From the blog of Krug's Eco-Logic's handcrafted natural bath & beauty products.
You've seen all the commercials of big brand lotions claiming to be ultra-moisturizing and affordable. They do have it right, for the volume they sell in each bottle, it sure is affordable. But what REALLY are you buying? What about these ribbons, and ultra moisturizing ingredients. Are they really IN there? And if they are - how MUCH is in there? Let's check out one of the products we see in television ads continuously - Dove Nourishing Moisture Body Lotion (linked to Dove's Product).
There you will see what it claims: to immediately soften skin's surface, then dig deep to moisturizes within, and continue to nourish for 24 hours.
Now, let's take a look at the ingredients. Keep in mind, we don't know specific amounts of each item, but we do know that the items must be listed by their amounts (greatest to least):
Water - this is the main component in any lotion
Glycerin - humectant (drawing water from the air, to the skin) .... though we're not sure of what origin this glyercin is from - could be animal or vegetable fats.
Cyclopentasiloxane - synthetic emollient (softens the skin), and may cause mild skin irritations/rashes. Some evidence has shown that it may disrupt marine life.
Stearic Acid - used as an emulsifier (binding oil and water) - unsure of it's origin here (vegetable or animal)
Caprilic Triglyceride - characteristic of an indefinite shelf life, this synthetic emollient is found in many lotions. It provides the skin with a slippery, silky feel.
Glycerol Stearate - naturally derived fatty acid, used as an emulsifier in lotions (could be of plant, animal, or mechanically synthesized origins)
Carbomer - synthetic polymer used to thicken emulsions or to help suspend particles in solution
Dimethiconol - a synthetic silicon ingredient used to make emulsion 'spreadable', and give a glossy/silky feel
Fragrance - synthetic scenting oils, have been known to cause irritation in some individuals (this is dependent on individual, quality of fragrance, and amount used).
** please note - some individuals' skin is too sensitive for natural scenting oils **
Sodium Hydroxide - also known as "lye" - a caustic, basic (high pH) substance that can be used to turn fats into soap (known as 'cold process' soap making). In this particular emulsion, it's most likely added to adjust the pH of the solution. This is an ingredient I (personally) would never, ever add to any product you'd leave on your skin, and would only use it if it's changed in a chemical process (i.e. cold process soap making).
Phenoxyethanol - a synthetic preservative, about which the FDA (at one point) issued a 'consumer warning'. Studies have shown chromosomal damage in low to moderate dosages.
Methylparaben and Propylparaben - synthetic preservatives that have been shown in some studies (not all) to increase the potential for cancer
Disodium EDTA - it's possible uses are as follows: synthetic preservative, stabilizer, penetration agent (allows other substances to penetrate skin increasing amounts of other ingredients that will enter the blood stream), and has been shown to have been cytotoxic and genotoxic in laboratory studies, some have shown moderate mutant abilities, while other studies have shown only mild mutant abilities. The FDA has this chemical approved for usage in food, and cosmetics.
Titanium Dioxide - Natural whitening agent with slight sunlight protective abilities
In summary - this particular lotion does have ingredients who's properties allow your skin to immediately feel smooth and 'hydrated'. However, the ingredients used here to impart such a feel are all synthetic. By using these big box products you are slathering loads of synthetics over your skin.
So what's the bottom line??? The bottom line is, this is just one product out there that's claiming to be ultra-good for your skin, and at a fantastic value. Yes... it is affordable, but will you be purchasing other products to sooth your dried skin despite using 'big-box' store lotion? Will you be visiting the dermatologist in hopes of healing your dried and cracked hands?
We make very conscious decisions about the food we put in our mouths. We hear continuously about trans-fats, carbs, calories, and serving sizes. Yet, we often quickly overlook what exactly we're putting ON ourselves - on our very largest organ. If you shouldn't eat it, you probably shouldn't be putting it on your skin.
While it is absolutely necessary to preserve aqueous solutions that will be sitting in a closet or on a shelf for months at a time, there are preservatives that have been shown to be not quite as toxic, irritating, or ecologically & genetically destructive and can be utilized at lower doses if the product is not intended to sit on a shelf for multiple years (another reason why buying handmade is best). Quickly read up on preservatives and find the ones you feel best about putting on to your skin, and into the environment.
As you're checking the ingredients on your bottles, here are some questions to ask yourself:
*Are they synthetic? How toxic (or on the contrary .... non-disruptive) to my body and the environment are they?
*In the long run is this really going to benefit my skin, or will it dry it out? Am I just going to use more and more of the product to compensate for the chemicals long-term affects to my skin?
* If you are vegan, do your research - some of these ingredients may be animal derivatives (usually animal fats are cheaper than vegetable, so chances are the natural bi-products that are included (ex: glycerin, stearates) are animal derivatives.
((( A note to please keep in mind - "Natural" doesn't always mean 'safe for use'. There are some natural ingredients, when even at low doses, are not suitable for skin use. Even if your products SAY natural, make sure the ingredients are safe at the levels at which they're used. When in doubt - ask !! )))