Mineral oil, Glycerin, and Alcohol
This is the third and final blog post in a series on a list of ingredients we do NOT include in any of our handmade body care products and why.
I am not an expert in this field, but I have researched each of these ingredients extensively and have concluded that I don’t want them in or on my own body, so I’m not going to put them in my products.
Even if the evidence was inconclusive against a particular ingredient, there are studies and research that indicate possible issues – and that is a good enough reason for me. At least until more conclusive studies are done.
Mineral Oil is created from crude petroleum and is used in a wide variety of products. Our number one reason for not using mineral oil in our products is because it’s a created oil, not a natural one. Most people agree that mineral oil is safe to use and those who speak against it do so for one of three reasons.
It clogs pores. It’s an occlusive agent, which means it doesn’t penetrate the skin easily and “seals in moisture”. However, this sealing process also prevents air and water from getting to the skin, or sweat from getting out.
If the mineral oil isn’t refined well enough it could contain carcinogenic properties. And some studies suggest the purity of the oil may not make a difference in it being carcinogenic.
Some studies show that mineral oil hydrocarbons can accumulate in the human body over time and do not metabolize in the body, which could cause adverse effects. These studies typically have small group sizes and the ones I found looked at multiple ingredients rather than just mineral oil.
Glycerin is a sugar alcohol made from animal products, plants, or petroleum. Vegetable glycerin is the variant made from plants. Overall vegetable and animal-based glycerin are generally considered safe to use. Both of these types of glycerin are made using a base oil such as coconut oil, or beef tallow, and salt.
Because of how soap is made, naturally occurring glycerin can be present in all soap. However, we never add glycerin as an ingredient, natural or synthetic.
Synthetic glycerin is another product derived from petroleum and is something we will never use in our products.
Another reason I don’t add glycerin in our products is because I have had a few people tell me they have an allergy to it. Since my products are all about being good for most sensitive skin types, I don’t include it.
Alcohol in skincare and beauty products is a complicated matter. This is because there are many types of alcohols used. Here is a breakdown of the types:
Ethyl alcohols – usually listed at isopropyl and ethanol. These are very drying to the skin.
Fatty alcohols – cetyl, cetearyl, or behenyl come from fats and oils and can be moisturizing. These are used as thickeners in products.
Aromatic alcohols – benzyl. Functions as a preservative or to add fragrance.
We don’t use any of these alcohols in our products. First, we would never use ethyl alcohol because our products are designed to be safe to use on sensitive skin types that already struggle with dry, rough, itchy skin and rashes.
We don’t use fatty alcohols either because we don’t need any added thickeners in any of our products.
And finally, we don’t use aromatic alcohols because we don’t use fragrances and the essential oils we use get distributed throughout our products in the base oils we use.
So there you have it. Nine ingredients we don’t use in our products and why. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much I enjoyed writing and researching it.