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.

I ‘ve heard from various places (even during skin care product making course) that Vitamin E is a natural preservative. This is not true! Vitamin E is an antioxidant and it slows vegetable oils from going rancid. Vegetable oils with short shelf life may contain Vitamin E which helps to extend their shelf life.

Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol are often used in cosmetic formulation as a co-emulsifier or an ingredient of an emulsifier. Consumers often get alarmed by the word alcohol. To chemists the term alcohol is a generic one for a whole family of chemicals. The one that gets you drunk is ethanol. Alcohol is used to describe any compound which contains an Oxygen/Hydrogen pairing (-OH group) at one end of its molecule. Such compounds are very common in nature, and their names often end in the letters 'ol'. Examples of such alcohols include tocopherol (Vitamin E) and retinol (Vitamin A).

Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol group of alcohols found in nature are the fatty alcohols, which are derived from saturated vegetable fats such as coconut oil and palm oil. These have the appearance of solid white fatty waxes and are beneficial to both skin and hair, containing fatty acids that are highly compatible with human cell physiology.

Fragrance oils – fragrance oils and essential oils are not the same. If a product claims to have a fragrance oil, then it is synthetic products and not natural.

Rose hip oil or Rosa rubiginosa-I often refer to this oil as the oil that saved my skin. I used to have sun spots on my forehead and cheeks during the summer. I used couple of very expensive products and none of them helped. I decided to create my own product – Night Cream. One of the key ingredients is rose hip oil. It’s vitamin A content increases elastin content, promotes collagen formation, and can help to delay age-related breakdown of the skin and underlying tissues. Vitamins E and C help to delay the onset of skin aging, nourishing cells and shielding against oxidation while creating a lipid barrier that protects and support the skin.

In December 1988 two researchers published a paper titled Contributions to Identification and Application of Active Components Contained in Rosa Aff. Rubiginosa. The authors were Dr Bertha Pareja, Principal Professor, Faculty of Pharmacology and Biochemistry, University of San Marcos, Lima, Peru and Dr Horst KehI, from the School of Pharmacology of the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. (Dr. KehI took part in the effort in his capacity of Visiting Professor at the San Marcos University.) In a two-year study, rosehip oil was applied to 180 patients with surgical, traumatic and burn scars, as well as to a group suffering from premature aging of the skin. The results were remarkable. Continuous application of rosehip oil effectively reduced scars.

Red raspberry seed oil or Rubus Idaeus is an oil I discovered by accident while I was researching ingredients for my Day Cream. What got my attention was that according to the manufacturer, this oil can protect the skin from UV lights. This oil really works. In Summer 2020 for the first time ever I did not have dark spots on my face. Red raspberry seed oil is high in Vitamin E and Provitamin A. The plant compounds are being studied for use as a broad-spectrum UV-A and UV-B sunscreen. In 2000 Studies were conducted on properties of oil extracted from raspberry seeds. Raspberry seed oil showed absorbance in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with potential for use as a broad-spectrum UV protectant.

Rose oil or Rosa damascene is an oil I add to Night Cream. The benefits of this oil are absolutely amazing. In Bulgaria, the rose blossoms of Rosa damascena begin to bloom around the third week of May, and will continue for three or four weeks depending upon climate conditions. The collection of flowers starts as soon as the blooms begin to open and continues until all the roses have been gathered.

In Bulgaria and Turkey the blossoms are still collected by hand in the time-honoured way, and are nipped just below the calyx (the green, outer protective cover). Traditionally used by aromatherapists to restore dry skin, mature skin and broken capillaries. I read somewhere that it can help with dark spots and so far, so good. Rose oil has potent anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, it contains antioxidants that fight off free radicals which encourage skin damage and skin aging. Free radicals can cause damage to skin tissue, which results in wrinkles, lines and dehydration. There is an old Persian saying: ‘Rose is the only thing you can take with you when you die because it is not of this world’. The famous Bulgarian writer Aleko Konstantinov had included Rose oil in his book ‘Bay Ganyo goes around Europe’. The first part tells of the retail rose oil merchant Bay Ganyo who travels around Europe, seeking to sell his produce.

Lavender oil or Lavandula Angustifolia is an oil I add to Day Cream and Make up Remover. I use English Lavender Oil as I believe it is important to support local produce. There is a famous story about Lavender oil. A French chemist by the name of Rene Maurice Gattefosse was working in the laboratories of his family cosmetics firm. He badly burned his hand during an experiment and plunged his hand into the nearest tub of liquid which just happened to be lavender essential oil. He was later amazed at how quickly his burned skin healed and with very little scarring. Lavender is the most versatile of all the essential oils available in aromatherapy. Its wide range of therapeutic properties can be enjoyed in massage, bathing, skin care and diffusers. I chose this oil for my products because of its soothing and calming effect on the skin. I add it to Day Cream to sooth the skin when we are outside. I also add Lavender oil to my Make up Remover because it is gently nourishing the skin while removing make up.

I would like to add that the first thing you see on an ingredients list is water. No matter the weight of a product if it contains water, is always on the top of list because it’s the highest content. I use distilled water and I am sure no manufacturer is using tap water. Usually creams and lotions contain water. There is a big high street brand which body butters contains water. If you are buying skin care products from high street shops, that are not creams or lotions, check the ingredients.

Big manufacturers have a lot of money to pay for the best packaging and best marketing. I recently watched an advert of a night serum that cost £82. I had a look at the ingredients, and I didn’t see anything that was worth £82.

The above is only a small number of ingredients that are used in cosmetics. Always do your research and follow your instincts. Big companies can afford to come out with new innovative products. Micellar Water comes to mind. I have also noticed a boom in cosmetic masks.

The logo of my business is simple and effective cosmetics for healthy looking skin because I believe that we don’t need too many ingredients but the right ingredients to achieve good results.

Everything I have talked about so far is based on my own research and personal experience.

I hope you appreciated my fifth blog post and you find it informative. I enjoyed writing it.

I welcome you to have a look at my website and try my products.

All products are made with organic ingredients purchased from trusted suppliers and free from harsh chemicals.

All products are Yana tested.

Lots of Love


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