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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.

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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

Bottle or Jar? The Best Containers for Skincare Products

Bottle or Jar?

You may have asked yourself why companies use a bottle or a jar for a particular skincare product. Does it really matter? The truth is that not all containers are created equal when it comes to particular formulations. Factors that affect the type of container used are:

  • Oil vs water based formula
  • Ingredients that go rancid quickly (e.g. argan, hemp oils)
  • Ingredients that degrade easily (e.g. botanical extracts, vitamins)
  • Exposure to light, heat and/or humidity
  • TSA package requirements
  • Shipping requirements

The best container for the job

When ingredients aren’t taken into consideration when choosing a bottle or jar, the result is often a less effective product. Many ingredients are expensive to source, so it makes sense for companies to choose the right container for skincare products. Here are a few quidelines:

  • For liquid formulations like soaps, gels, oils and lotions, a pump bottle works well. Opening sizes vary according to the viscosity of the liquid. It is a hygienic choice because hands don’t touch the product directly. This includes airless pumps, which introduce less air into the container, minimizing degradation. An example of this is our Vitamin C Face Creme with Niacinamide.
  • Plastic is preferable to glass if the product is used in the bath or kitchen in order to avoid having a product slip out of one’s hand and break. Check the bottom of the container to see which plastic is being used. Some are more recyclable than others. If a product is going to be heated (e.g. oil treatments), then glass is preferable, as it is inert and not likely to melt.
  • As a rule, if ingredients degrade or become rancid easily, a dark or opaque container is preferable to a clear one. Exposure to light will degrade many oils, vitamins and botanicals. As an alternative, keep the product either in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark place.
  • For thick creams, body butters and scrubs, a tube works best. That’s because it minimizes the likelihood of touching the product directly. Jars are less preferable because of what’s known as “head space”, which sometimes necessitates the use of additional preservatives to minimize contamination. Possible exceptions are products that are oil-based with low rancidity like our body balms.  Another alternative is an airless jar, a recent innovation that reduces the chance of contamination.

If you are trying a product for the first time or if you’re using it infrequently, it’s best to buy the smallest possible size. Once opened, a product’s shelf life is limited to between 3 and 12 months. If, on the other hand, you’re buying a product that you use frequently, get the largest possible size to save money.

Travel Requirements and Skincare Products

The Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) has developed strict rules regarding what to pack when traveling. As a rule, any type of liquid must be 3.4 ounces or less and sealed in a quart-size airtight bag for carry-on luggage. Anything larger must be in a checked bag. Many companies sell sample-size products that will serve this purpose. As an extra precaution, it’s a good idea to cover the area between a bottle or jar and its dispenser with duct tape to prevent its opening. It’s also safer to carry products in plastic containers than in glass ones.

Should I Re-Bottle or Re-Jar a Skincare Product?

It’s not recommended that you re-bottle or re-jar a product once you receive it. Even if you are careful to sterilize everything, you’re exposing all of the product to the elements, which introduces airborne particles and other contaminants. Exceptions might be made for household products that don’t come in regular contact with skin, like dishwashing liquid or detergents. When it comes to skincare, however, it’s best to leave it to the pros.

References:
Allure article on skincare containers
Transportation Safety Authority liquids rules