"Bisabolol, kerosene, niacinamide, phthalene - which of these is of natural origin and which may even be harmful?" For some, soap and toothpaste are enough, for others, it can be more. Cosmetics are simply part of life - regardless of the quantity and type of use. Too often, we don't know exactly what's in the products we use every day. And maybe you also know these situations: You use cream and still have dry skin all the time. You use shampoo every day, but the greasy roots come sooner than you think. This is often due to the very substances that do not support you in your care or can even cause problems. Jars and tubes with creams, shampoos, and lotions often impress with their completely incomprehensible list of ingredients. Bisabolol, kerosene, niacinamide, phthalene - which of these is of natural origin and which may even be harmful? We at FRIEDMANBERLIN have taken a close look at the ingredients of various cosmetic products and have often found substances that, in our opinion, have no place on your skin or in your hair. We want to share our knowledge about harmful substances with you. We have summarized the most common substances for you and structured this article for you as follows: We'll take a look at all the substances you're sure to find in your face creams and skincare products, without perhaps knowing exactly what they're doing for you. Shower gel foams, conditioner makes your hair supple - that's only possible with suitable ingredients that have more than just benefits. You've probably got some kind of spray in your bathroom cabinet - we'll explain what's in it and why it's criticized. What else is there? A few outsiders among the controversial substances that we don't want to deprive you of. Ready to get to the bottom of the fine print on your cosmetics? Then we're happy to tell you more about potentially harmful substances. 1. face creams and lotions Creams or lotions are emulsions, a mixture of a watery component and an oily or greasy component. The type of component mixture determines the consistency and structure: oil-in-water makes for a hydrophilic cream, water-in-oil for a lipophilic cream. Mixed forms give the emulsion additional properties. Most emulsions are opaque and similar in consistency, which is also described as emulsion-like. In addition to creams and lotions, milk, ointments, and pastes are also emulsifying cosmetics. So what is in common creams and lotions? We have listed some of the key substances here and explained their negative properties. Mineral oil/ kerosene Mineral oils are highly purified, odorless oils that are used as oily or greasy components in most creams and lotions. They are obtained from conventional petroleum. Their advantage: they hardly ever cause allergies, they do not irritate the skin and they provide the right consistency. Why are they on this list? Because they do nothing for your skin. Because unlike vegetable oils, which are very similar to the skin's natural fats, mineral oils simply remain on the skin's surface, do not nourish it, and clog the pores. This can lead to acne and blackheads. For a long time, kerosenes were suspected of being carcinogenic. However, European limits apply and as long as these are adhered to, there is no risk to use. In common cosmetics, mineral oils are mixed with vegetable oils to have a caring effect. However, dry and sensitive skin, in particular, should be cared for exclusively with high-quality vegetable oils. In the small print, you will find mineral oils under Paraffin, Paraffinum Liquidum, Cera Microcristallina, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Paraffinum Subliquidum, Microcrystalline Wax, Ozokerite, Ceresin, Vaseline. While the short-term results are nice to see, in the long run, silicones reduce the quality of all other active ingredients. You can find silicones in the fine print by looking at the ingredients with the suffixes "-cone" or "-xane" - the most common are dimethicone, methicone, polysiloxane, or Cyclomethicone.
Phthalates are there to create a pliable consistency - similar to plasticizers in PVC, rain jackets, or toys. Chemically, it is a compound of acid and alcohol and in most cases hides in alcohol as a denaturant. This is because, to avoid the tax on spirits that are levied on drinkable alcohol within the European Community, most cosmetics manufacturers make it undrinkable by using phthalates. The most common are diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dimethyl phthalate (DMP), and their biggest problem is that they are both fat-soluble and water-soluble, so they can be absorbed through the skin, for example via aftershave or perfumed creams. Studies have shown that phthalates can affect the pancreas, promoting obesity and diabetes. A link between infertility and phthalates has also been proven, as the substance can damage sperm cells. The Federal Environment Agency has therefore long advised replacing DEP and DMP with safer substances such as thymol or isopropanol.
isopropanol. Ethanol is frequently used in natural cosmetics. This must be taxed and thus makes the product even more expensive - but has no harmful side effects.
In the small print, you will find phthalates under Diethyl Phthalate (DEP), Dimethyl Phthalate (DMP), and partly under Alcohol denat. (Attention: this term can appear on chemical as well as on natural cosmetics. If it appears on organic products, it has been mixed with essential oils to denature the bitter substances).
to denature the bitter substances).
To prevent cosmetics from becoming moldy or contaminated with bacteria (especially on cream jars, deodorant sticks, or lip balms), manufacturers use preservatives. Parabens are the most common, as they are well tolerated even in small amounts while fighting spores and bacteria.
