And drum roll for the final five!
Panthenol: Okay, so this one is pretty cool too. Panthenol is derived from Pantothenic Acid, otherwise known as vitamin B5. It works as a lubricant on the skin surface, affecting the appearance of the skin and even the hair, making it appear and feel more supple. Interestingly, Panthenol can be converted back to Vitamin B5 by the skin through oxidation.
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer: This is a thickening agent, and a emulsifier, and a stabilizer. It is usually . It is listed as a moderate risk by EWG, the CIR lists it as safe in cosmetic use subject to concentration or use limitations. Trying to figure out exactly what makes this has made me feel like I really wish I had become a bio-chemist, despite this being a “safe” ingredient, I really don’t like the idea of putting something on my body, which I can’t easily figure out or understand on google! (: Basically this is a synthetic plastic ingredient. This is designed to make products dispersed in water not lumpy, and much easier to dispense. It appears to be a copolymer of acrylic acid, which is kinda creepy stuff. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “it is a strong irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes in humans“ but it is not listed as a carcinogen because the results have been both positive and negative. However one study did show that “squamous cell carcinomas of the skin were reported in mice treated topically with acrylic acid“. That creeps me out enough to not really want that to be stuck on my skin all day! Maybe it is one thing in hand soaps…but applied to the skin I don’t know, I just don’t like plastics in my night cream!
Bisabolol: This is also known as levomenol. It is an alcohol which makes up the clear viscous oil which is the primary component of the essential oil of German Chamomile Matricaria recutita. It can be derived naturally or manmade. All and all seems pretty straight forward, and is rated at 0 risk by the EWG.
Xanthan Gum: This is a binder, and product stabilizer it even increases the viscosity of products. It is a sugar based polymer called a polysaccharide. It is listed as a safe ingredient even for food products. I can’t find anything that makes this look like a big problem.
Avena Sativa: Finally, another great ingredient with a funky latin name. This is Oats, which is rich with nutrients like zinc, silicon, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, and filled with Vitamins A, B1, B2 and E. It works as a skin conditioning agent. It is great for dry, sensitive, or irritated skin. It is even often used for people with skin conditions like eczema. It is also a great ingredient for skin.
So wow, that was a lot more hard work than I expected. A number of the ingredients were great for sensitive skin (which is this creams target market), like avena sativa, and aloe. But a number of the ingredients are a bit dodgy. Additionally, it seems like a lot of these ingredients are just preservatives, thickeners, or for some purpose other than moisturizing and calming sensitive skin!
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure it should be that hard to figure out what I am putting onto my body. I will definitely think twice about some of the ingredients I see on labels, and will definitely start brushing up on that botanical latin vocabulary, and possibly chemistry too. Next time I will show you how to make something totally natural for your skin which is free from all these weird ingredients!