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Petrochemicals and your skin

In this post we look into petrochemicals, finding what ingredients to look for, why petrochemicals are in skincare at all and what harm they can cause.

We know it can be overwhelming entering the world of organic beauty, so we thought we’d give you a hand by breaking down the top offenders on cosmetic ingredient lists! We

Today we take a look into petrochemicals, a set of ingredients used in almost every skincare product found on department store and pharmacy shelves. These sneak culprits disguise themselves under many different names making it difficult to eliminate them from your shopping basket.

Petrochemical – a chemical obtained from petroleum and natural gas.

What are they?

Petrochemicals will commonly be found on your ingredients list as propylene, ethylene, butadiene, benzene or xylene. You look at names like that and begin to understand why buying 100% organic products can be so hard!

Where are petrochemicals derived from?

Petrochemicals can be derived from a variety of different things, such as coal and natural gas, however the majority of petrochemicals we use today are made from petroleum (the stuff we put in our car).


Why are they used?

This is a tricky one to answer, as there are so many different types.

Most commonly, petrochemicals are used to extend the shelf life of our cosmetics, and sometimes to “water down” or increase the spread-ability of a product.

They are also sometimes used to add and disperse fragrance throughout a product.

Why are petrochemicals bad for us and our skin?

While there have been some claims that link petrochemicals to cancer and a myriad of other conditions and illnesses, this is still yet to be determined.

Unfortunately, cosmetic companies and governing bodies like to take the stance of innocent until proven guilty.

It is however, very common for petroleum derived ingredients to be irritating, sensitising and very drying on the skin, not to mention comodogenic (pore clogging) as well – generally causing more damage than good.

What alternatives are there?

While natural products are never going to last the same amount of time as a their commercially available counterparts (speaking of which, its almost scary how long they survive!) there are many natural preservatives that let them see through a good 6 months or more once opened.

Citric acid (derived from citrus fruits), rosemary extract and natural sea salt are frequently found on our product ingredient lists.

As far as spread-ability and fragrance go, there are SO many beautiful skin and earth loving oils out there that I wonder why you’d want to use anything else!

We only stock products that are free of petrochemicals so you have peace of mind. Find something today.

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