Most consumers do not want to see oil separating in their new face cream or body lotion because they aren’t used to it. Manufacturers know this and go to great lengths to avoid separation, including using dangerous chemicals. But separation in skin care products is not only okay, it’s good! It proves your products are truly natural and don’t contain any hidden chemical emulsifiers.
Chemical emulsifiers are used in every commonly sold skin cream and lotion to bind ingredients together and prevent separation. They usually show up on labels as monostearate, stearic acid and triethanolamine. Ethoxylated emulsifiers (usually abbreviated to something like PEG-20-stearate – or PEG- something else) often produce 1,4-dioxane in the manufacturing process, which is so toxic it has been banned in Europe. These chemicals pose serious hazards to your health when absorbed through the skin and should be avoided.
Chemical emulsifiers have been linked to cancer in government, industry and academic studies or assessments. They have also been proven to disrupt the functioning of the endocrine system and the hormones it releases, which influence almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes. Chemical emulsifiers have also been linked to immunotoxicity, a class of health problems that manifest as allergic reactions or an impaired capacity to fight disease and repair damaged tissue in the body. Dry or itchy skin and eczema are two of the most common reactions that fall under this category of health concerns.
These are some pretty serious health risks just to avoid some separation. So, as I said earlier, a little separation is a good thing because it means you are avoiding these harmful chemicals. Plus it’s pretty easy to keep it at a minimum. Keeping your natural products cool or refrigerated helps immensely, as well as remembering to shake them before using.
Contributing Writer and Cosmetics Expert
Founder Healing Anthropology