Know Your Ingredients

Posted by Bradley Lewis on

Earlier today I was preparing to shoot a video on how to mix our pure calcium bentonite green clay for external use. Specifically, I wanted to show how to make your own clay mask. I had on hand three competitors’ clay mask products and read the ingredients. Some important points to keep in mind are:

  • lots of ingredients don’t make a product better.
  • fewer ingredients don’t make a product better
  • just because you can’t pronounce an ingredient doesn’t make it bad
  • more expensive products aren’t better than less expensive products
  • knowledge is power and reading labels is key to choosing products.

A review on of the volcanic clay mask I'd bought tipped me off to dmdm hydantoin, indicating that it “can instigate immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin…[and cause] irritation (eyes, skin, or lungs)” according to the Environmental Working Group. Yikes! I took out A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, Updated Fourth Edition and here is what it says on page 150:

DMDM The abbreviation for Diemethylol Dimethyl

DMDM HYDANTOIN A preservative. May release formaldehyde. See also hydantoin. So I flipped to page 206 and read:

HYDANTOIN Derived from methanol (see), it is used as an intermediate in the synthesis of lubricants and resins. It caused cancer when injected into the abdomen of rats in doses of 1,370 mg per kg of body weight and when given orally to rats in doses of 1,500 mg per kilogram.

OK, so I’m not a rat, and don’t know if that dose is gargantuan relative to the size of the animal, but quite frankly, I don’t need to know. I’ve read enough to know I don’t want any product with this ingredient in it.

An ingredient in another widely-available clay mask I’d bought is styrax benzoin extract. Referring again to my copy of the Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary, I learned that this ingredient can cause urinary problems when absorbed through the skin.  When applied topically, it can cause skin irritations, welts and discomfort, and is a common allergen.

In the third mask I researched I found potassium hydroxide. The Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary states that it is caustic potash, is extremely corrosive, and can cause skin rash and burning. Moderate doses applied to the skin of rats caused tumors and concentrations above 5% can destroy fingernails.

On the bright side, our pure calcium bentonite clay mask has two ingredients: purified water and pure calcium bentonite green clay. In addition to a mask, it can be used on abrasions, bug bites, scrapes, scratches, wounds and other conditions. Watch the video I made on this and many other topics here. It pays to stay informed!



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