An open letter to cosmetic chemists

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
I read an article that really got me annoyed.  Mostly because I saw a cosmetic chemist quoted and he was passing along a whole bunch of nonsense. He really did a disservice to formulators everywhere.

https://chemistscorner.com/an-open-letter-to-cosmetic-chemists/

What do you think?

Comments

  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Perry the article is a mockery of science, further a perfect situation to sue and bare them naked for such blatant lies and audacity. 
  • I just rang them to complain but all I could do was leave a message. I suggest that more of us call them!
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    I saw this article come up in a Facebook group about a month or so, My response was identical to yours. However, I have to say that I see these crap articles and Marketing several times a week. It is simply too pervasive to try and correct aggressively. There exists a certain sector of the market that is simply invested into the "Naturalistic Fallacy" and builds their product line around this foundation. On the bright side, I believe in the big picture (when you look at the Cosmetic Market as a whole), it is a vocal minority and for the most part it's targeted audience is getting more sophisticated and less gullible.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • I just received a mail and have sent them this:

    Thanks for your quick response. My comments are below, noted in black.

     

    RICHARD WEINER

    Legal News Reporter

    Published: December 22, 2016

     

    Health-conscious people generally watch what they put in their bodies, but very few people pay attention to what they put on their bodies—even though cosmetic formulas may contain more harmful chemicals than are in many foods.

    -          1. The FDA regulates the industry. There are no “harmful chemicals” in cosmetic products that comply with FDA regulations.

     

    So said William Marthaler, formulating cosmetic chemist and founder of Akron’s Garden Art Innovations, developer of Bodisafe cosmetics.

     

    Most cosmetic formulas are composed of at least 30 chemicals, many of which are dangerous, said Marthaler, and most are half water as well, which is a waste of consumer money, he said.

    -          2. “most” – please give references to qualify this. It’s merely an opinion and in my opinion, incorrect.

    -          3. Water is a necessary component in cosmetic products other than the few that are of the anhydrous type. Shampoo for instance. It is not a “waste” of consumer money any more than is the presence of water in, say, orange juice, or Coca-Cola.

     

    All Bodisafe products are composed of only shea butter, jojoba oil and castor oil, in different formulations, and natural color.

    -          4. Most consumers with nut allergy will be allergic to Bodisafe products as a result (shea butter is a nut product). Colours are closely regulated by the FDA and declaring a colour “natural” neither makes it safe nor acceptable. EG carmine is a pink or red natural colour that comes from crushed beetles.

     

    “We are working to get down to two ingredients,” said Marthaler.

     

    The company sells foundation, concealer, finishing powder, lip and cheek color, eye and brow color and night cream. The latter was their first product, said Marthaler, and took about 150 tries to get right.

     

    “The average woman puts 350 chemicals on her body in a day,” said Marthaler. “About 60 percent of those chemicals cross the skin and get into the body.” Some of those have proven harmful effects, including carcinogenic properties, he said.

    -          5. 350 ‘chemicals’? WATER is a chemical. We are made of chemicals. This is scaremongering and again, no proof (reference) is given. Secondly there is no proof or reference for the 60% claim. And carcinogenic ingredients are specifically forbidden by the FDA, so that claim is nonsense.

     

    Beyond that, he said, are any number of hidden problems. For instance, a person may have a gluten-free diet, but may unknowingly be putting gluten into her system through cosmetic applications, he said.

    -          6. Please give examples of cosmetics that contain gluten! I have never seen any. Also, please cite evidence that gluten can penetrate the skin. It cannot.

     

    Marthaler and his partners have been working on creating safe, low-impact cosmetics in their space at the Akron Global Business Accelerator since 2011, and have reduced the number of ingredients in their makeup to three, plus color, he said.

    -          7. And no preservative? Cosmetics without preservatives are unsafe.

     

    This has resulted in Bodisafe and its predecessor line, GlamNatural, to be the first of cosmetics to be certified by the Natural Products Association (NPA).

    -          8. There is no agreed definition for “natural”. Coal is “natural”. Gasoline is “natural”.  Would you want these in cosmetics?

     

    Both Marthaler and his primary business partner and funder took up the cause of natural cosmetics because of personal negative experience. Marthaler had a severe reaction to some chemicals early in his chemistry career, forcing him to change the emphasis of his chemistry to something “safe”—cosmetics, he said.

