What makes a product marketable?
- The ingredients used are recognized by the current laws as ‘safe for cosmetic use’. Please remember that not all natural ingredients are safe for use. And just because natural ingredients are used, does not make the product safe.
- The products are stable across all climatic conditions (temperature fluctuations, humidity levels etc).
- The products meet the respective pH ranges as per the prescribed standards.
- The preservative systems used keep microbial growth in the product within prescribed limits for at least one year. i.e. a 1 year shelf-life.
- In certain cases, even though the ingredient might be permitted for use, they might be permitted only up to a certain proportion of the formula. These limits are also adhered to.
- The products show uniform stability in texture, feel and aroma for the claimed shelf life.
- The product is aesthetically appealing.
- The product performs in accordance with the claims made.
How do moisturizers work?
The job of moisturizers, as the name suggests, is to keep your skin’s surface moist. Your blood vessels only supply moisture to the middle layer of skin, the ‘Dermis’. From there water migrates outward to the skin’s surface, the ‘Epidermis’, before it evaporates. A moisturizer’s job is to trap or replenish the moisture loss in the Epidermis. Moisturizers come in three types: Occlusives, Emollients, and Humectants. Occlusives form a barrier over the skin that moisture cannot escape through. Emollients on the other hand penetrate the skin, so while they also trap moisture, they also keep the skin soft and flexible by lubricating it. Humectants attract moisture: they replenish the Epidermis by attracting moisture to the surface of the skin from the air or from the Dermis. A good modern moisturizer formula uses a combination of some or all of these ingredients to maintain a healthy balance of trapping, replenishing and lubricating dry skin!
Why do we teach only paraben-free products?
Q. What are Parabens?
A. Parabens are derived from a chemical known as para-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables, like blueberries and carrots. PHBA is also naturally formed in the human body by the breakdown of some amino acids. Methylparaben, Ethylparaben are the commonly used short-chain Parabens while Butylparaben and Propylparaben are the most commonly used long-chain Parabens. Research shows that 90% of typical grocery items contain measurable amounts of Parabens.
Q. Why are they used?
A. They have been commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals since the 1920s. Preservatives are used in cosmetics to to prevent the growth of microorganisms so as to offer a longer shelf life. Without preservatives all products containing water would be rendered useless and harmful after a couple of days. There are available, effective preservative substitutes to Parabens
Q. Why is the market suddenly afraid of Parabens?
A. The concern with these ingredients is that Parabens may disrupt hormones in the body and harm reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer.
Q. Is this scientifically proven?
A. Some of it is, some of it is not
Cancer: The cancer scare around parabens started in 2004, when a small study found traces of parabens in breast cancer tissue. However as the American Cancer Society (ACS) states, this does not prove anything as they did not test for parabens in any other tissues of those specific patients, and since parabens are so widely used it probably existed in all other tissue of those specific patients as well. So far no studies have shown that they cause cancer.
Birth Outcomes: A 2020 study has found that maternal exposure to the long-chain paraben Butylparaben may trigger childhood overweight development.
Reproductive Health: In animal studies, long-chain parabens have been found to be harmful to both male and female reproductive development and fertility.
Given scientific data about the harmful nature of longer-chain parabens we have ensured that the formulations you our students learn don’t contain any parabens whatsoever, since even though you as our students might differentiate between longer and shorter-chain parabens, the consumers you sell to might not have the willingness to!
Why do we teach only sulphate-free products?
Q. What are Sulphates?
A. In personal care, the term ‘sulphate’ is a form of shorthand for specific synthetic compounds involving sulphates and fatty acids. The two common forms being sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). SLES is simply SLS that has gone through the additional process of ethoxylation to make it more gentle, since SLS is a known skin irritant.
Q. Why are they used?
A. Sulphates act as surfactants. Surfactants, in simple terms, are the actual active ingredients that do the job of cleansing in a cleansing product. It is important to mention here that there are various alternatives to sulphates when it comes to surfactants, both natural and chemical derived. Sulphates are also superb foaming/lathering agents. So even though there are alternatives to sulphates for their cleansing properties, very few ingredients can match up to their foaming properties. And that is why Sulphate-free products tend to foam much less.
Q. Everyone sais that Sulphates cause cancer. Do they cause cancer?
A. No, there is no scientific evidence that they directly cause cancer.
Q. So then why shouldn’t you use sulphates in your formulations?
A. For the following three reasons:
1) They don’t directly cause cancer, however SLES is known to get contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane due to the ethyoxylation process it undergoes. 1,4 Dioxane poses a potential health hazard to humans and the environment. The dangers associated with 1,4-Dioxane are various but can include cancer, miscarriage and stillbirths.
2) They are known skin and eye irritants. Although this can be controlled by the consumer through their level of self-exposure and by the student through controlling proportions in the formulation, we would prefer that you play it safe and not include them at all, since the irritancy is amplified when it comes to people with existing skin conditions like dermatitis. It is obviously better to make a product that suits anyone and everyone.
3) Making market-ready products implies making a product that is acceptable by the market. No matter how safe an ingredient might be, if the market believes it is unsafe, they will not buy a product that contains it. In the case of Sulphates however, even though they might not be as bad as the market claims them to be, they do however have a few important concerns as outlined above. Consequently we prefer that you our students learn how to make sulphate-free products!
Q. What is exfoliation and why is it important?
A. As we age, our skin’s regeneration cycle slows down. So the skin pores get clogged with dead skin. Exfoliation removes the dead skin.
Q. How does removing the dead skin help?
A. There are multiple benefits:
1) When you use a moisturizer or any vitamin enriched product on your skin, it is unable to penetrate the skin due to the barrier created by the dead skin. Proper exfoliation helps to remove the barrier to uncover the fresh new cells underneath. This not only leaves the skin looking clean and fresh but also allows for better penetration/ absorption of moisturizers and other active ingredients that boost the skin’s health and bring in glow.
2) The dead skin sitting on the skin surface, if not removed, also reduces the elasticity of skin leading to the appearance of wrinkles.
3) The clogged pores if not cleansed become breeding grounds for microbes that can feed on the combination of dead skin, sweat and the sebum blocked in the pores and lead to acne.
Q. How often is exfoliation recommended?
A. Depends on the product you make. A mild scrub that is made of fewer scrub particles and less coarser scrub particle types is recommended to be used no more than 2-3 times a week. A stronger scrub which contains more scrub particles and more coarser scrub particle types can be used once in 2 weeks for a more thorough exfoliation.