How to “read” the composition of cosmetics?

Natural cosmetics manufacturers must adhere to the following rules:
– low-quality cheap raw materials (paraffin) are not used;
refined products are not used;
– the composition does not contain mineral (paraffin) oils that clog the pores of the skin;
– cosmetics do not contain synthetic fragrances and dyes;
paraben-free cosmetics;
– cosmetics contain only natural or permitted identical to natural preservatives;
– in the manufacture of products, the manufacturer prefers raw materials grown in controlled fields or certified wild plants are used;
– all cosmetics free of animal substances (eg mink oil, animal fats, animal collagen);
– composition of cosmetics – GMO-free (genetically modified products).

How this is made?

Are you not paying attention to what the cosmetics are made of yet, or are you already reading the composition on the label, but have not yet figured out all these complex names? Let’s take a closer look at these complex names and evaluate how this or that cosmetics is useful for your skin, even if the advertisement tells you otherwise!

How to “read” the composition of a cosmetic product correctly?

On the packaging you will find a list of ingredients according to the INCI scheme: INCI / International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients / is the international designation system for ingredients in cosmetics. The main purpose of this nomenclature is to enable people with allergies, before buying, to clarify the presence of harmful and unsafe components in cosmetics. INCI names only occasionally correspond to chemical names. The list of perfume components includes only 26 permitted names of fragrances.
The ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration in cosmetics. This rule applies to all ingredients exceeding 1% concentration. When listing ingredients whose concentration in a product is less than 1%, this rule does not have to be followed.
The colourants are indicated at the end of the list using special numbers assigned by the system. The standard does not prescribe a specific classification or order of their listing. If there are different color options for a cosmetic product, then the name of the dye used in a particular product is enclosed in square brackets.
The “+/-” sign indicates that not all of the listed colorants may be contained in cosmetics, for example: [+/- CI12700, CI14270, CI20470].
In order to maintain the secrecy of the recipe, some ingredients are indicated using seven-digit codes, for example, 600277D or ILN5643.
Most Hazardous Ingredients (INCI List):

  1. Irritant surfactants
  2. Mineral and synthetic oils & petroleum products
  3. Chemical preservatives and fragrances
  4. Organohalogen compounds
  5. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents
  6. Nitrosamine formation
  7. Hazardous UV filters
  1. Irritant surfactants (surfactants):

Emulsifiers and surfactants are often used as foaming agents in shampoos, bath foams, shower gels, etc.

Very cheap synthetic active detergents (Tenside) can cause allergic reactions.

TH (further number) – synthetic emulsifiers make the skin “permeable” to harmful substances.

  1. Mineral and synthetic oils & Petroleum products
    Mineral oils are popular inexpensive raw materials often used in the cosmetic industry. Their disadvantage is the ability to create an impenetrable film on the skin surface (pore-clogging effect). Mineral oils = refined petroleum products.

This raw material weakens the skin’s own lipid barrier, the skin loses moisture, and the so-called “skin insatiability” effect occurs. The feeling of dryness forces you to reapply the cream to your skin again and again, weakening the lipid barrier more and more – this vicious circle only plays into the hands of cosmetics manufacturers: this is the mechanism of addiction formation.

Mineral oils / hydrocarbons include, for example:
CERESIN / CERESIN – purified ozokerite
PETROLATUM / PETROLATUM – a mixture of paraffin, ceresin and high-viscosity oils
C 13-14 ISOPARAFFIN and C 13-16 ISOPARAFFIN / ISOPARAFFIN – a mixture of solid hydrocarbons, used as a structure-forming component

3.Hydrocarbon compounds

Hydrocarbons cannot be completely absorbed into the skin, and, as a result, they form an invisible thin film that prevents the skin from functioning properly, often the skin does not “breathe”. It is also important to know that most kinds of paraffin are not excreted from the body.

4.Neutralizing agents

Neutralizing agents are synthetic agents used to normalize the acid-base balance (pH) of a cosmetic product. May lead to allergies, and in contact with other cosmetic ingredients containing nitrates, forms NITROSAMINES. When nitrates are released into the blood on a daily basis, they gradually have a devastating effect on human health.

Neutralizing agents include:

DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) / DIETANOLAMINE (DEA) – (foaming suffractant) potential carcinogen, when combined with nitrates forms carcinogenic nitrosamines
TRIETHANOLAMINE (TEA) / TRIETANOLAMINE – TEA – colorless or light yellow viscous hygroscopic liquid with a specific amine odor, has the properties of amines and alcohols
Synthetic products used to normalize the acid-base balance (ph) of cosmetics can lead to allergies, and in contact with other skin.

  1. Formaldehyde and substances
    Formaldehyde has practically ceased to be used in cosmetics since it was officially recognized as a carcinogen. Today, substances that can emit formaldehyde are dangerous. Professor Eberhard Heimann compares such substances with a “Trojan horse”, because upon prolonged contact with water, formaldehyde breaks down, and, like a Trojan horse, the separated aldehyde is “sent” straight into the cells. Formaldehyde-containing substances are highly reactive and capable of damaging body cells.
    INCI designation:
    2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol, bronopol, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1.3-dioxane, diazolidinylurea, imidazolidinylurea, germaben II, hexamethylenetetramine, quaternium-15, sodium hydroxymethyl, glycinate (tosylamide) resin.
  2. Formation of nitrosamines
    Nitrosamines, which are the most dangerous carcinogens, can get into cosmetics as a result of using contaminated raw materials, as well as a form during storage of cosmetics.
    INCI designation:
    2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol, bronopol, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1.3-dioxane, bronidox, acetamide MEA, CI 11680 (pigment yellow 1), CI 11710 (pigment yellow 3), CI 60725, CI 61565 (solvent green 3), CI 61570 (acid green 25), cocamidopropylamine oxide, DEA-cetyl phosphate, ethanolamine, monoethanolamine lactic acid amide, lauramide DEA (lauric acid-diethanolamine, DEA linoleamide lamide) soiamide DEA, TEA, TEA-dodecyl benzosulfonate, TEA lactate, TPA-lauryl sulfate, TEA-stearate (TEA-tallate), triethanolamine, tromethamine, undicylenamide DEA.
  3. Dangerous UV filters
    Recent studies have shown that many chemical UV filters pose potential health risks (breast cancer, increased uterine growth, hormonal changes) and can even penetrate into breast milk! These UV filters are thought to have a hormone-like effect.
    INCI designation:
    Benzophenone-3 (Oxybenzon) / benzophenone-3 (BF-3) – still highly allergenic (!), Benzophenone-1 (BF-1) – not allowed in the EU as UV filters, benzophenone-2 (BF-2) – not allowed in the EU as UV filters, Homosalate (Homomenthylsalicylat or HMS) /, Homosalate (HMS), Octyl-Dimethyl-Para-Amino-Benzoic-Acid (OD-PABA) / Octyldimethyl PABA (OD-PABA), Octocrylene / Octocrylene, 3-Benzylidencamphor / 3-benzylidene camphor (3-BK), Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate / ethylhexylmethoxycinnamate
  4. Other critical UV filters
    INCI designation:
    4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBK), ethylhexylmethoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane

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