We use cosmetics (creams, lotions, conditioners, etc.) to look younger, more attractive, and to have healthy and radiant skin. We also eagerly reach for cosmetics because they instill in us a sense of comfort that we are take care of ourselves.
But do these cosmetics offered in the market really help us?
From my 50 years of experience in the chemical industry and 18 years in cosmetic production, I have learned that most manufacturers willingly choose quantity over quality. To them, selling more at a higher price is far more important than looking after the customers' skin.
It should be noted that the price of cosmetic packaging is 2 to 3 times higher than what is inside the box - in other words, more time is spent on making the product aesthetically appealing rather than effective. When the packaging is opened, the point is to trick the customers' attention with first impressions through the smell, texture, consistency and look of the product. To further the problem, this question is never considered: what allows these products to carry such a long shelf life?
What are the main phases of the production of cosmetics and their main ingredients?
1. Fat phase/layer - contains fats and oils that protect and transport nutrients into the skin.
2. Water phase/layer - as we know, water is very important for the skin, but there is an overwhelming amount of it found within the creams that serves no positive purpose. These creams are to prevent dry skin, however ones that contain more water than the ingredients that deliver the needed micronutrients will not help - in fact, they will simply cause more damage. The more water there is present, the more cheap ingredients the manufacturers will have to add in order to make the creams stiffer. This includes so-called emulsifiers that are primarily cellulose derivatives (e.g. starch).
3. To emulsify the cream, the water phase must be mixed with the fat phase so that the cream is stable. Thus, emulsifiers (detergents) need to be used.
The first emulsifier was used in Nivea cream. It is called euceryt and is derived from lanolin, but it wasn't cost-effective as it allowed manufacturers to use only 30-35% of water. Today we have cheaper and more efficient products, which are usually sulphides.
4. In the final phase, in order to lengthen the shelf life of the product and to prevent it from spoiling, a preservative is added. It is true that almost no formalin or benzoic acid is used, but its derivatives (parabens) or others are added with different names so that no one will know what is going on.
If such cream is applied to the skin it often causes the harmful effects of added preservatives (skin dryness, inflammation, or allergies). The problem becomes worse due to the fact that they destroy the beneficial effects of the fat phase and oil/fat content to the point where it is so insignificant that it exists solely as a word on the label.
But this industry is progressing forwards. More and more new resources, such as steroids or collagen, can be used during the production of cosmetics. There is only one problem - you have to know how steroids and collagen work. They are wonderful products and if they are biologically active, they offer great results. However, our skin produces them by itself and thus when they are used in creams, their natural production in our body disappears.
If a person aged 75-85 treats a skin condition, the disappearance of collagen and steroid production in the body is of no great consequence, but people 45-65 years old, after a few years of using them in cosmetics, may have to deal with aged skin instead of healthy, wrinkle-free and younger skin.
After all these remarks I do not claim that all cosmetics are the same evil.
I believe that you have to use them with caution and educate yourself with the knowledge verified by time. Based on this knowledge and the advances of modern technology, we have created cosmetics that are 100% natural, contain 0% water, and contain no chemicals. They may not be delight in their consistency or smell, but they will work on the skin by stimulating its natural regenerative properties and inhibiting the effects of aging skin.