     

    “But when I started to see how many dangerous chemicals—parabens, preservatives, dry cleaning fluid, carcinogens, and more—were in cosmetics, I decided to try to develop something safer,” he said.

    -          9. Parabens is considered safe by both the FDA and European regulators. Mr Mathaler’s opinion is spurious. Preservatives are vital to consumer safety. See note (5) and (7)

    His partner, Robert Dorman, saw his wife pass away from cancer and was very enthusiastic about the project from the beginning, said Marthaler.

    -          10. What has his wife passing away from cancer got to do with designing cosmetics? Is he accusing the industry of causing the cancer? That’s his implication and again, it is scaremongering.

     

    Although a direct cause is impossible to determine, Marthaler said that nearly 90 percent of cancerous breast tumors contain one or another chemical that can be found in most cosmetic formulations. Research in this area is ongoing, he said, and “the literature is mounting,” he said.

    -          11. 100% of tumours contain water, perhaps we should ban water?

     

    I strongly suggest that you consult actual industry experts and the FDA prior to publishing more of this kind of nonsense. Please note I have no interest in Bodisafe nor am I a competitor since my personal care company does not market or sell in the USA. I am writing as a cosmetic chemist who is very concerned at the spread of false consumer “advice”.

    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Chemist77  - I don't think suing them is the right approach. I just wish chemists had more respect for the truth and their position in the world. I fully expect marketing folks to pass off nonsense information. I just expect more from chemists.

    @Microformulation - Yes, I believe you are right. At the end of the day consumers want products that work. If the faux natural stuff doesn't work as well as the standard stuff, consumers won't keep buying it.

    @Belassi - You'll have to let us know if there was a response.



  • I will keep you informed. No doubt they will have asked the guy for a response to my points.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Well I had a response from the people who published it. They merely said that their writer wrote down what they'd received from Bodisafe, and suggested that I complain directly to Bodisafe! Obviously I am not going to bother with that. Waste of time. But I do believe we should continue to challenge media that publishes such nonsense.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I was just alerted that the company who inspired this post responded.  Thanks @Microformulation

    Here's their response.

    This can't possibly have been written by someone who cares about science.  

    What scientist would write "...some experts believe that up to 60% of cosmetic ingredients are absorbed by the skin to some extent." ?

    And referencing a study by the EWG?

    There is NO PROOF that their products are safer. Their entire brand story is based on something that just isn't proven. Fearmongering at its worst.
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    @PerryI was equally put off by their letter. It was not written from an empirical view of a Scientist and simply rehashed some of the very same fear-based marketing that we have all seen far too many times in the last 10 years or so.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Microformulation - Their letter prompted me to go look at their website.  What a complete wreck.  It's just filled with fear-based marketing nonsense. And worse, they pride themselves on their mission to "educate" (read misinform) the public.

  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    Working as a Consultant in the start-up "fringe" of the Cosmetic Industry has opened my eyes to these companies that foolishly try and use fear: to sell their products. Firstly, I submit that since their proposed market is quite vocal in Social media, they overestimate the effectiveness of a chemophobia based marketing campaign. Once they get to a larger Market they will find that this fear-based sales strategy is outdated and the Market as a whole has evolved. The clients I am working with that penetrate into the larger markets are finding that rather than taking a negative fear-based stance, it is more effective to be transparent and to communicate a more positive message of sustainability and adopt an LOHAS approach. As a Marketer once told me recently, you wouldn't brag about your kids by saying "at least they are better than the neighbor's miscreants" but you would use positive talking points. This is no different in the Cosmetic Market.
    That said, I hope they will realize the limitations of their flawed campaign.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    @Perry given how much nonsense and hand-waving there is in that response, you'd think it was written by a politician!
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
  • I shared the "open letter" to my FB account. Hopefully some of my colleagues notice it. I am also in a difficult situation as I work in a RM distribution company. I share the same sentiments. The sales team have marketing strategies which I am strongly against with but I can't do anything about it since I'm basically in the rank & file position. Although I've voiced out my opinions many times. I will take note of the do's and don'ts I've learned from this post. Thank you very much!
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