Thursday, July 12, 2012


Emollients are commonly referred to as moisturizers that soften or treat dry skin. They are usually forms of oil or grease. And they work by increasing the skin and hair's ability to hold water. Water is actually the best emollient, but because it evaporates quickly, it can be ineffective. This is where other emollients come in to play. Water, because it evaporates quickly, needs to be held on the skin or hair by emollient oils in what is called emulsion.


Synthetic emollients are occlusive i.e. they coat the skin and do not allow it to respire (much like plastic wrap), which can cause skin irritation. So, basically they coat the hair, but do not allow moisture to penetrate which in turn causes dryness and many times frizziness, once the emollient is removed. Some synthetic emollients can accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing a negative environmental impact.

Types of Synthetic Emollients

• PEG compounds (eg PEG- 45 Almond Glyceride) may contain the toxic by-product dioxane
• Synthetic alcohols (anything that contains the phrase benzyl –, butyl-, cetearyl-, cetyl -, glyceryl-, isopropyl-, myristyl propyl-, propylene-, or stearyl-) eg Isopropyl Palmitate, Diglyceryl Caprylate) have been shown to cause allergies and dermatitis.
• Hydrocarbons (eg mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin) contain carcinogenic and mutagenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and can cause chemically induced acne.
• Silicone Oils (eg dimethicone, cyclomethicone, copolyol) can clog the skin like plastic wrap and cause tumours when painted on lab animals (according to the Material Safety Data Sheet supplied by the manufacturer).

Natural emollients actually nourish the skin and care for it. They are metabolised by the skin’s own enzymes and absorbed into it. They are readily biodegradable and are of edible quality.

Types of Natural Emollients
• Jojoba
• Avocado
• Rosehip
• Shea,
• Cocoa
• Jojoba Butters
• Apricot Kernel Oil
• Argan Oil
• Avacado Oil
• Borage Seed Oil
• Castor Oil
• Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Grapeseed Oil
• Hazel Nut Oil
• Macadamia Nut Oil
• Mango Butter
• Pumpkin Seed Oil
• Rose Hip Oil
• Sunflower Seed Oil
• Walnut

Peace & Love

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