In order to know what you are applying on skin and hair you have a really powerful tool, INCI, that means International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, and is the detailed list of the ingredients of creams, lotions, shampoos or conditioners that, by law, should be reported on the packs of beauty cosmetics in countries such as UE, United States, Russia, Canada, Brazil and South Africa. INCI is also your best friend in order to be conscious about the substances you are applying on your skin. All the ingredients used to prepare the product should be reported with their Latin or English name, the order is also important. Indeed, the ingredient that appears in first place is the ingredient most present in the formulation. However, if the ingredient is at a dose less than 1% then it is possible to change its position, so it may happen that a natural extract present at 0,05% can be inserted before another ingredient, maybe irritating, present at 0,9%. The names of the INCI are often not so clear, especially for non-experts, but with a bit of familiarity you can recognize the potential dangerous ingredients, that can cause acne and blemishes, the irritating substances or, on the contrary, the most beneficial ingredients and make a conscious choice about creams, serum, lip gloss, shampoo or conditioners. In general, the cosmetics, also the most expensive or the cheapest, contain water, mineral oils and silicon, emulsifiers in order to mix the water phase and the oily phase, active substances, in general small quantities but they are also the ingredients that appear on the advertising or labels, preservatives, a fragrance, in general synthetic, but there can also be colorants. Let’s see more in detail these ingredients, especially their action and how to recognize them in the INCI. Today we will see the mineral oils.
Mineral oils are inert fats that come from minerals and, more in general, are obtained from hard coal or petrol. Used in the industry as a lubricant for mechanical parts or for engine oil, these mineral oils are largely used … in cosmetics. Of course they are treated in order to remove color, smell and to make them stable. Examples of mineral oils? Paraffin that in INCI is indicated as paraffinum liquidum or petrolatum, that we all have seen for sure in cosmetics every day, but also microcrystalline wax, vaselin and mineral oil. Mineral oils are cheap and this is the advantage for producers, and what about the consumers? Actually, there are no advantages, because mineral oils are just deposited on skin, create a film, a barrier and give the impression that they are able to smooth and hydrate skin, because they block water evaporation. But they don’t give any nutrition, any vitamin, mineral salt, antioxidant or fatty acid, nothing, on the contrary, they tend to suffocate skin, clog up the pores, trap the germs and bacteria and cause blemishes and worsen acne if you have an acne prone skin.
In addition to this, for those who are concerned about Earth, these mineral oils are very polluting, when they are produced, in fact are petrol derivative substances, and when they are discarded. For this reason it should be better to avoid using cosmetics with mineral oils and prefer that with plant based oils, such as argan, jojoba or grapeseed oil, these are just some examples.