How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXV

You have noticed some blemishes on your face and have decided to try a new face mask. You pick up a product that catches your eye and it claims to purify the skin with its 8 antioxidant blend–exactly what you are looking for. You figure it is a mask and don’t bother looking at the ingredients until you have the product on your face. 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

LabelPoise35

The Ingredients

Water/Aqua/Eau: Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Bentonite: Safe! Bentonite is a clay that is primarily composed of aluminum phyllosilicates. There are multiple type of Bentonite, which correspond to the abundant element in the clay, which are typically potassium (K), sodium (Na), Calcium (Ca), or Aluminum (Al). Many commercial forms of bentonite are calcium bentonite. Bentonite is a powerful detoxifier of the skin and is believed to remove impurities. It is not known to be toxic when applied topically. (MSDS)

Kaolin:  Safe! Also known as Kaolinite and China Clay, this ingredient a clay mineral with the chemical composition Al2Si2O5(OH)4. Kaolin is believed to cleanse and purify the skin. It is not known to be toxic when applied topically. (MSDS)

Propylene Glycol:  Beware!  Propylene Glycol aka PPG is used as a penetration enhancer, humectant, and stabilizes the product despite temperature changes. This ingredient is not believed to be carcinogenic or a developmental toxin, though it may be contaminated with impurities such as Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-dioxane which are carcinogens. It is a suspected mutagen and teratogen. It is believed to be a skin irritant. In pure form it can be toxic to the central nervous system and may cause target organ damage (lungs and kidneys) with prolonged or repeated exposure. This ingredient is low on this list and should only be a low-moderate concern.  (MSDS)

Titanium Dioxide:  Safe!  This is a white pigment used for various applications.  In pure form Titanium Dioxide is a potential human carcinogen when inhaled.  Its health impacts are dependent on size based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  It should be fine to use in this topical product.  (MSDS)

Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract:  Beware! This ingredient is used as a skin protecting and soothing agent. Blueberry Fruit Extract is typically used in concentrations of 5-10% by weight of a formulation. It can be an eye irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract:  Beware! Also known as Noni Fruit extract, this ingredient is used as a skin conditioning agent. It is a mild skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract:  Beware! Cranberry Fruit Extract is used for its astringent properties. It is also believed to have antioxidant and purifying properties. This ingredient is typically used in concentrations of 5-10% by weight of a formulation. Cranberry Fruit Extract is an eye, and lung irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Garcinia Mangostana Peel/Fruit Extract:  Avoid!  This ingredient is an extract of Mangosteen and is used as a skin conditioning agent. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. No MSDS.

Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract:  Beware!  Mango Fruit Extract is used as a skin conditioning agent. This ingredient is a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Punica Granatum Extract:  Beware!  Also known as Pomegranate Extract, this ingredient is used as a fragrance agent, astringent, tonic, and antioxidant. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract:  Beware!/Avoid!  Also known as Acai extract this ingredient is used as a hair conditioning agent. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. No MSDS.

Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract:  Beware!/Avoid!  Also known as Goji Fruit Extract, this ingredient is used for its astringent, and skin and hair conditioning properties. Goji Fruit Extract is believed to have antioxidant properties. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. No MSDS.

Panthenol:  Safe!  This ingredient is a provitamin of B5.  Panthenol is an alcohol analog of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).  It is used as an anti-static and conditioning agent.  It can be derived from plants or animals therefore it may not be vegan friendly. There is debate about what benefits panthenol can actually provide to hair as a vitamin being that hair is not living.  Panthenol is a mild skin and eye irritant in pure form, though there is no information on carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, or developmental toxicity.  It is low on the list of ingredients and should not be a concern.  (MSDS; MSDS)

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)

Tocopherol:  Safe!  Also known as Vitamin E, Tocopherol is a is a fat soluble alcohol with antioxidant properties.  This ingredient is not known to have carcinogenic or toxic effects.  It can also be used as a preservative for oils. (MSDS)

Magnesium Aluminum Silicate:  Safe!   Magnesium Aluminum Silicate is a naturally occurring mineral clay. This ingredient is used as an absorbent, anticaking agent, and aqueous viscosity increasing agent. It can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not believed to be carcinogenic. (MSDS)

