- Abietic acid, a texturizer in soaps, is harmless when injected into mice but causes paralysis in frogs.
- The American Medical Association frowns on medicated makeup, because their potential to do harm often outweighs their benefit.
- Mayonnaise is as effective a dry-hair conditioner as the expensive preparations.
- Milk is a good face wash, but you'd better rinse it off well, or rancidity will give rise to bacteria that will cause pimples.
Don't skip the introduction, a provocative discussion of "cosmeceuticals," anti-aging products, what's really meant by the word "natural," "culture and cosmetics," and what to do if you have an adverse reaction. This is the fifth edition of this guide, which originally appeared in 1978. Even if you own the fourth edition, you'll want to update, because this edition includes 1,400 newly developed chemicals and hundreds of name changes. --Joan Price
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
ABEYANCE • The term used by the FDA that includes petitions that were filed and were found after detailed review by the Office of Food Additive (OFAS) or certain cosmetic colorings to be deficient. OFAS does not actively work on petitions in abeyances. When all the information required to address the deficiency or deficiencies is provided, a petition can be refiled and assigned a new filing date.
ABIES • A. alba, A. balsamea, A. pectinata, A. sibirica. Essential oils derived from a variety of pine trees. They are used as natural flavoring ingredients and to scent bath products. Ingestion of large amounts can cause intestinal hemorrhages.
ABIES ALBA LEAF WAX • A wax obtained from the needles of Abies alba (see above). It is used as a skin-conditioning ingredient and as a skin protectant.
ABIES PECTINATA OIL • The volatile oil from Abies alba (see) used as a fragrance ingredient.
ABIETIC ACID • Abietinol. Abietol. Sylvic acid. Chiefly a texturizer in the making of soaps. A widely available natural acid, water-insoluble, prepared from pine rosin, usually yellow and composed of either glassy or crystalline particles. Used also in the manufacture of vinyls, lacquers, and plastics. Little is known about abietic acid toxicity; it is harmless when injected into mice but causes paralysis in frogs and is slightly irritating to human skin and mucous membranes. May cause allergic reactions.
ABIETYL ALCOHOL • Increases thickness. See Abietic Acid
ABITOL • Dihydroabietyl Alcohol. Used in cosmetics, plastics, and adhesives. See Abietic Acid
ABRADE • Scrape or erode a covering, such as skin.
ABRASIVE • Natural or synthetic cosmetic ingredients intended to rub away or scrape the surface layer of cells or tissue from the skin.
ABSOLUTE • The term refers to a plant-extracted material that has been concentrated but that remains essentially unchanged in its original taste and odor. For example, see Jasmine Absolute. Often called “natural perfume materials” because they are not subjected to heat and water as are distilled products. See Distilled
ABSORBENT • An ingredient or cosmetic that has the capacity to absorb.
ABSORPTION BASES • Compounds used to improve the water-absorbing capacity and stability of creams, lotions, and hairdressings. Lanolin-type absorption bases are mixtures of lanolin alcohols, mineral oil, and petrolatum (see all). Also used as bases are cholesterol and beeswax (see both).
ACACIA • Gum Arabic. Catechu. Acacia is the odorless, colorless, tasteless dried exudate from the stem of the acacia tree, grown in Africa, the Near East, India, and the southern United States. Its most distinguishing quality among the natural gums is its ability to dissolve rapidly in water. The use of acacia dates back 4,000 years, when the Egyptians employed it in paints. Medically, it is used as a demulcent to soothe irritations, particularly of the mucous membranes. It can cause allergic reactions such as skin rash and asthmatic attacks. Oral toxicity is low, but the FDA issued a notice in 1992 that catechu tincture had not been shown to be safe and effective as claimed in OTC digestive aid products. See also Vegetable Gums and Catechu Black
ACACIA DEALBATA LEAF WAX • Acacia dealbata. Mimosa, Silver Wattle. Obtained from the leaves of a prickly Egyptian shrub. It is used as a skin-conditioning ingredient, emollient, and skin protectant. Used in moisturizers, cleaning products, blushers, eye shadow, and foundations. It is considered a poisonous house plant.
ACACIA FARNESIAN EXTRACT • Acacia Extract. Flowers, and stems of Acacia farnesiana. It is used as an astringent.
ACACIA FARNESIANA GUM • AEC Gum Arabic. Acacia senegal Gum. Widely used all over the world, it acts as an adhesive in mascara, bath soaps, and detergents as well as in body and hand preparations, except for shaving creams. It is also used in hair colorings.
ACANTHOPANX SENTICOSUS • Extract of Eleuthro Ginseng. Siberian Ginseng. A plant material derived from Acanthopanax senticosus. A skin-conditioning ingredient related to siloxans and ginseng (see both).
ACEFYLLINE METHYLSILANOL MANNURONATE • Used as a skin conditioning ingredient. Prepared from theophylline, an alkaloid (see) with caffeine found in tea leaves. Theophylline, however, is usually prepared synthetically.
