■ Aluminium chlorohydrate: used in deodorants to block perspiration, it acts on the sudoriferous glands. This action makes it suspected of being carcinogenic.
■ Cocamide DEA: surfactant, it generates Nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.
■ DMDM hydantoin: formaldehyde releaser preservative. When highly rated it is suspected of being carcinogenic.
■ Parabens: used as preservatives, those esters can be found as butyl, isobutyl, methyl, ethyl, propyl, or benzyl-paraben in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. They show bacteriocidal properties. An English study (led by Dr. Dabre and its research team ) has put their innocuousness in question. Their presence in the breast tissues made them suspected of being a cause of some breast cancers. Dr Dabre's study, mainly concentrated on the oestrogenic activity of benzylparaben, is still much debated because of the low number of cases found, but as a precaution, it's wiser not to use them.
■ Paraffin oil, Petrolatum (soft paraffin): chemical compounds derived from the distillation of petroleum, they are inert and highly occlusive products. Stable and easy to use, they are highly prized in common cosmetics.
■ PEG (polyethylene glycol): chemical compound derived from toxic gas, it is used as emulsifier or solubiliser.
■ Phenoxyethanol: glycol ether, used as a preservative. It works together with parabens and is much debated.
■ Phthalate (diethyl or DEP): solvent and alcohol denaturant. It has been imposed by the State in order to prevent any fraud on drinking alcohol. Melvita uses non-denaturated alcohol or organic alcohol.
■ Propylene Glycol: moisturizer and synthetic solvent, it is used as a preservative. On a high rate it can be allergenic and sensitizing. In vitro condition and over 5%, it is cytotoxic. Is is widely used as a solvent in common cosmetics. All glycol derivatives (PEG, PPG...) are suspected of damaging health when their combined application shows a high total rate.
■ Silicone (Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone…): water-repellent often derived from petrochemical products, it is not biodegradable and partly occlusive. Its soft and silky touch has made it one of the most important ingredient of common cosmetics.