One of the reasons for our love affair with personal care and home fragrance products is our abiding attraction toward scents.Whenever possible, we use naturally extracted scents for their authenticity, allure, and complexity.For scents that don’t lend themselves to natural extraction due to the fragility of the fragrance components and/or the prohibitive costs, we use phthalate-free fragrance oils.Our lotions, lip balms, facial products, and deodorants (i.e. any product that stays on the skin) are naturally scented, and we refer to the scent components in their ingredients list variously as essential oils, absolutes, resins, distillates, etc.
In this jot we aim to explain what these terms mean and how natural scents are derived.The terms are typically associated with the method of extraction of the scent components.
Essential oils are scent extracts derived from plants by distillation or by mechanical pressing.Distillation entails heating the plant material to vaporize the volatile fragrant components then cooling the vapor to collect them as a liquid or a solid distillate.For example, lavender essential oil is obtained by steam distillation in which steam is injected into a vessel containing lavender buds.The steam heats up and breaks down the plant material, and carries with it the volatile fragrant oils in the plant.The mixture of steam and oils is then condensed back into a liquid and separated.The oil thus obtained is lavender essential oil.The water phase contains water-soluble fragrant components of lavender and is dubbed lavender distillate or hydrosol, or more colloquially as “lavender water”. We use this hydrosol in our facial mists.
Oils obtained by mechanical pressing (also known as cold pressing or expression) include citrus essential oils. The peel of the citrus fruit or sometimes the entire fruit is pressed to rupture the oil-containing cells and release the essential oils.If entire fruits are used, the mixture is then centrifuged to separate the oil from the aqueous phase.Orange, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, mandarin, and other citrus essential oils are obtained by this method.
The fragrant components of certain plants are too delicate for steam distillation and too scarce for mechanical pressing.Solvents such as volatile hydrocarbons (e.g. alcohol and hexane), solid oil or fat, or supercritical carbon dioxide (which is a liquid) are then used to extract the oils in a gentle fashion.For example, to obtain jasmine absolute, fresh jasmine blossoms collected early in the morning are laid onto thin substrates coated with a solid oil/fat. Over 1-2 days, the fragrant components from the flowers are transferred to the oils.The old blossoms are then replaced with fresh-picked ones until the solid oil is saturated.This solid product is known as the concrete (or pomade) and contains non-fragrant wax and other plant material in addition to the fragrant components.A volatile solvent such as alcohol or hexane is then used to extract the fragrant oils from the concrete.After the volatile solvent is evaporated off, the resulting product is known as the absolute.Absolutes tend to be richer and more concentrated and complex than essential oils derived by distillation or cold processing; their cost is commensurately higher.
Resins, such as benzoin and frankincense resins, are extruded from trees by slashing the bark and collecting the sap.These resins are often very thick and difficult to work with and are sometimes converted to essential oils by steam distillation or to a more fluid resin by solvent extraction.
Through the above extraction methods, we are able to experience a portion of the bounty of scents from nature even when we are not within smelling distance of the actual plant.In this way we have discovered the scents of plants in lands we have not yet seen.If you have a favorite essential oil, absolute or resin, we would love to hear more about it. We always relish a new olfactory treat.
Perhaps you embrace the natural and organic trend in beauty products (we are on the same page) or perhaps you scoff at the use of the word “natural” (we applaud your critical thinking because, yes, uranium occurs naturally too); regardless, we thought we would clarify what we mean by “all natural” and “natural” when we talk about our products.
To us, natural ingredients are ingredients obtained from renewable sources, typically plants, but in some cases such as beeswax, from animals. They should be minimally processed. By this definition, petroleum products, while they are obtained from Mother Earth, are not considered natural. Minerals, such as titanium dioxide and mica, may be mined from the ground rather than synthesized in the lab (synthetic examples would be FD&C colors) but have to be processed to become suitable for cosmetic use. The processing is for a good reason: to control consistency, heavy metal content and impurities. We believe minerals are better alternatives to FD&C colors and artificial dyes, but we do not consider minerals and mineral makeup to be completely natural but nature-identical.
So if we say a product is “all natural” or “natural” what do we mean?
