Clean Cosmetics: The Science Behind the Trend


 December 22, 2021

Clean Cosmetics: The Science Behind the Trend 

Are clean beauty product formulations healthier than other beauty products? 

While there is still no universal definition for clean beauty, research from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) points to clear benefits for consumers who use beauty products with fewer chemical ingredients.

In the United States, cosmetics are regulated largely by two laws: the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). According to the FD&C Act, cosmetics are defined by their intended use, which is to be “rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” 

Although the ingredients contained in most commercial beauty products are not regulated, researchers have found that a number of ingredients in mainstream products could be considered dangerous in high doses. These include irritants, allergens, or worse, potential endocrine disruptors. Given the potential for women to experience hormonal dysregulation, a growing number of researchers and medical bodies are studying the effects of cosmetics and encouraging consumers to seek out clean beauty product formulations.

Chemical Dangers in Commercial Cosmetics

Groups such as the Environmental Working Group have worked to classify certain ingredients found in commercial cosmetics as harmful. The majority of so-called “bad” ingredients in beauty and skincare products fall into one of three categories: irritants, potential endocrine disruptors, and potential carcinogens. 

Of these categories, potential carcinogens are what we worry about the most. Carcinogens are cancer-causing agents. Examples of potential carcinogens found in commercial cosmetics include formaldehydes, coal tar, and petroleum distillates.

Formaldehyde has been linked to cancer in both humans and animals, but only in high doses. Regardless, with little in the way of legal controls or regulations over the commercial cosmetics industry, more consumers are opting to avoid any beauty products containing formaldehydes. That helps to explain the recent push toward consumers looking for cleaner skincare alternatives. 

Are Clean Beauty Products Safe?

Clean beauty product formulations are now seen as a safer, healthier alternative for consumers who are nervous about the ingredients in commercial cosmetics. 

To tell if a product is “clean,” consumers need to look beyond the label. The first step when evaluating a clean beauty product is to take a look at the list of ingredients. Clean beauty product formulations should contain ingredients that you’ve heard of before. Ideally, these should be ingredients that you can actually pronounce.

The best clean beauty products are formulated with penetration enhancers. From a science and efficacy perspective, penetration enhancers are necessary because many natural ingredients are not shelf stable. Without a carrier system, they will quickly lose their efficacy. Penetration enhancers stabilize natural ingredients in clean cosmetics and support their skin absorption.

Balancing Health & Efficacy with Omya Kinetik

To learn more about how to purchase the highest-quality clean beauty products, contact Omya Kinetik today.