Animal By-Products [part 2]

10th August 2015
Perfume – Unregulated…
7th September 2015
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spermacetiAre You Concerned About Animal By-Products in Your Cosmetics? Part II

Maybe you are vegetarian or vegan or maybe you just don’t like the idea of putting animal by-products on your face or body…

If this is you…these are some more of the ingredients to look out for:

Mink oil: is a source of palmitoleic acid, which possesses physical properties similar to human sebum. Because of this, mink oil is used in several medical and cosmetic products. Mink oil is also used for treating/conditioning and preserving nearly all kinds of leather.

Mink oil is made from mink fat & usually originates from China, although there are many mink farms around the world. This fat is stored just beneath the skin & the removed from pelts destined for the fur industry; the fat is rendered into mink oil.

According to the Fur Commission, minks are humanely euthanized. However, mink oil should not be used by strict vegans, and its production is considered cruel by PETA.

Botanical alternatives are available: macadamia nut oil (Macadamia integrifolia) & sea buckthorn oil (Hippophae rhamnoides), both of which contain a larger percentage of palmitoleic acid (22 and 40% respectively) than does mink oil (17%). Source: wikipedia

Musk oil: Dried secretion painfully obtained from musk deer, beaver, muskrat, civet cat, and otter genitals. Wild cats are kept captive in cages in horrible conditions and are whipped around the genitals to produce the scent; beavers are trapped; deer are shot. In perfumes and in food flavorings. Alternatives: labdanum oil (from various rockrose shrubs) and extracts from other plants with a musky scent. Source PETA

Pristane:  alternative names Pristan, 2,6,10,14-Tetramethyl-Pentadecan. Obtained from the liver oil of sharks and from whale ambergris. Used as a lubricant and anti-corrosive agent & in cosmetics…

RNA or Ribonucleic acid:   This is marketing hype. Ribonucleic acid is a single strand of molecules, copied exactly from the DNA in the cell nucleus, that is required for the body’s production of protein. This single strand is a linear, ladder-like sequence of nucleotide bases (chemicals that form its structure) that corresponds precisely to the sequence of bases in the DNA strand (the core of the body’s genetic makeup).

RNA in a skin-care product is useless because it cannot affect a cell’s genetic elements. The production of DNA and RNA is an extremely complex process that requires a multitude of proteins and enzymes to have its effect on the body’s genetic material.  Would want to put anything on your skin that could affect your genetic material? via a cosmetic?

Research however continues & this may be possible in the future! Recently, RNAi-based approaches have been gaining traction as promising modalities to inhibit viral infection and cancer proliferation in humans. However, while targeted gene suppression by siRNA has shown promising clinical results for certain applications, consistent delivery of siRNA to specific targets in vivo has remained a difficult challenge.

The potential impact that siRNA technology can have on the multi- billion dollar skin care market cannot be overstated. The epidermis is the body’s largest organ and, by some assessments, the most accessible when using topical delivery agents. Overall, the field of gene therapy has been plagued by inefficient delivery of potent gene-silencers and off-target effects, drastically limiting the development of therapeutic siRNAs. Despite these setbacks, this situation represents a unique opportunity for the cosmetic scientist to develop revolutionary products that are capable of preventing or treating debilitating skin disorders. source:

Spermaceti:   Also known as Cetyl palmitate; a waxy substance from the head cavity of the sperm whale or dolphin. “It is used as a skin-conditioning and emollient ingredient, also as an occlusive and masking ingredient, enhances emulsion stability, excellent film former, reduces greasy feel of oil systems, improves payoff characteristics in stick cosmetics.” Source

So Ambergris [in part I] is vomited up by the whale but I do wonder how manufacturers obtain Spermaceti.

Squalene: or shark liver oil…There are some important benefits of squalene that hold a huge appeal to the cosmetics industry: It’s easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue; it combines well with other oils; and it is recognized as improving the appearance of skin. For this reason, it is the ideal ingredient for use in many products from lip balm to sunscreen but most commonly found it facial moisturisers. It is losing popularity now due to most people’s disapproval of shark farming.

Stearic acid:  When animal-derived, stearic acid is a fat from cows, pigs, and sheep and from dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters, etc.  It may also be of plant origin, including from cocoa butter and shea butter. It can be harsh & irritating. It is used in cosmetics, soaps, lubricants, candles, hairspray, conditioners, deodorants, creams, chewing gum, & food flavoring. Derivatives: Stearamide, Stearamine, Stearates, Stearic Hydrazide, Stearone, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearoyl Lactylic Acid, Stearyl Betaine, Stearyl Imidazoline. Alternatives: Stearic acid can be found in many vegetable fats, coconut. Source PETA

Because stearic acid helps water and oil mix, the ingredient is also added to many liquid cosmetics and skin and hair care products in low concentrations to function as an additive rather than an active ingredient or cleansing agent. In these products, stearic acid helps prevent the formulas from separating into liquid and oily layers. As a result, products that contain stearic acid require less shaking prior to use and remain more potent when stored for extended periods of time.

However Stearic acid comes under the comedogenic label as it is pore clogging so it can’t be great for the skin

Sources: Face Reality Pore Clogging Ingredients LIst, Zero Zits Comedogenic List, Let’s Talk Acne and Cosmetics, Beneficial Botanicals &

Tallow:   is made from rendering [boiling] organs & tissues of sheep & cattle after the meat has been removed. Tallow is commonly used in high end shaving soaps but also as a flavouring in French fries & hash browns in some fast food outlets. In Germany deer tallow or Hirschtag is used as a base ingredient in salves to prevent sores & blisters by athletes.

I hope I’ve made you think…do let me know

Further reading:




1 Comment

  1. sacha says:

    This is an extremely amazing thought provoking post about animals. thank you so much for sharing with us

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