If we are bold enough to call something all natural, we mean that 100% of the ingredients are from plant or animal sources, right down to the scent/flavor. The only animal ingredients we use are beeswax, honey, and milk.
If a product is described as natural, it is primarily created with natural ingredients but may be complemented with nature-identical ingredients such as vitamin B3, vitamin C, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid that could be harvested from natural sources but are more safely and feasibly obtained from manufactured sources. (Side note: you could naturally source hyaluronic acid and collagen from marine life, cows and other animals, but we would much rather get it from the fermentation products of cells in a bioreactor, which is similar to how insulin is made.)
If a product is not labeled as all natural or natural, please know that it is still created primarily of natural and nature-identical ingredients, but may contain synthetics such as:
emulsifiers – to bind the oil and water phases together in a lotion or cream product
actives – such as sunscreens, anti-acne and anti-wrinkle agents
preservatives – to keep your product safe from the growth of microorganisms; we keep to paraben-free preservatives
fragrances – we go to great lengths to find natural, exotic scents but some intriguing ones are simply impossible to harvest from nature so we have chosen to use phthalate-free versions
Coming from a science background, we are particularly conscious of when an ingredient is considered a synthetic versus a natural one. We are dismayed sometimes to come across products touted as “natural” when they use a conventional formulation with the same old petroleum-based ingredients but add a few interesting plant extracts.We do not use a cut-off of 70% or 80% natural ingredients to equal natural. And while we use a number of organic ingredients in our products, we have not applied for organic certification and cannot market our products as organic.
We welcome your questions and thoughts. We realize you give us your trust when you use our products and we are earnest about being truthful with what we do.
We are usually not given over to dramatics particularly in
the choice of a jot title but “hidden dangers” aptly describes the current
situation with phthalates.
What are phthalates?
Phthalates (pronounced “thal-ates”) are esters of phthalic
acid (or benzene-1,2-dicarboxylic acid, to the chemically inclined). They
include di-ethyl phthalate (DEP), di-isobutyl phthalate (DIBP), di-n-butyl
phthalate (DBP), and di-n-octyl phthalate (DOP), to name a few.
Commonly used as plasticizers to make plastics more flexible
and easier to process, phthalates occur in a wide range of products such as
vinyl shower curtains, upholstery, plastic toys, paints, adhesives, and yes,
cosmetics too. (BTW, that new car smell that some of us find so pleasant -
that’s probably phthalates at work.) In the realm of cosmetics and personal
care, phthalates are used in nail polish to render it chip resistant, and in
hairsprays to create pliable coatings so your beautifully styled hair won’t
feel crunchy. The presence of phthalates in these products should be indicated
on the ingredients list on the label. They could be hidden, however, if they
are used in fragrances as solvents or fixatives. Manufacturers are not required
to disclose the ingredients of fragrances because of their proprietary nature;
hence, the consumer would only see “fragrance” on the ingredients list. (To be
fair to the cosmetics industry, phthalates are also “hidden” in a host of other
products that do not require an ingredients label, such as shower curtains,
intravenous bags, and plastic bottles.)
So what’s the danger?
Because of their ubiquitous nature, we are constantly
exposed to and consequently harboring phthalates in our bodies. A study by
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2000 found metabolites associated
with phthalate exposure in every single of the 289 people tested, with the
highest levels recorded in women of reproductive age .
This finding is particularly worrisome, as phthalates have
been shown to be reproductive and developmental toxins - and may
contribute to what is known as “testicular dysgenesis syndrome”: increasing
incidence of birth defects of the male reproductive tract such as undescended testis,
and lower sperm count . (Phthalates are believed to inhibit testosterone
synthesis during the critical period of fetal development when masculine traits
are beginning to form.) While a lot of attention has been focused on the "demasculation" of boys by phthalates, women are not immune to their effects. Phthalates are implicated in premature puberty in girls , and in
animal studies, they appear to suppress estradiol production, prolong estrous
cycles, and cause anovulation (no egg released in the cycle), a common cause of
infertility . Furthermore recent studies suggest that
prenatal phthalate exposure may be linked to lower birth weight in newborns 
and disruptive behavior in offspring .
What’s being done?
