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Controversial Ingredients: One Brand’s Perspective

By: Ada Polla and Anne Pouillot
Posted: November 29, 2011, from the December 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 7 of 11

Why the bad reputation? Silicone polymers have been known to form a non-oily film on the surface of the skin, which can obstruct pores. Furthermore, the synthetic origin of silicone polymers is not in accordance with some brand positioning. Although derived from a natural resource (sand), the processes necessary to obtain the actual silicone polymer have been unwelcome.

Should it be replaced? Not necessarily. Scientific data suggest that silicones are neither dangerous nor allergenic. Indeed silicone has been utilized in many consumer/medical products for 50 years without causing significant side effects.17

What are the alternatives? There is currently no alternative that provides the silky feel that silicone creates in a cosmetic product. We propose that it is adequate to keep dimethicone in formulations for which a silky texture is preferable.18 Alchimie Forever uses silicone derivatives in a single product, so far without any adverse consequences on the skin such as pore-clogging.

Mineral oil

What is it? Mineral oil or paraffinum oil belongs to the class of chemicals called hydrocarbons, i.e., residues from the distillation of petroleum. Mineral oil used in cosmetics is purified by a refining process. Mineral oil is used in oil phase products as an emollient because of its low volatility and smooth texture.19 Mineral oil has hydrophobic effects, namely it protects the skin against moisture loss.

Why the bad reputation? Mineral oil is derived from petroleum. That very word has negative connotations among consumers. Furthermore, mineral oil creates a film on the skin,20 potentially leading to clogged pores and obstructing the skin. Should it be replaced? Probably. Consumers are increasingly rejecting raw materials derived from petroleum and hydrocarbons, and easy-to-use alternatives are available.