what to know about sodium lactate pinterest graphic

What to Know About Sodium Lactate

You may have seen the ingredient “sodium lactate” listed in some of your skincare or haircare products. If so, here’s what you need to know about sodium lactate.

What Is Sodium Lactate?

Sodium lactate is an unsung hero in the beauty world. It is a naturally-derived salt of fermenting – and then neutralizing – lactic acid. Lactic acid does not come from dairy. It is derived by fermenting sugars found in corn and beets. It also occurs naturally in animal and human tissue. In fact, it is a natural component of the top layer of skin and forms part of the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF).

Why Sodium Lactate?

Why is sodium lactate a beneficial ingredient in beauty products, from serums to peels and everything in between? For one thing, much like hyaluronic acid, it’s a great humectant that draws water into the skin. It also serves as a skin butter, helping formulas maintain the skin’s natural pH balance. It can enhance the properties of preservatives, and is mildly exfoliating.

We like to use sodium lactate in our cold process bar soaps. It makes them harder, smoother and more long lasting. We hope to include this beneficial, naturally-derived ingredient in future formulas.

Are There Downsides to Using Sodium Lactate?

Clearly, those who are sensitive to this ingredient should avoid it. It can also increase sun sensitivity, so wearing a sunscreen over it when outside is advised.

Should I Try Products Containing Sodium Lactate?

Why not? It’s an ingredient that may be particularly beneficial for aging skin, as sodium lactate in skin declines as we age. And given the large variety of products containing this ingredient, you should be able to find one that suits your needs. If you are dissatisfied with hyaluronic acid, if you’re looking for a naturally derived moisturizer, night cream, or peel, then give it a try. If you’d like to search for products containing sodium lactate, visit incidecoder.com and type the ingredient name into the search field.


squalene vs squalane Pinterest

Squalene vs Squalane and Skin Care Products

Why Use Squalane in Skincare Products?

Of all the latest buzzy ingredients used in skincare products today, squalane has received a lot of attention. Squalane is a 100% saturated fat that has been used in skincare products for some time. Because it is hydrogenated, it is very stable (not prone to rancidity). Because of its light consistency and non-comedogenic nature, it is suitable for all skin types. It’s great for reducing dryness and fine lines, making it a great skincare ingredient.

The History of Squalene

Squalene is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon that occurs naturally in plants and animals, including the human body, and is the precursor to steroids, including cholesterol. About 12% of squalene originates from our sebum (along with triglycerides and wax esters), which explains how it helps with skin lubrication and protection. Our production of squalene decreases as we age.

Originally, squalene was harvested from shark livers for use in vaccine production as far back as the 1990s. When conservationists raised concerns about this, plant sources were found (amaranth, wheat germ, olives). The problem with squalene is that it is very unstable and it oxidizes quickly. By hydrogenating it, however, it becomes the more stable squalane that is commonly used today. It does not cause negative reactions in most individuals as well.

Why not try using products with this ingredient today? For example, our Face Creme’s list of 21 skin-nurturing ingredients includes olive oil squalane.

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.


Beeswax Honey Pinterest graphic Blog Post

Why We Avoid Beeswax and Honey

Why We Avoid Beeswax and Honey

There are a number of reasons why we avoid beeswax and honey – both in our skincare products and in our diet. Many of us grew up putting honey on our pancakes and burning hand-rolled beeswax candles. We may even have tasted a real honeycomb. But times have changed. Colony collapse disorder is threatening to render the honeybee, as well as many other native bees, extinct. For a species that has been around for tens of billions of years, this is truly concerning.

It is important to understand the role that bees play in agriculture. Yes, they pollinate our flowers, but they are also crucial to the production of about 30% of the world’s crops. That includes such crops as berries, avocados, apples, citrus fruits, sunflowers, and the list goes on. Without bees, most of these crops would cease to exist. While other animals are known to transfer pollen, bees are the workhorses of the agricultural world.

Why Are Bees Dwindling in Number?

There are many theories; here are a few:

  • Large agricultural operations with hundreds of acres of a single crop require a huge number of bees in order to produce a large harvest. To do this, they often “rent” bees from individuals who truck them in from far away. Prolonged travel puts a tremendous strain on the bees. Feeding on just one type of crop can suppress their immune system, leading to disease.
  • Bees involved in large commercial operations are often fed poor diets consisting primarily of high fructose corn syrup during these long trips across the country, which leaves them weakened and susceptible to disease.
  • Environmental factors like high levels of pesticides, excessive heat and a changes in flower growth patterns leave the bees with less food and damaged immune systems.

To learn more about these issues, watch the documentary https://youtu.be/CBmlwx_6A8Q on Youtube.

What Can We Do To Help The Bees?

The demand for both beeswax and honey continues to grow. In much the same way as palm oil (which we also avoid), these products are found in everything from skincare products to furniture wax to candies, candles, etc. This can only fuel in increased use of bees in ways that leave them vulnerable to disease and death. While there are thousands of bee species, the few that produce honey are the ones that are relied on to produce ever increasing amounts of honey and beeswax. Here are a few things that you can do:

  • Avoid the use of pesticides. Not only have they been implicated in colony collapse disorder, but repeated exposure may put your health at risk, as well. Use natural means like vinegar (for killing weeds), diatomaceous earth (avoid inhaling), and hand picking to eliminate pests. Use companion plants (e.g. tomatoes and basil), which will encourage good bugs to take care of pests. After all, pesticides can kill beneficial species like bees as well.
  • Avoid products containing commercially-produced honey and beeswax (Cera alba). Although honey, propolis and royal jelly have been touted for their health-promoting properties, these products are not essential for good health and these claims have not been substantiated scientifically. Moreover, more and more consumers are experiencing sensitivity to beeswax. Harvesting these products disturbs the bee’s habits and habitat in some way – which is something that we’d like to avoid. There are many substitutes for honey like maple syrup, agave nectar, and simple syrup made from organic cane sugar. Instead of beeswax, we use candelilla wax, carnauba wax, sunflower wax, and (in the future) bayberry or non-gmo rapeseed wax in our products. For example, we have been using sustainably-harvested candelilla wax in our Body Balms since Day 1. So check your labels or go online and find out what ingredients are in your skincare products. And look for plant-based, vegan and gmo-free products.
  • Buy local whenever possible. That includes local produce, seeds and flowering plants. If you can grow your own food, do so organically. Plant flowers that attract bees like bee balm, purple coneflower and sunflowers. And if you must enjoy honey and beeswax, buy local honey from reputable independent beekeepers. They are more fully committed to preserving the bees’ habitats and health.
  • Learn more about the indigenous bee species that live in your area. Many bee species do not produce honey, but their important role as pollinators should not be ignored.

Let us strive to co-exist with these workhorses, while helping them to thrive and grow in number.

The Kind Life blog post on beeswax
Article on market demand for beeswax
Smallbones Studio article on beeswax candles
PETA article on factory-farmed bees
BBC Earth article about bees