Getting acquainted with ingredients on a label is well worth it. Science now knows what sort of body system disturbances can occur with daily or weekly exposure to inferior ingredients (hormonal effects, mood, skin irritations, toxicity build up). Many mass producers of cosmetic products don’t compete on the basis of the quality of their ingredients – they compete through advertising for mass sales! The regulation of chemicals in consumer products is an area requiring far more attention.
If you were to read that Bio-Oil contains a blend of botanicals including Calendula officinalis flower extract (Calendula oil), Lavandula angustifolia oil (Lavender oil), Rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil (Rosemary Oil), Anthemis nobilis flower oil (Chamomile Oil) and vitamins such as retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E) you would feel like it was good for you, yes?
Although purity of ingredients and percentages are not known, these botanicals may entice you to skim over the rest of the ingredient deck, assuming assuming Bio-Oil would be a 'safe' option for you!
Take a moment to notice the ingredients that really stand out to us:
Paraffinum Liquidum - A fancy name for Mineral oil, this is a petrochemical, a derivative of crude oil. The large molecules do not penetrate the surface of the skin, making it an occlusive agent. Advertisers would say it ‘helps lock in moisture’, but all it is doing it interfering with your normal cellular respiration, trapping dirt and bacteria and contributing to pore clogging. It is not a skin physiologic ingredient and serves absolutely no benefit to the skin.
Isopropyl myristate - Is known to cause some skin irritations.
BHT - A known human immune toxicant or allergen. Long-term exposure to high doses of BHT is toxic in mice and rats, causing liver, thyroid and kidney problems and affecting lung function and blood coagulation. No thanks.
Benzyl Salicylate - Associated with endocrine (hormonal) disruption.
Parfum - Artificial fragrances. Quite simply they are THE leading cause of skin irritations and also create a huge oxidative stress load - leading to advanced cellular function disruption. The surface of your skin may not show obvious signs of this stress but it is definitely occurring, and is slowly and detrimentally affecting your skin. Sadly, or scarily, the law doesn't require companies to disclose the potentially hundreds of chemicals in a single ‘parfum’ formula. What’s even more concerning is the long list of synthetic fragrance additives that are included in Bio-Oil!
Amyl Cinnamal - A highly allergenic fragrance ingredient, exposure to Cinnamaldehyde has been found to affect the central nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems.
Citronellol - Scenting agent that causes skin and eye irritation, prepared by complete synthetic manufacturing processes. Listed as highly toxic to aquatic life!
Coumarin - Synthetically produced chemical scent. A known immune-system and skin allergen, causing everything from mild irritation to severe dermatitis and has been banned as a food additive in the U.S.A. and many European countries due to its potential liver and kidney toxicity, yet not banned yet as an additive to topically applied products. Unfortunately cosmetic ingredient labelling is a very grey and cloudy area, kept that way by large product companies that wish to continue using the cheapest ingredients possible.
Eugenol - A fragrance component. Highly toxic. On the EU's banned/restricted list.
Geraniol - Displays toxic activity, this is another synthetic fragrance that creates havoc internally for your skin.
Hydroxycitronellal - Yet another fragrance! A known immune system toxicant; also banned or restricted in the EU and other areas.
Limonene - Yes, another synthetic fragrance! This skin sensitizer is restricted/banned in other countries.
Linalool - Well would you believe - another synthetic fragrance! Shown to be hazardous, banned/restricted for use in other countries.
Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde - Fragrance component.
CI 26100 - Is a synthetic colour (Red 17). Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions in some countries. Persistent and bioaccumulative with some organ toxicity concerns.
Consumers rely on manufacturers (and suppliers of their goods) to provide accurate and truthful information, and deserve to be able to judge whether a product is suitable for consistent topical use based upon this information. With ongoing scientific inquiry about the long-term effects of chemicals that have question marks over their safety it seems wise to choose to limit your exposure to debatable and unnecessary additions to your skin care - especially if they have absolutely NO physiologic benefits for your skin!
This article was written by Pia Kynoch, Owner & Principal Therapist at Verve Beauty & Paramedical Skin Wellness.
Question to Pia:
"Everything can be bad for you in huge doses but in tiny minimal doses it can be completely harmless, Bio-Oil saved my post baby body and made me feel human again. If you look into any ingredients of any products you can pick bad bits out even organic mineral pure natural etc etc etc why just pick on bio-oil?!"
"I was spurred to write this article after seeing a post from a lady with a recent skin injury. Her skin had not quite re-epithelised (formed a scab) and she was being given advice by numerous well-wishers to apply Bio-Oil. I simply wanted to create awareness that Bio-Oil is not all what it seems - yes, there are some ingredients in there that are fine for skin, but there are plenty that are not!
It is hard to avoid toxins, I completely agree! It is never just one thing - the total load of toxic stress is what our body deals with at any one time and accumulates over a period of time, a little like filling up a container with water. Initially the container is empty, and whether it is a fast flowing tap or a slow drip, eventually that container of water will become full and overflow… our bodies work in much the same way. When we become full to overflowing is when things are not working so well - ill health, hormonal problems, irritated skin, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, it can take any number of forms.
Each of us is so unique in our lifestyle choices and carries our own unique gene code, so how long it takes to get to total load end point is unknown. My only wish is to educate and inspire people to take extra interest in their product labels and match it with the advertising claims. The impression that you can have of a product can often be completely different to what is actually being delivered, and that is my major concern!"