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Ingredients

Mignon Skincare's Approach to Choosing Ingredients
 
Our intention is to provide a skincare range that helps the skin to perform in the way it should, thus achieving optimal skin condition. We do this within a framework that combines the best of nature and of science.

 

  • We use ingredients that have been extensively tested for safety and efficacy. We don't use ingredients simply because they are naturally derived.
  • We don't follow the crowd, so if an ingredient has been maligned in the popular media we look at the relevant scientific research. Often this illustrates that many concerns are erroneous and taken out of context.
  • To place this approach in context and to show that we are not complete mavericks we quote a statement from Mignon, "...when I (Mignon) first had the idea for the range I wanted products that were preservative free and natural, and that excluded any demonised ingredients whist being gentle and effective. It took a lot to convince me that preservatives were not only required, but essential for a safe product, and even more to show me that many demonised ingredients were not dangerous and in fact were often the best ingredient available. Undertaking this research challenged the views that I, in common with many others, had come to hold as a result of accepting incorrect media reporting. I'm glad to see now that some popular magazines are writing articles unravelling the beauty myths.."

What type of preservatives do you use?

All the ingredients we use to preserve the products are derived from natural sources e.g. Benzoates, silver, essential oils and citric acid. Almost all of them have benefits in skincare as well as helping preserve the products. The only two that are used solely for their use as preservatives are Methylparaben and Propylparaben. They are only used in cream- based products and are also the most contentious of the preservatives we use.

Parabens is the name of a group of preservatives which can be derived from natural sources (from benzoates - found in cranberries, prunes, cinnamon and cassia) or made completely synthetically. They are used in many cosmetics and also food, and occur extensively in nature. They received a lot of bad press since Dr Philippa Darbre, a senior lecturer at Reading University, found parabens in 18 out of 20 human breast tumours studied. However Dr Chris Flower, the director general of the Cosmetics and Toiletry and Perfumery foundation confirms that we have used parabens for over 50 years and as a result there is extensive data proving its safety. Furthermore Dr Stephen Antczak, the co author of the book Cosmetics Unmasked, pointed out very clearly that parabens should be found in the tumours as many of the drugs used to treat tumours actually contain parabens, which may be injected into the tumour or tumour cells.

The parabens we use (Methylparabens and Propylparabens) are derived from natural sources and are food grade preservatives, present in many foods we eat. They have been tested extensively and a final report published in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology (Vol 3, No 5, 1984, page 147) concludes that they are safe as cosmetic ingredients in present practices of use. In addition we only use half of the suggested amount, as we prefer to limit the use of preservatives as much as we can.

Why use preservatives at all?

The simple answer is safety. With oil-only or water-only formulations, essential oils and other ingredients we have included for their skin care benefits are able to also keep the product safe for use. Unfortunately when oil and water is mixed, as they are when creams are made, the amount of potential danger increases dramatically, and ingredients with specific qualities need to be used in order to prevent contamination. This is when we use small amounts of Methylparaben and Propylparaben.

What about the use of silver?

Silver properly used is a completely non-toxic and natural germ fighter. The silver we use is colloidal silver, silver that has been broken down into the tiniest form. It is used in many applications including medicine and for the purification of water.

Why do we use mineral oil?

There are many reasons we use mineral oil as an ingredient in some of our products:

