We’ve had elections recently in France, the US and the UK. We’ve had quite a lot of them in the UK actually. One of the things that happens a lot in politics is that partisans for one side or the other are keen to make out that their opponents have made a lot of mistakes. Given their terrible track record, you should boot them out and pick someone else instead is the argument. This is a convincing line if, and only if, the people who have got things wrong never learn from their errors. But the reality is that when things go wrong most of us look at the situation and see what we can learn to avoid getting it wrong again next time. I think this is true in every walk of life, and it is definitely true in the world of cosmetic formulation. The best lesson is getting something wrong and having to put it right. Good judgement is the result of experience. But experience is the result of bad judgement. You won’t get much right without first getting a lot of things wrong.
I don’t think that animal testing works the way some people commentating on the internet appear to think it works. This was brought home to me when I was asked a question about a new preservative material called silver citrate. It is one that might appeal to the lovers of natural because both silver and citrate sound safe and natural. We all know what silver is and so assume it is safe. Citric acid sounds like it comes from oranges so that sounds pretty safe too. But the person who was interested in it had read the material safety data sheet that came with it, and concluded that it had been tested on animals. For them this was a no no. Continue reading
A question about an ingredient from Sara.
Hi, just wondering if you could give some information on the preservative Polyaminopropyl Biguanide? Apparently it was banned by the EU in January 2015 however appears to be still used in many beauty products including up to very recently Liz Earle’s cleanse and polish. Many thanks.
I am not a big fan of Facebook. I find the interface a bit busy and confusing, and I haven’t really worked out who can actually see stuff when I post it. But it is a big platform so I feel obliged to got on it every now and again. I was on it recently and a side bar suggested I should join a group called “Get Methylisothiazolinone Removed From Products!”. It sounded interesting so I clicked on it and thought no more about it. Continue reading
Preservatives in cosmetic products are a problem and will remain so until the way they are made and used changes significantly. I imagine someone somewhere is working on a project to create cosmetics in a small machine which you can programme with your favourite recipes. That would enable people to choose their own preservative option or to not use them at all and just make their personal care products fresh as needed. But until that technology becomes widespread preservatives are a necessity, and some people will have allergic reactions to them. Even the ones with a low propensity to cause allergic reactions, like the parabens and methylisothiazolinone, still cause plenty of people issues.? Continue reading
There are an interesting couple of points in the comments thread on my blog post asking for MI not to become a scare story, from Suzanne. She has drawn my attention to a paper from 2012 that details developmental problems in tadpoles exposed to MI. She concludes from this that MI is potentially unsafe for humans as well and asks what the liability is for companies that continue to use it now that this risk has been identified. Continue reading
There is a news story that L’Oréal have issued a product recall for their Ideal Moisture Dry and Sensitive Day Cream in Canada. The reason is that the level of MI in it is higher than Health Canada’s regulations allow. This is quite a rare event – big cosmetic companies are usually pretty good at following regulations. Unfortunately Google has not revealed the details of just how much over they were. But the product has been on the market for three years so there is a good chance that they have simply failed to keep up with the regulations and that the product was legal when formulated and launched. They have shifted just under 60,000 units. Continue reading
Antioxidants get a lot of interest for the skin benefits, but for a cosmetic chemist they also have a rather more mundane use. If you are using natural ingredients in your products, and particularly some natural oils, you need to give some thought to the risks of oxidation of the product over its shelf life. Left to themselves many oils will go rancid, which gives them an unpleasant odour and often affects the colour. Consumers love natural products in principle, but aren’t keen on being presented with brown smelly ones. It is a shame to mess up a natural story by including chemical antioxidants, so what are the natural antioxidant alternatives? Continue reading
One of the most surprising things about blogging is how much you learn. A good example arrived in my inbox yesterday. I have just started a newsletter for people with sensitive skin, largely because I get a lot of people getting in touch looking for information about it, and in particular sensitivity to methylisothiazolinone or MI. This is of course of no interest at all to the 99.9% people who don’t have a problem with it, so I thought a newsletter was a good way of giving them the information they want without devoting too many blog posts to it. But a list member drew my attention to something simply too interesting not to share it. Continue reading
I get a lot of traffic to this blog from people interested in methylisothiazolinone, or as it is now known MI. For people who haven’t been following the story, here’s a quick recap. MI has been used for about 40 years in combination with a closely related chemical called methylchloroisothiazolinone. I’ll call that MCI. The combination works extremely well at very low levels. Its Achilles Heel is that it causes a lot of allergic reactions when used at higher levels. This took formulators a while to work out when it was first introduced. But the level was scaled down and the reactions went down. Continue reading