The cold, the wind, the snow, but also the scorching heat and the changes in temperature between inside and outside.
If the skin is already heavily tested by the climate and atmospheric agents, to make matters worse there is also the use of too aggressive soaps and shower gels , which contain a whole series of substances that can further damage the health of the skin, often up to lead to the manifestation of irritation, itching and dermatitis and even allergies.
In this article I want to talk to you about substances, which are in fact anything but healthy for the skin and which unfortunately I find more and more frequently in everyday products and in particular in soaps, but also in most creams and cosmetics.
Let’s start with the most famous, petrolatum.
1. Petrolatum and silicones
The petrolatum are hydrocarbons, substances derived from oil refining waste . The so-called “white petrolatum”, refined and free from processing impurities, are used in many hygiene and cosmetic products.
What are they for?
They are protective agents, which act by covering the skin with a thin oily film, which prevents water from evaporating from the skin, thus avoiding dehydration .
However, it is only a momentary and counterproductive effect, because the oily layer formed by the petrolatum is impermeable even to oxygen and interferes with normal skin respiration.
According to scientific studies, petrolatum interferes with our endocrine system and causes hyper-sensitization of the skin, increasing the risk of dermatitis.
They are also comedogenic substances, that is, closing the pores and promoting the formation of blackheads, pimples and other imperfections.
Finally they are not biodegradable and day after day they accumulate in the sewage drains and consequently in the environment.
In the INCI petroleum derivatives are reported with the following wording: paraffinum liquidum (paraffin), parabens, vaseline, microcrystalline wax (microcrystalline wax), mineral oil (mineral oils), propylene glycol, petrolatum (petrolatum) and others such as amodimethicone, cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, trimethylsiloxysilicate cyclopentasiloxane (silicones)
Companies that choose a more natural and eco-sustainable way, use natural vegetable oils instead , such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, extra virgin olive oil, shea butter, etc.
These are undoubtedly more expensive raw materials, but respectful of the health of the skin, and also of the environment, as they are natural biodegradable substances.
2. Chemical surfactants
The surfactants are substances that enhance the cleaning power of a product; these are molecules that have a hydrophilic part , which binds with water and a part that mixes with fatty substances .
The characteristics of a surfactant are therefore those of emulsifying, mixing liquids together, cleaning, ” making foam “; by binding to the dirt or grease of a surface, to favor its elimination.
Now it is necessary to distinguish between natural surfactants , generally of vegetable origin, and chemical surfactants of synthetic origin. The latter are often too aggressive and can end up causing irritation if the skin is very sensitive.
I am referring for example to substances such as SLS and SLES , Glycereth-2 cocoate, Laureth-10 , L aureth-3 and Magnesium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium laureth sulfate.
The natural surfactants are more expensive ( alas, they always are ), but also using them for an extended period, are respectful of the health of the skin and are biodegradable .
Among the vegetable surfactants we find for example those deriving from coconut and olive oil, which have acronyms such as Sodium coco sulfate, Sodium cocoyl, Hydrolized wheat protein (which also includes wheat proteins), coco glucoside, disodium cocoyl glutamate.
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (not to be confused with Ammonium laureth sulfate) is also a good degreasing and foaming anionic surfactant, which facilitates rinsing of products. It is a product of natural origin and completely biodegradable, derived from the processing of coconut oil.
It is useless to be purists, in cosmetics it is impossible not to use preservatives ! If you don’t want preservatives, the only choice is to make the product at home (for those who have the possibility).
That said, there are preservatives and preservatives . Some need to be especially careful, because they are highly toxic .
For example formaldehyde ( formaldheyde ), a highly irritating substance for skin, hair and mucous membranes. The International Association for Cancer Research (IARC) has included formaldehyde in the list of substances considered carcinogenic for humans since 2004. It interferes with the bonds between DNA and proteins. We often find it in nail polishes.
The cocamide is another very aggressive preservative that lurks in many shampoos and bath foam, which many experts would potentially carcinogenic.
Other preservatives that are particularly dangerous for skin health are: imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, DMDM hydantoin, BHA-E320 and BHT-E321 .
Preservatives such as sodium benzoate , potassium sorbate and citric acid are definitely less harmful and therefore preferable .
4. Beware of antibacterial soaps
Many customers contacted me to ask if we were dealing with this type of product. It is not a product that interests me, as I believe that it is strongly contraindicated for skin health and now I’ll also explain why.
A ) There is a skin flora and it must be respected! And yes, in the skin, as well as in the intestine, “good” bacteria reside permanently. When the skin flora is severely altered, for example due to the reckless use of amuchina, or antibacterial soaps, the barrier function of the skin is vulnerable and increases the susceptibility to the appearance of certain skin problems, such as dermatitis, acne and even psoriasis .
B ) Antibacterial soaps often contain triclosan , a preservative that is also an endocrine disruptor potentially harmful to heart and skeletal health, as well as highly polluting for the environment. It must be considered that this substance is considered as harmful as pesticides such as glyphosate , so much so that the FDA has decided to ban all products that contain it (for more info, read here ).
Some natural alternatives
Fortunately, more and more companies are turning towards the production of natural and “eco-friendly” cosmetics , that is environmentally friendly.
We at Erbe di Mauro have also made this choice and in our online store you will find numerous products that comply with this policy.
Speaking of soaps and bubble baths, these are our proposals:
1. Solid handcrafted soap bars
The solid soap is by far the most “eco-sustainable” choice, as it does not require a plastic container, as in the case of the liquid flavor.
Our farm offers a wide range of natural and artisanal soaps, produced according to the cold kneading method, with coconut oil and olive oil .
All our soaps are respectful of skin health, they are not aggressive and can also be used for hair cleaning!
Here is our choice of soaps (INCI can be found in the product sheets):
2. Calendula liquid soap
If you are looking for an ultra-gentle soap , also suitable for very sensitive skin such as that of children , I recommend you try this gentle cleanser with calendula.
An absolutely natural product with protective, emollient, soothing and anti-inflammatory action .
INCI : Aqua, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Chamomilla recutita Flower Water, Sodium chloride, Glycerin, Hydrolized wheat protein, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Parfum, Phenethyl alcohol, Caprylyl glycol, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Calendula officinalis Flower Extractium glutamate diacetate, Citric acid.
3. Aloe Vera and Citrus Fruit Bubble Bath
It has a deep moisturizing and cleansing action, without however irritating the skin.
As it does not contain chemical surfactants, the foaming effect is reduced (it will produce little foam compared to traditional products).
INCI: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice *, Aqua, Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Coco-betaine, Lactic acid, Glycerin, Phenethyl alcohol, Caprylyl glycol, Limonene, Citrus medica limonum oil, Citrus aurantium dulcis peel oil, Citrus aurantium amara oil, Linalool, Citral.