The use of a number of phthalates in cosmetics has been
banned in the EU, Japan, Taiwan, and other countries. No such restrictions
exist yet in the U.S. where the FDA has not taken regulatory action, citing insufficient evidence of causality. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR; a trade panel that
reviews cosmetics ingredient safety) has asserted that phthalates are safe as
used in cosmetics, the argument being that they are used in much smaller
quantities than doses shown to cause adverse effects (yes, but there are risks
of bioaccumulation from repeated exposure). Phthalate chemical producers cite
the decades long history of use as evidence for their safety and say any
alternative would be less tested and less safe. Their stance is not surprising;
however to maintain the status quo in light of mounting evidence that phthalates are not benign would be a huge disservice to us and our children .
Changes are coming, albeit slowly. Congress has banned
the use of three types of phthalates (DBP, DEHP, and BBP) in children’s toys
effective March 2010. Pressure from environmental and consumer advocacy groups
has caused several cosmetics companies (OPI, Orly, Sally Hansen) to reformulate
their nail polishes without phthalates. The EPA announced in its Chemical Action Plan in December 2009 that it will evaluate the risks of 8 phthalates “because
of their toxicity and the evidence of pervasive human and environmental
exposure to these chemicals.”  EPA intends to add them in autumn 2010 to the Concern List under
the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act “as chemicals that present
or may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.”
What we are doing
We talked about parabens in an earlier jot, and if we were to
compare these two suspected endocrine disruptors, we would put phthalates as higher risk (rest assured they are both excluded from our products). We are
mindful that they may be hidden in fragrances; hence we use only phthalate-free
fragrances in our bath and home scent lines. Products that are expected to
linger on the skin, e.g. lotions, lip balms, and deodorants, are scented with
natural essential oils, absolutes, and oleoresins. These are all natural fragrances
that we invest a considerable amount of effort and expense into procuring and
using. We are also in the process of reducing (and eventually eliminating) the use of shrink wrap in our
products. You may find changes in the packaging of some of
our products in the weeks ahead as we remove shrink wrapping and add tamper-evident paper seals. While the shrink wrap does not contact the
products directly (and should not transfer to you), we feel we should not potentially add to the phthalate load
in the environment.
At home, we have switched to fabric shower curtain
liners and are happy to realize that they can be laundered and reused. We also avoid storing and heating food in plastic containers, and our cars, because of their age, no longer have the new car smell.
1. Blount et al. Levels of Seven Urinary Phthalate Metabolites in a Human Reference
Population. Environmental Health Perspectives. 108 979-982 (2000)
2. Park et al. The plasticizer diethylhexyl phthalate
induces malformations by decreasing fetal testosterone synthesis during sexual
differentiation in the male rat. Toxicological Sciences. 58339-349 (2000)
3. Barlow et al. Male reproductive tract lesions at 6, 12, and 18 months of age
following in utero exposure to di(n-butyl) phthalate. Toxicologic Pathology.32 79-90
4. Gray et al. Perinatal exposure to the phthalates DEHP, BBP,
and DINP, but not DEP, DMP, or DOTP, alters sexual differentiation of the male
rat. Toxicological Sciences.58 350-365 (2000)
5. Swan et al. Decrease in anogenital distance among male
infants with prenatal phthalate exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives. 113 1056-1061 (2005)
6. Skakkebæk et al. Testicular dysgenesis syndrome: an
increasingly common developmental disorder with environmental aspects. Human
Reproduction. 16 (972-978)
7. Chou et al. Phthalate exposure in girls during early
puberty. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism.22 69-77 (2009)
8. Lovekamp-Swan et al. Mechanisms of phthalate ester toxicity in the female
reproductive system.Environmental Health Perspectives. 111 139-145 (2003)
9. Zhang et al. Phthalate levels and low birth weight: A nested
case-control study of Chinese newborns. The Journal of Pediatrics.155 500-504 (2009)
10. Engel et al. Prenatal
phthalate exposure is associated with childhood behavior and executive
functioning. Environmental Health Perspectives. In Press (2010)
I was in the beauty aisle the other day and did a double take when I chanced upon a “chemical free” sunscreen. What on earth could this new fangled sunscreen be? I flipped the product over to check the ingredients. Oh. The active ingredient is titanium dioxide, a tried and true sunscreen that is as old as the hills (at least in the sunscreen landscape). What a "creative" bit of marketing; it certainly got me intrigued. Why isn’t titanium dioxide a chemical? Heck, we know it as a photocatalyst, which means it is able to break down molecules in the presence of light, and incidentally, that’s the opposite of what we want in a sunscreen, but more on that later.
