We've all heard our fair share of rumors about the dangers of various ingredients and chemicals commonly found in beauty products. James Grundy, Eufora's Director of Research and Development, takes a close look at these myths and misconceptions and explains what you need to know to get the facts right!
Flip through below as James Grundy busts 5 common beauty myths!
[Top image: Getty images/iStock; Bottom Image: James Grundy and Michelle Laxson bust beauty product myths at Eufora's Global Leadership Conference][pagebreak]
Sulfates are bad and they are all the same.
ALS is much milder than SLS. It is made of the lauryl coconut soap ester and the sulfate; the same as in SLS. However, the irritating sodium atom is not present and instead an ammonium (not ammonia) molecule (not an atom) made up of one nitrogen and four hydrogen atoms (NH). This ammonium end of the molecular compound is spread out covering so much of an area that it restricts skin penetration.
Essentially ALS is too large of a molecular weight (size) to penetrate the skin and blood system. The ammonium bonding is safe with few unstable electrons to cause damage to tissues. ALS cannot react with nitrogen bearing or other compounds to produce either carcinogenic nitrates or dioxins unlike SLS or SLES. [pagebreak]
Salts are drying and they are all the same.
We think of Salt as the stuff we eat (Sodium Chloride). It's used in personal care products often as a thickening agent in Shampoo's and Body Washes in very, very minute amounts which really wouldn't cause "Drying" to the hair or skin. Because we use them to dry out meat, some consumers associate it with the word “drying”. According to Wikipedia, "In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of related numbers of cations (positively charged ions) and anions (negative ions) so that the product is electrically neutral (without a net charge)." One particular "Salt" used in hair care is Cetrimonium Chloride (which sounds very similar to Sodium Chloride). However, it is used as a conditioning agent. When it's put into a conditioner, the Cetrimonium (+) cation dissociates (separates) from the Chloride (-) anion and the Cetrimonium binds to our hair which is slightly negative in charge (similar to magnets attaching together). The cetrimonium molecule is very conditioning to the hair and is what gives us slip, softness and shine! [pagebreak]
Parabens cause cancer!
Let’s look at the facts and set the record straight:
1. The paraben controversy and the idea they cause breast cancer rests on ONE single medical study that was published in 2004. The methodology of that study, however, was flawed:
Parabens were indeed detected in cancerous breast tissue samples, however parabens were also detected in the control group (organic matter with no trace of cancer).
As there were parabens in both the cancer tissue and the control, it is not accurate to conclude that parabens cause breast cancer. The American Cancer Society claims that the “studies have not shown any direct link between parabens and any health problems, including breast cancer!”
2. There has been no further published study in the 5 years since that initial study confirming parabens’ role in breast cancer.
3. Parabens are approved by all of the cosmetic regulatory bodies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is not the case, for example, with hydroquinone, which is banned by the European equivalent of FDA.
4. Parabens have an extremely low skin sensitivity factor, meaning that very few people are allergic or have skin irritation to parabens. This is not the case with some of the paraben alternatives, including essential oils, which are very sensitizing and appear on the European list of top allergens.
5. Finally, parabens have the broadest spectrum of action on bacteria, yeast, and mold, meaning they are effective on almost all. This again is not the case of paraben alternatives, whether natural or synthetic. [pagebreak]
Gluten is bad.
Okay, gluten is bad for you if you have Celiac Disease. However, Celiac Disease has been estimated as effecting only 1% of the population (very small amount). Celiac Disease is an intestinal condition where gluten, a stretchy protein found in wheat type grains, will bind up Villi in the intestine, (small, finger-like projections that protrude from the epithelial lining of the intestinal wall [Wikipedia]). The binding of the Villi in the intestine causes the villi not to absorb important nutrients we need. This leads to symptoms including: lack of energy, tiredness, weight loss, gas and bloating. Our skin is considered a barrier which doesn’t allow large molecules to enter very easily. Gluten is a very large protein and as such would have a very difficult time entering the blood stream and getting into the intestine.
Gluten is a fad and a buzz word that many consumers really don’t understand. They hear about it in social media and from celebrities and then go out to find products including personal care products that fall into those types of fads. Gluten intolerance is different than a wheat allergy and consumers that think they might have a wheat allergy should get tested by a dermatologist. [pagebreak]
#5: Alcohol is drying
I get this one a lot. Many consumers aren’t scientists and don’t really understand the difference between Isopropyl and Denatured Alcohol from many other alcohols. An alcohol is an alcohol right? The fact is Alcohol is a general chemistry term for an Oxygen and a Hydrogen bonded together (Hydroxyl group) and connected to Carbon. There are many alcohols we utilize in personal care products; Cetyl, Stearyl, Cetearyl Alcohol’s (just to name a few). These “alcohols” are actually waxes (oils at higher temperatures). These materials give formulations viscosity and help to emulsify (bring together) water and oil to create lotions, conditioners and creams. They are in reality not drying but the opposite, they are truly moisturizing to the hair and skin.
[First image: Getty images/iStock]