  1. White mineral oil is not synthetic, it occurs naturally in the earth, and is simply purified according to British Pharmacopeia standards to its final state.
  2. It is also known that hydrocarbons of paraffinic structure exist naturally in human skin
  3. We use mineral oil because it is inert. That basically means that it remains stable, whereas many plant oils are not. What often happens with plant based oils is that as soon as they are on the skin and are exposed to sunlight or are heated by the skin itself, a change in the structure of the oils occur, which results in a free radical chain reaction. One of the results of this can be ageing due to effect of uncontrolled free radicals on the skin. Mineral oil remains stable. As heating occurs, the essential oils contained in the cream are able to become small enough to penetrate the skin. The mineral oil lies on the surface as a barrier protecting the skin from dust, pollution and other undesirable elements and also preventing moisture loss.
  4. Many of the mineral oil substitutes are merely synthetically made copies of the original, with the same structures.
  5. The safety of white mineral oil has been confirmed by a review published in the Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (Vol 34, No2, 1996, page 213), as well as the CTFA and other sources. It has been used for decades in a wide range of products including creams and lotions and baby products, and many cosmetic ingredients can't claim such extensive testing.
  6. If people still feel that they do not like the mineral oil to remain on their skin, it would not affect the operation of the additional oils if the skin was wiped clean after 10 minutes. The only problem would be the lack of the protective barrier.
How does the use of mineral oil affect us? As discussed above the use of mineral oil has no effect on us. It is totally harmless. It does however provide a stable base for the essential and other oils we use in the products, as well as a protective barrier against some of the daily ravages our skin is subjected to, without changing in response to them.

Why then are plant oils used in the products?

Most plant oils are avoided due to their instability i.e. they go rancid. However there are ways to include very beneficial plant oils e.g. by using small amounts that can be absorbed by the skin relatively quickly or by using the most stable oils.

If there are plant oils that can be used in skin care - why not use them as the base for the creams?

There are a number of reasons. Firstly some oils might be too greasy and unpleasant in terms of the feel on the skin. Others might be too rich, or inappropriate as a barrier to external factors, some might not be ideal as base for the nutrients the cream needs to deliver to the skin. Ultimately no plant oil is inert and therefore will eventually break down.

What plant oils are used in the Mignon range?

Some of the oils used include Flaxseed Oil, Sesame Oil and Jojoba Oil.

Flaxseed oil: Flaxseed oil is very beneficial generally, as well as for the skin. It contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are generally very fragile. It is specially pressed for us by the manufacturers, and only the first pressing is ever purchased (the first 25 kg bag of seed). This is because after the first pressing (which takes about 10 minutes) the screw press begins to heat up, and the heat causes a free radical cascade. The screw press is therefore only used when cool. In addition flaxseed oil has sufficient antioxidant properties to protect itself from the effects of oxidation for 15 minutes, allowing us a 5 minute buffer. The oil is pressed directly into a container containing vitamin e oil - which itself is an amazing antioxidant. It is then frozen until used. Essential oils are also eventually added to preserve the oil.

Sesame oil: Sesame oil is an incredible oil which has a life of its own. As soon as oxidation begins, the oil forms antioxidants, which work against oxidation. It is also a natural sunscreen.

Jojoba: Jojoba oil becomes finer and finer as it warms. It is actually a micro wax and not an oil, which does not oxidize easily. It slowly carries oil soluble molecules, and is small enough to penetrate the skin. It has antibacterial properties and is an excellent moisturiser.

Why do you use Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)?

Sodium laureth sulphate is derived from coconut oil and most people would recognise it mainly by the foam it produces. It is another of those ingredients that have received bad press, without any basis in fact. As a result of the widespread concern that these claims elicited, led the Cosmetic Ingredient Review to once again confirm the safety of the ingredient (provided of course it is it is used correctly). (you can see this confirmation on their website (www.cir-safety.org or by look at the final report published in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology Vol 2, Number 7, 1983, page 127).

We use the purest grades of the ingredient available, as do most reputable skincare providers. One precaution we do take is to limit the amount of SLES used, it is enough to provide the benefits without the high foam. The general rule is that the more something foams, the more SLES it contains. This is fine, provided that it is used in rinse off products that don't remain in contact with the skin for very long. The only reason we take this precaution is (a) because high foaming is not necessary to achieve the benefits of this ingredient and (b) we use so many skin and body care products, many of which contain SLES, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or other foaming agents, that we reduce use as an additional safeguard.

Why are plant products often very low down on the list of ingredients used?

One very important explanation for this is a reason many people aren't aware of. Plant ingredients, like any ingredient, can be harmful if used in excessive quantities. There are strict guidelines with every ingredient regarding maximum quantities that can be used in any particular skincare product. Many of the essential oils can only be used in very small quantities because of the high concentration.

Of course this is no excuse for a product that uses a drop of two of natural ingredient and the rest is made of water!