When we buy fruits, vegetables or prepared food we want to know the origin, the type of cultivation and the used ingredients. But the same attention should be dedicated also to face and body creams, shampoos, conditioners, masks and serum that are applied on skin and hair and can contain irritating substances, not good for us or even dangerous. In addition to this, a lot of ingredients used in conventional cosmetics are synthetic and their production can be polluting. In order to know what we are applying we should have a look at the INCI, the list of ingredients that are in a cosmetic. We have seen, in previous posts, the mineral oils and the silicones, substances contained in a lot of skin and hair products and that act by covering skin or hair with a film. They just give the feeling of smoothness but, under this layer, skin and hair lose vitality and tend to suffocate. For this reason, it is better to choose products that don’t contain mineral oils but plant based oils such as jojoba, argan or apricot kernel, only to name a few, and that don’t have silicones inside. But Let’s see another typical ingredient of cosmetics, the emulsifiers.
These substances are indispensable in cosmetics because allow to mix the aqueous and the oily phases. Several conventional cosmetics use synthetic emulsifiers, such as Polyethylene glycol (PEG), all the substances with subfixes –eth (Ceteareth, Myreth), –oxynol (Butoxynol, Octoxynol, Nonoxynol) and the prefix idrossietil- (hydroxyethyl cellulose). The problem with these emulsifiers is that, although they are not dangerous or toxic when applied on skin and hair, their production requires very polluting processes both for humans and earth because toxic gases are used, such us ethylene oxide, that is carcinogenic. The cosmetics that are eco-friendly and not dangerous use, on the contrary, biological emulsifiers, that come from sugars (Sucrose stearate) or plant based or animal waxes, such as beeswax, much better than the synthetic emulsifiers! Then, there are also emulsifiers with also foaming and cleansing power that are often used in shampoos and shower gel, we are speaking about the so called SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), these substances are really aggressive on skin but are used because they product a lot of foam. However, as we have seen in previous posts, the more aggressive the product the more irritated is the skin. Such a skin overproduces sebum and the consequences are the well known problems, acne, black heads and, on the scalp, seborrhea, dandruff and hair loss. Better to prefer more natural ingredients such as that obtained from coconut, sugar and beetroot (Coco Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaina).