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Checking Beauty Product Ingredients

Why Check Beauty Product Ingredients?

There are over 12,000 chemical ingredients registered with the F.D.A. that can be used in skincare products. It is a dizzying array of actives, from acids to stabilizers, emulsifiers, thickeners, pH adjusters, preservatives and so on. While the FDA does not need to approve ingredients for use in the U.S., they do regulate them. Consumers know very little about where ingredients come from, how they’re made, or how many may cause irritation or other side effects. In addition to that, many product labels use INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) names , which are not commonly known.

When you multiply this by the number of products used by the average consumer (approximately 10), the total number of ingredients used on any one day can be substantial. The FDA also lists ingredients that are prohibited in skincare products, like ingredients classified as drugs. However, should a skincare product be found to cause adverse reactions, the FDA cannot order the product off the market – they can merely issue a voluntary recall. (You can read an example of this here.) This often puts the onus on the consumer to verify claims made by skincare companies, and to check its labels for questionable ingredients.

Where can we find some of this information? Fortunately, there are online sources of information on the many ingredients that are in your beauty products. Below are examples of a few of them. Remember, knowledge is power; by knowing what’s going on your skin, you can be empowered to find the skincare products containing only the ingredients that YOU want to use.

Ingredient Resources

  • Skincarisma.com – with a database of over 32,000 products from around the world, this website created by a community of savvy consumers includes an ingredient analyzer and product comparisons.
  • ewg.org – The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database rates over 76,000 products for safety based on available data. They’re more than just a product database, however, the food guides and other helpful articles designed to help you live a green, clean life.
  • safecosmetics.org – not technically a database, but it has a “Red List” of ingredients to avoid.
  • cosmeticingredientreview – this website is sponsored by the Personal Care Products Council, and provides the results of scientific studies performed on chemical ingredients found in personal care products. If you’re into the science, it provides detailed information. (Warning; the majority report on animal testing of ingredients.)
  • incidecoder.com – this website allows you to search by ingredient or by product to get the list of ingredients and what they are used for. What more do you need?
  • cosmeticsinfo.org – this website provides an alphabetical listing of ingredients and what they are used for. Very useful if you have a product in hand and you are checking the label ingredients.

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for the information contained in third-party websites, nor does their inclusion here constitute an explicit endorsement.

Comfrey Blog Post Pinterest graphic

Comfrey – All You Need To Know About This Amazing Herb

What Is Comfrey?

Common comfrey, or Symphytum officinale, is a flowering perennial from the Borage family. It has elongated basal leaves and bell-like flowers which are tempting to bees. It was originally cultivated in Asia, Europe and U.K., and is a common weed throughout North America. In the U.S., the FDA banned the consumption of comfrey roots and leaves in 2002 because of a high concentration of pryrolizidine alkaloids. Elsewhere, the roots, leaves and flowers have been consumed for thousands of years, and it has been used topically as well.

What is Comfrey Used For?

Comfrey has been used as a poultice for wounds, sprains and broken bones. On the African continent it earned the name “boneset” for its ability to help heal broken bones. It contains the ingredient allantoin, which speeds production of new cells and aids in healing.Today, allantoin is an emollient used in skincare products to ease skin irritation.

At WEBA Natural Products, we use olive oil infused with comfrey root and leaf for our https://webanaturalproducts.com/product/all-purpose-ache-away-balm-with-clove-and-sage/, which includes arnica and turmeric extracts as well. Naturally derived and sustainably sourced, this preparation has been shown to soothe bruised, irritated skin.

Reference:

http://herb-gardens.suite101.com/article.cfm/comfrey_the_miracle_herb

What to know about collagen blog post

What To Know About Collagen

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is the main structural protein in skin, hair, nails and connective tissue, but it is found throughout the body. It is the most common protein in our skin (70%) and its presence helps keep our skin supple and toned. It is also responsible for keeping our joints and ligaments flexible. Its amino acids (glycine, proline, arginine) tend to combine into long strands called fibrils which are very strong. Collagen is prevalent in the skin’s middle layer, or dermis, where it provides structure and support. There are over a dozen types of collagen, but the human body consists primarily of Collagen I, II, and III. Marine collagen is found to be rich in types I and III.

As we age, collagen production slows. Lifestyle factors like smoking, excess sugar consumption and exposure to UV light can accelerate breakdown. The result is sagging, wrinkled skin, graying hair, brittle nails and stiff joints. Therefore, although older adults tend to experience collagen reduction, lifestyle factors can accelerate collagen breakdown at any age.

How Can You Increase Collagen Production?

We can’t turn back the clock on aging, but there are a number of ways in which we can boost our body’s collagen production; 1) with collagen supplements and 2) with a diet rich in amino acids; 3) with collagen fillers; 4) with skincare products. We will explore all of these below.

