Clearing Up The Confusion
It is a never ending cycle of assisting customers with clearing up their confusion on certain ingredients and the interpretations put out there by many bloggers or forums filled with those who really don't know what they are talking about, or the undue panic they cause others through their rhetoric.
In recent weeks, I have dealt with concern, fret, and paranoia brought about by those who enjoy making up stories and trying to take ingredients, whole or in part, and make them sound as bad as getting the bubonic plague.
Through the continuing education provided by my articles and references to Personal Care Truth and their ongoing science based research publications, we are creating a constructive exchange between client and manufacturer over ingredients used within the beauty industry.
Personal Care Truth since their launch in May of 2010, has had nearly 3 Million visitors. (UPDATE: August 20, 2011, Over 8 million.) This is very telling and conveys that consumers want facts, not fiction.
Does Ingestion Of Ingredients Extrapolate To Topical Application?
Our most recent concerned client was worried about our use of Boron Nitride in our mineral makeup because she had read on the internet, in a single blog article, regarding the possibility of it increasing testosterone levels in her body. Of course, yet again, this is a blog that was written by another cosmetics company with absolutely no science based research, which is no longer in business BTW, yet the article remains for all infinity, spreading its conjectures....of course it does.
They also disclaimed the use of Squalane since it comes from sharks....(cruelty factor). However, they clearly don't know their science since squalane is actually a derivative of squalene and can be 100% derived from Olives. It is shown to be excellent for protecting us from the aging process, and purported for its' healing benefits to chronic skin conditions, and is closely related to our own natural sebum, whereby assisting with reducing over production of the element which contributes to acne. So sharks do not have to be used primarily in creating the cosmetic squalane (squalene).
Hyaluronic Acid was another one they attacked based on grounds of animal cruelty since it is their belief it is extracted from animals....again, it can be vegan friendly and derived from the fermentation of yeast. It is a natural compound found in human tissue and we lose the ability to reproduce it as we age. When used topically, it penetrates deeply into the surface of the skin, boosting the hydration and elasticity of the skin. It also protects the skin from free radical damage which creates sun spots though oxygenation of membrane cells. It retains high levels of water against skin and adjusts to humidity in the air helping skin to look and feel plumper all day, making this an exceptional skincare ingredient.
So this blogger lambasted not only Boron Nitride, Squalane and Hyaluronic Acid under false pretenses, but a slew of otherwise very safe ingredients which they had decided would not be in their cosmetics for whatever reason they chose to suit their marketing needs, and for solidarity as a supposed signer to the compact for safe cosmetics...(which I checked, yet could not locate at the site). Fabrication of convoluted facts or half truths through an ideology they possessed as a business, is not the same as showing the science, but is strictly self promotional....and repugnant!
Of course after reading this article myself, I certainly understood her concern because as a woman and a consumer, she would not necessarily wish to elevate testosterone levels, but a man might wish for this boost, especially as he ages. Fortunately, there is absolutely no correlation of boron nitride, as this article tried to imply "boron" as being one in the same, whereby increasing testosterone in the body. But again, with this article, damage was done to an individual that was looking to our industry for some facts, yet only found someone who was basing the foundation of their business on negative campaigning....which we fondly refer to as the "chicken little syndrome."
The inference in the article, is it can also be absorbed through the skin in topical application for a mutually described benefit or counter benefit, depending on your point of view. However in all subsequent data, boron is strictly referenced as a dietary supplement. How in the world this cosmetics company owner took the oral component and extrapolated it into a problem for a topical cosmetic ingredient, simply astounds me....never mind the fact that Boron and Boron Nitride are not the same thing at all...
It is clear, once boron nitride is created out of chemical synthesis, it becomes an entirely new ingredient, changing the composition of the ingredient borax (boron) which is used in manufacturing it.
Now what I tell my customers that locate these seemingly obscure articles, fact check and then check some more, and always challenge the data that is presented, especially in any article created by an "anti" blogger or a self promoting cosmetics company with an axe to grind against the synthetic chemical industry or as a marketing tool.
Common Sense Analogy: If our body could assimilate all ingredients that are applied to the skin, then we could get drunk by sticking our hand in a glass of liquor or get our caffeine jolt by bathing in our coffee instead of drinking it...... we could rub the tetanus on our arm instead of taking it by injection. Just think, Botox would no longer need to be injected, we could simply rub it on our faces.
In the land of Shangri La this would all be wonderful especially since I hate needles. But the fact remains, if we wish to affect a true, lasting change to our bodies, it must be injected or ingested.
For those that may say, "but what about those chemical patches worn on the skin?" Again, do not equate this as the same since these are drugs which are created through nano science and a cosmetic ingredient is primarily created with a micron size at 5 to 10 or higher, making it impossible to permeate into the blood brain barrier, much less beyond the epidermis layer.
Side Note: Some essential oils can be penetrating into the dermis layer, utilized for their known healing benefits.
