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Blog posts tagged in Natural

PRESERVATIVES the necessary evil in skin care products Part 2 How do preservatives work?

“PRESERVATIVES the necessary evil in skin care products”

Part 2

How do Preservatives actually work?


“Preservatives are thought to act by disrupting membrane transport processes or by inhibiting synthesis of DNA and RNA  or of some key enzymes, such as ATPases and phosphotransferases, in some bacterial species. Propylparaben is considered more active against most bacteria than methylparaben.

The stronger antibacterial action of propylparaben may be due to its greater solubility in the bacterial membrane, which may allow it to reach cytoplasmic targets in greater concentrations. However, since a majority of the studies on the mechanism of action of parabens suggest that their antibacterial action is linked to the membrane, it is possible that its greater lipid solubility disrupts the lipid bilayer, thereby interfering with bacterial membrane transport processes and perhaps causing the leakage of intracellular constituents.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraben


Ortron is always keeping abreast of issues with certain raw materials and evaluates their potential hazards. Where possible we substitute ingredients which have questionable properties with much more acceptable ones. There are some very useful alternatives to parabens and Methyl chloroisothiazolinone & methyl isothiazolinone MIT, some are from natural sources. These alternatives will be discussed in more detail in another part to this topic of discussion regarding preservatives.


Two that are currently being debated and phased out due to major claims against them are Methyl ethyl propyl butyl isobutyl para benzoic acid (Parabens) and Methyl chloroisothiazolinone & methyl isothiazolinone (MIT).


In part 3 we will examine what the issues are with Methyl ethyl propyl butyl isobutyl para benzoic acid (Parabens)

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PRESERVATIVES the necessary evil in skin care products Part 1

PRESERVATIVES the necessary evil in skin care products Part 1


The 3 things that spoil your cream, probably about the only truly natural thing in your product

As unfortunate as it is, preservatives are very necessary in formulations or else products will exhibit very little to no shelf life. They prevent most bugs, or microorganisms, from ruining the formulations.


There are three types of contaminants that can spoil a formulation. They are bacteria, moulds and yeast. When these contaminants do develop, you can probably consider them the only true natural organic matter that would then be present in a formulation.


Preservatives are needed to protect all phases in the formulation, namely the oil, water and solid phase. To achieve this comprehensive protection antimicrobials are used. There are many types of preservatives to choose from. The list unfortunately, becomes smaller all the time as claims are made against certain types and requests are made for those types to be phased out.


Antimicrobials used in products prevent the growth of moulds, yeasts, and bacteria.

Antioxidants prevent personal care products from becoming rancid or brown, or sometimes even developing black spots. Antioxidants suppress reactions that may occur when ingredients in the product combine with oxygen in the presence of light, heat, and some metals. Antioxidants also minimize the damage to some essential ingredients or materials that are especially susceptible to oxidative damage.

Rancid personal care products may not make you sick, but they might smell bad or have a different colour or consistency from the original.

Part 2 will be examining how preservatives actually function.

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Is it correct to call an ingredient natural or naturally derived

IS IT CORRECT TO CALL AN INGREDIENT NATURAL OR MORE APPROPRIATE TO CALL IT NATURALLY DERIVED

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The first thing one needs to ask is what do people mean by natural?

By definition natural means existing in nature and not made or caused by people. Coming from nature and not having any extra substances or chemicals added as well as not containing anything artificial.

So by this definition we can see that there are some natural things that can be used in skin care products. Honey is an example but most honey has to undergo some form of human intervention through heating or autoclaving in order to sterilize it of the bee excrement and other detritus. So under this circumstance, do we consider honey natural?

When stating something is “natural” do we really mean “naturally derived”?

Many skin care products in the market currently claim to use "natural" or "organic" ingredients in their formulations. This would be a wonderful concept and definitely evokes the idea of purity and wholesomeness but the reality is far from this ideal concept.

There are very few, if any, raw materials that can claim to be “pure” and “natural” as there always needs to be some sort of “human intervention” to yield a viable ingredient ready to be used in skin, body or hair care products.

An example is that of claims that a soap is “natural”. Soaps are usually manufactured through a process called saponification. This is a heated reaction between a caustic ingredient (such as lye or sodium hydroxide) and an oil or fat. The product off this reaction is a soluble salt. This salt is then able to lift off dirt and oils from the skin using a water loving head and an oil loving tail. Therefore the problem is that there are no naturally occurring soap ingredients.

When a product is reputed to be made from natural ingredients there needs to be a question of where this product occurs in nature. Even water is not “natural”. When making a cream, the water has to be purified otherwise there may be too much biological activity present in the final product. So in theory the only really natural ingredients present in the product will be the microbes that spoil the final skin care product!

Can something be considered natural or organic if it is derived from crude oil?

Theoretically yes. Oil is produced when organic matter decomposes and undergoes a series of heat and pressure situations yielding a thick, black and viscous solution made of a number of organic ingredients. This can then be separated by various distillation steps. It can therefore be assumed that products such as mineral oil, Vaseline (petroleum jelly), paraffin etc. can be classified as naturally derived and organic products but have been manufactured by human intervention.

Can raw materials be safely declared organic or natural?

Companies claim they can certify, register and guarantee ingredients as being organic and natural, in some cases at considerable extra costs to the raw material prices. These registrations that ingredients are organic or natural are creating thriving new businesses but there may be debate whether they may or may not be necessary. For any ingredient to be considered as "certified organic" and of "natural origin" the following points need to be taken into consideration:

  • ·         In many of the cases there had to be some form of human intervention to achieve the final raw material. The point is to what degree has there been human involvement.
  • ·         The product which has been farmed on a property specifically designed to not introduce herbicides, pesticides and other objectionable additives, cannot necessarily guarantee that the neighbouring property has not used those products. The wind is indiscriminate which way it blows and so no guarantee that there had been an avoidance of introduction of the these unwanted elements. Some of the airborne pesticides and herbicides may still land in the property that tries to prevent using them. How does one analyse for all these variables and so "certify" them?
  • ·         Water travel used for irrigating the crops may travel through a water table. There is no reassurance that the water is not contaminated by man-made pollutants such as chemicals from fracking coal seam gas. The water sourced from dams and estuaries may be contaminated from run-off. Even rain has no guarantee of being pure due to the airborne pollutants present which are absorbed into the water droplets forming rain.

The underlying conclusion is that man has polluted the earth so much that in reality it is not possible to source ingredients that are completely natural. Nearly all of the raw materials used in skincare formulations have undergone some form of human intervention to yield a suitable ingredient for formulating. Instead of calling them "natural" or "organic" we should really call them “naturally derived”.

Ortron uses many raw materials in their formulations. The fats, oils, emulsifiers, herbal extracts, essential oils, etc are all sourced from sustainable plant origin where possible. Ortron is always researching plant alternatives for any animal derived raw materials they use. 

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