Friday, 27 September 2013

Nivea Soft Cream

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable summer or winter for those of you whom reside on the other side of the world.  I have not written as many blogs as I would have liked to over the summer, as the hours tend to be chaotic.  But now with routines and structure back with the arrival of the new school year it's much easier. Along with the new school year and the arrival of the nice crisp days of fall, our skin care regiment becomes a little more intense, especially with the arrival of the colder weather.  In the next few blogs I would love to bring forth some ideas for homemade and natural skin care products for those that may be interested for a healthier alternative to one of the most popular products Nivea.  My grandmother used this product, as did my mother and even myself.  Out of the 20 ingredients listed 11 were considered to be toxic.  I have to admit that it's higher than I would like, but much better than a lot of the other products out there.  It would be really nice to see them improve a little on the formulation of this product, however I would prefer to use this product in a pinch over a lot of the other products.  In our quest for aging beautifully it's nice to have some options that we can feel good about using.  Here are a couple of other products that are great to use for us and for their limited impact on the environment.

Nivea Soft Cream


Nivea Soft CreamGlycerin
Myristyl Alcohol
Mineral Oil
Butylene Glycol
Alcohol Denant
Stearic Acid
Myristyl Myristate
Glyceryl Stearate
Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
Tocopheryl Acetate
Lanolin Alcohol
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 effective 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.

Myristyl Alcohol:  this ingredient is a fatty alcohol. It is used as a fragrance ingredient, skin conditioning agent, emulsion stabilizer as well as a emollient.  It is considered to be a non-reproductive organ system toxin, and is listed as a medium level human health priority by Environment Canada's Domestic Substance List.

Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidium): Found in most baby care products, creams and make-ups.  It is a by-product from the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline.  It is considered a carcinogen by the World Health Organization but deemed safe by the American FDA.  It has been known to cause skin cancer in small rodents.  Please be aware of this ingredient.

Butylene Glycol: is an alcohol used as a skin conditioning agent, a fragrance ingredient, as well as a solvent.  It is considered to be an irritant to the skin eyes and lungs. It is not considered to be 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.

Stearic Acid: Another really nasty ingredient. It is a saturated fatty acid found in both animals and vegetables.  It is considered safe when used in amounts below certain levels.  If slight to higher doses are used it has been shown to cause cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, and effects to the nervous system, respiratory system,  as well as skin irritation.

Petrolatum:  this ingredient is a semisolid mixture composed of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum.  It is used as a conditioning agent, skin protectant and a uv absorber.  It is considered to be a non-reproductive organ system toxin.  There is also concerns regarding contamination with other chemicals such as PAHS which is highly toxic and a banned substance for use in cosmetics.

Myristyl Myristate:  is an ester of myristyl alcohol and myristic acid.  It is used as a skin conditioning agent.  It is considered to be a non-reproductive organ system toxin, a human irritant (skin, eyes, and lungs) it is also considered to be a persistent and bioaccumulative toxin to the environment.   

Glyceryl Stearate: is the vegetable derived glyceryl ester from stearic acid, combined with potassium stearate also known as potassium salts.  It is a surfactant and an emulsifying agent.  There appears to be low toxicity from this product and is seen to be relatively gentle for both humans and the environment.

Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides:  this ingredient is a combination of mono, di, and triglycerides of hydrogenated coconut oil.  It is used as a skin conditioning agent.  It is not suspected to be an environmental toxin and appears to be safe for humans.

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil: this is often a main ingredient in skin conditioning products.  it is extracted from seeds from the shrub, and is native to parts of North America.  It is used as a skin conditioning agent, and a viscosity controlling agent.  It is not considered to be toxic to humans or to the environment.

Tocopheryl Acetate: is also known as vitamin E acetate.  It is used in skin care as an antioxidant, and a skin conditioning agent.  According to some studies, it has shown to be mutagenic, a broad systemic toxin, as well has human skin toxin.

Lanolin Alcohol:  this is a mixture of alcohols obtained from the hydrolysis of lanolin, which is a fat like secretion from sheep.  It is used as a binder, conditioning agent, viscosity increasing agent and an anti-static agent.  There are concerns that this ingredient is a non-reproductive organ system toxin.  It is also considered to be a human skin toxin or allergen.  

Polyglyceryl-2 Caprate:  this ingredient is a ester of capric acid and Diglycerin.  It is used as a skin conditioning agent and an emulsifying agent.  There appears to be little information regarding this product.

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.

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 sensitization.

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.

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.

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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