It’s no secret that the products we consume and use on a daily basis contain some less than reputable chemicals and ingredients. As a result, there is more social awareness of the ingredients that make an appearance in food and personal care products. Consumers are more knowledgeable, informed, and “label conscious” than ever.
Furthermore, more consumers base their purchase decisions on what is in their products. For example, cosmetics and personal care products such as shampoo, toothpaste, and, yes, shaving cream are on the “watch list”.
So, this begs the question: What is really in that shaving cream? Is it as safe to use as we think it is? In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the most common ingredients and chemicals used in many popular shaving creams.
The Most Common Ingredients in Shaving Creams
Stearic Acid – This is a common ingredient found in many personal care and hygiene products as well as household products, such as shampoos, shaving creams, detergents, and soaps. Although it is used as a cleaning agent, there aren’t any real health concerns associated with this particular ingredient.
Myristic Acid – Myristic Acid is another common ingredient used in a variety of cosmetics. Even with the word “acid” in its name, this ingredient isn’t typically linked with any health concerns.
Potassium Hydroxide – This chemical can be found in many soaps. It helps make soaps soft to use and require less water to soften them. It also contains a cleaning agent.
There are some health concerns and hazards associated with the handling of Potassium Hydroxide. In some cases, it can irritate the eyes, skin, and even the lungs. These hazards can be mitigated with proper and compliant manufacturing processes.
Coconut Fatty Acid – This ingredient is coconut oil, which is typically used in the soap manufacturing process.
Coconut oil is a natural ingredient, rich with vitamins and antioxidants. Coconut oil is also linked with many health benefits. Therefore, the risks with this particular ingredient are relatively low.
Glycerin – You have likely heard of this one before. Glycerin is an incredibly common ingredient used in a variety of medicines, personal care products, and even pharmaceutical drugs. It helps increase smoothness and provides lubrication.
Triethanolamine (“TEA”) – TEA is primarily a pH balancer used in a wide range ofproducts, such as lotions and moisturizers, shampoos, and shaving creams and foams.
Some studies suggest that TEA can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. In severe cases, this chemical can even negatively impact the immune system, and possibly the respiratory system. It is also considered an environmental toxin.
Sodium Hydroxide – This is not a nice chemical. In fact, sodium hydroxide is highly concentrated and can be corrosive, potentially causing severe chemical burns.
The good news is most cosmetic products that are made with this ingredient, including shaving creams, only contain a small amount to balance pH. Although the risk for health issues is low, individuals with sensitive skin may respond negatively to a shaving cream that contains this chemical.
Benzyl Alcohol – This chemical is yet another common ingredient used in soaps, lotions, shampoos, facial soaps and cleansers, and shaving creams. This chemical is used in many personal care products mainly for its antibacterial properties. However, Benzyl Alcohol has been known to cause allergic reactions to the skin.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone (“MCI”) – Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a manmade chemical that is used in a variety of personal care products and cosmetics. This is because MCI contains antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Small amounts of MCI aren’t dangerous; however, individuals with sensitive skin can and may experience allergic reactions. Furthermore, due to its high concentration, MCI can cause severe chemical burns.
Methylisothiazolinone (“MIT”) – Methylisothiazolinone is used in many personal care products and personal care products as a preservative. Unfortunately, high concentrations can be poisonous. As a result, there are increased concerns about using MIT in various products for consumer use.
Benzyl Salicylate – Benzyl Salicylate is used as an additive in many personal care products and cosmetics. Again, small amounts of this chemical and lower concentration levels are relatively safe for use.
Benzyl Benzoate – Although it sounds like a harsh chemical, Benzyl Benzoate helps prolong scents in various products. It is also used in the medical industry. Its toxicity levels are relatively low.
Citronellol – You may have heard of “Citronella” candles, which are used as an insect repellant. Citronellol is a natural scent derived from plants, such as lemongrass, geranium, and even roses. There currently aren’t any health concerns or hazards associated with this ingredient.
Eugenol – Eugenol is another natural scent derived from clove oil. However, despite its natural, biological properties, even low concentrations of Eugenol have proven dangerous and hazardous. In some severe cases, Eugenol has been linked to health issues such as liver damage. Therefore, this ingredient has been restricted for use.
“Parfum” or Fragrance
Many cosmetics and personal care products contain an ingredient referred to as “parfum” or “Fragrance”. This is actually what is listed on many product labels. This ingredient is actually comprised of many different ingredients that manufacturers group together and aren’t legally required to list out on a product label.
So, the next time you pick up a product label and see the words “parfum” or “fragrance”, and think “oh, this product must just smell nice”, you might want to do some further research to see what the particular brand uses in its products.
Other Shaving Cream Considerations
This is merely a list of some of the most common ingredients found in many cosmetics and personal care products, including shaving cream, foams, and soaps. No, not every shaving cream contains every single ingredient listed above. Some products may contain all or a combination of these ingredients.
Furthermore, any ingredient can be potentially hazardous if misused or mishandled. Each and every individual is unique in his or her own way. Therefore, individuals can experience different reactions to specific chemicals, ingredients, and products. One ingredient that could cause allergic reactions for one individual may not have the same end results for another.
All in all, this guide is designed to help define the various ingredients that can and have been used in various shaving cream products. So, if you continuously suffer from skin irritations or frequent razor burn, take a good, hard look at the ingredients in your shaving cream or foam product. You might be surprised to learn the ingredients in your shaving cream are actually causing the irritation.