Adopting the First Principle of Skincare: Do No Harm. Preservatives; new research on collagen suppression & degradation.

Adopting the First Principle of Skincare: Do No Harm. Preservatives; new research on collagen suppression & degradation.

Adopting the First Principle of Skincare: Do No Harm. Preservatives; new research on collagen suppression & degradation.

The first principle of skincare products should be, to do no harm. Preservatives, while preventing microbial growth in skincare products, can disrupt the skin microbiome, cause inflammation, oxidative stress, suppress collagen production and increase collagen degrading enzymes, as shown in recent research findings.

As humans, we often excel at finding solutions, but we struggle with thoroughly investigating long-term consequences before implementing them. This has led to instances where harmful chemicals are introduced to the environment without considering the aftermath, often driven by commercial interests that delay or frustrate regulatory actions.

History is littered with examples of ignored or ignoring consequences, current examples include;

Synthetic fibres and microplastic shedding.

Plastic soup foundation has released a recent report that almost 70% of all clothing on the planet is made from plastic which means it is produced from crude oil, natural gas or coal and when washed releases microplastics into the environment. They also found that clothing items are now worn an average of 7 times before being discarded.

Did you know that almost 70% of all clothing on the planet is made from plastic? 😱

Imagine if the world stopped using crude oil, natural gas or coal for producing clothes and the resulting gains in reducing CO2 emissions. I am guilty of purchasing clothing made of synthetic fibres. Never of wearing something only 7 times and then discarding. I have clothing that is 20+ years old in my wardrobe, all of which it is made of either wool, linen or other natural fibres but I do have Lycra in my sporting drawer as I cycle. I have other sports wear that is made from synthetic materials. I am mindful of reducing / eliminating my purchase of synthetic fibres and seeking out alternatives such as bamboo. Replacing with recycled synthetic fibres is not the answer here as the clothing item will continue to shed microplastics.

BPA (Bisphenol A) and baby bottles. Yes we have removed BPA but BPA free may actually mean more dangerous as the manufacturer has swapped out BPA for as toxic BPS and BPF or similar BPB. These replacements are simply less studied to date and research is showing that these replacement Bisphenols may actually be worse.

Bisphenol A replacement chemicals, BPF and BPS, induce protumorigenic changes in human mammary gland organoid morphology and proteome.

These chemicals are found in children’s toys! Why? We know children put toys in their mouths.

PFAS and non-stick fry-pans. PFAS are known as forever chemicals with adverse health effects that are currently still in manufacture and have been found in cosmetics. Some common PFAS used as ingredients in cosmetics include PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane, perfluorononyl dimethicone, perfluorodecalin, and perfluorohexane. FDA US Food and Drug Administration.

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Cosmetics

Makers of PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Covered up the Dangers

Baby powder and talc. Where there is talc there is a potential for it to contain asbestos. Baby powder can be easily be replaced by corn flour. Corn flour is cheaper and better for your home environment and our planet's ecosystems. Please check your makeup ingredients for talc and consider it may contain asbestos contamination.

CO2 emissions. Scientists have been warning us since 1960’s about global warming now known as climate change. Even after more than 50 years of “knowing” we have done very little to change and reduce our emissions.

But history won't merely replay the past; it will pen fresh narratives as science advances and new compounds come to light. Vaping, a contemporary example, offers a pertinent question: why do we wait for prove of harm before making a product commercially available, instead of demanding proof of long term safety before ushering products into our lives? Why reactionary not precautionary? This paradox persists as scientific revelations unfold.

The Trend of Action vs. Reversal:

A recurring theme emerges: while we are swift to adopt new practices and substances, we are woefully sluggish and slow when it comes to removal once harm is established. We exhibit a remarkable capacity for implementation but struggle to acknowledge the need for reversal when the evidence of toxicity or danger for our health or the planets' is presented.

Latest Research: Impacts of Skincare Preservatives:

In skincare manufacture, a similar pattern is appearing. A recent study published in Cells, an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal of cell biology, molecular biology, and biophysics, published semimonthly online by MDPI in April 2023 titled "Effect of Commonly Used Preservative on Healthy Human Skin Cells" sheds light on the impact of preservatives including grapefruit essential oil found in skincare products. These preservatives, while intended to prevent microbial growth, have been found to disrupt the skin's resident microbiome, trigger inflammation, oxidative stress, and this study shows they influence the function of vital skin cells fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Collagen production, is a key factor in maintaining the skin's structural framework. Fibroblast cells in this study were more sensitive to the tested preservatives. This is of particular concern as collagen depletion is associated with sagging and less youthful-looking skin.

