Monthly Archives: January 2014

Who owns skincare companies? Ingredients used-Part 2

Ingredients Part 2


Part 1 discussed a product from The Body Shop and I want to continue with further analysis on the product mentioned before, giving you a choice and understanding of what is on offer in the world of skincare and general health not what you see straight in front of you.

Also it will point out how some ideals were in principle excellent to start with but have been morally changed to meet up with commercial enterprise not quality of product.

Ingredients-Part 2

Here are some ingredients in one product a customer once told me was very pure (I did try not to laugh).

Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Glycine soja (Soybean Oil) (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Cinnamyl Alcohol (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Caramel (Colour), CI 19140 (Colour).

Now the next biggest ingredient here should be in theory the main ingredient of a product (most companies this is not the case-hence I use the word THEORY!)

Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter-refined is this case)

But first of all a question what’s the difference between Unrefined and refined Cocoa butter, well here is the explanation by Nicole Roberts 

If you are like me and are paying good money for a product that is supposed to benefit you then you want to have the best product out there.  I know that I don’t want to pay for something that doesn’t work or is junk. 

Well that’s the difference between refined (or processed) cocoa butter and unrefined cocoa butter. 

If you are reading this post then you have most likely heard all about the benefits of cocoa butter and may have even used products that have included cocoa butter.  You may like the fact that cocoa butter is very emollient and is a great moisturiser for the skin or that it is full of beneficial vitamins and minerals.  You have probably already guessed that it’s Cocoa Butter’s vitamins and fatty acids that help scars disappear and stretch marks from forming.  Perhaps you like the fact that Cocoa butter is a great aid for those that suffer from psoriasis or eczema.  Maybe it’s the chocolatey smell that you appreciate when you apply your cocoa butter.  What ever your interest in Cocoa butter, you probably should know that you are only able to get all of those great benefits if you are using unrefined cocoa butter cocoa butter)

Refined Cocoa Butter

 COCOA-BUTTER -refined
To get that white, non-chocolately smelling product that is most often times used in the products that you buy in the store that says it “contains Cocoa Butter” it must first be processed.   This process may be bleaching the cocoa butter to give it it’s white color vs. creamy yellow color.  Another process that is very common is deodorizing.  By doing this, the cocoa butter no longer has the strong chocolate scent.  Of course any process like these is done by using chemicals.  This over processing of cocoa butter may get rid of the color and scent but it also depletes the product of all of the beneficial vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that make it so sought after in the first place.

You may be wondering why anyone would choose refined cocoa butter over unrefined cocoa butter.  The reason is that this white non-scented butter can then be added to any other product and scented with perfumes.  It can now be made to look and smell however the manufacturer thinks will sell better.  It can be made into shampoo, conditioner, lip balms, lotions, etc.  But, once again, the consumer does not reap the true benefits of cocoa butter.

Unrefined Cocoa Butter

Cocoa Butter-unrefined
You know you have the raw Cocoa butter when the product is a creamy yellow color and smells distinctively like chocolate.  Cocoa butter melts at body temperature and is in a very solid form at room temperature.  There as been no chemical processing at all to give you this all natural product.  All of the wonderful vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fatty acids that make this product so beneficial to you are still in tact. 

You can use unrefined cocoa butter on it’s own or look for it listed as “unrefined cocoa butter” in other products (here at Raw Skin Food we use it in our Quench Thy Thirst balm for dry skin)


Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (refined in the product mentioned)

This ingredient is always spoken to myself as Uber-natural (in unrefined form it has benefits-though finding it in its purest form is hard, so most out there in the commercial world is poor quality) but….here are some facts about Shea Butter which may enlighten you as most Shea butter in the skin care market is actually treated and is refined so much there is not much benefit using it and environmentally it is altered from natural state to when its in a product.


Shea butter benefits and concerns 



Again like Cocoa it needs to be Unrefined for best quality results

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the Shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii), which grows in the savannah of Western Africa. The English name Shea comes from its Bambara name “sii”, which means sacred. As a sacred tree, it is treated with particular respect.. Growing up to 60 feet tall, the Shea tree does not flower before it is 20 years old and can live up to 200 years. The Shea nuts are traditionally harvested by women, crushed and boiled to extract the Shea butter, which has its unconditional aficionados all over the world. In the hot Sahara or Savannah, Shea butter protects the skin from the sun and dehydration. For millenia, people have used it to protect their skin from the drying winds and sun as well as to heal many skin problems, minor cuts and burns.

Skin Superfood and Healer

Shea butter is one of the best moisturising, anti-ageing regenerating and protecting natural product in the World! It protects your skin from UV sunlight, harsh climate, dehydration and pollution damages. Let’s say in short that it is one of the best anti-aging agents for you skin. It strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, which is the youthful scaffolding protein in your skin. It makes it more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant.

