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Avon Phasing Out Antibacterial Chemical Over Concerns of Potential Adverse Health Effects

Avon is the latest company to begin phasing out the antibacterial chemical triclosan from its products because of increasing public concerns about its risks to human health and increasing evidence that antibacterial products are no more effective in killing germs than traditional methods like plain soap and water.

Photo courtesy of business-ethics.com.

Triclosan is an active antimicrobial ingredient contained in a variety of personal care products – including toothpastes, face washes, soaps, and deodorants – where it acts to “slow or stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew,” says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Triclosan is a chemical also commonly found in other consumer products, including clothes, kitchenware, furniture, carpeting, toys, caulking compounds, and sealants. It’s also used for industrial purposes as an antimicrobial pesticide in equipment including conveyer belts, fire hoses, dye bath vats, and ice-making equipment.

Among the biggest health concerns for people though still comes from the chemical being incorporated in personal care products, where increasing evidence shows that the risks outweigh any potential benefits.

Looking at antibacterial chemicals in soaps, Colleen Rogers, a microbiologist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said in a reported last December that “there currently is no evidence that over-the-counter antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illnesses.”

The FDA report said that, “There are indications that certain ingredients in these soaps may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and may have unanticipated hormone effects.”

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Natural and Organic Handmade Soaps That Have Ability to Reduce Acne and Other Skin Conditions

Nature has always been the best and gentlest pharmacy when it comes to taking care of our skin. Nature provides emollients like cocoa butter, which is a great antioxidant and skin moisturizer; jojoba oil, which is a great anti-inflammatory; sesame seed oil, which is great for psoriasis and eczema; and tea tree oil, which has great antiseptic and antifungals properties.

Zesty Orange Soap. Photo courtesy of A Wicked Scrub.

Nature has also provided us with a lot of great natural scrubs and exfoliators. 

Among them, rose clay is a mineral that is great for gently cleaning and exfoliating the skin by drawing out impurities from pores. Another great exfoliator is oatmeal, which is a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Also another exfoliator that you might not expect is coffee, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and is said to stimulate collagen production.

Natural soap makers use all of these ingredients and many more to create products that are healthy, gentle, and very effective.

So, why don’t conventional mass producing soap makers use these ingredients in their manufacturing (other than sometimes a drop for marketing purposes), because although these natural ingredients work better and are better for you, they’re expensive compared to synthetics that are less effective and can often also irritate your skin.

Looking for some great natural and organic handmade soap makers, I found three great companies – Natural Handcrafted Soap, A Wicked Scrub, and Vermont Soap – each with a good variety of products that are worth looking at.

Natural Handcrafted Soap

Natural Handcrafted Soap are made with an olive oil base, without the use of synthetic chemicals, preservatives, artificial dyes, and synthetic fragrance oils.

Olive oil has great health properties including decreasing inflammation, reducing acne, and is full of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids to heal and improve skin texture.

The company says that, “Every bar begins with a high percentage of cold pressed olive oil to which we add (a combination of other ingredients, depending on the particular soap, that include) organic coconut oil, palm and castor, avocado, Brazilian nut, almond and hazelnut, tea tree, and copaiba oils.”

These ingredients have some really amazing benefits. Coconut oil, for example, is a moisturizer that’s also great for treating skin conditions, including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and skin infections. It also has a lot of antioxidants that are great for reducing the signs of premature aging.

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Weighing The Benefits Of Using Cosmetics With Natural Preservatives vs. Synthetic Parabens

Image courtesy of beautiful-solutions.co.uk.

We hear a lot about parabens today, but what are they, and why are people making such a big deal about them?

Parabens are among the most commonly used preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Parabens are used in things like makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products. These preservatives are used in cosmetics products to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.

Chemists Corner explains how contamination can occur, saying that, “Cosmetics are often stored in the bathroom, where the environment is warm and moist,” adding that skin also carries an abundance of microorganisms which can contribute to contamination.

Chemists Corner adds that cosmetics, which contain water, oils, peptides, and carbohydrates are “a very good medium for microbes,” and all these factors can contribute to product spoilage and potential skin infection.

Chemists Corner also gives its comparative view (from an industry perspective) on some of the differences between natural and synthetic preservatives, saying:

Among the most effective natural preservatives are essential oils and various herbs such as rosemary, clove, thyme, cinnamon, tea tree, lavender, neem, grape seed, etc., which are more organism specific than their synthetic counterparts.

This means they (natural preservatives) may be effective against one organism, but not another. They must be carefully blended to create a synergistic effect against a range of organisms.

