Skin Care Products Demand Research For Safety
Each year, new skin care brands enter the market and cloud the waters with product claims that can make your head spin. Many offer new, magic ingredient and others depend on attacking established, scientifically proven ingredients. Here are some facts to help you cut through the confusion.
Vitamin A. If there is a universal ingredient in skin care that has received unprecedented support, it is vitamin A. As early as 1938, researchers have documented both the need for vitamin A in skin care, and its role in constructively ameliorating photodamaged skin. Some websites, blogs and brands indicate that vitamin A is a known human reproductive toxicant. Yet, much research shows that vitamin A is safe for use in cosmetics. In fact, vitamin A is alleged to be one of the most effective—if not the most effective—ingredient in anti-aging skin care.
Propylene Glycol. A much-maligned ingredient, propylene glycol is safe for use in cosmetics. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Cosmetic Ingredient Review’s (CIR) National Toxicology Program, there is negligible, if any, concern related to its use. In fact, it is safe to eat. This ingredient comes in two forms: vegetable sources and synthetic sources, such as petroleum. It is safe in cosmetic use and no toxicity was found at dose levels used in skin care. The concentration in cosmetic preparations is normally under 2%. The CIR stated it is safe in concentrations up to 50%.7 There is no scientific evidence or truth to the assertions that, in the form and dose used in skin care, it causes cancer, or brain, kidney or liver damage.
Parabens. One of the most controversial and researched preservatives are parabens. Health concerns include links to the development of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity, as well as immunotoxicity and neurotoxicity. Parabens are nature’s way of providing self-preservation for many naturally occurring fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, strawberries and carrots. Parabens have been deemed safe, after multiple studies by the FDA, the Japanese Ministry of Health and the European Commission. Parabens do not accumulate in the body. Parabens have been the subject of much misinformation, rumor-mongering and unfounded hype about their dangers based on a few poorly designed studies.
Mineral Oil. The highly refined, pharmaceutical-grade of mineral oil has no adverse effect on the stratum cornium. Mineral oil has been shown to improve skin softness and is a safe ingredient that removes excess oil and can help dissolve comedones. Its value in treating oily skin is unquestioned. The claims that today’s pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil is carcinogenic are false with no data to support them.
Disodium EDTA. Disodium EDTA and its salts are used as chelating agents in cosmetics. The typical concentration is less than 2%. The CIR expert panel recognized this ingredient as safe. A definitive research document on the safety of disodium EDTA was published in the International Journal of Toxicology.
How do you separate fact from fiction, fear-mongering from science, marketing hype from truth? Ask the right questions and follow up with a persistent search for independent, third-party scientific documentation. Too much of what is communicated to skin care professionals comes from individuals and companies driven by self-interest. Demand proof of claims and, if someone is attacking an ingredient’s safety, seek out the other side of the assertion.
When searching for information, do not stop at the first few sites that come up. Take the time to look deeper as you search for information. Visit sites that are founded in scientific research, chemistry and toxicology. Seek out information outside of the traditional skin care organizations, company information and websites.