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Oh the tricks they play!

read-the-label

So I am walking thru a large chain drugstore the other day and I see this new display that has a prominent sign across the top stating “100% Natural Moisturizers and Exfoliators” and some lovely looking cans below. A red flag pops up and I stop to investigate. To the unsuspecting consumer you would think “Awesome, A 100% natural lotion”! Which is exactly what they want you to assume. This play on words seems to be the “new norm” in the skin care world. How can we fool the customer into thinking our products are 100% natural and exactly what they are looking for while still filling them with all kinds of chemicals? They pay talented people a lot of money to come up with these statements.

Anyway, I pick up the can and the first thing I notice is in large prominent letters near the bottom of the can are the words “100%”. Then in smaller letters right below are the words “Natural Moisturizers”. Ahhhhh, I say in my head, tricky tricky. I flip the can over to read the ingredients and I see:

INGREDIENTS:
WATER, ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE, GLYCERIN, DIMETHICONE, SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE, FRAGRANCE, CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) FRUIT EXTRACT, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER, POLYGLYCERYL-3 DIISOSTEARATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, CARBOMER, XANTHAN GUM, AMMONIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE/VP COPOLYMER, STEARIC ACID, PHENOXYETHANOL, METHYLPARABEN, PROPYLPARABEN, DISODIUM EDTA.

As I figured, just another way to trick unsuspecting consumers. They have it worded in such a way that a consumer will automatically think it is 100% natural when in fact it may be that only the moisturizers contained in the lotion are 100% natural. Unfortunately, there are many other ingredients that make up a lotion. They are banking on unsuspecting consumers to not investigate any further than the 100% Natural Moisturizers prominent on their display. So let’s break this down and check it out.

WATER – Agreed, it is natural. Woo hoo, off to a good start!

ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE – Mmmm Isopropyl Myristate is a synthetic oil used as an emollient, thickening agent, or lubricant. But the largest concern is that it is deeply penetrating and can bring with it other chemicals. Composed of of Isopropyl Alcohol (a propane derivative) and Myristic Acid (a naturally-occurring fatty acid). This is the 2nd highest in the ingredient list so there is a large amount of it in the formula.

GLYCERIN – This can be synthetic or natural but is considered a humectant. It draws moisture to the skin.

DIMETHICONE – Synthetically derived silicone oil. Helps provide the illusion that your skin is smooth and hydrated but it actually coats and suffocates the skin over time.

SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE- Naturally derived emulsifier. Keeps oil and water together.

FRAGRANCE – More than likely synthetic, could be a combination of many chemicals. Concerns me as it is 5th on the list. So the lotion contains more fragrance than the rest of ingredients below it. Mmmm… so that means either there is a lot of fragrance in the product or the ingredients below are minimal in amount and that includes the natural moisturizer Shea Butter.

CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) FRUIT EXTRACT – Sounds natural doesn’t it? Majority of these extracts are contaminated with one or multiples of benzalkonium chloride, triclosan, centrimonium bromide, decytrimeethylammonium, methyl paraben and propyl paraben. These synthetic contaminants are what gives Grapefruit seed extract it’s effectiveness as a preservative and is HIDDEN from consumers.

BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER – YIPPEEE! A natural fat from Shea nuts in Africa.

POLYGLYCERYL-3 DIISOSTEARATE – Co-emulsifier, surfactant, thickener, An ester made from dehydration of fatty acids and polyol of polyglycerin.

TAPIOCA STARCH – A natural starchy flour.

CARBOMER – Polymeric chemical. stabilizer and thickener.

XANTHAN GUM – A natural thickener and stabilizer. AMMONIUM

ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE/VP COPOLYMER – A synthetic polymer, thickener, stabilizer. Suspect health cautions.

STEARIC ACID – A saturated fatty acid from animal or vegetable fat.

PHENOXYETHANOL – A glycol ether and bactericide. Used as a mild preservative.

METHYLPARABEN, PROPYLPARABEN – Paraben preservatives. Suspect health concerns.

DISODIUM EDTA – Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid. Chemical used to bind impurities.

So of the 18 ingredients in the list only 7 of them are considered natural (approx.38%) and the only real natural moisturizer is Shea Butter. Unfortunately, the shea butter is not a prominent ingredient.

So next time you are in the store and looking for natural skin care don’t just assume it is even remotely close to being natural just because it has words like Natural Actives, Natural Beauty, All Natural, Organic, Infused with Natural Botanicals, Pure and Clean, Natural Extracts (mostly all extracts contain preservatives) and the list goes on.

Check out the following links for more info:

http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue94/QUALCONTROL_gfse.html

http://static.ewg.org/skindeep/pdf/EWG_cosmeticsguide.pdf

READ THE LABEL!

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