I pondered their reasons for calling this product “chemical free”:
a) Free of Synthetic Chemicals?
Perhaps the marketers mean “synthetic chemical-free”. Titanium dioxide can be considered natural in the sense that it is mined from the earth, but crude titanium dioxide from ores has to be purified via chemical and physical processes into pure, white titanium dioxide that is used in sunscreens.
Furthermore, if you are familiar with the unattractive white sheen attributed to titanium dioxide or zinc oxide powders in sunscreens, you will understand why the micronized or nano versions have become popular. These ultrafine particles go on clear and impart less of a tacky feel. Micronizing titanium dioxide requires further processing, such as coating or doping with chemicals (typically safe, innocuous ones) to keep the tiny particles from agglomerating. I couldn’t tell if the “chemical-free” sunscreen comprises micronized or non-micronized titanium dioxide as manufacturers are not required to state which version they use. But my point is that titanium dioxide is subject to chemical processing (making it a "chemical") and isn’t simply ground into particles from rocks in a quarry (even then it's still a "chemical"!).
b) "Chemical" Being the Opposite of "Physical"
Another explanation for calling the product “chemical free” is to differentiate it from products containing “chemical sunscreens”. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are known as “physical sunscreens”, a classification stemming from the mode of action: physical sunscreens physically deflect whereas chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays. Why not label the product as containing “physical sunscreens” or “mineral sunscreens”? I suppose those terms just don’t evoke the same excitement (or fear).
Sunscreen active ingredients are regulated by FDA (would they care if it’s not a chemical?) and dubbing a sunscreen “chemical free” seems oxymoronic to me. To be sure, not all chemicals are created equal and some are more hazardous than others. Chemical sunscreens have their issues (absorption into the skin, allergenicity, etc.) but calling a product “chemical free” because it comprises natural plant sourced or mineral ingredients does not move the conversation forward. A perfect sunscreen ingredient doesn’t exist today – physical and chemical sunscreens both have their respective shortcomings. Sunscreen formulation should be based on a balanced and informed understanding of different options. I don’t question their choice of titanium dioxide at all. However, promoting one option based on a creative re-interpretation of basic chemistry is a disservice to good science and to the public.
And by the way, that product did contain synthetic chemicals in the form of fragrance.
#1: There are concerns that nanoparticles could penetrate the skin and be cytotoxic (i.e. toxic to cells). However, evidence thus far suggests that penetration is low , and the consumer advocacy group, EWG, believes that the benefits of using nano-titanium dioxide as sunscreens outweigh the risks.
#2: As mentioned earlier, titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a photocatalyst – when activated by UV light, it produces free radicals that have been harnessed in applications such as environmental remediation to break down organic contaminants e.g. CFCs. In my opinion, that more than qualifies titanium dioxide as a chemical. This photoactivity brings up another issue - the thought of titanium dioxide generating free radical in sunlight when it’s supposed to function as a sunscreen is disconcerting. Indeed, an in vitro study conducted by Serpone et al. showed that UV irradiation of TiO2 containing commercial sunscreens led to DNA damage in cells . Eeek! However, such cytotoxicity is a concern primarily if the TiO2 particles penetrate deeper into the skin and into cells; otherwise they should hopefully keep their harmful photoactivity to the top layers of the skin, the stratum corneum, which comprises dead skin cells. Serpone et al. reported that they found a way to inactivate the photoactivity by modifying titanium dioxide although I could not find details in the scientific literature.
