chemicals are everywhere
& it's not as scary as you think
Have you ever heard of l-ergothioneine? What about glucose polymer? One more, just for fun, 11-Eicosenoic acid? Would you slather these on your body?
These are the chemical names for some of our potent ingredients, shiitake mushroom, oat kernel and jojoba oil. Some chemicals in skincare have become vilified in our obsession with ‘clean’ products, oftentimes however, it can come down to seeing a long name in the ingredients list and then writing it off as dangerous without truly knowing what it actually is.
Let it be known friends, some chemicals are good for our skin. Heck, some are even good enough to eat! Bromelain on pizza anyone? (that’s pineapple by the way).
The reason we don’t use chemical names in everyday life, is that it would be downright confusing, so instead we use trade names, these are much easier to pronounce and identify, and, let’s be honest, sugar cane sounds a lot sexier than C12H22O11.
Everything we can see, ingest, inhale or touch is made up of chemicals. All matter, including your butt naked body is made up of chemicals. This also includes the earth as a whole. Matter (anything made of atoms) can also be called a chemical. So if atoms are building blocks, chemicals are the structures you can build with them. They can be in any form – liquid, solid or gas.
Now you know, pretty much everything is a chemical. The more we know, the less we fear what we don’t. Next up is the hotly debated topic; natural versus man made chemicals.
Natural vs made made chemicals.
Let’s dive into this nuanced talking point.
Manufactured chemicals are ones that have been made by humans, usually in a lab. They are aptly called synthetic chemicals, on the contrary, natural chemicals are ones that are found in nature which are produced by plants and animals.
There is a common misconception that there is a fundamental difference between manufactured chemicals and natural ones. If a chemical is found in nature and the same chemical is manufactured, there is no difference between them. A great example of this is vitamin C, the synthetic version is identical to the manufactured version.
Some people also think that manufactured chemicals are inherently ‘bad’ whilst natural chemicals are ‘good.’ This also is a misconception. Many natural chemicals are toxic, apricot pips are a hotbed for cyanide, in fact, some of the most deadly compounds are found in nature.
When a company claims that they are selling chemical free skin care products, this claim is a fundamental fallacy, as it would have to mean the ingredients, packaging and all would simply cease to exist!
At BNB, we recently moved away from ‘natural’ mica, which is one of the ingredients that creates a shimmery effect in our body glow. Child labour in mica mining is an ongoing human rights issue with very murky supply chain transparency (if at all), and, for this reason, it was a no-brainer for us to make the switch to a ‘man-made’ version. This was one of those moments where good chemicals for our skin are also people and earth friendly.
Are preservatives in skincare safe?
We often get asked are preservatives safe for skincare?
Another hot topic often discussed is the use of preservatives in the products we either ingest or put on our skin. Branded bad for health, let’s debunk some of the longer lasting (pun intended) misconceptions around preservatives.
First up, let’s define what a preservative actually is.
What is a preservative?
Preservatives are added to food and cosmetics to inhibit or slow the growth of micro-organisms, icky things like moulds, yeasts and bad bacteria in food and cosmetics.
Preservatives can be made of “natural” chemicals such as salt or alcohol but they can also be created using man-made chemicals. In this instance though, “natural” preservatives are not necessarily healthier than man-made.
Preservatives and cosmetics
Preservatives in cosmetics are often criticised, however, they help the formula remain safe for your skin and prevent it from warping into a weird Rick and Morty episode.
Preservatives in cosmetics are not the baddie. When you purchase a new product, you do so with confidence knowing that it’s going to last you a month or more. This stable shelf-life is achieved with preservatives. Without preservatives, the active ingredients in your skin care will become inactive, and the product might start growing legs and run off your shelves!
Our safe skincare preservatives
Let’s explore the BNB essentials for safe preservatives in skincare.
Potassium sorbate (good chemical).
Used as an alternative to parabens (not-so-good chemical), this ingredient helps to inhibit the development of bacteria and moulds. Yay for your skin!
Whilst it might sound like a super luxe car, it’s actually just, drum roll please, salt. Golf claps. Golf claps.
Perhaps the most interesting preservative of all ...
Also a salt. This preservative is super beneficial to skincare products as it can act to help create a stable, water-soluble complex. It’s most often made by aerobic fermentation of a sugar (from corn or beetroot) - see, science is fun.
Produced by fermentation of a sugar source like potatoes or cornstarch, sodium lactate replenishes moisture by retaining the water in your skin. Skin hydration is key!
Preservatives in BNB products are necessary in order to protect the delicate nature of our ingredients and to ensure your products aren’t compromised in any way. We only use preservatives in three of our best selling water-based products. Why? 87% of our range is anhydrous (water-free) but those with water-based formulas mean a preserving system is required to maintain the highest quality and stability so you can use it safely on your skin.
Wanna know something really cool? We use a COSMOS and ECOCERT certified preservative which focuses on safety from the production of raw materials to the distribution of finished products. They also promote the use of ingredients derived from renewable resources and production and manufacturing processes that are environmentally safe.
We want you to feel fantastic about the products you apply to your body and will only ever use safe skincare preservatives. We have done the research and worked extensively with the experts so that you can rest assured knowing that we have your back, butt and everything in between, and that our products are working to give you an amazing glow!
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