Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Nivea Happy Time Body Lotion

1919 Ad Hind's Honey Almond Cream Ft. Anita Stewart Silent Film ActressI think a history of body lotion would be an appropriate topic for this days blog.  I love interesting facts.  Did you know that people have been using moisturizers since the Mesolithic era some 10,000 years ago.   Though the moisturizer they used consisted mainly of smearing animal fat on their bodies.  In Latin American avocado oils were used as moisturizer, in other parts of the world they used palm oils.  In the world's first known civilization (modern day Iraq) they used minerals, animal fats or plants combined with wine.  And of course the illustrious Cleopatra, well-known for her love of make-up, used sesame and olive oils on her skin. Even Galen was famed for creating the first cold cream, by combining beeswax, rose oil and water.  Many years later the manufacturing of lotions became popular in the 1800's.  Petroleum jelly, and mineral oil became predominate ingredients, as well as lanolin.  The first manufactured product was Hind's Honey and Almond Cream, which was created Portland Maine around 1872 by an owner of a drug store.   With marketing and the development of T.V.'s, there was to be an explosion in demand for store bought lotions.  With that people no longer made their own moisturizers from the natural ingredients found in their cupboards.  Products became less natural and more synthesized using ingredients to ensure the shelf life outlasted any lags in sales.  This is an interesting product, they seem to use a lot of pretty benign ingredients but they blow it with the use of parabens, chemical fragrances and a few other nasty ingredients.  Here is a fantastic article from a great source  I will add links to some of their suggested products as alternatives for those who are interested.

Nivea Happy Time Body Lotion


Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Myristyl Myristate
Nivea Happy Time Body Lotion with Bamboo and Milk ProteinAlcohol Denat
Glyceryl Stearate Citrate
Glyceryl Glucoside
Hydrolyzed Milk Protien
Bambusa Vulgaris Shoot Extract
Propylene Glycol
Butylene Glycol
Cetearyl Alcohol
Sorbitan Stearate
Xanthan Gum
Sodium Hydroxide


Water:  H2O, the stuff we drink.

Glycerin: is pretty benign and of low toxicity.  It is used in products mainly because it is affective at improving the smoothness of the product and is a good lubricant.  Glycerin is a byproduct of bio-diesel.  However, all you vegans take note.  This form is very expensive, therefore it is more often derived from animal fats such as beef and vegetable oils such as coconut or soy beans.  Therefore some products that list glycerin in their ingredients may not be vegan.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: is generally derived from coconut oil.  When used in skin care products it helps to moisturize dry skin.  It also reduces protein loss when used in hair care products such as shampoo/conditioner.  Its general purpose is to improve the feel and spreadability of creams.  It is also a suitable carrier for oil infusions among other things. Although coconut oil has been deemed dangerous due to high levels of saturated fats and lauric acid which causes high blood pressure, it does not have the same reputation in personal care products.  It has been regarded as safe, even for pregnant woman to use. However, there is a small population of people who still have reactions to this ingredient. One worthy thing to note is this, it can be used as a personal lubricant, however it may cause damage to latex condoms.  An interesting piece of information.

Myristyl Myristate:  is an ester of myristyl alcohol and myristic acid.  It is used as a skin conditioning agent.  It is a known skin, eyes and lung irritant.  It is also a non reproductive organ system toxin, and an environmental toxin.

Alcohol Denate: Is added to ingredients to make it taste bad and render it undrinkable. If it is consumed it can cause blindness or death if it contains methanol. To help prevent this, denatonium is often added to the substance to make it taste extremely bitter. Substances such emetic (vomiting) agents such as syrup of ipecac may also be included as well.

Glyceryl Stearate Citrate:  this is a citric acid ester of Glyceryl Stearate.  It is used as a skin conditioning agent. This ingredient has been deemed safe to use in cosmetics.  It does not appear to be an irritant.  However it should be noted that there is no information regarding reproductive or developmental toxicity of this ingredient.

Glyceryl Glucoside:  This ingredient is an enhanced glyceryl derivative.  There appears to be large gaps in information regarding this ingredient.  I was unable to find out any information on the toxicity of this ingredient at this point in time.  

Dimethicone: also known as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) which is a silicone oil.  It is used in shampoos to lubricate hair and make it easier to comb and adds shine.  In creams it acts as a skin protectant and an emulsifier.  The FDA has deemed it safe to use.  However most people have heard of the horror stories with silicone breast implants leading companies to switch to saline filled implants.  Other side effects linked to PDMS include allergic reactions from mild to severe as well as a worsening in dryness.  Although the data is limited, it appears to also cause non-reproductive toxicity as well as links to environmental toxicity due to the toxins being bioaccummulative.  This means it builds up and builds up in our soils and sediments.