ACER • A. pseudoplantanus, A. saccharinum. Mountain Maple. It acts similarly to tannin (see).
ACEROLA • Malpighia glabra. Derived from the ripe fruit of the West Indian or Barbados cherry, grown in Central America and the West Indies. A rich source of ascorbic acid. Used as an antioxidant.
ACESULFAME • Non-nutritive sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar. Animals that were fed acesulfame developed tumors more often than animals not given it.
ACETAL • A volatile liquid derived from acetaldehyde (see) and alcohol and used as a solvent in synthetic perfumes such as jasmine. Also used in fruit flavorings (it has a nutlike aftertaste) and as a hypnotic in medicine. It is a central nervous system depressant, similar in action to paraldehyde but more toxic. Paraldehyde is a hypnotic and sedative whose side effects are respiratory depression, cardiovascular collapse, and possible high blood pressure reactions. No known skin toxicity.
ACETALDEHYDE • Ethanal. An intermediate (see) and solvent in the manufacture of perfumes. A flammable, colorless liquid with a characteristic odor, occurring naturally in apples, broccoli, cheese, coffee, grapefruit, and other vegetables and fruits. Used as a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics. Also used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber and in the silvering of mirrors. It is irritating to the mucous membranes, and ingestion of large doses may cause death by respiratory paralysis. Inhalation, usually limited by intense irritation of the lungs, can also be toxic. May cause skin irritation.
ACETAMIDE MEA • N-Acetyl Acid Amide. N-Acetyl Ethanolamine. Used as a solvent, plasticizer, and stabilizer (see all). Used in hair conditioners and skin creams and as a foam booster and thickener. It is also used in shampoos, tonics, dressings, and other hair products. Crystals absorb water. Odorless when pure but can have a mousy scent. A mild skin irritant with low toxicity. Has caused liver cancer when given orally to rats in doses of 5,000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. The CIR Expert Panel (see) found that it is safe at concentrations not to exceed 7.5 percent. They found, however, that it may form nitrosamines.
ACETAMIDOETHOXYBUTYL TRIMONIUM CHLORIDE • Used in hair conditioners, skin conditioning ingredients, and other miscellaneous products. See Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
ACETAMINOPHEN • A coal tar derivative, it is widely used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. It is used as an antioxidant and stabilizer in cosmetics.
ACETAMINOPROPYL TRIMONIUM CHLORIDE • Antistatic ingredient used in conditioners, bath soaps, detergents, and shampoos. See Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
ACETAMINOSALOL • Derived from ammonia and salicylic acid (see both), it absorbs ultraviolet light.
ACETANILID • Acetanilide. A solvent used in nail polishes and in liquid powders to give an opaque matte finish. It is also used in fragrances. Usually made from aniline and acetic acid (see both). It is of historic interest because it was the first coal tar analgesic and antifever ingredient introduced into medicine. It is a precursor of penicillin and is used as an antiseptic. It is sometimes still used in medicines but is frowned upon by the American Medical Association since there are other related products with less toxicity. It can cause a depletion of oxygen in the blood upon ingestion and eczema when applied to the skin. It caused tumors when given orally to rats in doses of 3,500 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
ACETARSOL • Acetarsone. Used in mouthwashes, toothpaste, and vaginal suppositories. Thick white crystals with a slight acid taste. Soluble in water. The lethal dose in mice is only 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. May cause sensitization.
ACETATE • Salt of acetic acid (see) used in perfumery and as a flavoring.
ACETIC ACID • Ethanoic Acid. Glacial Acetic Acid. Solvent for gums, resins, and volatile oils. Styptic (stops bleeding) and a rubefacient (see). Also used as a fragrance ingredient and pH adjuster. A clear colorless liquid with a pungent odor, it is used in freckle-bleaching lotions, hand lotions, and hair dyes. It occurs naturally in apples, cheese, cocoa, coffee, grapes, skimmed milk, oranges, peaches, pineapples, strawberries, and a variety of other fruits and plants. Vinegar is about 4 to 6 percent acetic acid, and essence of vinegar is about 14 percent. In its glacial form (without much water) it is highly corrosive, and its vapors are capable of producing lung obstruction. Less than 5 percent acetic acid in solution is mildly irritating to the skin. GRAS for packaging only, not for direct ingredient in product. It caused cancer in rats and mice when given orally or by injection.
ACETIC ANHYDRIDE • Acetyl Oxide. Acetic Oxide. Colorless liquid with a strong odor, it is derived from oxidation of acetaldehyde (see). It is used as a dehydrating and acetylating ingredient (see both Dehyrated and Acetylated) and in the production of dyes, perfumes, plastics, food starch, and aspirin. It is a strong irritant and may cause bumps and eye damage.
ACETOIN • Acetyl Methyl Carbinol. A flavoring ingredient and aroma carrier used in perfumery, it occurs naturally in broccoli, grapes, pears, cultured dairy products, cooked beef, and cooked chicken. As a product of fermentation and of cream ripened for churning, it is a colorless, or pale yellow...