However, parabens are also suspected of having hormonal effects on the body. Long-term studies on humans are still lacking. The fact is, however, that parabens cannot be completely broken down and are deposited in the body.
So, as always, the dose is crucial. In the small print you will find parabens under methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and everything ending in "-paraben".
To mix water with fat into a smooth product, you need an emulsifier. These are surfactants that can bind with both water and solids.
with both water and solids. A distinction is made between synthetic and natural emulsifiers. Synthetic emulsifiers, like many other substances, are derived from mineral oil and are based on fats that are not physiological for the skin. The skin cannot absorb them into the metabolic process, which means that they are simply rinsed off during the next wash, unfortunately washing away the skin's natural fats right along with them. This is the most common reason for dry, irritated skin. Natural emulsifiers resemble the skin's fats and can thus be utilized in the metabolic process. Their water-loving part is split by the
water-repellent part, thus neutralizing the emulsifier effect. In the small print, you will find emulsifiers with the designation PEG or
end with "-eth".
2 Shampoos, soaps, gels
If you want to maintain your hygiene, you can't avoid washing. But who washes nowadays only with water? Most people prefer to use shampoo, shower gel, and toothpaste. These are all-natural cosmetic products that can be found in practically every bathroom.
What would a shampoo, toothpaste, or shower gel be without that fluffy foam that makes us feel like something is getting clean? Responsible for this are the chemicals sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium Laureth sulfate (SLES), which function as surfactants. Surfactants dissolve dirt, and greasy substances mix with water with their help. Detergents, for example, also use the same principle to remove dirt from clothing. The foam, therefore, has an important function. However, sensitive skin can become irritated under this aggressive cleaning action. SELS, the milder further development of SLS, is also suspected of influencing hormone balance, as the substance is similar to the female hormone estrogen. Foaming detergents can hardly be banned from the bathroom, but they can at least be reduced in everyday life. In the small print, you will find sulfates under Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).
Shampoos also contain silicones in most cases. They enclose the hair and make it appear soft. Unlike the skin, metabolic processes no longer take place in the hair, so silicone deposits are less damaging. But on the scalp, the silicone still settles during washing and clogs the pores and smaller hair follicles. The scalp can no longer breathe and tends to produce more sebum. The hair becomes heavy, loses volume, and looks limp. (For more details see 1. Face creams and lotions).
Cosmetics is often about avoiding bacteria or destroying them as quickly as possible. Triclosan is just that: an antibacterial substance used in some hand creams, disinfectant gels, in mouthwashes, or wash lotions. Unfortunately, triclosan not only aggressively kills nasty bacteria, but also the skin's beneficial helpers. The skin can no longer defend itself against the simplest environmental influences and reacts with itching or irritation. An additional danger is the dreaded resistance to antibiotics, which makes a possible cure more difficult in an emergency and has consequences that are difficult to assess in the case of bacterial epidemics. consequences in the case of bacterial epidemics. Triclosan is also declared by this name in the small print. Diethanolamines (DEA) / Triethanolamine (TEA) Ever heard that spinach should not be reheated? This is due to the rich occurrence of nitrates in spinach. When it is heated, toxic nitrosamines are formed. Diethanolamines (DEA) / triethanolamine (TEA) do the same thing. They are used primarily in soaps to bind fat with water and also to balance the pH value. If they get into the organism, they can turn into nitrosamines and lead to allergies, in the worst case even to cancer. In the small print, in addition to the terms diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), you will also find the terms trolamine, tricolamine, and tromethanine. 3. sprays Aluminum salts They have been frequently in the press in recent years because they are suspected of increasing the risk of breast cancer, especially in women. However, men can also be affected. As a typical ingredient, they are contained in deodorants with an anti-transpirant effect, as they work not only against the odor but against the sweat itself - by blocking the glands on the surface of the skin. This artificially created sweat blockage promotes inflammation in the armpits, which often occurs at the hair roots when the armpit hair is also shaved. The microcracks on the skin also allow the aluminum to enter the body. In principle, according to the European Food Safety Authority, a person can absorb 8.6 micrograms of aluminum per day (measured in a person weighing 60 kilos). This already happens through the ingestion of dairy products, meat, and vegetables. The problem with aluminum in deodorant is that it introduces an uncontrollable amount of additional aluminum into the body. This can also promote cancer and even Alzheimer's disease in men. Deodorants without aluminum salts are therefore increasingly being offered by major manufacturers. And don't worry: they also work against unpleasant odor. In the fine print, aluminum is listed as aluminum chlorohydrate. Phthalates Sprays and liquid toners often contain alcohol. And this, as in creams and lotions, is denatured with phthalates to make the alcohol it contains undrinkable and thus circumvent the tax on spirits. They are fat- and water-soluble and are thus very easily absorbed through the skin, e.g. via aftershave, facial toner, perfumes, and many other cosmetics. Although it has been officially classified as a concern, it is nevertheless rarely replaced by harmless but also more expensive substances such as thymol, isopropanol, or simple ethanol. (For more details see 1. Facial creams and lotions) 4. what else is there Nanoparticles The smallest of the smallest particles are the nano versions of common oxides such as titanium oxide, zinc oxide, or silicon oxide. In cosmetics, they are mainly used as invisible UV filters and are in any case better than chemical UV filters, which develop their effect in the skin first and not on it. In principle, nanoparticles are not a cause for concern, or at least they have not yet been extensively researched. But what is so small that it can spread in the organism without hesitation should be monitored. If you want to be on the safe side, you should avoid nano-oxides. Nanoparticles must be declared in the small print, either with the full name such as "nano-titanium oxide" or as an abbreviation after the oxide, e.g. "titanium oxide (nano)".
