We hear so many statistics created to scare consumers and vilify the mainstream beauty industry, but how many of them are founded upon firm evidence? Lorraine Dallmeier, Formula Botanica’s Director, debunks the myth and states the facts as she debunks these 9 common skincare and beauty myths.
Formula Botanica: Myth 1) 60% of everything you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream.
This is one of the worst and most commonly stated myths in the industry, and some even say that 100% of what you apply to your skin ends up in your bloodstream. Thankfully, this is not true, as if it were we’d end up as big bulbous sacks of water every time we showered. One simply cannot put a definitive figure on this statistic; none, some or all of something can end up in your bloodstream, there are so many factors at play – your own skin’s health and makeup, the quantities of substances applied, whether there are any other substances present (penetration enhancers will by nature raise the percentage), temperature of product, temperature of skin, the list goes on!
Carrier oils will absorb into the stratum corneum, the very top layers of the skin, and generally won’t go any further, whilst essential oils can end up in your bloodstream, although some of this happens through inhalation.
Formula Botanica: Myth 2) It takes 26 seconds for a cosmetic ingredient to reach your bloodstream
It is impossible to put a definitive time on how long it may or may not take an ingredient to reach your bloodstream. Some ingredients will penetrate the skin and hit the bloodstream rapidly, some won’t get there at all, and others will pool in the skin and be released over time. It also depends on the size of the substances’ molecule and where you apply on your body, as some areas of the skin have thinner skin than others.
Formula Botanica: Myth 3) The average woman’s body absorbs 4lbs 6oz of chemicals a year
Based on the aforementioned points it should come as no surprise that it is impossible to put such a definitive figure on this type of claim. In order to do so, one would have to carry out extremely carefully controlled clinical trials to measure the outcome. This myth originated in the mainstream media, and there are no clinical trials to back it up. Also, when one thinks about it, your food is all made of chemicals, and our bodies absorb certain chemicals from our diet on a daily basis – much more than 4lb 6oz a year!
Formula Botanica: Myth 4) Mineral oils stops the skin from breathing
Mineral oil contains large molecules which will sit on the top of the skin, creating an occlusive layer. Our skin doesn’t actually breathe, but we understand breathing used in this context to mean that our skin needs to expel certain things, for instance when we sweat. However, it’s not just mineral oils that behave like this, all carrier oils have large molecules that will do just the same, the difference being that plant oils are similar in composition to the lipids found naturally in your skin, that can be metabolised easier by your body. They also contain botanical ingredients that are of benefit to your skin.
Formula Botanica: Myth 5) All preservatives are dangerous
Certain preservatives can irritate skin; others have raised big question marks around their use; others are believed to be hormone disruptors, or worse. Some are avoided by consumers altogether. However, preservatives form a very important purpose in your cosmetics. They prevent fungus, bacteria and yeast from growing in your products. If any of these microbes came into contact with your skin they may cause infection or worse – people have been blinded and even killed by unpreserved products. Luckily there are plenty of natural preservatives coming onto the market all the time, and these can be used to keep your skin safe and meet natural and organic formulation requirements.
Formula Botanica: Myth 6) If I avoid synthetics in my skincare, I will avoid them altogether
Many preservatives and other ingredients in cosmetics have been used in the food industry for decades. A study in the New York area in 2006 showed that 90% of food served contained parabens, they are often hidden as E numbers and preservatives.
Parabens are also found in nature in many different fruits and vegetables.
Formula Botanica: Myth 7) “The EU has banned over 1000 cosmetic ingredients, whilst the USA (FDA) has banned only 9”
The above statement isn’t actually a myth, as the figures add up to be true, however you need to understand the statement in context. The list created by the EU contains over 1400 ingredients – some of which you would NEVER find in a cosmetic formulation, including radioactive matter, vaccines, cells or tissues from human origin and asbestos. It’s true that the FDA has been slow to ban or licence ingredients suitable for use, but it’s important to understand the numbers.
Formula Botanica: Myth 8) Natural skincare is chemical-free
Everything is a chemical, be it natural or manmade. What people mean when they state the above is that their skincare doesn’t contain any synthetic ingredients. Don’t forget that natural doesn’t always mean safe, there are plenty of natural ingredients that you should always avoid in skincare.
Formula Botanica: Myth 9) Most conventional skincare only contains synthetic chemicals
There are many synthetic chemicals used in skincare, but the fact is the most commonly used chemical in conventional skincare is distilled water. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it doesn’t give much benefit to your skin or hair other than mild hydration.
Next time you hear a crazy-sounding myth on the internet, research the facts, or ask an expert from Formula Botanica (tweet them @formulabotanica), and be prepared to find out why natural and organic are truly better for you.
About Formula Botanica
Formula Botanica, the ODLQC accredited Online Organic Cosmetic Science School founded in 2012 with over 1500 students and graduates in 86 countries. Director of Formula Botanica Lorraine Dallmeier BSc (HONS) MSc MIEMA MRSB CEnv, a Biologist by training, developed a love of plants for cosmetic application after working in the field of environmental management for over a decade. Lorraine is a Chartered Environmentalist, as well as a full Member of the Royal Society of Biology, the Society of Cosmetic Scientists and the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment.
Formula Botanica’s virtual HQ is located in the UK but they are an international Organic Cosmetic Science School with an international team of experts. There are 10 digital courses at present, 100% online, which students can study at their own pace in their own time. The courses teach everything you need to know in order to go from complete beginner to organic cosmetic formulator and teacher. Many graduates have used their courses to successfully launch or grow their own cosmetics business. They fly the flag for organic and natural skincare all over the world and are ambassadors for a healthier, safer way of life.
Lorraine Dallmeier of Formula Botanica is available for expert comment on beauty formulas, ingredients, both synthetic and natural, beauty and business advice.
Business case studies and success stories are available for placement.
For all enquiries contact Rebecca Goodyear Health & Beauty:
+44 (0) 20 3 651 7360