In the first "Let's Dissect an Ingredients List", I showed how a certain wrinkle product had many concerning ingredients. In this post, I'll write about a more famous product that most of us have probably never purchased simply because of its' outrageous price. I think you may know the one.....has a French name....great marketing, the stars apparently love it, owned by a huge company.
When we go shopping, we don't always have the time to check out the entire ingredients list. There are so many unfamiliar words, it becomes daunting. If you're out and find something you think you'd like to buy, take a picture of the list, go home and start the long process of research. I promise it will be worth the effort.
For me, gone are the days of blissfully buying a department store cream without knowing what the ingredients where, and not really caring at the time. I was sold on the promise of bettering my skin and brand loyalty. That's the key...brand loyalty. I also can't stand the amount of fragrance in those creams anymore. It's overpowering.
I think we all know by now that nothing will stop the aging process. We simply have to take care of the skin we have at every decade with the most natural ingredients available to us. Not forgetting sunscreen.
And so, to give you a bit of information about what's really in this particular face cream, here are the ingredients:
**Algae (Seaweed) Extract, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Powder, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed cake, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Sodium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Magnesium Sulfate, Paraffin, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Water, Beta-Carotene, Decyl Oleate, Aluminum Distearate, Octyldodecanol, Citric Acid, Cyanocobalamin, Magnesium Stearate, Panthenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Sodium Benzoate, Alcohol Denat., Fragrance.
I won't comment on every ingredient. There are some decent ingredients such as the sesame oil, eucalyptus oil, alfalfa powder, sweet almond oil, etc. Anything that looks to be plant based, is usually fine. Having said that, there are people with sensitivities to certain plants, oils and nuts, so it's best to err on the side of caution. When you buy a cream/lotion you've never used before, patch test it first.
Algae Seaweed Extract. I will commend this company for including the main marketed ingredient first. The first ingredient always has the higher content. In Canada, when we fill out the forms to register a product, the first ingredient can be from 30-100%. So this cream starts off great. But it's not made in Canada and it doesn't mention anything about being organic.
Mineral oil. There are SO many other oils that could have been used here. Better oils. According to WebMD, you can experience stinging and irritation from this emollient. They most likely used this because it's cheap.
Petrolatum. Yes, it's petroleum. When properly refined, it has no known health effects however it's not usually properly refined. This means it can have toxins including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Those can be cancer causing. We don't know if those are in this cream. Besides, why would anyone want to put petroleum on their face?
Isohexadecane is a synthetic component of petroleum and can irritate the skin if you have sensitivities. Widely used in cosmetics as an emollient.
Microcrystalline wax is a specific type of petroleum-based wax originally derived from crude oil. Enough already with the petroleum !
Lanolin Alcohol is a natural product obtained from the fleece of sheep. It is commonly used in a wide array of products such as cosmetics, creams, insect repellants, shoe polish, ski wax, sunscreen, etc, etc. That's fine, however it can irritate the skin and is posted on the Contact Dermatitis Institutes' website as a product to avoid if you have sensitivities.
Magnesium Sulfate aka Epsom salts. It can help with inflammation but when taken in higher doses, isn't good for people with heart conditions. I doubt there's enough to harm anyone in this formula, but ask your health care provider if you have concerns about any cream.
Paraffin. More petroleum. (looking for the emoji with the hand over the face)
Aluminum Distearate is an aluminum salt of stearic acid. The FDA considers it to be safe in limited use however we now know that aluminum, as a known neurotoxicant, contributes to cognitive dysfunction and may contribute to Alzheimer's disease. It's not a good idea to have it in sunscreen or deodorant...why then is it in a face cream? There may be very little of it in this cream (we don't know the formula amount) but when you use something repeatedly, it can accumulate.
Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of vitamin B12. There is limited research showing vitamin B12 has any benefit when applied topically on skin.
Panthenol is a chemical substance made from pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B-5.
Hydroxycitronellal is a synthetic fragrance that is widely used in many cosmetics and hygiene products. It has the scent of lily of the valley. Hydroxycitronellal has also been shown to be a dermatologic irritant and allergen, and as a result commercially available products are restricted by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) to contain only 0.1-3.6%. Considering it's placed very low on the list of ingredients of this cream, it is most likely within that range.
Fragrance. By now, most of us know a lot about fragrances. While they are synthetic, they are not all created equal. Some people cannot tolerate them, yet others are fine and have no irritations. Unless you can acquire the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) on the fragrance, you won't know if it has reproductive toxicity.
There is a difference between using a fragrance in a 'wash-off' product and one that is left on your skin to soak in. Remember, you'll be applying the cream to your face once or twice a day for months onward. That coupled with all your other routine face treatments means that you're compounding the effects.
If a product has a fragrance blend, you'll never be able to know it's blend because many claim a "trade secret" to their fragrance mix.....and that's all legal. Each fragrance on it's own can also have dozens of ingredients, so to be able to zero in on exactly what is causing your sensitivity is difficult. If you have concerns, it's simply best to avoid it.
For example, one fragrance chemical compound called Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Lilial) was banned in Europe by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) March 1, 2022. It added Lilial to its list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) due to its potential to be toxic to reproduction, cause skin sensitization and allergic reactions. It is also banned in Canada. It is not in this particular cream but it can appear in other creams that are already on the market prior to the ban.
Is this cream worth the extraordinary price?
I'm my opinion, you'd be better off with a simple organic cream on the market that doesn't cost nearly what this one costs.
Personally, I feel it has too many petroleum based / associated ingredients that negate the fact that there's seaweed in it, not to mention the aluminum distearate!
Hope this has helped you to begin asking more questions about what's in your face cream. Have a chat with your Dermatologist or Health Care Provider. Research online with reputable sources. Be your own advocate and be safe.