How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXVIII

Baby, Baby, Baby.  They are often the most sensitive to the chemicals contained in cosmetics, therefore it is important to use the upmost caution when picking out bath and body products for an infant.  This product caught your eye because it is made by a brand you have used in the past, but they have introduced a ‘natural’ line that is free of all of the harmful chemicals their regular formula contains.  Whew, relief! Or is it?  Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise28

The Ingredients

Water:  Safe!  Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key base in many products.

Decyl Glucoside:  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the reaction of glucose from corn (GMO?) starch with decanol (fatty alcohol) of coconuts. Decyl Glucoside is a non-ionic surfactant that can be used as a foaming agent, emulsifier, or conditioner. It is biodegradable and is not known to be toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic (MSDS).

Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate:  Avoid!  Also known as dodecanoic acid, this ingredient is an ester of lauric acid and polyglycerin-10. It is used as an emulsifier, surfactant, and skin condition agent. There is very limited additional information about this ingredient. It is not known to be a skin or eye irritant, nor is it a sensitizer. No information on carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, or teratogenicity. This ingredient has not been reviewed by an expert panel. (MSDS)

Cocoglycerides:  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; Review)

Sodium Coco-Sulfate:  Beware!  This ingredient is derived from various isolated fatty acids in coconut oil. This product is similar to/contains sodium lauryl sulfate, but contains other fatty acids such as capric, caprylic, oleic, and stearyl. Each fatty acid is reacted with sulfuric acid, then sodium carbonate, which produced sodium [fatty acid] sulfate. The term ‘coco’ is used to avoid using the individual name of each fatty acid that is derived from coconut oil. Though sodium coco sulfate contains sodium lauryl sulfate it is not believed to be as harsh, though it has similar concerns to sodium lauryl sulfate. This ingredient is a surfactant and is typically used in concentrations of 1-15% of the formula.  It is believed to be skin irritant and severe eye irritant, though it is not believed to be a carcinogen, skin sensitizer, or a cause of chronic toxicity.  (MSDS; MSDS; MSDS)

Coco-Glucoside:  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 supplier. 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 Oleate:  Safe!  This ingredient consists of oleic acid and glycerin both from vegetable sources as indicated on the bottle.  It is used as an emollient, emulsifier, and fragrance ingredient.  (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)

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.

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)

Fragrance:  Beware!  Fragrances are often synthetic. Though they are low in concentration in the product, there is still a small chance of having an allergic reaction.

Citric Acid:  Safe!  This ingredient is naturally occurring in citrus fruits, but is typically produced by feeding sucrose or glucose to mold and additional chemical treatment.  It is used in cosmetics as a pH adjuster.  It is generally considered safe, though it is a skin and eye irritant in pure form. (MSDS)

Sodium Hydroxide:  Beware!  Also known as caustic soda or lye, this ingredient is likely used to aid surfactants or increase pH. In pure form it can be dangerous, toxic to eyes, lungs, and skin, though it is typically used in low concentrations in personal care products. (MSDS)

 

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  This product is a vast improvement from the regular formula of this product.  However, this product is not necessarily ‘safe’ for babies, though a majority of the ingredients are supposedly naturally derived, and are rated as Safe!.  The two biggest concerns in the product are in the first 5 ingredients, which is not ideal.  Though it claims to be safe enough for newborns, the third ingredient in this product has little information available on it.  Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate  has not been reviewed by a cosmetic expert panel, which is quite troublesome.  Though an MSDS, the only one available,  did not indicate it was an irritant or sensitizer, there was no information on carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption or mutagenicity.  Sodium Coco Sulfate is believed to be a severe eye irritant therefore it is quite questionable if this product is like “pure water” to eyes.  This product is definitely better than common baby washes, however, it is not without concerns.  It is on par with many of the other ‘natural’ baby products on the market.  It is best to err on the side of caution, however, this baby wash may be worth a try for toddler, use your best judgement for a newborn or infant.

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