The Chemistry of Cosmetics
Why are chemical compounds added to cosmetics?
When buying a cream with a pronounced effect or shampoo with natural herbs, you don't think about other components that allow you to feel the freshness and aroma of the product for a long time. Meanwhile, not a single herbal infusion, even in the refrigerator, will stand fresh for more than a week, and the oily substance will turn sour in general for 3-4 days. Natural cosmetics without preservatives are short-lived.
Previously, they blocked the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria in an opened package of parabens. After research, it has been proven that, when absorbed into the body, they stimulate the development of cancer cells. A new preservative, phenoxyethanol, has been developed. It is currently considered one of the most secure connections.
Properties almost secure connection
It is unlikely that a person who is far from chemistry needs to know the exact formula of phenoxyethanol or glycol ether. The compound has another name - monophenyl ether. In the international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients, it is referred to as Phenoxyethanol. The compound was synthesized for the first time in the USA.
Belongs to the class of ethylene glycols, which are successfully used in the production of jet fuel and in the paint and varnish industry.
Phenoxyethanol preservative in cosmetics is:
- formula stabilizer;
- keeper of useful properties;
The compound is universal in its properties. This transparent liquid dissolves in vegetable and essential oils, mixes perfectly with alcoholic liquids, medical products. Compatible with surfactants, they are called surfactants by chemists - organic compounds, the molecules of which have a polar part - cations and anions - that is, a hydrophilic component.
Some concern is caused by the fact that phenoxyetalone contains phenol. But there is very little of it - 0.08%. It is because of phenol that the compound is almost safe.
Studies have shown that with a small content of a preservative in cosmetic products, it does not have a harmful effect on the body - in comparison with other substances known to science. The recommended amount of it in the composition of children's cosmetics should not exceed 0.75%, in an adult it is allowed to enter 1%.
Cosmetics, which have been injected with phenoxyethanol, can be stored for a long time at room temperature.
Potential harm to the newonservant
We can immediately say that the aggressive formula of the compound, that is, an initially toxic substance, would not be allowed on the cosmetic market. Cosmetics manufacturers are aware that a few serious allergic reactions or side effects from a product can damage a company's reputation.
Pure phenoxyethanol is harmful. Whatever the route of its penetration into the body - absorption, oral or respiratory - it aggressively affects the central nervous system and disrupts reproductive function, causing chromosomal abnormalities.
During mandatory studies on animals, it was found that even a slight excess of the recommended dose in rabbits provokes skin irritation, and in rats it becomes disoriented and causes the birth of unhealthy offspring. In mice, the compound caused pulmonary edema.
That is, you can see that the smaller the body, the more the harm of exposure to the chemical increases.
If we talk about people, then skin irritation causes the agent in 2% concentration, and then in 3 cases out of 100. In dermatological studies, exposure to the skin did not reveal a teratogenic disorder - a toxic effect on fetal development.
In the mandatory for the entire cosmetic industry Ames test - a test of a substance for mutagenic activity - no negative effects of phenoxyethanol were found.
By its harmful effect of phenoxyethanol in cosmetics, the substance owes its quality to split into components. These constituents are acetaldehyde and phenol.
Acetaldehyde is a human carcinogen. When inhaled, the conjunctiva of the eyes is irritated, the airways are inflamed. Phenol blocks the immune system.
Therefore, there is very little of it in the composition of cosmetics. For example, 250 ml of shampoo contains only 1 teaspoon! But at the same time it performs its functions - it preserves the compound formula and does not allow pathogenic bacteria and molds to develop in open packaging.
When purchasing a product, the packaging of which says: the composition contains 2 phenoxyethanol or phenyl cellosolve, C8H10O2, - you should not be afraid of side effects. After clinical studies, it was found that neither a phototoxic substance, nor an allergen, nor a primary irritant - this substance is not!
Reduces the effect of a preservative on the human body potassium sorbate, which is added to cosmetics with phenoxyethanol: 0.8% preservative - 0.1% potassium sorbate.
In cosmetics, this preservative is used in the manufacture of:
- face products: toners, lotions, balms, creams and facial cleansers;
- eye and lip creams - especially delicate parts of the skin;
- hair cosmetics; shampoos, masks, conditionersioners, herbal rinses;
- anhydrous products: scrubs, peeling products;
- all kinds of decorative cosmetic products;
- products for children from a very young age: creams, cleansing foams, napkins, balms;
- various repellents.
The only type of cosmetics, in which the introduction of phenoxyethanol causes the protest of scientists, is a medicinal cream for nursing mothers, designed to accelerate the healing of nipples with cracking.
When it gets on wounds, phenoxyethanol is absorbed into the body, but the substance is not designed for internal use. In addition, it enters the body of babies along with milk, and can cause negative reactions - vomiting due to general intoxication of the body.
In infants, such a nutritional supplement, albeit in microscopic quantities, can cause eating disorders - the substance has a pronounced effect on small organisms.
If, when choosing a remedy for nipple healing, the packaging says that it contains monophenyl ether or 2 phenoxyethanol, then you should look for another drug or limit yourself to homemade natural remedies for treating cracks.
When buying other cosmetics, you should not refuse to purchase the tube or box you like because of phenoxyethanol.
Any cosmetic product contains at least some preservatives and antiseptics, otherwise they would turn sour a day after opening the package. And where is the guarantee that the components of another preservative are less toxic?
If you do not eat cosmetics and keep away from curious children who taste everything, there will be no side effects to the use of cosmetics with phenoxyethanol.