There have been some sad headlines over the last week about the dozens of deaths linked to the flammable nature of paraffin and petroleum based skin products. Products often prescribed for people with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.
The research from the BBC showed, that with regular use, the products impregnated clothes and bedding and were not removed by a 30 degree wash. Exposure to a naked flame then ran the risk of the fabrics catching fire with tragic results.
There are now calls for products containing paraffin to carry a flammable warning label.
It is undoubtedly sad news and terrible for the families involved. It's not the only reason to avoid petrochemical based ingredients though.
Here's some tips and facts to help you if you are looking to eliminate these ingredients from your skincare routine;
1 - Paraffin wax and petroleum jelly are hydrocarbons derived from the petrochemical industry. Like all petrochemicals they are not sustainable or eco-friendly.
2 - Both ingredients are emollients, that is they soften the skin, but they are inert ingredients, there are none of the other goodies that come with natural emollients in petrochemical derived ingredients. Myroo products contain natural emollients which come from renewable sources and are packed with nourishment.
3 - Products like vaseline and E45 are occlusive. So they form a barrier over the skin. This traps moisture in the top layer of the skin and can give short term relief from dry skin conditions. However, that layer is pretty impermeable meaning long term skin function can be disrupted and existing conditions can actually get worse over time. NICE have noted that "several studies reported alterations in skin physiology (thinning of the outermost layer of the skin and increased skin water loss) following application of aqueous cream as an emollient in adults, both with and without eczema". A UK Government safety up-date also noted that aqueous cream may cause skin irritation. (1)
4 - To avoid petroleum and paraffin ingredients is fairly easy, look for the terms petroleum jelly, petrolatum, white petrolatum, soft paraffin, paraffin wax or similar on the ingredients listings of your existing skincare products or ones you are considering buying.
5 - It's a bit harder to remove all petrochemical ingredients, lots of synthetic ingredients are derived from them but if you are 'greening' your skincare it's a good place to start. Some of the main culprits for skin issues and allergies are petrochemical derived. Start by looking out for terms such as: methyl-, propyl-, butyl- and ethyl-paraben: propylene glycol: sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate: parfum: synthetic colours.
6 - Petroleum jelly is filtered, prior to this it contains contaminants and potential carcinogens. Vaseline boast "Our Jelly is triple-filtered, ensuring it is truly free from impurities and safe to use". I'll just leave that one there. I've no desire to cause panic and will let you draw your own conclusions.
7 - Paraffin and petroleum based products are not known for their natural credentials, generally they contain a high percentage of synthetic ingredients as well as the petrochemicals. Interestingly this can irritate the very problems these creams are designed to fix. NICE and the National Eczema Society have both noted that aqueous cream when used as a leave on product "was associated with an immediate skin reaction (stinging, burning, itching, and redness) within 20 minutes in 56% of exposures". (2)
I hope it goes without saying, of course Myroo products are free from petroleum, paraffin and indeed all petrochemical derived ingredients. All the ingredients that we choose are there because they are skin loving, not because they are cheap or work as a filler.
As always do shout if you have questions or concerns.
Sources: (1) & (2) - https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/aqueous-cream-may-cause-skin-irritation, https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/aqueous-cream-may-cause-skin-irritation