Ingredients with Integrity
Here at ATURA, we want you to be well informed so that you can make the best decisions possible for you and the world we all share. The below list is our guide when sourcing new products. Generally, if brands are strict on cutting out the below ingredients, they have a good idea about what it takes to formulate a more natural product. In the interest of being open and honest, we have included this list here. The list is not an exhaustive one and we won't say yes to a brand based purely on their ingredients policy (see what we believe in for more information). Each product we stock has it's ingredient list provided for your close inspection before purchase. If there is ever an ingredient you are concerned about, we are here to acknowledge your concerns and provide advice based on growing and current research.
The Ingredient List.
• BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): Two closely related synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in products such as lipsticks and moisturisers. There have been cases of harmful effects after prolonged exposure and may affect reproductive hormones. Toxicity in aquatic animals and potential to bioaccumulate is also of concern.
• Coal Tar: A known carcinogen banned in the EU, but still used in North America. It is a mixture of chemicals derived from petroleum. Used in dry skin treatments, anti-lice and anti-dandruff shampoos. It is toxic to aquatic species and is derived from a fossil fuel.
• Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA): These two amines can react with nitrites (added either intentionally or not) to form nitrosamines, which have been strongly linked to cancer. They can be found in nearly every type of skincare and cosmetic product. Avoiding DEA and TEA will lower the risk of nitrosamine impurities. Very harmful to fish and other wildlife when ingested or absorbed through skin.
• Formaldehyde: This one is only allowed in very low concentrations in cosmetics in the EU anyway, as it is a probable carcinogen and irritant. It can be found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos.
• Fragrance/ Parfum: A general catch all for thousands of different chemical combinations to enhance or even hide a products smell. Many of these have not been tested for toxicity and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. Commonly found in almost every type of cosmetic, there are so many different types that their effect on the environment varies with many potentially being highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Natural fragrances will be in the form of ingredients like essential oils and will be labelled as such.
• Hydroquinone: It is banned in the UK unless prescribed by a doctor. It should never be included in cosmetics in concentrations higher than 2%. Used for skin lightening, it can cause skin irritation and nerve damage.
• Microbeads: Recently announced plans to ban in the UK, they won’t be completely phased out for a few more years. These little plastic fragments end up in waterways and bioaccumulate in the food chain harming fish, wildlife and eventually ourselves. They don’t degrade which means they will be around for centuries to come.
• Mineral oil/ Petroleum based products: Formed from the distillation of petroleum and often used in baby oil, moisturisers, styling gels. It creates a film that smothers the skin, impairing it’s ability to ‘breathe’. It is technically a natural ingredient, but how it is derived also makes it of environmental concern.
• Oxybenzone: An active ingredient in some chemical sunscreens that has been linked to skin irritations and cancer claims. Currently is only allowed in concentrations of up to 10% in the EU. What is more concerning is that even at low levels, this chemical has been shown to have a quite harmful effect on coral reefs- causing high rates of mortality in young coral.
• Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl): These were once widely used as preservative until there was a media campaign linking them with breast cancer. Studies have shown that parabens are safe at small concentrations. However, the possible links to endocrine disruption and that they may interfere with reproductive functions means that it is best to source products without the risk.
• Polyethylene glycol (PEG): These types of chemicals help creams penetrate the skin and are used in many products. Most are considered safe at concentrations of up to 25%, however they can often be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens. There are purification steps to control this, however contamination is still likely in trace amounts. As their purpose is to enable whatever is on the skin to penetrate, it can help toxic chemicals in your skincare just as easily as safe ones.
• Phthalates: Plasticizers that may be present in fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lotions. Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is the only phthalate still periodically used in cosmetics, and its use is very limited. Some phthalates such as DBP (not DEP) have been linked to endocrine disruption, liver/kidney/lung damage and cancer. Some phthalates have shown up in aquatic ecosystems where they bioaccumulate and cause defects in some fish species.
• Siloxanes and Silicone-derived emollients: These are used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Although deemed ‘safe’ whilst on the skin (and studies say they don’t normally penetrate the skin), if they are ingested or injected, they can potentially be very toxic. As silicones typically coat the skin or hair, the smooth/ shininess is superficial and can alter natural dermis functioning. They are harmful to fish and other wildlife as they don’t biodegrade and will bioaccumulate.
• Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS, SLES): Used to make soap foamy. There are many cases of it irritating the skin it has been applied to (eg. scalp as it is common in shampoos). SLS also has protein denaturing properties which can cause epidermal damage. The two are meant to be included only in beauty routines where they are removed from the dermis after a short period. Not good for people with skin conditions!
• Talc: The softest mineral out there, it is found in baby powder, powder make up and often used to dry up clammy patches, such as the groin and underarms. Although studies have proven inconclusive, there have been links to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems. Best to avoid!
• Triclosan: An antimicrobial that acts as a preservative- is allowed in concentrations of up to 0.3%. It is found in antibacterial products, hand sanitisers, and deodorants. Links to cancer and endocrine disruption are being looked in to as is the possibility that they can create antibiotic resistance in bacteria. It has been shown to be harmful to fish and other wildlife with evidence of bioaccumulation in the ecosystem.
As well as the above, ATURA will always favour:
- Organic ingredients
- Cruelty free
- Palm oil free
- Plant derived
- Recyclable packaging
- Sustainable farming methods
- Ecological mindfulness
- Fair Trade
- Companies that give back
- Biodegradable products
- Rehabilitation and reforestation
Information for vegans:
We support the vegan community and, whilst not all of our products are vegan, we aim to ensure that there are plenty of options for everyone. We are working to update each product page with information for vegan shoppers. The only animal products that will be found in our store are milk, clinical grade lanolin and bee produce (honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis and royal jelly). We will always insist on sustainable collection of these ingredients and of course, that all are cruelty free.
Through my communication with each company we stock, we have, and will continue to, learn their stance on all of the above, not just their ingredient list. Knowledge is key and making informed choices on the products you purchase does have significant effects.
Be caring. Be kind. Be wise.