What Pharmaoil Doesn't Use
Australians on average consume 6 kilograms of palm oil each year. This is because palm oil is estimated to be in 7 out of 10 products on grocery shelves, from breads, soaps, shampoos and cosmetics. According to a recent report by the World Wildlife Fund and the Grocery Council of Australia, 30 per cent of all forest loss in Malaysia and Indonesia between 2005-2010 can be attributed to the palm oil industry. It's used in so many things because it is cheap and it grows fast.
What is worrying is that according to Choice magazine it is very difficult for Australians to avoid consuming palm oil because it can be labelled as vegetable oil under Australian food labelling standards. It can also be very difficult to avoid using cosmetics and personal care products with palm oil because they are also often labelled under another name. Some chemicals that can be derived from palm oil include sodium palm kernelte, steareth-2 and stearic acid. Check out South Australia zoo's full list of ingredients that can be derived from palm oil.
We do not use palm oil in any of our products. In fact, the majority of our oils are produced in Australia and are much superior oils for your skin, for forests and for the orang utans.
There’s been quite a bit of recent press on parabens, which are a group of commonly used chemicals that are used in cosmetics and skin care products to preserve them. They're controversial because researchers in the United Kingdom recently studied 40 samples of tissues from breast cancer sufferers found that all had parabens contained in them. Concerns have long been raised about a possible link between parabens and breast cancer as they possess oestrogenic properties. Interestingly, the lead researcher of one of these studies said that the ester-bearing form of parabens found in the breast cancer tissue indicate that they came from something applied to the skin such as deodorants or creams.
Further research is needed to determine whether there is a link between parabens and breast cancer. And while the jury is still out, we here at Pharmaoil will not be using any parabens in our product given there are superior natural products that can take their place.
We also do not use parabens in our product because they are a known skin irritant for those with paraben allergies, causing contact dermatitis and rosacea in these sufferers. They are also known to irritate when applied to damaged or broken skin.
Common parabens include methylparaben (E number E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216) and butylparaben. Less common parabens include isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, benzylparaben and their sodium salts.
Sodium lauryl sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent and surfactant found in many household cleaning products and personal care products, including soaps, shampoos and toothpaste. It can either be synthetically or naturally derived and is what makes these products foam up.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a known irritant to the skin and eyes. In fact, it is used as a standard comparison to test the skin irritancy of other products. Several scientific studies have shown that even small amounts of the substance will almost certainly cause a reaction in dermatitis sufferers. Other studies have found that those who do not suffer from dermatitis will be irritated by sodium lauryl sulfate if it is left on the skin even for a short period. It appears to irritate the skin by inflaming and damaging its outermost layer.
We here at Pharmaoil do not use this known skin irritant in any of our products, even those that you would not leave on your skin. Given that sodium lauryl sulfate is now in so many products used around us at home and at work, we think limiting its direct use on the skin is a good thing. We also do not use it because nature offers better alternatives that work with our skin and its own natural properties rather than against it.
Like other common synthetic products that Pharmaoil chooses not to include in our products, there's two sides to the debate on whether proplyene glycol is safe to use on your skin. The American FDA considers it generally safe to use in food and it is commonly used in soft drinks and in drug preparations. It is also a very common ingredient in skin care products because it readily absorbs water.
Research has shown that propylene glycol can be a skin irritant and an allergic sensitiser. One recent study gave propylene glycol to more than 1,500 eczema sufferers for a year and found that 13% had adverse reactions.
Our approach here at Pharmaoil is why use propylene glycol when nature offers a host of natural alternatives in plant-derived oils that also nourish your skin. Given it is now used in a whole range of products from your ice cream to your medication, why also expose yourself to it daily through your skin care products.
Mineral oil, Paraffin, Petrolatum or Petroleum jelly
Mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum or petroleum jelly are very common ingredients in skin care products and cosmetics and are all derived from crude oil. They are used to retain moisture in the skin, acting like a barrier. Products derived from crude oil certainly have their supporters and their critics. Their supporters consider them to be some of the best moisturisers for dry skin and are also good for eczema and irritated skin. Their critics on the other hand believe that they clog the skin and may also be carcinogenic.
Mineral oil that is untreated or mildly treated is a known carcinogen. But the stuff that we use on our skin has been highly refined and is therefore considered safe for human use. There is still a question mark over whether mineral oil blocks pores and causes pimples and again the research is mixed. For years, mineral oil has been listed as a comedogenic substance (known to block pores). Although a 2005 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology disputed this.
We here at Pharmaoil do not use any mineral oil or crude oil derived ingredients in our products. Even though the research is mixed, we believe that plant-derived oils are superior oils that closely mimic your skin’s own natural properties and work with your skin’s own natural oil structure.
Aluminium is a common ingredient in deodorants because it is known to plug the sweat ducts, which prevents you from perspiring. Concerns have been raised recently about links between aluminium in antiperspirants and breast cancer. Some research has also linked aluminium build up with Alzheimer’s disease. Aluminium is another one of those ingredients where a lot more research needs to be done to fully understand whether it is toxic to humans.
We here at Pharmaoil do not use aluminum in our deodorant, recognising that nature offers natural alternatives. Our active ingredient is zinc, which is the most common trace element used by the body.
Also referred to as Phenol and 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)-, Triclosan is a common antibacterial agent and preservative used in soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, mouth washes, cleansers, skin sanitizers and cleaning supplies. It is also increasingly being used in many household products, including utensils, garbage bags, nappies, toys, bedding and socks. It is completely absorbed when ingested and is also absorbed by the skin at a lower rate.
Australian regulatory authorities have listed triclosan as a poison under federal legislation and any cosmetics and personal care products containing more than 0.3% triclosan are required to have strong label warnings and safety directions.
There’s growing research to suggest that triclosan may interfere with hormone production. It can also cause allergies for people with sensitive skin. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 75% of the 2,500 people they tested had triclosan in their urine. Similar studies in Australia have found triclosan in human breast milk.
Triclosan is extremely toxic to sea life. It does not readily biodegrade, builds up in the environment and reacts to form dioxins, which are toxic. There is also a concern that the extensive use of triclosan in everyday products may contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
We here at Pharmaoil do not use triclosan in any of our products. What we are particularly concerned about when it comes to triclosan is that it is found in so many products and that the small amount found in each eventually adds up, especially given it doesn’t readily break down. We believe that the use of such chemicals should be limited.