1. Cross et al. Human Skin Penetration of Sunscreen Nanoparticles: In-vitro Assessment of a Novel Micronized Zinc Oxide Formulation. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 20 148-154 (2007)
2. Serpone et al. Inorganic and organic UV filters: Their role and efficacy in sunscreens and suncare products. Inorganica Chimica Acta360 794-802 (2007)
Now that warm weather is upon us, it’s time to bare our feet in pretty sandals and comfortable flip-flops. There’s just something about the warmth of sunshine on our feet that relaxes and buoys us. To get our feet ready for exposure, we follow the simple steps below. And as the summer rolls along, our feet need the same TLC because sandal wearing can take a toll on our feet from the feet sliding around and being exposed to the elements, causing chafing, worn skin, cracked heels, etc. But these three steps can help keep your feet soft and smooth:
Smooth away calluses and rough spots with apumice stone, loofah, or other hardworking exfoliator. It is easier to get the rough spots out if you soak your feet first to soften the dry skin. For daily maintenance, we use ourloofah foot scrub in the shower, which cleanses and exfoliates at the same time. (How easy it is to skip over the feet in the shower! After all, the feet get cleaned from standing in soapsuds, right? Uh uh! The feet get exposed to a lot of dirt and grime so it’s only right to give them some cleaning/polishing love.) You could also use a body polish (such as this) on your feet, but be careful as it can get slippery!
After the dull and dead skin have been sloughed off, the feet are more receptive to taking on moisturizers. Depending on how dry the skin is, a light moisturizer may be sufficient or a thick balm may be more appropriate. If you go the heavy duty route as we often do, slip into a pair of socks to keep the moisturizer in while it does its magic and to avoid leaving greasy footprints on your floors and furniture. We learned the hard way and had to literally clean up our act!
Before you go out and about in the sun, put somesunscreen on your feet. They are often neglected, and sun damage ages and dries out skin (plus tan lines on feet look rather funny – speaking from experience again).
Over the past few years, we have seen news articles reporting an association between parabens and breast cancer. These reports suggest that parabens can cause breast cancer by acting like estrogen, a female sex hormone, through a process called endocrine distruption. Advocacy groups such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group have cautioned against the use of paraben-containing products, giving parabens a hazard score of 8 on a scale of 1-10. (Phthalates get a scary 10 – more on that in a future jot.)
But what are parabens and are they worth avoiding?
Parabens and Cosmetics
Parabens are a class of preservatives that are used in a variety of foods, drugs, and cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Chemically, parabens are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methyl paraben, propyl paraben, and butyl paraben. Parabens are typically used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3% (per paraben).
Parabens have been used for decades as preservatives in the cosmetic industry and is recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Additionally, a report by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel issued on June 19, 2006, concluded that methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, isopropyl paraben, butyl paraben, isobutyl paraben, and benzyl paraben are safe as used in cosmetics. (Note: the CIR is an industry-sponsored organization that reviews cosmetic ingredient safety and publishes its results in open, peer-reviewed literature.)
How Do Parabens End Up in the Body?
Up to 60 percent of topically applied chemicals in cosmetics, lotions, and other personal care products may be absorbed through the skin. In addition to this dermal route, parabens can enter the body through the ingestion of food that contains parabens. However, orally ingested parabens are believed to be metabolized rapidly. A third potential route is via inhalation of parabens in the air. A recent study reported the detection of parabens in indoor air and house dust, probably due to the prevalence of parabens in household and personal care products (Rudel et al., 2009).
The Paraben Fuss
Concerns about parabens stem from studies showing measurable levels of parabens in human tissue, including breast tumors (Darbre et al., 2004; Soni et al., 2001). While parabens are believed to not bioaccumulate, once in the body, they could act as weak estrogen mimics (Kang et al., 2002; Routledge et al., 1998). The danger of estrogen mimics lies in their potential to disrupt normal hormonal balance and physiological functions. Oishi has found that the administration of parabens to male rats resulted in lowered testosterone and sperm production (Oishi, 2001).
The link to breast cancer is more tenuous. While estrogenic activity is associated with certain forms of breast cancer, and estrogenic suppression is important in the treatment of these cancers, it has been argued that the estrogenic activity of parabens is 10,000-to 100,000-fold less than naturally occurring estradiol (a form of estrogen) and also less than that of phytoestrogens naturally found in foods, e.g. flavonoids in soy.