Octyldodecanol:  is a long chain fatty alcohol.  It is used as a fragrance ingredient, a skin conditioning agent and solvent.  It is a known skin, eyes and lungs irritant.  It is not considered to be a carcinogen, mutagen or an environmental toxin.  

Hydrolyzed Milk Protein:  this is hydrolysate of of milk protein that has been derived by acid or enzymes.  It is not considered to be an environmental toxin or toxic to humans.  Under the EWG though it is listed as a multiple additive exposure.  It is used in food and other products with little to no toxicity information available.

Bambusa Vulgaris Shoot Extract:  this is pretty interesting.  This is a variety of bamboo.  However only this particular bamboo B.vulgaris contains taxiphyllin a cyanogenic glycoside (which is a cyanide).  It is highly toxic causing difficulties in breathing, paralysis and nervous system damage, and can be lethal to humans.  

Propylene glycol: is an organic double alcohol.  It is used as a skin conditioning agent, a fragrance, and humectant.  It is classified as a skin irritant, and can cause conjunctivitis of the eye.  It is also considered to be a mutagen, a broad systemic toxin, and an immune system toxin.

Butylene Glycol:  this is a small organic alcohol.  It is used as skin conditioning agent, solvent, and a humectant.  It is considered to be of low toxicity to humans and the environment.  However it is considered to be an irritant.

Cetearyl Alcohol: Is considered a fatty alcohol.  It is used as a foam boosting surfactant and an emulsion stabilizer.  In my research I found little information on its toxicity to either the environment or to humans.  Although I did find some blogs discussing it and they seemed to think it was pretty benign to  the environment.

Sorbitan Stearate:  this ingredient is a combination of sorbital and stearic acid.  It is a surfactant and a fragrance ingredient.  It is considered to be of low toxicity to humans, not suspected of being a carcinogen, mutagen, or hormone disruptor. However, it is said to be an environmental toxin.

Xanthan Gum:  is a sugar based polymer produced by bacteria.  It is used as a viscosity agent.  It is generally considered to be non toxic and safe for humans and the environment when used in this form.  However, there are specific concerns related to it.  Xanthan gum is considered to be a workplace hazard material, due to respiratory issues.  It is also not a food ingredient that should be given to pre-mature infants as it can cause necrotizing enterocolitis (tissue death in the bowels).   It is also made from known allergens such as wheat and corn.  Some people may experience an allergic reaction from food sensitivities if they consume this ingredient.  It is also known as a powerful laxative.  However, these concerns are limited mainly to congestion not the use in personal care products.

Cabomer: is not actually one molecule but refers to polymers made from acrylic acid.  It is used in creams and beauty products as a thickening agent and controls the flow of the product.  This ingredient has been labelled as safe and has a low potential for skin irritations, allergic reactions, photo toxicity and sensitisation.

Sodium Hydroxide: is also known as lye or caustic soda.  As the name suggests it is very caustic which means it burns.  It can cause death if swallowed and blindness if comes in contact with eyes.  In personal care products it is used as a pH balancer and a buffering agent.  It is considered to be  mutagenic, a broad systemic toxin, a respiratory toxin, and is considered to be a strong workplace/occupational hazard.

Methylparaben: is found in such foods as blueberries.  It acts as an antimicrobial agent. In cosmetics it is used as an anti-fungal agent.  Parabens have had much controversy surrounding them in recent years, and for good reason.  There is strong evidence of methylparaben being a human skin toxicant, human endocrine disruptor, mutagenic, and a broad systemic toxin.  A good reason to stay away from parabens.

Phenoxyethanol: Is a fairly new ingredient, it is a glycol either and is used as a bactericide.  It is generally considered safer then the traditional formaldehyde releasing agents, however the FDA has stated that it can depress the central nervous system which could cause vomiting, diarrhea and can cause dehydration in infants.  There have been concerns of this product being carcinogenic due to the ingredients it is derived from.

Propylparaben:  Like the other parabens this one is also used as a preservative.  It also mimics estrogen.  It is classified as an endocrine disrupter, a broad systemic toxin, a mutagen, and a developmental and reproductive toxin.  Yikes!

Parfum (Fragrance):  Used to make the product smell nice.  Though it is not considered to be harmful or a toxin, it does cause some individuals to develop headaches if it is labelled that it is derived from natural sources. However, the fragrance industry uses up to 3000 ingredients, most of which are synthetic, some 900 of which were identified as toxic. However, the industry is not required to disclose ingredients of fragrances and perfumes on their labels due to trade secrecy considerations. So you don't know what mix of chemicals you are receiving. Some of them are headaches causing, immunosystem toxic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic.



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