How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XX

Finding safe, effective products for your baby is of the upmost importance!  The growing number of concerned parents and yielded and increase in ‘natural’ baby products.  This product touts being all natural, 95% USDA biobased, and paraben free, all of which fit your Label Poise so you purchase it for your baby!  The product is also made by a company that is well known in the natural products world.  Just like with ‘natural’ or organic products for adults, product quality does not always live up to marketing.

The Label

LabelPoise20

The Ingredients

Aqua:  Safe!  Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in any moisturizing product.

Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate:  Avoid!  This ingredient is an ester of stearic acid and polyglycerin-3. It is used as an emulsifier and is used in concentrations of 3-10% in this product. There is no additional information about this ingredient. It may very well be non-toxic, but there is no evidence to substantiate that. No MSDS.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride:  Safe!  This ingredient is used as an emollient and is typically derived from esters of caprylic acid (coconut oil), capric acid (coconut oil), and glycerin.  Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is used primarily as an emollient and spreading agent.  It can penetrate the hair and skin to condition and leaves a lightweight non greasy barrier. It is very stable and is unlikely to oxidize.  It may be a slight eye irritant and it is not known to be a skin irritant unless their is prolonged exposure. It is not a carcinogen. (MSDS)

Cocoglyceride:  Safe!  This ingredient is a non-ionic surfactant that can be used as a foaming agent, emulsifier, or conditioner.  It is typically derived from coconut oil, corn (GMO?), or fruit sugars, though it is dependent on the supplier.  The label of this product just says it was derived from a ‘vegetable’ source, which is likely one of the aforementioned.  This ingredient is biodegradable and is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic.  In pure form Coco-Glucoside can be a skin irritant or cause inhalation irritation.  (MSDS)

Glyceryl Stearate:  Safe!  Also known as Glyceryl Monostearate, this ingredient is typically derived from vegetable sources such as palm kernel and soy oil, and is the glycerol ester of stearic acid.  It is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, lubricant, and decreases the ‘greasiness’ of oils.  It is believed to form a barrier on the skin to decrease moisture loss.  In pure form is is a slight skin irritant.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity. This ingredient is considered “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA.  (MSDSMSDS )

Glycerin:  Safe!  Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Stearyl Alcohol:  Safe!  This is also a fatty alcohol that is often used as an emollient and emulsifier in conditioner. (MSDS)

Cetyl Alcohol:  Safe!  This is a fatty alcohol that is often used as an emollient and emulsifier in conditioners. It is typically derived naturally from coconut or palm oil.  (MSDS)

Zea Mays (Corn) Starch:  Safe!  Corn Starch is used as for its abrasive, absorbent, skin protecting, and viscosity increasing (aqueous) properties. It is derived from corn, therefore it may be from GMO corn, Beware! if this is a concern.  It is not known to be carcinogenic or mutagenic. (MSDS)

Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Fruit Oil:  Safe!  Olive oil is used for its skin conditioning and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is rich in vitamins E and A, as well as antioxidants.

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter:  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the nut of the Shea Tree and is used for its moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Xanthan Gum:  Safe!  This ingredient is a polysaccharide (carbohydrate consisting of sugar molecules) secreted by Xanthomonas campestris (a bacterium).  It is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or cause developmental toxicity, though it can be an eye, skin, and lung irritant in pure form.  There is a risk of long term biodegraded products being more toxic than pure Xanthan Gum. (MSDS)

Lactic Acid:  Beware!  Lactic Acid (C6H6O3) is a naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). Lactic Acid be naturally extracted from milk fermentation, from bacteria converting glucose and sucrose, or produced synthetically. It can be used as a humectant, exfoliant, or skin conditioning agent. Absorption of lactic acid via the skin is pH dependent, and occurs more rapidly in low pH environments (acidic). It is not known to be carcinogenic or mutagenic though it can be a serious hazard to the eyes, skin, and lungs in pure form. The concentration in this product is less than 1%, therefore it is not a high concern.  (MSDS; MSDS)

Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose:  Avoid!  This ingredient is an ether of Cetyl Alcohol and Hydroxyethylcellulose. It is a thickening agent, and emulsion stabilizer. The concentration in this product is less than 1%, which may be line with the Cosmetic Ingredient Reviews use allowance of 0.008% to 0.3%.  No MSDS found.

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*:  Safe!  Orange Peel Oil is used as a skin conditioning agent and fragrant.

Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil*:  Safe!/Beware!  Grapefruit Peel Oil is used as a skin conditioning agent and fragrant.  This ingredient has use restrictions in the EU, but should be fine for use in this product. (MSDS)

Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil*:  Beware!/Avoid!  Mandarin Orange Peel Oil is used as a skin conditioning agent and fragrant. This product should be avoided while pregnant, and likely is not safe for babies. Considering this product is formulated for babies, that is troubling, despite the low concentration. (MSDS)

Dehydroacetic Acid: Safe! This ingredient is a preservative used for its fungicide and bactericide properties. Dehydroacetic acid is a sodium salt of sodium dehydroacetate. It is suggested to be used in concentrations of no more than 0.6%. It can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant, and can be toxic to kidneys, liver, and central nervous system in pure form. It is not believed to be carcinogenic or mutagenic. (MSDS)

Potassium Sorbate:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, which is likely synthetically derived though it is naturally occurring in some berry species.  It is widely used as a preservative in food, wine, and personal care products.  It is known to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not generally considered to be a carcinogen, mutagen or teratogen in humans, however, additional research suggests that is is mutagenic and genotoxic in human blood cells (in vitro).  It is typically not used in concentrations above 0.2%, so it should be fine in this product.  (MSDS)

Sodium Benzoate:  Beware!  This ingredient is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, which is likely synthetically derived though it is naturally occurring in some berry species.  It is widely used as a preservative in food, wine, and personal care products.  It is known to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not generally considered to be a carcinogen, mutagen, or teratogen in humans, however, additional research suggests that is is mutagenic and genotoxic in human blood cells (in vitro).  It is typically not used in concentrations above 0.2%, so it should be fine in this product.  (MSDS)

* indicates D-Limonene is a component of essential oils.

 

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:   This product is marketed as being natural and 95% plant based, however, 2 of the ingredients–one being the second ingredient–have no available information on toxicity.  That is not a likely risk most people would knowingly take on themselves, let alone their vulnerable child.  This product also touts being 95% USDA Biobased.  Never heard of it?  Me either.  Biobased means that a product is composed of, in whole or in significant part, of biological products, renewable domestic agricultural materials, forestry materials, or intermediate stock.  The boundaries of plant-based are not clearly defined.  It should also be pointed out that key biobased crops include soybeans and corn, which happen to be two of the most genetically modified crops produced in the US.  The MSDS for this product is available online and does not list and concerns of toxicity.  The composition of the formula is listed on the MSDS: Water (30-100%), Polygyceryl-3 Stearate (3-10%), Cocoglycerides – Cetyl Alcohol (1-3%), Rest (<1%).  I would not purchase this product.

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