FDA has also pointed out that current studies have not established causality between parabens and breast cancer. Considering the low levels used in cosmetics, “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area.” (see FDA statement issued on March 24, 2006)
Although there is no direct evidence linking parabens to breast cancer, there is similarly no evidence that permits us to conclude with certainty that parabens are safe. Their long-term health impact is unknown at this point. We understand that such research is difficult and lengthy in undertaking, and while we sit tight and wait for new data, we believe it is prudent to not unnecessarily expose ourselves and our customers to potentially hazardous chemicals. And yes, while we understand that it is frequently the dose that makes the poison, and one might argue that parabens are used at such low levels to pose no harm, we need to remember that they are often used in combination – a product may contain more than 1 type of paraben bringing the total concentration closer to 1% – and are ubiquitous in household and personal care products such that one’s exposure could add up quite quickly. Research has also shown that repeated applications of paraben-containing product may increase the quantities of parabens crossing the skin barrier (El Hussein, 2007).
We have no issue with other companies using parabens in their products. They are FDA approved preservatives that are highly effective and economical. However, we cannot in good conscience use parabens knowing that alternatives are available. In line with our philosophy, we want to avoid “iffy” chemicals, so until we know what’s the real deal with parabens, we will continue to keep them out of our products.
1. Darbre, P.D. et al. Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology.24 5–13 (2004)
2. El Hussein, S. et al. Assessment of principal parabens used in cosmetics after their passage through human-epidermis layers (ex-vivo study). Experimental Dermatology.16 (10) 830-836 (2007)
3. Kang, K.S. et al. Decreased sperm number and motile activity on the F1 offspring maternally exposed to butyl p-hydroxybenzoic acid (butylparaben). The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science.64 (3) 227–235 (2002)
4. Oishi S. Effects of butyl paraben on the male reproductive system in rats. Toxicology and Industrial Health.17 (1)31-39 (2001)
5. Routledge, E.J. et al. Some alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (parabens) are estrogenic. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 153 (1) 12–19 (1998)
6. Soni, M.G. et al. Safety assessment of propyl paraben: a review of the published literature. Food and Chemical Toxicology.39 (6) 513–532 (2001)
7. Rudel et al. Endocrine disrupting chemicals in indoor and outdoor air. Atmospheric Environment.43 170–181 (2009)
8. FDA statement on March 24, 2006: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/SelectedCosmeticIngredients/ucm128042.htm
Skin is our barrier to the external environment, preventing water loss and preventing the ingress of unwanted germs and chemicals. A robust barrier function is dependent on the proper structure and composition of skin’s outermost layer known as the stratum corneum. In healthy skin, the intercellular matrix within the stratum corneum is composed primarily of highly structured lipid layers, which provide a physical barrier against water loss. Additionally, the healthy stratum corneum contains high concentrations of Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF), which are natural humectants that help the skin bind and retain water. Perturbations to the lipid barrier structure or the NMF level by the environment, which lead to the loss of water from the skin, are the main causes of many dry skin conditions. Therefore, the most effective treatment for dry skin is moisturization.
A good moisturizer should employ a combination of ingredients intended to reduce water loss from the skin and to repair the damaged lipid barrier. Occlusive agents in the moisturizers form a film that physically reduces the evaporation of water from the skin, thereby increasing the skin water content. Examples of occlusive agents include vegetable oils, such as coconut oil and shea butter, and synthetic ones such as silicones. Humectants help the skin bind and retain water, mimicking the role of the NMF. Examples include glycerin and alpha hydroxy acids. Barrier-repairing agents like lipids and lipid synthesis enhancers facilitate the repair of lipid bilayers and improve the stratum corneum barrier function.
Based on these principles, our lotions are formulated with:
natural oils rich in essential fatty acids to provide emollience, building blocks for lipid synthesis, as well as occlusion against water loss
the components of NMF - lactic acid, urea, and sodium PCA – to keep the skin hydrated
a lower pH to emulate the natural pH of skin, which is ~4.7
Moisturizers may also contain a host of other ingredients such as ingredients to boost collagen production and encourage cell turnover. However, many of these claims are unproven. Our take is to create lotions that do what they are supposed to do, i.e. moisturize and prevent dry skin, rather than promote hope in a jar.
Harding C.R. et al. Dry skin, moisturization and corneodesmolysis. Int. J. Cosmet. Sci.22 21-52 (2000)
Rawlings A.V. Trends in stratum corneum research and the management of dry skin conditions. Int. J. Cosmet. Sci.25 63-95 (2003)