
Yes our skin is our largest organ and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates our body from potential toxins. Worse yet, our skin is highly permeable. Most items we rub on our skin will end up in our bloodstream, and will be distributed throughout our body. This is why they say "don't put anything on your body that you wouldn't eat if you had to..."  

Putting chemicals on your skin may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body.

However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs. And once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. When you add up daily exposure over the course of a lifetime, it really adds up!

If we're perusing our local health store for some safer options, here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Look for the genuine USDA Organic Seal if you live in US.
  • Look for products that are fragrance-free. Any one artificial fragrance may contain hundreds of chemicals. Fragrances are a major cause of allergic reactions.
  • Always look for the order in which the ingredients are listed on the label. Manufacturers are required to list ingredients in descending order by volume, meaning the first few ingredients are the most prominent. If Aloe Vera is the last ingredient in a long list, your Aloe Vera moisturizer isn't very natural.
  • Stick to simplicity. Do we really need 200 products to prepare for our day? Simplify our life and save our bank account and heath too.
  • Try to buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic, since chemicals can leach out of plastics and into the contents. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a serious concern in EU; and make sure any plastic container is BPA free.
  • Look for products that are made by companies that are Earth-friendly, Eco friendly, animal-friendly and care for green life. 
The quest for supple skin may lead us to slow death.

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