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What You Need to Know if You Care About Your Skin

by Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic

Raw Materials in Anti-perspirants and Deodorants

Aluminium Hydroxychloride (INCI Name: Aluminium Chlorohydrate) is an aluminium salt which is used in most anti-perspirants. Its salts act as a sweat inhibitor, closing off the skin's sweat pores so the sweat is unable to come out. So far so good, but closing off the body's most important secretory organ day after day (sweating from the arm pits included) and with a substance than can be irritating to the skin and is easily absorbed by damaged skin, is not the best solution for our sweat problems.

We believe that the use of this salt can cause cancer. Another product on the market that often claims to be natural are crystal deodorants, and through investigations that I have done, people selling them admit that they contain aluminum hydroxychloride and I doubt that they are natural, but are in fact made in factories.

A much safer raw material to use in deodorants and anti- perspirants is farnesol. (INCI name: Farnesol). This is a substance which occurs naturally in a number of essential oils, for instance Palmarosa and Roman Chamomile oils. Farnesol kills the bacteria which make sweat smell. It does not close off the pores and does not prevent the secretion of sweat. Used at a strength of approx. 1%. The effect lasts for 5-6 hours.

Another deodorant raw material which is safe to use is Lemon Ester. (INCI Name: Triethyl Citrate BHT). This is found naturally in cherries. It reduces the bacteria on the skin by making the skin more acid. The best use in deodorant is to use 4- 5% together with 1% Farnesol.

Farnesol and Lemon Ester in combination will not provide protection for the whole day the way that aluminum will, but at least they are safe to use.


It is very important not only to use vegetable oils on the skin, but to use moisturizing products like creams and lotions. We have several different ingredients for this purpose and their molecular structure enables them to retain water and bind it in the skin.

Glycerin in products from normal High Street shops is usually derived from animal fats. As a vegetarian myself, I don't want to use that on my skin. The vegetable one that I personally work with is as good, but it costs more. Propylene Glycol is a moisturizer with arguable benefits. Personally I am not afraid to use it, but you can choose between others.

Other moisturizers that are safe to use are Sorbitol, preferably used in cleansers and peeling products. Carbamide crystals that are both moisturizing and antiseptic are very good in foot and hand creams.

Another product that is used very much is silk protein (INCI name: Silk Amino Acid). This protects and strengthens the hair / skin whilst helping it to retain its moisture. It can be used in shampoos, conditioners and hair packs.

Silk is produced by silk worms that live on mulberry bushes. It is a secretion from a gland on the silk worm which it spins into cocoons. Silk amino acid is produced from dead silk worms. It is therefore an animal based substance and silk worms have to die for the silk to be extracted. (They are actually gassed to death!) Fortunately we can use silk protein in products which comes from marine algae called sea silk that gives the same effect. Silk amino acid is used in creams, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. They protect, soften and help to retain moisture in the skin. In hair they act as a moisture retainer and also form a film around the strands of hair to strengthen and protect them. Silk amino acid also gives the hair more shine and makes it look healthy.

Another fat and moisturizer is lanolin. (INCI name: Adeps lana). In its dehydrated form is a light yellow, fatty, sticky mass which smells slightly of sheep. Lanolin is formed in the same way as sebum in humans - in glands in the sheep's skin which open onto the strands of wool. The fat protects the wool and skin from drying out, and from extremes of hot and cold and from bacteria. Lanolin is extracted from the fleece after it is shorn.

Lanolin has the property of being able to bind water to itself. In baby ointments / nappies it neutralizes the corrosive ammonia of the urine through saponification whilst at the same time protecting the skin.

Lanolin is the fatty substance most akin to the fat in our own skin. It can help our skin to retain moisture and prevent it from drying out. At the same time, it allows the skin to sweat and breathe naturally. Some people are sensitive to lanolin. They can develop small, red, itchy bumps which disappear within a day once the use of lanolin has stopped. Unfortunately lanolin can be contaminated with pesticides (DDT, lindan, dieldrin and endrin). Sheep can be dipped or sprayed once or twice a year in pesticides to kill off any insects living in their fleece. Minute quantities of pesticide can be left behind in the lanolin. Pesticides are easily absorbed by the skin, especially when combined with fats, and are stored in the skin's fatty tissues. It is now possible to obtain lanolin with very low pesticide content. This lanolin is almost odorless.

Raw Materials for Sun Protection

Commonly used in sun protection products is Paba (INCI name: Paba). Its full scientific name is para-amino-benzoic acid and it is a water-soluble substance often referred to as B10 but which has never been accepted as a vitamin. Paba is always produced synthetically through simple chemical methods. One form of Paba is used for sun protection as it provides an effective screen against ultraviolet rays and thus prevents sunburn. Paba is also used in the treatment of sunburn and vitiligo (pigment blotches). It is stored in the outer layers of the skin. Not everybody tolerates Paba. People with sensitive skins who react strongly to sunlight by developing a rash, tenderness or swelling should not use Paba as (for these people) it can cause eczema and light sensitivity.

Paba is a nitrosamine forming agent that can cause cancer. Research in Sweden links the chemically made sun blockers to skin cancer. So the paradox is that they should prevent skin cancer but they may also be the cause of it. So what is the alternative? Fortunately, we have got an alternative raw material called Tiosol (INCI name: Titanium Dioxide (and) Cocos nucifera).

Tiosol is a new sun screening substance produced on the basis of old knowledge. It is based on the substance titanium dioxide, a natural mineral which, like zinc oxide, has been used effectively for a long time as a sun block (it reflects and absorbs ultra- violet light). However, both have had the disadvantage that they give an unsightly bluish-white colour to the skin. This problem has been resolved by grinding the titanium dioxide to a grade where visible light passes through it and the titanium white becomes invisible on the skin. This blocks the ultra-violet light even more effectively than the titanium dioxide of normal grade.

Tiosol screens out UVA, UVB and to a large extent UVC rays. It is very easy to use, tolerates heating and can achieve a sun factor of anywhere from 2-20. As already described, Tiosol consists of finely ground titanium dioxide which is then mixed into liquid coconut oil, 40% titanium dioxide and 60% coconut oil The coconut oil is specially treated to remove the fatty acids that go rancid. This enables long exposure to bright sunlight without the cream going rancid. Tiosol is the safest sunscreen with the broadest spectrum currently available on the market. It doesn't have any side effects or cause allergies and it is easy to use.

You can also choose to use certain vegetables that have a natural sun factor in them already. For example, you can use Coconut butter/oil, and Shea butter or Shea butter oil. They have a sun factor from 2 - 3, but do not use them on people with oily or large pores. The other oils you can use for all skin conditions are Sesame oil (sun protection factor 2 - 3) or Jojoba oil (factor 4).

Article reprinted with permission from http://www.aromantic.com
© Copyright Aromantic 2002-2004

About the Author:

Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic specialises in empowering people of
all levels in making their own highly effective natural skin care
products. Through his website customers are able to access many
free resources as well as being able to order all the raw
materials, equipment and know-how required to make aromatherapy
products, creams, shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.

Visit Kolbjørn's Natural Skin Care web site at:

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