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Do You Know What's In Your Supermarket Lotion and Salves?

by Matt Jameson May 21, 2021

Do You Know What's In Your Supermarket Lotion and Salves?

At Sun God Medicinals, the ingredients we choose are so important when it comes to creating quality products we feel good about selling. From our tinctures to our teas, we believe in using organic ingredients from local sources around Southern Oregon! It doesn't just end there. We only select ingredients we feel good about going into our bodies, and into the environment.

This statement is no different as we talk about our topical lotion and salves. Most mainstream lotions and salves contain different parabens and unnatural ingredients that aren't necessarily needed for a quality product. While you might not think that is a big deal, with some education you may just change your mind!

First off here is a peak at what is in our lotion, and salve ingredients. We take pride in not using unnecessary fillers or additives.

 

RA HEMP BODY LOTION

Ingredients: Purified water, organic aloe barbadensis leaf juice, organic sunflower oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic shea butter, organic jojoba oil and Oregon-grown whole hemp flower oil.  

All easy to understand and identify, and most likely things you have heard of. 

HERCULES 3.5 OZ SALVE

Ingredients: Olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, skullcap, passionflower, chamomile, Oregon-grown whole hemp flower oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil. 

AJA 3.5 OZ SALVE

Ingredients: Olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, calendula flower, chamomile flower, lavender flower, Oregon-grown whole hemp flower oil, vitamin E oil.

As a general rule, the longer the list of ingredients, the more you should pay attention!

For comparison, here is a look at the ingredients in one of the most popular lotion brands, in fact this brand is a household name.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Glycol Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Petrolatum, Cyclopentasiloxane, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Stearamide Amp, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Disodium Edta, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Titanium Dioxide.

Let us guess...they lost you after the first ingredient right? So what are these things? While not all additives are harmful, we feel you should be informed so we did some research to help. Each of these additive substances are likely to be things you’ve never heard of. To help guide you through understanding what goes into the products you buy, we have added definitions of these chemicals to help you determine if these are things you feel comfortable with applying directly to your skin. These are the most common ingredients we found questionable when analyzing the ingredient of the massive supermarket brands. 

The following information was found by researching each additives MSDS (or Material Safety Data Sheet), a mandated report for every chemical detailing the potential safety hazards, environmental hazards, and handling procedures: 

CETEARYL ALCOHOL: Cetyl alcohol helps prevent creams from separating into oil and liquid. A chemical that helps to keep liquid and oil together is known as an emulsifier. Cetyl Alcohol is directed to not be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Cetyl Alcohol may include irritation, stinging, burning, redness, or inflammation. Odd to add this to a product you may use for damaged and sensitive skin and especially for one you might use on your face. 

POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE: Potassium phosphate is a synthetic mineral-derived ingredient primarily used in cosmetics to adjust (buffer) the formula’s pH value. Adjusting the pH value is often done to extend the product's shelf life. The potential side effects from skin contact with this substance are irritation, redness, itchiness. It is recommended to wear protective gear and a respirator when handling this chemical on its material safety data sheet. 

CARBOMER: Carbomer is a group of synthetic high molecular weight polymers of acrylic acid used in cosmetics and skincare products as thickening agents. It is a petro-chemical, which means a chemical product derived from petroleum. While not known to cause side effects, adding something petroleum based just to thicken a lotion seems unnecessary. 

CETEARETH-20: Ceteareth 20 is a chemical compound which is made by combining Cetearyl Alcohol and ethylene oxide. It is commonly used as an emollient in many skin care products which help to make your skin soft, supple and smooth. The material safety data sheet for this chemical says “It is unlikely that exposure to small amounts for short periods may have any irritant or toxic effect. Prolonged or repeated contact may cause irritation”. That alone leaves us feeling iffy about this additive. It goes on to read, “Use in a well-ventilated area. Avoid inhalation of product, contact with the eyes, skin and clothes through proper protection. If accidental contact occurs, the affected area should be washed immediately.“ Yikes!! It can seep through protective equipment??? 

BEHENTRIMONIUM METHOSULFATE: When used in lotions and creams, it gives a soft and powdery after-touch to the skin. It also acts as an emulsifying agent. Sounds great doesn’t it? Until you do a little research. The material safety data sheet for this chemical shows the following “hazard statements”.

H315 Causes skin irritation
H318 Causes serious eye damage
H373 May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure
H400 Very toxic to aquatic life
H411 Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects

In addition to the above it specifically states “Precautionary statement” 
P273 Avoid release to the environment.

At Sun God Medicinals the environment and keeping it safe are of primary concern. We would never choose an ingredient that is hazardous to any life on our planet.

METHYLPARABEN: Methylparaben is used to preserve the formula of a skincare product and is therefore not directly beneficial to the state of your skin's health. 

Hazard statement(s):
H315 Causes skin irritation 
H319 Causes serious eye irritation
H335 May cause respiratory irritation

Precautionary statement(s):
P261 Avoid breathing dust/ fume/ gas/ mist/ vapours/ spray 

SODIUM LAUROYL LACTYLATE: This is often used to help absorption into the skin, or allow a lotion to penetrate more deeply. This one isn’t necessarily all that scary - until you realize it helps the other chemicals above penetrate faster and further into your body 

DISODIUM EDTA: This is an odorless, water-soluble crystalline that is a synthetic ingredient from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide. Off to a great start aren’t we. It is another additive to increase the absorption of all these chemicals. While disodium EDTA is deemed safe for the skin and consumption in very small amounts, the same can't be said for the environment - as disodium EDTA is identified to be a persistent pollutant that degrades slowly and may cause multiple environmental issues. That is a hard no for us. 

PROPYLPARABEN: Propylparaben is used to extend the shelf-life of a product. This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)

Handling instructions are:
Wear personal protective equipment/face protection

Warnings include:
Causes skin irritation 
Causes eye irritation 
May cause damage to organs through prolonged exposure  

METHOSULFATE: Used for UV protection properties similar to sunscreen. We aren't comfortable with these environmental impact statements.

Warnings include:
H315 Causes skin irritation
H318 Causes serious eye damage
H373 May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure
H400 Very toxic to aquatic life
H411 Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects

TITANIUM DIOXIDE: Titanium dioxide is used as a colorant to make cosmetics and personal care products that are applied to the skin (including the eye area), nails, and lips - white in color. Sounds nice right? Not so much. This product is considered hazardous under OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200 (Hazard Communication). It may cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation. 

The purpose of this article is to help educate you about the realities of cheap big box brand ingredients. While it may feel nice to save a few dollars on a bottle of lotion, knowing about the additives you're taking into your body that help to keep these formulas so cheap doesnt feel so good.

When you choose products that are environmentally friendly, better for your body, and with ingredients you understand, we bet it will feel much better.

 




Matt Jameson
Matt Jameson

Author


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