Regular readers will know that any aqueous cosmetic product needs a preservative to stop it going mouldy. Preservatives tend to get a bad press, and given that most of them are inevitably toxic they are probably going to carry on getting it. Preservatives get a lot of attention not only from journalists and the nervous, but also from regulators. The EU cosmetic regulations only permit certain preservatives and only allow them at prescribed levels. This means that the job of supplying preservatives is a difficult one. Not only are you always dreading a bad news story, you can also wake up to find that the regulations have changed and you can no longer sell your product. Continue reading
It is a sad fact of life that not many of the fancy sounding ingredients that cosmetic companies add to their formulations add much to the benefits those products have for your skin. A good moisturiser is a pretty handy tool for dealing with dry skin, but how much of the good it does you comes from the things that the pack talks about is usually pretty minimal. But there are a few things that do have some real effects, and one of them is vitamin C. 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
There was a lot of interest in hypoallergenic products back in the eighties when I first started as a formulator. Back then the perception was that natural ingredients were the problem. Like a lot of popular ideas it corresponded to prejudice rather than evidence. But few of us, scientists included, trouble to check our beliefs against actual data. Continue reading
I am afraid this is old news, though as it happens new to me. I am not sure how I missed it but it turns out that a very large and well conducted survey was carried out into the link between antiperspirants and breast cancer. It was done in 2002 by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and is explicitly inspired by internet rumours about such a link. Continue reading
This is what a patch test looks like.
Should you use natural products if you have sensitive skin?
There is an argument that you shouldn’t. The problem is that an allergic reaction is caused by your immune system reacting to something that it encounters and identifies as a threat. Natural products contain a wider diversity of ingredients so you have a bigger chance of one of them being something that will give you a problem. Continue reading
Colin’s Beauty Pages has been getting massive traffic over the last couple of days from people searching out information on methylisothiazolinone. I gather the issue has got some media coverage over in the US – which is where most of it is coming from. I don’t know exactly what form it has taken but it looks like the emphasis has been on MI containing baby wipes. Continue reading
One of the Chemists’ Corner team made a very good point on Twitter. If antibacterial soaps, most of which contain triclosan, are effective then industry shouldn’t have any trouble demonstrating the fact. The context to this is a recent request from the FDA for data supporting the efficacy of antibacterial soaps. Continue reading
An interesting question from Patricia that I think might interest some other people.
I have sensitive skin and always look for cosmetic products which are free of harsh chemicals. I was not aware of the m1 preservative until today when a report was made on the breakfast show and will in future try to find a product which does not include it. However, I have been aware of parabens for some time and have tried to use products that do not include parabens, difficult. Lloyds the Chemist did bring out a range of their own brand moisturisers parabens free, but for some reason I can’t find that range now, think it may be discontinued. Inecto make a moisture replenishing body lotion which is paraben free, I love this, and have given to friends and to one young friend in particular who suffers from dermatitis and she likes it very much. I have checked some of the most expensive brands of cosmetics, and for some reason most seem to include parabens in their make up, don’t know why because surely cosmetics, particularly lipsticks, are something which are used up pretty quickly, I know mine are.
I think there are two distinct meanings to the term sensitive skin. Some people have skin that is just a lot more porous and dry than others. This means that it is not a good barrier and is prone to becoming dry and itchy. I can sympathise with this as my skin is a bit like this, and is getting worse as I get older. Continue reading