If you have wrinkles, fine lines and crow feet or if your skin is dry, very dry, damaged or devitalized, Shea butter will make all of these problems vanish and bring your skin back into life and beauty. It is the most moisturizing skin care product in the world, so choose Shea butter over powerful anti-aging skin care products like Wild Musk Rose oil, or Argan oil during the cold and sunny seasons.

Shea butter is also one of the best skin care for winter and after-sun care. It provides the extra moisture, vitamins, nutrients and protection your skin needs during the cold season and summertime. It is also the perfect lip balm to protect your lips from the cold and dry weather and keep them beautiful.

Since Shea butter is all natural and so rich and moisturising, it is ideal for baby care. It is natural, gentle and soft for every type of skin, but it is specially adapted for the delicate and sensitive skin of babies. It is perfect for after bath skin care and as a healer in case of eczema or diaper rash for babies and kids. African women have used it for millennia to protect and nourish their babies’ skin. Using pure Shea butter on your baby guarantees you of a totally natural and chemical-free skin care. Given that lots of baby care products contain toxic chemicals, Shea butter is the best ally for eco-conscious moms.

Hair Revitalization

Thanks to its deeply moisturising qualities, Shea butter is the best revitalization cure for your hair. Dry, dull, falling, lumpy or damaged, your hair will always benefit from a Shea butter mask. Either the pure Shea butter mask or the Shea butter conditioner will give vitality, suppleness and shine back to your hair. The Shea butter cure is good anytime, but especially during summertime or in the tropics because of the stress your hair has to sustain from the sun and ocean, lake or rive water. Prolong the cure after you come back from vacation.

Recipe: use a nut size of Shea butter and apply evenly on your hair. Wrap your hair in a warm towel and leave on for 20-30 min. Shampoo as usual and apply either the Shea butter conditioner or pure Shea butter depending on the dryness and damage of your hair.

The Body Healer

Given its high content in anti-inflammatory and healing components, Shea butter helps the healing of skin disorders and problems like:

  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • rash
  • hives
  • insect bites
  • poisonous plants contact dermatitis
  • skin cracks
  • burns
  • minor cuts

Moreover Shea butter is deeply soothing and calming on any irritation and inflammation. Because it helps the healing of the skin, it can take care of heel and skin cracks in record time. But it does even more…

Shea butter is very beneficial for sportive men and women, as it prepares the muscles before the workout and helps them to recover faster after. It also helps to reduce muscle aches as it stimulates the elimination of toxins from the muscles.

(All above information on Shea Butter is sourced from

The concerns

However before it is made as a butter, the shea nut  is grown with pesticides (which long term we don’t know the damage this causes-which could relate to skin issues not resolving them) due to over demand when originally discovered by westerners in the 1950’s.

Shea butter’s colour is not yellow, green, gray, dark brown or white.  If you see Shea butter in these colours they are modified and also sometimes saying on packaging 100% Shea butter (it may have been treated so hence in my mind is not 100% BUT THE LABELING CAN GET AWAY WITH IT ACCORDING TO THE LAW)

Pure Unrefined Shea butter has a distinct smell, it is cold pressed without using chemicals, it actually isn’t that pleasant at first (if Shea butter smells nice it has been treated perhaps with perfumes amongst other processing (usually alcohol) , however once on the body untreated shea butter smell dissipates.

Shea butter is used mainly in the chocolate industry as a substitute to more expensive Cocoa butter (so again look for cocoa percentage on food (in fact most has a lot of refined shea butter in consistency not all obviously labelled either), in skincare usage it is a small fraction not as much as we are made to believe.

There is classes of Shea butter

Class A being the best

Class B second

Class C third

Then lastly failing quality moisturising properties (which is Shea butter purpose?) is

Class F being the worst and ironically most cosmetic companies use Class F….good to know

Vitamin wise Shea butter is rich in Vitamin A and E, but if your pregnant you are advised to reduce the Vitamin A in diet-so an amazing factual ideal especially that Shea Butter as an ingredient is used in a lot of new pregnant mother skincare sets and products, for new born babies it has been reported useful, however personally use avocado butter as it is sourced more purely without grown with pesticides.

Also many dermatologists suggest that if you have Oily skin you should not use Shea butter or petroleum as it causes excess oil (sebum) production, this is interesting as most people have combination skin types. 


What does Glycerin do and what’s it used for?

 (Commentary by myself in Italics)

This medication is used as a moisturiser to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin and minor skin irritations (e.g., diaper rash, skin burns from radiation therapy). Emollients are substances that soften and moisturise the skin and decrease itching and flaking. Some products (e.g., zinc oxide, white petroleum) are used mostly to protect the skin against irritation (e.g., from wetness).