Fibroblasts and Keratinocytes: Vital Cells in Skin Health:

Fibroblasts are specialised cells responsible for connective tissue formation and collagen secretion and play a vital role in skin's structural integrity and wound healing. Collapse of fibroblast cells results in less collagen production and increased collagen degrading enzymes and our skin loses structure and shape.

Keratinocytes constitute over 90% of the epidermis. These cells exist in various stages of differentiation and migration. The final stage is highly keratinised cells that form our water-resistant skin barrier. These highly keratinised cells are called corneocytes or squames and are keratinocytes without a nucleus and the process of shedding these cells is called desquamation. Your skin barrier corneocytes are replaced every 28 - 42 days and this renewal process slows significantly with age. Not all keratinocytes become corneocytes some remain in basal layer and continue to dividing. To ensure there is an adequate number of cells both dividing and differentiating, the balance between the keratinocyte stem cell population and the cells destined to become terminally differentiated must be maintained.

The Preservative Predicament: Product safety vs. Skin Health:

Preservatives in skincare are primarily tested for their antimicrobial properties known as stability testing and for setting shelf life. However, the study suggests that their effects on skin function and health are rarely considered during formulation. While these preservatives may succeed in preventing microbial growth, they can disrupt the skin's delicate balance, leading to inflammation, oxidative stress, and now we have a understanding on collagen suppression and  degradation.

Preservatives are a large group of compounds used as additives in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food. They show antimicrobial activity and prevent microbial growth in final products. However, the various types of preservatives present in skincare products induce many side effects such as skin irritation or contact dermatitis and this latest paper shows that they affect the production and degradation of collagen within the skin. The research highlights the complex interactions between preservatives, skin processes, and cytotoxicity (cell damage or death), emphasizing the need for controlled use of preservatives including essential oils and consideration of their effects on skin health. Just because it is natural in origin doesn't mean that it doesn't cause harm to skin cells and function. 

We are only just learning about the gut microbiome and its influence on our physical and mental health. There is also ongoing research into the communication between our skin microbiome and gut microbiome.

I learnt recently that trees “talk” to each other. If there is a young tree struggling to grow, larger trees around it start sharing nutrients. The theory of how they do this is via mycelium that connects the larger trees to the smaller trees. We know so much and so little about our natural world. This is why we need to protect everything we have in our natural world including all of our microbes because our future selves and scientists will need the resource. Vitis V believes in interconnection, interdependence and interrelations, all interactions are connected.

Conclusion: Embrace Precaution and Simplify:

As we navigate the world of skincare, it is imperative to adopt the precautionary principle: demand proof of skin function safety not just product safety before adopting a product or ingredient. The complex interactions between skincare components and skin health require us to be cautious in our choices

Adopting the precautionary principle. Prove to me that it doesn't cause harm to myself or the planet before I start using it. Spring clean your skincare routine. Remove all skincare that contains water because if it contains water/aqua, it will contain preservatives and these preservatives are being shown by scientific experiments and trials that they do harm to our microbiome and our vital structural skin cells disrupting skin function and balance. Simplifying your skincare routine to clean, use water and gentle physical action, nourish and fortify, Vitis V Face TonIQ and protect, using a mineral based sunscreen daily. The more products you are using the greater the chance of skin disruption and damage. Remember to check your cosmetics for talc and PFAS and remove as well.

Vitis V Face TonIQ, which harness the power of naturally occurring ingredients without preservatives, offer a safer way to support optimal skin function and health. In a world of constant discovery and evolution, protecting our skin, our microbiome, and our environment remains a priority for our present and future selves.

Vitis V Face TonIQ your essential daily dose of luxury that boosts natural skin compounds required for optimal skin function. Containing plant only naturally occurring ingredients without preservatives that nourish, fortify and protect skin cells including vital fibroblasts and keratinocytes.

Effect of Commonly Used Cosmetic Preservatives on Healthy Human Skin Cells. 

Concern about the Safety of Bisphenol A Substitutes.

Looking older: fibroblast collapse and therapeutic implications.