The secret ingredient is the secret of ingredients

Years ago, before I started making my own skin care products, I used to buy cosmetics from the high street shops. I was tempted by their beautiful packaging. Little did I know, it was only the packing that made the product worth buying.

Hello, my name is Yana. Founder and owner of ShaNaMetcis.

Welcome to my 5th blog post.

In this blog post I am going to write about ingredients.

As many of you may know our skin is our biggest organ. The total area of our skin is around 18,000 cm2 in the adult and weighs 3.2 - 4.8 kg.

Our skin is our shield. It protects our bones and organs. That’s why it’s very important to be aware of what skin care products we’re using.

Skin can be divided into two layers: The epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is composed of stratified epithelium, which can be sub-divided into five layers. The dermis also called the corium, joins the epidermis in a series of ridges called dermal papillae, which are also continuous around the hair follicles. Each dermal papilla contains a network of blood capillaries which supply the epidermis and are also important in the regulation of body temperature.

The dermis contains a large number of strong collagen fibres in bundles, which are the major fibres in dermis, and some elastin fibres, which enable the skin to stretch. The jelly-like matrix of the dermis holds a lot of water, making the skin turgid (bloated).

I believe that it’s very important to choose our skin care products carefully and pay attention to what our products had been made of.

I have mentioned about the danger of synthetic ingredients in my first blog post ‘Why using simple and effective cosmetics for healthy looking skin is so important’. In this post I am going to explore ingredients in more detail.

Cosmetic manufacturers are required by law to list all ingredients on the packaging. Each ingredient has an INCI name. The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients provides a name for each ingredient based on latin words and scientific terms. It is required that ingredients are listed by their INCI name.

This can be confusing but luckily nowadays a quick internet search can give you an idea of what goes into your skin care products. However, some search engines, are not a reliable source of information.

I have spent a lot of time researching and trying different ingredients.

Before I started making my own products, I was obsessed with buying skin care products from the high street shops. Once I had an allergic reaction from a make-up remover for sensitive skin.

I recently watched an advert about a hand cream for dry skin. Some of the ingredients are Paraffin and Mineral Oil. Paraffin or paraffin wax is also a product of petrol manufacture. This can be found in candle making and inhaling the toxin laden smoke can be harmful. If you light up a candle and black smoke comes out of it, it is paraffin. For good quality and safe candles, look for soy wax candles.

Mineral oil can also be found in baby oil and it is a product of petrol production. It is is used because it is cheap and appears in lotions, creams, etc. It clogs pores and prevents the skin from breathing or eliminating toxins.

Another highly used and cheap ingredient, found in famous lip care brand, is Petrolatum. This is a popular moisturising ingredient. Without odour, or colour, it is cheap and combines well with other ingredients. Found in lip balms, face creams and body lotions. Leaves a film on the skin that traps the moisture along with toxins and wastes that would normally be eliminated through the skin.

I have used lip balm with petrolatum and I had noticed that my lips were moisturised but for a very short period of time. And if I had cracked lips, this lip balm wasn’t effective.

Sulphate is an ingredient that can be found on anything that foams: soaps, detergents, shampoos, mouthwash, cleansers, and toothpastes. Sulphates cause irritation and over-drying of the skin stripping off the acid mantle and disrupting the skin’s PH. The most used are Sodium lauryl sulphate (this one can be found in a popular anti-dandruff shampoo) and Ammonium lauryl sulphate.

You might have heard on various adverts ‘free from paraben’. Parebens, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben & ethylparaben), are used as preservatives. They can be toxic and may cause allergic reaction.

Parabens bad reputation is due to having a weak effect similar to the hormone oestrogen. Concern was raised that parabens in deodorants might contribute to breast cancer following trace amounts in breast cancer tissue. The relevant scientific study was later discredited. No cause and effect were confirmed. An independent review carried out by the European Commission in 2005 reiterated this. There are strict guidelines regarding paraben type, dose and concentrations used in skin care to ensure safety standards are met.

I have seen methylparaben on the labels of many high street brands.

Consumers are often concerned about preservatives. There is nothing to worry about. When making skin care products that require a preservative, I will follow manufacturer’s guidelines. The maximum amount of preservative that needs to be added is only 1gr. So, there is very little or no risk of allergic reaction. However, I always advice my customers to do a patch test first.

Preservatives are ingredients that inhibit, or prevent, microbial growth. They are needed in nature and in beauty products. Whether found in nature or in cosmetics, preservatives protect us from the growth of unwanted microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, moulds or yeasts. Preservatives function by creating an environment that is unfavourable for the survival and growth of micro-organisms. Any cosmetic or personal care product that contains water has the potential to support the growth of microorganisms.

If you see a product that has more than a year shelf life, think twice before you buy it. It is possible that the product contains synthetic preservative and this can be harmful to your skin.