Dry skin is caused by a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin. Emollients/moisturisers work by forming an oily layer on the top of the skin that traps water in the skin.


Petroleum, lanolin, mineral oil and dimethicone are common emollients. (however this is some side effects of each -go to highlighted word for link)


Humectants, including glycerin, lecithin, and propylene glycol, draw water into the outer layer of skin.

Many products also have ingredients that soften the horny substance (keratin) that holds the top layer of skin cells together (e.g., urea, alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic/citric/glycolic acid, and allantoin). This helps the dead skin cells fall off, helps the skin keep in more water, and leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer.

How to use glycerin

Use this product as directed. Some products require priming before use. Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Some products need to be shaken before use. Check the label to see if you should shake the bottle well before using. Apply to the affected areas of the skin as needed or as directed on the label or by your doctor. How often you apply the medication will depend on the product and your skin condition. To treat dry hands, you may need to use the product every time you wash your hands, applying it throughout the day.

If you are using this product to help treat diaper rash, clean the diaper area well before use and allow the area to dry before applying the product.

If you are using this product to help treat radiation skin burns, check with radiation personnel to see if your brand can be applied before radiation therapy.

Follow all the directions on the label for proper use. Apply to the skin only. Avoid sensitive areas such as your eyes, inside your mouth/nose, and the vaginal/groin area, unless the label or your doctor directs you otherwise. Check the label for directions about any areas or types of skin where you should not apply the product (e.g., on the face, any areas of broken/chapped/cut/irritated/scraped skin, or on a recently shaved area of the skin). Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Most moisturisers need water to work well. Apply the product after bathing/showering while the skin is still damp. For very dry skin, your doctor may instruct you to soak the area before using the product. Long, hot, or frequent bathing/washing can worsen dry skin.

If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.

Possible side effects


Most emollients can be used safely and effectively with no side effects. However, burning, stinging, redness, or irritation may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

If your doctor has prescribed this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: unusual changes in the skin (e.g., turning white/soft/soggy from too much wetness), signs of skin infection.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.



Before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the product; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

If you have any of the following health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product: skin cuts/infections/sores.

Some ingredients (e.g., preservatives, fragrance) may make you more sensitive to the sun. (again most skincare has this so you have to be careful what you use with glycerin)

Check the label for any warnings or ask your doctor or pharmacist if you need to take any special precautions when in the sun. Your doctor/pharmacist may suggest using a sunscreen, wearing protective clothing when outdoors, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps.

Some products may worsen acne. If your skin is prone to acne breakouts, look for the word “non-comedogenic” (will not clog pores) on the label. Some products may stain/discolor clothing. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding, especially if you are applying this product to the breast area.

Side effects of Vegetable Glycerin

(Sourced from

Vegetable glycerin, also called glycerol, is a type of liquid derived from a variety of vegetable oils and is used in various applications throughout the food-processing and pharmaceutical industries for its potential health benefits. In the food industry, glycerin is used as a preservative and sweetener, while the pharmaceutical industry uses it as a binding agent and lubricant in various medications. Despite its potential benefits, vegetable glycerin may cause adverse effects in some people. If you believe you are sensitive to glycerin, talk to your doctor.


While most forms of vegetable glycerin have a relatively low toxicity, some forms, especially propylene glycol, can have toxic effects when consumed in high quantities. According to the World Health Organization, too much propylene glycol can cause excess lactate to build up in the bloodstream and can lead to coma, convulsions and cardiovascular problems such as heart attack. However, the amount required to cause these reactions is high, making an overdose unlikely.

Allergic Reaction

Some forms of vegetable glycerin may cause allergic reactions, especially if you are sensitive to oils, such as coconut and palm oil. Some vegetable glycerin compounds also contain sulphites, which are infused in the oil to extend the shelf life of the product, especially in the food manufacturing industry. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a sensitivity to sulphite can cause asthma-like symptoms and a generalized allergic reaction.

Skin Reactions

Some vegetable glycerins and glycols are known skin irritants, according to the book “Clinical Practice of Emergency Medicine.” When raw vegetable glycerins come in contact with your skin, they may cause skin allergies. Glycerin interacts with the natural oils on the surface of the skin and may cause itching and the appearance of hives or a rash. Washing your skin thoroughly with soap and water can help remove any vegetable glycerin remaining on your skin and help treat a skin reaction.

Other Precautions

Vegetable glycerins can irritate your respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. If vegetable glycerin is accidentally inhaled, it can irritate the mucous membranes in the lungs and cause wheezing, swelling of the tongue and upper respiratory tract infections. High amounts of oral vegetable glycerin can upset your stomach and result in nausea, diarrhoea and in rare cases inflammation of your gastrointestinal tract, called gastroenteritis.

(Mainly all sourced from WEB MD


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