The same thing applies to many allergies. Something you ingest may cause a severe reaction outwardly, such as with those who have celiac disease (allergy to gluten) for example, but according to the Mayo Clinic, this does not translate to causing a similar reaction to that same ingredient being applied to the skin since gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin.
Just The Facts Please
Hexagonal Boron Nitride is an inert, inorganic, non toxic mineral that is a compound made from Boron; an essential plant nutrient, and is an ultra-trace mineral which is found in fruits and vegetables which is taken up from the soil they are grown in. It is found in abundance in the Mineral Ore, Borax which through synthesis with Nitrogen creates Boron Nitride. BN powders have been found in Independent Laboratory Studies to have shown it to be extremely safe for use in cosmetics worldwide.
Furthermore, as much as I don't care for the EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, or the fact the Skin Deep Database is their "go to" place for providing skewed data, as I live and breathe, they actually rate Boron Nitride at a big fat "0". Furthermore, it has been shown to NOT BE bio-accumulative or to be an environmental toxin. I guess one could theorize that if it is not an environmental concern to EWG, no point looking at it from a cosmetic perspective.
Of course, I don't rely on this database or their significant data gaps, but the fact that they fabricate so much detrimental evidence without the scientific research to support it against many otherwise safe ingredients, it was a surprise to see this rating....but then again with extensive research on this ingredient, there is absolutely no scientific data reflecting any toxicity to the body when used as a cosmetic ingredient for topical application....so there is nothing for them to report.
The Ingested Supplement With Component Of Boron (click through)
Boron by itself is used in oral supplements for health benefits and may be a catalyst to increasing testosterone, yet no actual human studies have been performed to equate the two. However, this is an element found in body building supplements on the premise this ingredient will do just that. So increasing testosterone is in and of itself, not a "dangerous" issue, but a desired effect by some. But it is clear that cosmetics are geared toward women, so to make this association, is grasping at straws in an attempt to elevate a concern over something that simply is not even relevant. Plus, there are also parameters by which to use this supplement, and safety and efficacy is not yet proven.
Boron is required by your body in trace amounts for proper metabolism of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Boron helps brain function, healthy bones, and can increase alertness.
As boron is not yet considered an essential nutrient for humans, it is not clear whether deficiencies occur. However, diets that are low in fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts provide less boron than diets that contain more of these foods.
It's found in raisins, prunes, and nuts and are generally excellent sources of boron. Fruit (other than citrus), vegetables and legumes also typically contain significant amounts. Actual amounts vary widely, depending upon boron levels in soil where the food is grown.
If one is truly concerned about boron elevating testosterone (yet to be factually proven) then one could surmise these otherwise extremely healthy foods should be cut from the diet. However, the removal of the anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic benefit these antioxidant rich foods offer for the human body, would pose detrimental issues more grave than an insignificant trace element of boron, whereby opening us up to far more dangerous assaults on our bodies....this is referred to as checks and balances in our daily lives.
Know And Understand The Differences
Significant and measurable changes made to the body are reflected through either ingestion or injection, since both routes of delivery allow for the ingredient(s) to infiltrate the blood brain barrier, with the exception of some nano sized particles.
Something you apply to the skin CANNOT and will not affect the body with any significant change, and only provides a temporary change to our outward appearance each time we use it. Cumulative effects occur through continual use, yet stop the use of your favorite skincare product and the skins' appearance returns to its' original state before using the product.
However, take something internally or through injection, these will show in our appearance outwardly, whether as an improvement or as deterioration of our cells since the blood supply fuels every cell of our being.
Examples of outward effects to the body based on internal consumption:
Abusing Drugs and Alcohol
Lack of Hydration or the opposite
Vitamin Rich Supplements
Diet Rich In Fruits and Veggies
Some companies try to claim ingredients penetrate our skin and alter our DNA, as the unmitigated truth.....ahh..... if only THIS were true, because this is not necessarily a bad thing since it could actually make us healthier and stronger than past generations. To reiterate, life would be easier since we would no longer need vaccines or take oral medications, or inject insulin, we simply could apply it topically to our skin....and life would be heaven....unfortunately, this is not the reality we live with everyday. Only with the innovative discovery of nano science technology utilized in some areas of medicine, are we able to reduce some of the hassle of receiving meds.
However, rubbing Aspirin on our skin isn't going to make that headache go away or thin the blood to prevent a heart attack or stroke without ingesting it.
Bathing in a tub of water is certainly not going to hydrate the body, but can actually cause deterioration of skin if one should stay in the water too long....let alone the fact you'll die of thirst waiting for that to happen.
So I hope now the confusion is cleared, that something you ingest for health benefit will not extrapolate to something you apply to your skin or vice versa. Ingredients applied directly to the skin can bring about excellent results for which it is intended at the skin level, even reaching the dermis with certain ingredients, but the blood brain barrier is rarely, if ever, affected.