  • Collagen supplements – with all of the hype regarding collagen powders, it’s hard to know which products will really deliver. Collagen is broken down in the intestines into its component amino acids, where the body takes what it needs. There are also concerns about possible heavy metal and other contamination from questionable animal sources. Finally, there are companies that make marine collagen available, which may have its own contamination issues. The supplement industry remains unregulated, so let the buyer beware. The best course of action is to choose organic powders that have been tested for contamination. Most effective is hydrolyzed collagen – or collagen peptides – which have been broken down into short-chain amino acids that dissolve more readily in water. These are often called collagen peptides. They are usually tasteless. While there are few studies confirming the benefits of taking supplements, many anecdotal studies have shown some benefit to be derived from ingesting collagen peptides as a supplement to a healthy diet. It remains to be seen whether or not enough human studies will be done to verify its efficacy. If you’re looking for a supplement to try, visit Organic Authority’s list of collagen supplements here.
  • Diet – A healthy diet can go a long way towards providing the necessary building blocks that the body needs to build collagen. Just as there are 9 essential amino acids that our bodies must obtain from food, there are also non-essential amino acids that are needed to build collagen. Here are some foods that provide these amino acids:
  • Glycine – found in meat and fowl (particularly the skin), fish bones, and dairy products
  • Proline – found in meat, fish, gelatin and egg yolks
  • Arginine- meats, dairy, pumpkin seeds, beans, peanuts
  • Hydroxyproline – Found in meats and sometimes used in skincare products

Clearly, by eating a healthy, varied diet, you can provide your body with all of the building blocks that it needs. Vitamin C is needed in order for the body to produce collagen. It also helps prevent free-radical damage. Zinc and copper are also nutrients essential for collagen synthesis. Citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, fish and other foods will boost your body’s store of these nutrients.

  • Collagen Fillers – If you have decided to visit a dermatologist, they will sometimes recommend collagen or hyaluronic acid fillers to fill in deep wrinkle lines or to address other skin issues. This is a pricey commitment, as these fillers are temporary fixes. However, a visit to the dermatologist can help you pinpoint what your skin’s needs are so that you can make an educated decision as to which treatments are effective.
  • Skincare Products – Collagen-boosting skincare products are big business, with many people swearing that they are effective at plumping up the skin. And for vegans who cannot find a suitable collagen supplement, it may be a viable method that avoids animal products. Whether or not they are actually causing a significant increase in collagen is up for debate. However, there are a few ingredients that have been shown to stimulate collagen production in the dermal skin layer:
  • Vitamin C – At the right concentration (10-20%), Vitamin C, or Ascorbic Acid, has been shown to encourage collagen production. In fact, it cannot form without it. This vitamin is also involved in tissue repair and protection via its antioxidant activity. It is highly unstable in solution, however, so including it in your diet is always a good idea. There are also more stable forms of Vitamin C. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, found in our Age-Defying Vitamin C Crème, allows us to use less thereby minimizing sensitive skin reactions.
  • Vitamin B3 – Niacinamide has demonstrated effectiveness in promoting collagen production, as well as ceramide and keratin (found in hair, nails and skin). A 5% solution has been found effective at stimulating collagen production, resulting in less wrinkled, more supple skin.
  • Keratin – Many haircare products contain keratin, which when combined with collagen forms strong, supple hair strands. It is generally derived from animal products like sheep wool and silk.

Skincare products also utilize ingredients that work with these to exfoliate, brighten and plump up skin. For example, AHAs like lactic, malic and glycolic acids are used to help exfoliate and brighten skin. (Choose pure glycolic acid, not a combination product.) Hyaluronic acid and glycerin work by drawing moisture into cells, thereby plumping them up. Some experimentation is required in order for you to find which ingredients work for you and whether or not your skin is sensitive to them. Try them one at a time so that you will know which one works and which one you should eliminate. With a little trial and error, you can find the product(s) that provide your skin with desired benefits.

Want to check out our Age Defying Face Creme? Click here.

References:

Acids and Skincare Blog Post

Acids and Skincare

A variety of acids are commonly used as part of a customer’s skincare routine. Science has demonstrated that alpha and beta-hydroxy acids, for example, confer a number of benefits to the skin when used regularly and appropriately. Here, I will dive into what makes these acids so beneficial and why it’s important to tailor products containing acids to your skin’s particular needs.

What Are Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids?

Alpha Hydroxy acids are water-soluble compounds that have two functioning groups separated by one carbon atom. They can be either naturally occurring or synthetic; they are very popular in skincare products. Well-known examples include citric, lactic, mandelic and glycolic acid. Citric and mandelic acid are known as fruit acids. There are many other fruit acids that have been used (tartaric, benzoic, etc.)

Alpha Hydroxy acids primarily work by loosening the “glue” that holds cells together, which enhances exfoliation. They can also help thicken underlying layers of skin, which promotes smoothness. Some are more penetrating than others, impacting their effectiveness. For example, glycolic acid molecules are very small; its enhanced penetrating ability means that it is highly effective at exfoliating and hydrating. However, susceptible individuals my have a reaction to it.

They are also found at varying concentrations of anywhere from 2-15% or more. The best products will tell you what concentrations they are using. They are used in over-the-counter and commercial peels, which can also cause irritation. If in doubt about the strength of a product, always consult with a dermatologist, especially if you have sensitive or problem skin. In addition, AHAs like citric acid can be unstable when exposed to the air, so which type is used and how the product is formulated is key to its effectiveness.

Beta Hydroxy Acids are oil-soluble organic compounds with two functional groups separated by two carbon atoms. The most well-known is salicylic acid, derived from white willow bark. These acids penetrate well and are more suited to individuals with problem skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They can also be found in varying concentrations, so always check labels before using.

Both Alpha Hydroxy and Beta Hydroxy acids can increase the skin’s sensitivity to light, so it’s always a good idea to use a sunscreen during the day or to apply them only at night. And always discontinue use if redness, itching and other forms of irritation develop, as you may need to adjust the concentration or you may be developing an allergic reaction to an ingredient.

These organic acids can be very effective skincare tools, providing many benefits that maintain healthy skin and enhance appearance. What you use is dependent on your skincare goals and your skin type. Feel free to experiment with different products and formulations, or consult a dermatologist for a custom-tailored regimen that will leave your skin healthy and glowing.

References: