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Ingredients

Why natural?
Why organic?
Quality and certification
Are products tested on animals?
Chemicals - what's the problem?
What are petrochemicals?
Why do some ingredients sound like chemicals?
A-Z of chemicals in skincare
How is Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate better than Sodium Lauryl Sulphate?

Why natural?

At 100% Nature we sell natural skincare, supplements and remedies for babies, children and adults. We specialise in skincare for eczema and upset or problem skin, and supplements and natural pharmacy products to help support your health naturally. However that does not mean that you have to have problem skin or a health complaint to choose to use only natural products.

The majority of people use commercial brands that contain chemicals, for themselves and their children, and continue to do so because they have never had an adverse reaction to anything. However choosing natural isn't just about what is happening on the outside of your body, it is about the toxicity of chemicals in these products, how these toxins enter the body and what this can do to your health in the long term.

Scientists have discovered a direct link between some chemicals and health problems such as eczema, asthma, hormone imbalances, organ damage, birth defects and cancers. It is estimated that 5000 - 10,000 chemicals are considered hazardous, of which 150 - 200 are thought to cause cancer. Why take that risk when there are affordable, effective 100% natural products available to us?

Why organic?

Organic food is not a fad. Unfortunately non-organic food can have serious implications to your health. We hope that you choose to eat organic food for the same reasons that you choose to use natural and organic products. Organic food and substances are guaranteed to be free from artificial additives, chemical pesticides and residues of antibiotics and hormones, and have not been genetically modified.

The website www.whyorganic.org lists the following points:

1. It's healthy

On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants.

2. No nasty additives

Organic food doesn't contain food additives which can cause health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity. Amongst the additives banned by the Soil Association are hydrogenated fat, aspartame (artificial sweetener) and monosodium glutamate.

3. Avoids pesticides

Over 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues are often present in non-organic food. The UK government has recently found high levels of pesticide residues in baby food, spinach, dried fruit, bread, apples, celery, and chips.

4. No GM

Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.

5. Reliance on drugs removed

There is growing concern about the high use of antibiotics on farm animals and the possible effects on human health. Soil Association standards prohibit the routine use of antibiotics.

6. No hidden costs

Compare this with the £120m that tax payers fork out to pay for removing chemicals from drinking water, mainly as a result of the pesticides used in farming.

7. High standards

Organic food comes from trusted sources. All organic farms and food companies are inspected at least once a year. The standards for organic food are laid down in European law.

8. Care for animals

Animal welfare is taken very seriously under organic standards. The benefits of the organic approach are acknowledged by animal welfare organisations such as Compassion in World Farming as well as the UK government.

9. Good for wildlife and the environment

The UK government has said that organic farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide - the main global warming gas - and less dangerous wastes.

10. Top for taste

Many people prefer organic food because they say it tastes better. A number of top chefs choose organic, and every year many are involved in the Soil Association's organic food awards.

For those sceptics out there what more proof do you need than the following pieces of information?

• People who live in close proximity to fields that are sprayed with chemical pesticides have a far higher occurrence of cancer than those who don't (BBC News Report 2006).

• A report published in Reader's Digest in 1996 showed that an alarming 1 in 3 non-organic spinach leaves sampled in the UK exceeded the safe limit of nitrates, which are known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing).

• On average non-organic farmed salmon have 16 times the dioxin-like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) found in wild salmon. One Scottish farmed salmon contained PCBs at levels so high that the consumption would have to be restricted to no more than six portions a year! Yet we are advised to eat 2 or more portions a week. PCB's are possibly the most toxic man-made chemical ever produced. They were banned many years ago yet they are in our oceans and our food chain, and because farmed salmon is fed on ground fish and fish oil in which PCB's reside (did we learn nothing with Mad Cow Disease?!) levels are being highly concentrated. PCB's are carcinogenic and can impair foetal brain development.1

1Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org

See Organic Food in the Links page for suppliers.

Quality and certification:

The products available from 100% Nature have been chosen for their exceptional quality and commitment to nature and the environment. Ingredients are wherever possible organic or wild crafted, and are sustainably sourced. The majority of ingredients used are 100% compatible with nature and biodegrade readily.

The skincare products we sell are:

• 100% natural

• PH balanced i.e. to match the pH of the skin (4.5-5.5)

• Not tested on animals (many are vegetarian or vegan)

• Free from all chemicals

• That is free from synthetic preservatives, colours and fragrances

• Free from petroleum ingredients, chemical emulsifiers and detergents

The supplements and pharmacy products we sell are:

• Free from synthetic ingredients

• Free from artificial preservatives

• Free from artificial flavours

• Free from artificial colours

• Not tested on animals (many are vegetarian or vegan)

• Guaranteed for potency, purity, quality and bioavailability (ease of absorption)

In the UK the Soil Association www.soilassociation.org.uk is the most well known body of organic certification for all products (personal care, food, household, clothes etc). There are however many other well respected bodies throughout the UK, EU and the rest of the world.

The following brands are amongst those certified as natural cosmetics by the German association BDIH: Aubrey Organics, Lavera, Logona, Sante and Weleda. Only products that meet the strict standards of the BDIH Guideline in Germany are able to display the BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics seal on their products.

The BDIH criteria are very strict and include ingredients, packaging and production standards:

• Ingredients have to be from a plant or mineral source.

• Plant ingredients should be obtained from organic growth or wild harvest wherever possible.

• Most petroleum based or synthetic ingredients are not allowed.

• Genetically modified ingredients are not allowed.

• Packaging has to be ecologically conscious, so recyclable and minimalist.

• No animal testing is allowed.

More information in English is available online at www.kontrollierte-naturkosmetik.de

Are products tested on animals?

None of the products available from 100% Nature have been tested on animals. Neither have any of the individual ingredients. 100% Nature is totally opposed to animal testing of any kind.

Chemicals - what's the problem?

Up to 60 % of whatever you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body and has the potential to affect your health and sense of well being, either negatively or positively. You can choose which, and we hope that the information below will help you to eliminate potentially harmful chemicals from your home.

As your body's largest organ, your skin is your most important immune-defence barrier as well as your largest organ for eliminating waste. Commercial skin care products with harmful petrochemical ingredients can plasticize and "constipate" your skin, making germs more likely to get in and toxins less likely to get out of your body. The result: neither you nor your skin, are as radiant and healthy as you could be.

Unfortunately there are an abundance of chemicals in our world. In the last 50 years man has created around 80,000 new chemicals. They are in our food chain and water, our skincare, furniture, household and gardening products. Each generation is absorbing more and more of them. Since 1945 some 300 synthetic chemicals have been detected in human body tissues and secretions, including breast milk.

Scientists have discovered a direct link between some chemicals and health problems such as eczema, asthma, hormone imbalances, organ damage and cancers. It is estimated that 5000 - 10,000 chemicals are considered hazardous, of which 150 - 200 are thought to cause cancer. Yet we do not need to use chemicals to produce affordable, effective, high quality natural products.

Every day we use products we think are safe, but the truth is products are NOT always safe - and unfortunately manufacturers don't have to tell us so. Most of the 25,000 chemicals used in the cosmetics industry have not been tested for long-term toxic effects. In a typical day, you may be exposed to over 200 chemicals, many of which are suspected of causing cancer or upsetting hormones. In the US the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) having carried out tests concluded that ingredients in shampoos, dyes, and other personal care products "may be playing havoc with hormones that control reproduction and development."

While we are still unable to determine how much harm synthetic additives will do to your skin and your body, we do know they will not provide any nourishment.

What are petrochemicals?

One of the most common substances from which many chemical ingredients are derived is petroleum. Petroleum is a mineral that is poisonous to the human body. The most common ingredients in the skincare industry are derived from petroleum and are known collectively as petrochemicals.

They include:

• Petrolatum

• Mineral oil

• Liquid paraffin

• White paraffin

Products such as baby oil, baby lotion, oliatum and aqueous cream are just some of the so-called 'moisturisers' or creams made up of one or more of these ingredients. Many high street brands from the most expensive to the cheapest use petrochemical ingredients. Baby oil, no matter what brand, is entirely chemical and is just mineral oil and fragrance. Aqueous cream is liquid paraffin and sodium laureth/lauryl sulphate and both are chemical.

Petrochemicals will never nourish the skin, they coat it like a plastic wrap and clog the pores. They interfere with the skin's ability to eliminate toxins, slow down skin function and cell development and result in premature ageing. They can cause acne, eczema and dry skin. Have you ever wondered why some makeup leaves your skin looking shiny and unnatural? Mineral oil.

Barrier creams such as aqueous cream for eczema do create a barrier for the skin, but it is a petrochemical/plastic one which ultimately can irritate the very skin it is supposed to be protecting. Why would you apply a chemical product to eczema? Petrochemicals can even cause eczema. It doesn't make any sense but unfortunately that, along with steroid cream is all that GP's have to offer.

You will really see and feel the difference when you try natural skincare. The creams absorb into the skin rather than sitting on the surface, and when necessary can be rich enough to provide natural, breathable protection.

Why do some ingredients sound like chemicals?

Under EC legislation all ingredients have to be given their INCI name (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients). So for example plant materials are generally given their Latin names, whereas functional ingredients such as foaming agents and emulsifiers are given their chemical names. This method of labelling enables people to recognize specific ingredients, which they know they react to.

Some ingredients do sound like chemicals even though they are from natural sources, for example Decyl Glucoside which is derived from corn, and emulsifiers such as Cetearyl alcohol, which is not an alcohol but a fatty wax that is derived from plant oils.

One area that can cause confusion is the use of terms such as 'Parfum' or 'Fragrance'. In products that are not 100% natural these terms are used to encompass often many different types of chemicals, which either mask odour or add a scent to the product. With truly natural products some manufacturers simply declare every natural ingredient, whereas others use the term 'Parfum' to indicate the use of natural essential oils, which is indicated with an * at the bottom of the ingredient list.

Either way none of the products available from 100% Nature use chemical ingredients or chemical scents of any kind.

A-Z of chemicals in skincare:

We've attempted to include the most commonly used chemicals in skincare. However due to the many ingredients used in skincare products, the list is far from exhaustive. None of the chemicals listed here are used in the products sold at 100% Nature.

2-bromo -2-nitropropane -1,3 diol

Preservative used in fabric softeners, detergents, pharmaceutical products, face creams, shampoo. Also known by its trade name Bronopol.

Problems: Can release formaldehyde. Can irritate skin and eyes. Causes allergic contact dermatitis.

Acetone

Used in nail polish remover and perfumes

Problems: Toxic if ingested, irritates the lungs, causes nail to become brittle and is flammable

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

Preservative and antioxidant, used widely in cosmetics, also in cooking oils.

Problems: Causes allergic contact dermatitis.

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

Preservative and antioxidant, similar uses to BHA.

Problems: Causes contact dermatitis and is a known skin and eye irritant. Banned in the UK as a food additive.

Cocamide DEA or MEA

Synthetic surfactant found in "natural" shampoos. Sometimes claimed to be "derived from coconut". See also DEA.

Problems: Can cause allergic reactions and contact dermatitis.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine

Synthetic surfactant found in "natural" shampoos, eye makeup remover and sometimes, soaps. Often used in conjunction with stronger surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Sometimes claimed to be "derived from coconut".

Problems: Can cause allergic reactions and contact dermatitis.

Coco-Betaine

Synthetic surfactant. Often found in "natural" shampoos.

Problems: Can cause allergic skin rashes.

DEA (diethanolamine)

Emulsifying agent, solvent and detergent. Also used as dispersing agent and humectant. Found in soaps, moisturisers, shampoos, conditioners and other cosmetics. Also other products such as detergents, liquid handwash and pharmaceutical drugs.

Problems: Hormone-disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing nitrates. Restricted in Europe due to carcinogenic effects, yet is still used in other countries. Research has shown that repeated applications of DEA-based detergents result in major increases in liver and kidney cancer. And that the risk is significantly increased for children. Also a mild skin irritant and severe eye irritant. Known sensitiser. Suspected carcinogen.

Alternatives: No alternative necessary

Diazolidinyl Urea

Preservative and antiseptic used in cosmetics, usually in conjunction with parabens. Also used as a pesticide in the cotton industry. Known by its trade name Germall II.

Problems: Causes contact dermatitis. Releases formaldehyde.

DMDM Hydantoin (dimethylol dimethyl hydantoin)

Preservative usually used in conjunction with other preservatives. Found in detergents, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and hand creams.

Problems: One of many preservatives that often release formaldehyde which cause joint pain, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and loss of sleep. Exposure also irritates the respiratory system, triggers heart palpitations or asthma, and aggravates coughs and colds. Other side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. Causes dermatitis. Believed to affect nervous system and brain.

Alternative: Lonicera Japonica.

EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid)

A chelating agent used found in facial cleansers, soaps and baby lotions. Chelating agents bind metals in solutions to reduce cloudiness.

Problems: A known skin and eye irritant, may be irritating to mucous membranes. May cause allergies such as asthma and skin rashes. Suspected carcinogen.

Ethyl Acetate

Used in nail varnish

Problems: Irritates the eyes and respiratory tract, may effect the central nervous system, irritating to eyes, nose and throat, has anaesthetic effects.

FD&C Color Pigments:

Synthetic colors from coal tar that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic. No Alternative Necessary.

Formaldehyde

Preservative used in shampoos, face and anti-ageing creams, anti-dandruff shampoos. Also known by trade names Formalin and Formol. Also used in the building industry in insulation, particle board, paints and glues, and also industrial strength cleaners.

Problems: Acutely toxic by inhalation, internal dose or topically. Skin, eye, nose and throat irritant, sensitiser, trigger for chemical sensitivity. Also known to cause asthma attacks, nausea and vomiting, skin rashes and headaches. Suspected carcinogen.

Fragrances:

Can contain up to four thousand ingredients (including animal urine), many toxic or carcinogenic. Cause headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and skin irritation. Fragrances affect the nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. Can trigger multiple chemical sensitivites

Alternatives: Aroma-therapeutic, Organic Essential Oils.

Imidazolidinyl Urea

Preservative and antiseptic used in cosmetics, usually in conjunction with parabens. Also used as a pesticide in the cotton industry. Known by its trade name Germall 115.

Problems: Causes contact dermatitis. Releases formaldehyde.

Isopropyl Alcohol (SD-40):

Petrochemical based antibacterial and solvent used in hair colouring, hair care preparations, hand lotions and antiperspirants. Also known as isopropanol. Found in shellac and antifreeze as well as personal care products.

Problems: Known skin irritant, damaging to the eyes. Extremely drying to the skin. Strips the skin's moisture and immune barrier, making you vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Promotes brown spots and premature aging. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients says it may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, and coma. Fatal ingested dose is one ounce or less.

Alternative: BGSE.

Isopropyl Myristate

Emollient, emulsifier and lubricant. Used to lessen greasy feel of products where other ingredients have a high oil content. Used in antiperspirants and deodorants.

Problems: Can cause allergic reactions, known skin irritant. Can aggravate acne.

Isopropyl Palmitate

Emollient, emulsifier and lubricant. Used to lessen greasy feel of products where other ingredients have a high oil content. Used in antiperspirants and deodorants.

Problems: Can cause allergic reactions, known skin irritant. Can aggravate acne.

Lauramidopropyl Betaine

Surfactant found in shampoos and liquid soap substitutes, similar to cocamidopropyl betaine.

Problems: Skin and eye irritant.

Methylchloroisothiazolinane

A preservative used in shampoos and liquid soap substitutes.

Problems: Causes allergic reactions. Skin and eye irritant.

Methylene Chloride

Used as propellant in aerosols and solvent in paint strippers. Found in hairsprays.

Problems: Headaches, dizziness, nausea. Skin and eye irritant. Also irritates nose and throat at high concentrations.

Methylisothiazolinane

Preservative used in conjunction with Methylchloroisothiazolinane in shampoos and liquid soap substitutes.

Problems: Causes allergic reactions. Skin and eye irritant.

Mineral Oil

Petrochemical ingredient, manufactured from crude petroleum. The most common filler used in many moisturisers, creams, make-up and lotions. Highly refined (i.e. odourless and colourless) and very cheap.

Problems: Can cause skin to develop clogged pores because it coats the skin like plastic, suffocates the skin and prevents it from breathing. Interferes with skin's ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Baby oil is 100% mineral oil! Skin and eye irritant. Ineffective as a moisturiser because of its poor absorption. Suspected carcinogen.

Alternatives: Moisture Magnets (Saccharide Isomerate) from beets, Ceramides, Jojoba and other vegetable oils.

Parabens:

Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are usually used in combination of methyl-, propyl-, and butylparabens in order to be most effective.

Problems: Studies show that parabens - alkyl hydroxy parabens - alpha hydroxy benzoate (methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butyl-paraben) are weakly estrogenic. In other words, these preservatives have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body with butylparaben being the most potent. As such are under discussion to influence breast cancer. They are known to cause irritations to sensitive skin types, and may cause eye irritation and dermatitis. They were also found to cause heart tissue problems over an extended time period. Alternative: Lonicera Japonica.

Paraffin

Derived from sources including petroleum and coal. Used as a thickener for cosmetics, also called soft white paraffin or liquid paraffin. Found in creams, lipsticks, eyebrow pencils.

Problems: Can cause skin to develop clogged pores because it suffocates the skin and prevents it from breathing. Skin and eye irritant. Suspected carcinogen.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG):

Synthetic binder and softener found in many cosmetics. Also used as emollients, carriers, emulsifiers and dispersants - combining oil and water. Used in spray-on oven cleaners and cleansers to dissolve oil and grease.

Problems: Carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that reduces the skin's natural moisture. They are very problematic chemicals as they have been found to open the pores of the skin and facilitate environmental toxins to enter the body more easily. Examples of these environmental toxins are DDT, DDE and have the ability to influence the endocrine and reproductive systems. They increase the appearance of aging and leave you vulnerable to bacteria. May cause hives and eczema.

One Alternative: Planteren(TM).

Petrolatum

Also known as petroleum jelly. Petrochemical ingredient, manufactured from crude petroleum, used in many moisturisers, creams and lotions. Highly refined (i.e. odourless and colourless) and very cheap.

Problems: Can cause skin to develop clogged pores because it suffocates the skin and prevents it from breathing. Skin and eye irritant. Ineffective as a moisturiser because of its poor absorption. Suspected carcinogen.

Polysorbates

Also known as polysorbate 60 and polysorbate 80. Fatty acid ester used in cosmetics as emulsifiers and stabilisers. Found in shampoos and conditioners, also used in the food industry.

Problems: Known skin and eye irritants, can be drying to scalp.

Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol:

Found in Anti-freeze. Petroleum by-products that act as surfactants (wetting agents and solvents) and are used in creams, lotions, moisturiser, foundations, and other cosmetics.

Problems: They easily penetrate skin and weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to make extracts from herbs, PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats! The EPA required workers to wear protective clothing and to dispose of any PG solutions in toxic waste dumps. Because PG penetrates the skin so quickly, the EPA warns against skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. But there isn't even a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than in industrial applications. Causes allergic reactions including contact dermatitis, even at low levels.

Alternatives: Herbs, Essential Oils.

Quaternium 15

Preservative used in cosmetic creams.

Problems: Causes allergic reactions and skin rashes. Eye and skin irritant. Can release formaldehyde.

Sodium Hydroxide:

The most recent addition to personal care products. This is a poison (caustic lye) found in drain cleaners. The warning label on sodium hydroxide products reads: "POISON. May be fatal or cause permanent damage if swallowed. May cause blindness. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mouth, and clothing." Yet, the cosmetic industry is now putting it in our skin care and oral care products.

Alternative: BGSE & Hydrated Silica.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES):

Synthetic foaming agent, emulsifier and surfactant used shampoos, liquid soap substitutes, toothpaste, foaming facial cleansers, bubble bath. Detergents that pose serious health threats. Used in garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers - and in 90% of personal care products that foam. Problems: Skin and hair irritant. Animals exposed to SLS experience eye damage, depression, laboured breathing, diarrhoea, severe skin irritation, and even death. Young eyes may not develop properly if exposed to SLS. May damage the skin's immune system. Can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens. Your body may retain the SLS for up to five days and maintain residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs, and brain.

Alternative: Ammonium Cocoyl Isethionate.

Sorbolene

Used as a basic moisturiser, or base cream or lotion for many handmade cosmetics. Contains petrochemicals such as mineral oil, petrolatum or paraffin and other synthetic preservatives.

Problems: Clogs the pores of the skin, which can cause and exacerbate eczema. Ineffective as a moisturiser, as it absorbs poorly.

Stearic Acid

Fatty acid derived from tallow, animal fats, cocoa butter and other hard vegetable fats. Used as an emollient and base in cosmetics.

Problems: Can cause allergic reactions.

Talc

Found in baby powder, makeup foundations, eye shadows and other powdered makeup.

Problems: Suspected carcinogen. Can contain traces of asbestos.

TEA (triethanolamine)

Emulsifying and dispersing agent. Found in soaps, moisturisers, shampoos, conditioners and other cosmetics. Also other products such as detergents, liquid hand-wash and pharmaceutical drugs.

Problems: Mild skin irritant and severe eye irritant. Known sensitiser. Suspected carcinogen.

Tetrasodium EDTA

A chelating agent found in shampoos, facial cleansers, soaps and baby lotions. Chelating agents are used to bind or remove metals to give clarity and enable surfactants to work more effectively.

Problems: Skin and eye irritant. May cause allergies such as asthma and skin rashes. Suspected carcinogen.

Toluene

Solvent found in nail varnish, hair sprays and other hair products, perfumes and artificial fragrances.

Problems: Suspected carcinogen, can be a trigger for asthma attacks. Can cause headaches and loss of appetite.

Triclosan (2,4,4 Trichloro-2-Hydroxydiphenylether)

Antibacterial found in deodorant, toothpaste and antibacterial soaps. Synthetic "antibacterial" with a chemical structure similar to Agent Orange! In the US it is registered as a pesticide, giving it high scores as a risk to human health and the environment.

Problems: Skin irritant. It is in a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Its manufacturing process can produce dioxin, a hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects measured in the parts per trillion, that is only one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools! Hormone disruptors can change genetic material, decrease fertility and sexual function, and foster birth defects. Internally it can lead to cold sweats, circulatory collapse, and convulsions. Stored in body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs, and can cause paralysis, suppression of immune function, brain haemorrhages, and heart problems. Tufts University School of Medicine (US) says triclosan can force the emergence of "super bugs" that it cannot kill. Its widespread use in antibacterial cleansers, toothpastes and household products may have nightmarish implications for our future.

Alternative: BGSE

Trisodium EDTA

A chelating agent used found in facial cleansers, soaps and baby lotions. Chelating agents bind metals in solutions to reduce cloudiness.

Problems: A known skin and eye irritant, may be irritating to mucous membranes. May cause allergies such as asthma and skin rashes. Suspected carcinogen.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate vs Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate:

As detailed above in the 'A-Z of chemicals in skincare' Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Lareth Sulphate (SLES) are foaming agents and surfactants used in shampoo, body-wash, liquid soap and toothpaste, that can irritate the skin. Their molecular structure is small enough to be absorbed into the skin where it can cause most irritation.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) is similar in its function, and all three substances can be extracted from coconut oil, however ALS has a larger molecular structure and cannot enter the skin. ALS is also the mildest of the three Sulphates and is still effective as a washing substance.

Milder alternatives include Ammonium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate which are all natural ingredients however they will not provide the results expected of a hair shampoo for adults and so are often used in children's or sensitive skin care products.

In contrast to many commercial brands the percentage of surfactant used in a product is extremely small i.e. 2-4%