Monday, 23 May 2011

My Reads: Water, Wax and Oils in Skincare

This is the last continuation article of Part 1 and Part 2, taken from my favourite Marie Veronique Organics blog.

Water, Wax and Oils in Skin Care

Water and Wax

The recipe for most body lotions is a large amount of water and a small amount of oil held together with a plant or animal emulsifying wax. Waxes form an occlusive layer on the skin, which helps to hold moisture in. However, wax-heavy products can leave the skin with less natural oils to deal with trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and people may find over time that their skin is even drier than it was prior to using the lotion or cream intended to cure “dry skin.”

Because ingredients are listed in descending order according to prominence it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see “water” listed as the first ingredient in most lotions. There is nothing wrong with this, but be aware that you are not getting much bang for your buck if a product contains mostly water.


Choosing oils that will benefit your skin is a fairly easy process, as there are any number to choose from. Some good choices that are commonly included in oil blends and lotions are: apricot kernel, high in Vitamin A, avocado, rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, and jojoba, high in oleic acid. Some commonly-used nut oils such as almond oil and walnut oil have relatively short shelf lives so are not the best choices, especially if they are the prominent or the only oil included in the mix.

Peanut oil and wheat germ oil are potentially allergenic and not easily tolerated by everyone. Make sure your oils are cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. Grapeseed oil, for example, is a wonderful oil with anti-aging benefits, but it almost always solvent-extracted. Look for the descriptor cold or expeller pressed in front of this oil in particular.

Mineral oil

Mineral oil, aka petrolatum, is a by-product of petroleum. It may seem to be working at first because it acts as an occlusive (ie, it holds in moisture) but in the long run it clogs pores and has a drying effect on the skin. In addition, it may be contaminated with aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic.

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