Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is commonly used by brands claiming to be “natural”. truthinaging.com recently reported that the FDA warned that this “natural preservative”, which is often used in cosmetics of all types (including shampoo and conditioners), can cause shut down of the nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis.
Phenoxyethanol is a glycol ether and is used as an anti-bacterial in cosmetics and also as a stabilizer in perfume, it is also commonly found in: paint, lacquer and jet fuel……just perfect for your morning cleanse!
Sciencelab.com’s Phenoxyethanol Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), states:
Potential Acute Health Effects: Extremely hazardous in case of eye contact. Very hazardous in case of skin contact, or ingestion or inhalation.
Potential Chronic Health Effects: Extremely hazardous in case of eye contact, very hazardous in case of skin contact, of ingestion or inhalation. The substance is toxic to kidneys, the nervous system, liver. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can product target organs damage. Repeated or prolonged inhalation of vapors may lead to chronic respiratory irritation.
Truthinaging.com goes on to say that Phenoxyethanol is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin and that it can cause reproductive damage. The MSDS refers to 100% concentrations, so is it safe at lower doses? In cosmetics the concentrations are typically 0.5% to 1%. But tests have shown to cause irritation. There are several animal studies (yes those poor animals, this is not something we condone, nor are EverEscents Organic Hair Care products tested on animals, for that very reason) that demonstrate that it is toxic, with effects on the brain and the nervous system even at moderate concentrations.
Another irony is that it is showing up so frequently because manufacturers are trying to be paraben-free and Phenoxyethanol is being used as a not-so-safe alternative.
We know there are goodies and baddies in some things that we eat, touch, use on our bodies and inhale or absorb but when looking at a product how can you understand the label and decipher what are artificial preservatives and what are not, or more clearly “what are safe preservatives for me to use on my body and what are not?”. The top 5 Artificial Preservatives we will NEVER use in any EverEscents Organic Hair Care products are Parabens, DMDM Hydantoin (Formaldehyde), Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone (M.I.T) and Limonene.
Sometimes known as Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Heptylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives, and that’s why they are found in so many products. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. Nearly all of the parabens used as preservatives are man-made and not naturally occurring.
Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Another concern is that the estrogen-mimic aspect of parabens may be a factor in the increasing prevalence of early puberty in girls. Researchers have found parabens in breast tumors and believe there is a relationship between parabens and tumors. And in the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.” If a causal link between a chemical and cancer is not enough to avoid a product that can easily be avoided, I don’t know what is. There are a lot of other reports available all over the internet, but most of them are all related to reproductive health in some way or another.
Hazards: Safe Cosmetics state that the Environmental Working Groups’s Skin Deep database, which compares cosmetic ingredients to over 50 international toxicity databases, indicates that parabens are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation.
So back to the initial question – what are parabens? They are chemicals we need to work hard to avoid. Be sure to shop for paraben-free products and foods whenever possible, and always read the labels on the things you buy.
If you have tried our hair care range of organic cinnamon and patchouli, you will understand why we have included it in the EverEscents range. Initially, we started out with the cinnamon & patchouli Deep Treatment which made hair “so soft and smelled amazing” which is a quote directly from one of our customers. We have also been told that people wanted to eat it as it smells so delicious – please note we don’t recommend it! So due to the popularity of our organic Deep Treatment we have now added it as a range including the shampoo and everyday conditioner and they’re all organic, of course.
You may be wondering how we at EverEscents chose Cinnamon as a spice for our Deep Treatment? Well Cinnamon stimulates circulation and new cell growth and aids in tissue regeneration. It is also know to aid with scalp conditions such as flaky scalp and psoriasis. Also taking into consideration of our Mind & Spirit – Cinnamon can help relieve headaches, colds, nausea and is believed to improve energy & vitality, all whilst having a quick hair wash in the morning….what better way to start the morning. Because we love the topical effects of cinnamon on the body so much we were curious as to where it comes from and what are the internal health benefits as well.
Herbs 2000 describe; The plant known as the cinnamon is the source of a very famous spice, true cinnamon plants are native to Sri Lanka and Ceylon, while the plant called the cassia or the Chinese cinnamon originates from Burma – the bark of the cinnamon is fragrant and is used to make the spice. True Ceylonese cinnamon is much more expensive than the cassia, and has a lighter and more delicate fragrance; the Burmese variety is much more pungent and possesses a stronger flavor than the original cinnamon.
Antioxidants for Health and Longevity (AHL) website explains that cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the essential oils found in its bark. These essential oils are potent antibacterial and antifungal stimulants.
ALH go on to say, Cinnamon has also been valued in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The benefits of cinnamon include providing relief from colds or flu, especially when it’s mixed in a tea with some fresh ginger. Cinnamon is useful for relieving sore throats, coughs, sneezing and mild headaches. Cinnamon has also been used for flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods. It’s also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation, and be particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet.
If that isn’t enough, here are 10 more health reasons we found on Care2 website to love this super spice:
1. Numerous studies show that cinnamon regulates blood sugar, making it a great choice for diabetics and hypoglycemics alike. That’s also great news for anyone who wants stable energy levels and moods.
2. It reduces LDL cholesterol levels. LDL is also known as the harmful cholesterol. Reducing it may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. It has natural anti-infectious compounds. In studies, cinnamon has been effective against ulcer-causing H. pylori bacteria and other pathogens.
4. It reduces pain linked to arthritis. Cinnamon has been shown in studies at the Department of Internal Medicine, Kangnam Korean Hospital, to reduce cytokines linked to arthritic pain.
5. Research at the University of Texas, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, shows that cinnamon may reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, holding promise for cancer prevention and sufferers of the disease.
6. It is a natural food preservative.
7. It contains fiber, calcium, iron, and manganese—albeit small amounts to the typical dose of ground cinnamon.
It’s been proven effective for menstrual pain and infertility.
Cinnamon contains a natural chemical called cinnamaldehyde, which studies show increases the hormone progesterone and decreases testosterone production in women, helping to balance hormones.
Cinnamon holds promise for various neurodegenerative diseases, including: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, and meningitis, according to research at the Cytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas. Their research shows that cinnamon reduces chronic inflammation linked with these neurological disorders.