We have known of skin allergic reactions associated with cosmetic products for many years. And each year, hundreds of studies add further information about the safety of ingredients. As a result, new regulations and limitations on use are constantly emerging. Which ingredients are the most allergenic?
Health authorities have published numerous lists of ingredients whose allergenic potential is known. But as well as considering an ingredient’s facility for eliciting an immune reaction, we also need to consider its frequency of contact with the skin and mucous membranes. Both these factors – allergenic potential and application frequency – are the triggers for most cases of undesirable reactions produced by the use of cosmetic products. Read More
To try and guarantee that the gels, creams and other cosmetics we apply to our skin every day are not harmful to health, individual ingredients undergo strict controls. Once combined with others in product formulas, they are tested on volunteers before commercial launch to ensure that negative impact on the skin is minimal or non-existent. How are these controls implemented?
Our readers are aware of the fact that European cosmetics legislation prohibits animal testing or the purchase of raw materials from countries where animals are used for safety tests. The testing system currently in use tries to ensure that each individual ingredient is safe. However, ingredients may interact when combined in a product, resulting in new components that might modify the safety of the final product. Current regulations do not state which tests are mandatory, but do indicate that manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products. The cosmetics industry applies a wide range of tests, depending on how the cosmetic is applied and used (no animals are used, naturally). Read More
The paradoxes of language – or of marketing. Having skin like a baby’s is synonymous with having soft, near-perfect skin. Cosmetic firms, in fact, sell this concept in their formulas. However, the skin of newborns – much thinner than that of adults and so more sensitive – tends to have marks, redness, peeling, dryness and pimples. Nothing serious, though, that cannot be remedied with some basic care.
Nappy rash, cradle cap and milk spots are some of the terms that parents quickly learn within weeks of the birth of a baby. These are not serious conditions and merely require basic care and patience, but they produce the misleading feeling, especially in new parents, that they are doing something wrong. The conditions appear shortly after parents begin to notice, in the first days of a baby's life, that their baby’s skin is not perfect. Read More
Seaweed (alga) is a hit in the anti-ageing skin care market. Many cosmetics are using seaweed as their star ingredient, attributing it with beneficial properties for enhancing our appearance. Creams and lotions of all kinds are prepared from "seaweed extract". How genuine is its anti-ageing properties? Or is this a question of misleading advertising?
Many companies, especially from France, Canada, the USA and Australia, sell harvested seaweed extract as an ingredient for personal care products. Their advertising usually emphasizes that the extract is a very useful anti-skin-ageing alternative. Algae are organisms that are simpler than land plants. There are thousands of species worldwide, some used since time immemorial for various purposes (in China they have been used since 5,000 years ago). Read More