Fragrances are found in creams and lotions, but among shampoos and shower gels they probably have the most popular distribution. Fragrances can be synthetic or natural and are transferred into the skin depending on the effectiveness of the product. The base of the fragrance is most important: both oils and synthetics can cause skin irritation or allergies if the user is sensitive to one or more ingredients. The alcohol in which the fragrances are dissolved can also cause skin irritation - especially if it is synthetic and contains denaturants. If you don't want to take any risks, opt for perfume-free products and natural fragrances based on oils. In the small print, the following substances are subject to the declaration: Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate,
citral, citronellol, geraniol, hexyl cinnamal, linalool, limonene. Fragrances that do not require declaration are referred to as "perfume".
Blue face lotions, purple shower gels, or four-colored toothpaste? Unfortunately, this only works with dyes, the so-called azo dyes. The list of colors is long and can be found not only in cosmetics but also in
foodstuffs. Many are harmless, but some are suspected of causing allergies, altering genetic makeup, or promoting cancer. Natural cosmetics generally refrain from adding colorants. In the small print, colorants are primarily identified with the designation CI followed by a five-digit number. 5.
5. how we at FRIEDMANBERLIN do without harmful substances
We at FRIEDMANBERLIN have decided to cut through existing and common cosmetics. For us, it's time to introduce a new, modern standard, and for us, that standard is pollutant-free. Our products consist of pure and as unadulterated as possible. Good things do not have to be complex. Only natural substances should go on your skin.
Let's take as an example our most popular product, FACE LOTION: our face cream for men.
Creams are composed of water, fats, and emulsifiers. We have replaced much of the water with a blackcurrant hydrolase to maximize the effect of the face cream. Hydrolates are created during the distillation of essential oils and bind similar active ingredients in a milder form. We also kept the rest of our ingredients natural: Almond oil, shea butter, and aloe vera naturally regulate the skin's moisture balance. Hyaluronic acid binds large amounts of water even below the skin's surface. This creates tone and elasticity, which ensures smooth and firm skin and prevents the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Botanical active ingredients from grape, sunflower, and sage help stimulate the skin's natural regeneration process and counteract the first signs of aging. Raspberry and sea buckthorn are naturally rich in antioxidants that can protect your skin from free radical damage caused by environmental factors. As you can see, good products also know how to focus on the essentials and make the most of them. This is what we see as our task. We avoid unnecessary additives and gimmicks that distract from the core of the product.
That's a lot of content. I want to make it easier for you to find your way through the jungle of ingredients and harmful substances. So here's a quick overview you can go back to at any time:
Mineral Oil/Parafins: In creams and lotions for skin and hair, e.g. shampoo, conditioner, skin oil, sunscreen.
No benefit to the skin: remain on the surface of the skin and clog pores, which can lead to acne and blackheads.
Parabens: can be found in all skin products Cannot be completely broken down and are deposited in the body. Suspected of having hormonal effects.
Sulfates: anything that foams (shampoo, shower gel, soap, toothpaste, etc.). Aggressive cleaning action can cause skin irritation. Suspected of having hormonal effects.
Triclosan: anything anti-bacterial (soap, deodorants, toothpaste, etc.). Also kills "good bacteria" which makes skin more susceptible and can cause itching or irritation.
Phthalates: denaturant for alcohol, can be found in all sprays and liquid skincare products. Fat-soluble as and water-soluble, so absorbed through the skin. This can affect the pancreas, promoting obesity and diabetes. May damage sperm.
Fragrances: can be found in all skin and hair products. May cause skin irritation or allergies.