Before packing that beach bag…

Heatwave across Australia – time to break out the swimsuits, pack your beach bags and seek out water!

Before you throw in your wet wipes, sunblock and body lotion, it’s worth checking out this news clip on skin reactions caused by the preservative methylisothialinone. Its use in any form of cosmetic product is mystifying because – as pointed out by Dr Lynne Gordon of Flinders Medical Centre – about one in every six or seven patch tests reveals sensitivity to methylisothialinone. It’s also mystifying because the problems with methylisothialinone are no secret. It’s already banned or found unsafe for use in cosmetics in the EU and its use in cosmetics is also restricted in Canada and Japan.

This preservative (usually paired with methylchloroisothialinone) is becoming more and more common, as brands try to eliminate parabens from their products – and yes, that includes some brands associated with a ‘natural’ positioning such as Aesop.

So why not take this moment to check out ALL the products in your bathroom and make sure they don’t contain methylisothialinone and methylchloroisothialinone. While you’re at it, turf any products you find that contain parabens (in a bazillion different products), hydroxymethylglycinate (eg Nerium, Uniquely Natural), phenoxyethanol (eg Rodan+Fields, Arbonne, Nerium, Sukin, Jurlique, l’Occitane) and a few other preservatives we’ve provided here.

A number of parabens are now banned in the European Union but are not banned here in Australia. Parabens are endocrine disruptors and formaldehyde donors. That is, they mess with our hormones and as the parabens degrade, they release formaldehyde (a known carcinogen and also skin irritant). There are many different parabens and it’s very common to find several different parabens in one product.

Some ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ skincare brands use the preservative hydroxymethyl glycinate instead of parabens. Unfortunately, it acts just like a paraben, releasing formaldehyde. To avoid this chemical, look for hydroxymethylglycinate, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate or Suttocide on product ingredients lists.

Some other ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ skincare brands substitute with a different preservative, phenoxyethanol, a known irritant for skin, eyes and lungs. In the US, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has warned that phenoxyethanol can cause shut down of the central nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis. There are several animal studies that demonstrate that it is toxic – with effects on the brain and the nervous system – at moderate concentrations. In Japan, there is a concentration limit for its use in cosmetics. The European Union classifies it as an irritant and there are various studies (on rabbit skin, for example) that demonstrate reactions at low doses. Although presumably not regarded as bad enough to be banned outright, toxicity concerns are sufficient for the EU to flag phenoxyethanol as a chemical to avoid getting on your lips or around your mouth.

There are other old fashioned, lesser known preservatives that are just as bad. If you see the following, just do not buy. It’s disrespectful that they’re even offering this rubbish: BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is a known carcinogen and banned overseas; DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).

Til soon, be nice to yourself and look after that skin of yours! xox


PS hope you like the pic – it’s a happy snap from a trip to Noosa a while back 🙂 xo

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