Thursday, July 5, 2012

What Is A Moisturizer? You May Be Surprised

Moisturizer Comprehension and Perception

It is amazing how through marketing claims, that many commercial brands of moisturizers have women convinced that they are doing something great for their skin by using their product.  The company brands their product as a moisturizer, in all their advertising they claim "you'll look years younger by using our moisturizer".  It has a thick creamy consistency, feels and looks like a moisturizer should, so it MUST be a moisturizer....right?  Not so fast!

You're In Good Company

Ingredient profiles continue to be a source of frustration for women.  They see the branding of the product as a moisturizer, they then read the incomprehensible ingredient label, throw their hands in the air, and just resign themselves to the fact, "I may not be able to read, pronounce or understand the ingredient label, but it does say it is a moisturizer." 

Just this week, I received several phone calls from women trying to understand why they struggle with ongoing dryness or other skin issues, like acne.  They have complained they can't read the ingredients of their current skincare products, much less pronounce them, and with all the fancy verbiage of a lengthy INCI name, they don't even know what type of ingredient it is or how it performs.

Is it any wonder more and more women are seeking organic or more naturally derived alternatives?  For one thing, they at least feel they are not using synthetics on their faces and that for the most part they understand what chamomile or lavender is.

A Rose By Any Other Name

A prime example about ingredients is in the use of silicone oils and silicone family.  For Example:

Dimethicone comes in many other derivative forms such as:

Amino Bispropyl Dimethicone, Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Amodimethicone, Amodimethicone Hydroxystearate, Behenoxy Dimethicone, C30-45 Alkyl Dimethicone, C24-28 Alkyl Dimethicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Dimethoxysilyl Ethylenediaminopropyl Dimethicone, Hydroxypropyldimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethicone, Stearoxy Dimethicone, Stearyl Dimethicone and Vinyl Dimethicone.

Cyclomethicone dervatives are in the form of Siloxanes, different name, but still in the silicone family: (A rose by any other name, is still a rose)

So if you see Siloxane as part of the ingredient name, this is another synthetically created silicone product and can be seen in this context: Cyclotetrasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, etc. There are many more organosilicon compounds, but they are not typically used in the formulation of cosmetics or skincare.

So you can see, though their names may imply something else, they are still nothing short of a silicone oil man-made derivative.  And in most cases, these products leave the skin very soft.

But Is It Moisturizing?

The answer quite simply is "no", "nada", "negatory", etc.  Silicone oils are designed for one purpose, to seal the skin and prevent moisture loss.  They provide a velvety soft texture which eludes to the belief that it is working at making skin soft and supple...... soft yes..... supple and moisturized..... no.

Without the addition of other ingredients to provide ongoing moisturizing properties, you will have soft velvet skin, but many women have discovered, their dry skin is not alleviated in the long term.

Several high end moisturizers were presented to me by clients and once we reviewed the ingredient lists together, it was then they finally understood what they were using on their skin and why the problems were arising while using bouts of acne was one.

One such label read as follows:

Purified Water, Glycerin, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Sucrose Cocoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Isohexadecane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Sericin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sodium PCA, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Glycosaminoglycans, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Cholesterol, Polysilicone-11, Millet (Panicum Millaceum) Extract, Methylparaben, Camellia Oleifera Extract, Cellulose Gum, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Propylparaben, Tocopherol, Butylene Glycol Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Ceramide III, Allantoin Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Superoxide Dismutase, And Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate.

The bulk of this product is made from water, glycerin, fatty alcohol chains (emollient / surfactants double duty) and a whole lot of silicone derivatives.  Any extracts following the preservative, is strictly marketing and no benefit is forthcoming.  Glycerin and Sodium PCA are strictly humectants and should not be confused as a moisturizing constituent.  They attract moisture to the face pulled from the air, but in a dry climate, this will do little to suffice.  So the purified water is the primary hydration of this ingredient, which as we all know, water does what?.....evaporate.  So hence the need for silicone oils to slow the evaporation process by essentially sealing the skin. 

The remaining ingredients of any significance are bulking agents, emulsifiers and paraffins (by-product of Petroleum).  Again, a rose by any other name, is and will always remain a rose.  Isohexadecane and Isododecane can be used for skin conditioning to be sure, but they are a pariffin and are typically used as a surfactant, bulking agent and emulsifier.  So this luscious thick cream, is a whole lot of creamy goop..... nothing more.  Your face may feel soft and conditioned, but so is tanned leather, but I wouldn't call it moisturized leather.

Sericin for instance....did you know it is just another name for silk protein, derived from the silkworm?  So for vegans who may not have taken the time to dissect this understandably confusing ingredient label, they may be using a cream that goes against their personal beliefs.

Bottom line, there is not a single solitary moisturizing ingredient in this product except for water, and that only lasts for as long as the product can sustain the moisture loss.  Plus with so many silicone derivatives, one gal stated she now has acne, something she has not had since high school.  It may not bother sensitive skin types, but it doesn't go far enough to improve skins function either.  It more or less can be a very occlusive formula.

What Is A Moisturizing Ingredient?
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Meadowfoam Oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Butters of Shea, Cocoa, Mango, Olive
These are sustainable, non-occlusive moisturizers, once placed on the skin.  They can remain throughout the day and when utilized with a humectant, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid or sodium PCA, then the skin can and will sustain moisture against the surface of the face.  In fact, some of the oils listed also have some humectant properties. Silicone oil will actually prevent humectant viability.

Herbal Extracts or Distillates For Soothing, Balancing or Restoration of Skin
  • Aloe Juice
  • Chamomile Flower Extract
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Fruit Extracts (gentle AHA's)
  • Comfrey Root (Allantoin)
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Oatstraw Extract
  • Rooibos Extract
  • Sandalwood Extract
  • Rose Distillate
  • Witch Hazel (alcohol free)
  • Chamomile Distillate
  • Cucumber Distillate
  • Lavender Distillate
These are great for treating the skin for some of the issues women face. No gimmicks, easy to understand ingredients, not hidden behind some fancy sounding synthetically created name, that women don't get or know what it is in there other words, how does it benefit her skin? 

So put on a Happy Face, because the fog has cleared and a moisturizer is finally clarified.

Final Thought

Think about it for a minute....some of us may have known those that suffer from extreme dry skin of the feet and hands to the point of cracking and bleeding.  The resolve for most has been to slather mineral oil or vaseline on the areas and then wrap them in plastic bags for relief before they go to bed at night. 

This treatment is trapping moisture in and keeping a heavy coating of an oil on the skin to allow the cracks to close and heal.  This example shows in theory, it takes moisture and a sustainable oil to remain on the skin to truly moisturize and improve skins elasticity by definition.  For those that don't like petroleum products even though they have worked miracles for those with this affliction, there are fantastic ingredients in the list above that will do an excellent job of essentially the same thing, only naturally.  

Preference is all that remains as to what you think will work best for your skin.  If you think you have been using what you thought was a moisturizer, only to learn it's not, then we do offer ONATI Skin Care as a viable alternative to actually replenishing moisture starved skin.  And the best part is, the line was solely created to be synergetic with skins natural function and our mineral makeup to give a beautiful finish to the face.

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