Disodium EDTA:  Beware!  Also known as Edetate EDTA. EDTA is short for “Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid” and is used in cosmetics as a preservative, chelator (prevents metal ions in hard water from depositing on hair, skin, and scalp), stabilizer, and penetration enhancer. Therefore if there are toxic or harmful chemicals in this product, this ingredient can allow for them to penetrate the skin and possibly be absorbed into the bloodstream. This ingredient is used in a myriad of cosmetics and personal care products, and food (FDA Approved). The ingredient itself is not considered toxic at the low concentrations in cosmetics, but its ability to act as a penetration enhancer for other chemicals is a concern. This ingredient can also cause environmental problems as it is slow to degrade (lingers in the environment) abiotically (typically from sunlight) though it can be biotically degraded up to 80% by microorganisms in water treatment plants. (MSDS)

Sodium Polyacrylate:  Beware!  Sodium Polyacrylate is a sodium salt of polyacrylic acid. It is primarily used as a thickening agent, emulsion stabilizer, and absorbent. It is a synthetic polymer. There are concerns Sodium Polyacrylate is contaminated with known toxins acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, or 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, which occur during the synthesizing process. This ingredient is believed to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. It is not known to be a carcinogen. (MSDS)

Methylchloroisothiazolinone:  Beware!  This ingredient is a preservative that is a known skin irritant, sensitize and allergen, as well as lung and eye irritant.  It has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties.  It is not known to be a carcinogen, though it is a skin sensitizer that can cause rashes and eczema in certain individuals.  Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). No individual MSDS found.

Methylisotiazolinone:  Beware!  This preservative is a known skin irritant, sensitizer, and allergen; lung and eye irritant. Methylisothiazolinone has been linked to allergic contact dermatitis was named Contact Allergen of the Year in 2013. It is also believed to cause burns in pure form. This ingredient is also believed to be cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) and neurotoxic (toxic tot he nervous system) based on various studies, though information has been refuted due to the low exposure based on quantity in cosmetic formulas. It is not known to be carcinogenic. This ingredient is one of many that have been used to replace parabens. Methylisothiazolinone is also very toxic to aquatic organisms in pure form. Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). (MSDS)

Fragrance (Parfum):  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.

Butylphenyl Methyl Propional: Avoid!  Also known as Lilial and p-tert-butyl-alpha-methylhydrocinnamic aldehyde, this ingredient is used as a fragrance agent. This ingredient must be labeled when used in concentrations greater than 0.01% (by formula weight) in rinse of products and 0.001% (by formula weight) in leave on products. This ingredient is a potential sensitizer. No MSDS.

Linalool:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is used as a fragrance and is banned in rinse off products above a concentration of 0.01% (or 0.001% in leave-on products).  It is naturally occurring in various plants and spices, though it may also be made synthetically.  It is considered a skin irritant (causing eczema) and allergen, though pure linalool can have anti-cancer properties.  Given that the concentration is likely quite low it should be fine unless you are allergic to it.

Amyl Cinnamic Aldehyde:  Avoid!  Also known as Amyl Cinnamal and alpha-Amyl Cinnamic Aldehyde is a synthetic fragrance agent with a jasmine like scent. This ingredient is a potential allergen and cause of contact dermatitis. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Blue 1 (CI 42090): Beware!  Also known as Brilliant FCF Blue, this ingredient is used as a colorant. ( MSDS)

Yellow 5 (CI 19140): Beware!  This is a synthetic yellow dye (food coloring) also known as Tartrazine and FD&C Yellow 5.  Tartrazine is a known allergen and has various impacts on the immune system from dermal contact or ingestion.  It can be an eye irritant.  There is no data on mutagenicity, teratogenicity, developmental toxicity, or carcinogenicity.  It is not known to be toxic. (MSDS)

 

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  This product is a simple, inexpensive face mask.  The biggest concerns with this product is the propylene glycol within the first five ingredients and the synthetic fragrances.  The extracts do not have much information available, however, it is likely they are not toxic.  This is fine if you want something quick and inexpensive.  If you want a mask with all natural ingredients, buy the clay and mix it yourself!

 

 

Thank you for reading!

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