The subject of natural preservatives is one that probably has more academic interest than practical or economic virtue because cosmetic preservatives have to fight a broad range of microbes. However, natural preservatives do give a wonderful marketing angle.

There’s definitely industry bias here, but a lot of truth too. Cosmetic Test Labs also did a comparative study, again finding more benefits to synthetic over natural preservatives.

The lab listed among the benefits of synthetic preservatives as: having a broad-spectrum of activity against bacteria and fungi; being consistent from batch to batch; having relatively low cost; requiring low concentrations to effectively preserve products; and generally not interfering with fragrances, lather, color, or other aspects of a given formulation.

The lab listed drawbacks of synthetic preservatives including that they are often petroleum-based; some consumers find them irritating to the skin; and they may require a narrow pH range to be effective.

For the benefits of natural preservatives, the lab only listed their ability to “function over a broad pH range to be effective.”

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Johnson & Johnson Reformulating Personal Care Products To Remove Cancer Causing Chemicals

Years of public pressure has finally pushed Johnson & Johnson to ratchet up its efforts to remove several chemicals from its product formulations that have been documented as known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and environmental hazards.

Photo courtesy of medicsindex.net.

Much of the pressure has come from an effort by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in cooperation with the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and about 20 other parent and health groups asking the company for healthier changes to its product formulations.

Among the early complaints against the company, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics wrote a letter to Johnson & Johnson citing a report issued by the nonprofit coalition – No More Toxic Tub: Getting Contaminants Out of Children’s Bath and Personal Care Products – which documented laboratory tests that found chemicals including formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane (both highly toxic in large amounts) in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and other products made by the company.

Both formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane are considered to cause cancer in animals and listed as probable human carcinogens by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnson & Johnson makes popular global brands including Aveeno, Neutrogena, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, Clean & Clear, Johnson’s Lubriderm, RoC, as well as local and regional brands like Sundown in Brazil, and Le Petit Marseillais in Europe.

As part of the ongoing dialogue, Susan Nettesheim, vice president of product stewardship and toxicology at Johnson & Johnson, responded in a letter to the campaign, saying, “While we would still disagree with the science and conclusions in your letter and report, we want you and those who count on our products everyday to understand our commitment to safety.

“Our products always meet and often exceed the standards of the agencies around the world responsible for the safety of personal care products in the markets where they are sold. But we understand that the bonds of trust we have with the people who use our products often means going beyond safety alone.”

Nettesheim went on to say, “We listen to consumers, and respond to their needs and values, and their desire for products that are more sustainable and gentle on both people and the environment. We are continually making changes.”

Johnson & Johnson is in the process of reformulating its baby and adult personal care products to remove the following chemicals: formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, diethylphthalate (DEP), and triclosan.

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Natural & Organic Lip Balm Ideas For Protecting Your Lips Against Harsh Dry Winter Weather

Winter weather with its cold temperatures and wind can have a dry, cracking, and even bleeding effect on lips.

Image courtesy of targetwoman.com.

An interesting fact is that your lips are the only part of your skin that doesn’t have oil glands to produce moisture, making your lips very prone to drying. Also, aging is a factor.

The older you get, the more prone your lips are to chapping, so you need to take care of them.

As always, you have a ton of options for what you can do to prevent or alleviate dry, chapped lips, but some options are healthier than others.

Lip balms are a great remedy for this, but like everything else, you always want to find the healthiest, most nourishing, and least toxic product that will benefit you.

Today, there are a lot of great options for natural and organic lip balms in stores and online. I found three really great options that I wanted to share. They’re from: Alba Botanica, Badger, and Purple Prairie Botanicals.

Alba Botanica

Alba Botanica is a really great brand for finding products that are 100 percent vegetarian, combining natural and organic certified ingredients, with no animal testing. The products also contain no meat or by-products from animal testing.

My favorite line of lip balm from Alba is the Un-Petroleum series, which comes in flavors: cherry, tangerine, and vanilla.

These lip balms have an SPF 18, as well as contain nourishing and moisturizing ingredients including vitamin E, jojoba oil, caster seed oil, beeswax, lanolin, evening primrose oil, and olive oil.

Another great thing about Alba products are their non-toxic formulations. They are made without all of the following: parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, propylene glycol, aluminum, mineral oil, petrolatum, oxybenzone, PABA, nano-particles, DEA, MEA or TEA, PEGs and PEG derivatives, ethoxylated ingredients associated with 1,4 dioxane, formaldehyde donors, and GMOs.

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