Safety In Mineral Makeup Containing Rice Powder
We have espoused the skin healthy benefits Rice Powder (Oryza Sativa) offers the user when applied to the skin in the form of a face powder or a facial mask. And it continues to be a safe ingredient in our mineral makeup products. The latest news hype has not altered our opinion as to the safety of our rice starch being used in our cosmetics, and unfortunately for the most part it has been completely overblown and nondescript in the rice sources mainly effected, instead the hype proclaims it must be all rice products regardless of growth location and finished, refined ingredient.
We realize that there are many out there, including the main stream media, that wish to raise the alarm bells this past year about arsenic being found in commercially grown rice products, mainly baby food products. And of course more confusion ensues among the populace. However, before we get into specifics, we wish to remind those that have this unfounded concern as it relates to cosmetic products using rice powder, is that something applied to the skin does not extrapolate same as to something we ingest. Plus, rice syrups, rice bran oil, rice bran, brown rice, etc, are found containing higher trace levels of arsenic due to minimal processing. White rice, even in it’s solid grain state before continuing onto processing for a fine cosmetic powder, is brown rice milled to remove the husk, bran, and germ which contains the trace elements of contaminants, minerals and vitamins.
Rice powder in cosmetics has gone through such extensive processing, once completely modified for the use of cosmetics, the majority of all trace contaminants, not just arsenic have been removed from the finished powder. Furthermore, our Rice powder is not grown or processed here in the U.S. but from a nation in the European Union, where as we all know, their regulations against pesticides and trace constituents in ingredients are far more stringent than ours. So as far as continuing to use it as a surface treatment on the skin, please continue to do so with confidence.
Now The Brief Facts About Rice As A Whole
Not wishing to elaborate beyond basic information since Google can provide a whole bevy of articles, typically over inflated, with a just a few articles explaining actual scientific research hoping to quell overblown media reporting. Here is a synopsis of the situation.
Arsenic is divided into 2 broad categories: Organic arsenic and inorganic arsenic. Organic arsenic is essentially harmless and is ubiquitous in our environment. Inorganic is created through use of different pesticides. And higher trace levels of inorganic or organic arsenic, depending on where it is grown, are found in brown rice rather than in white rice, since white rice is essentially brown rice, stripped.
The FDA, the European Food Safety Authority, the United Nations Codex Alimentarious Commission and China’s Food Safety Commission are trying to establish limits for inorganic arsenic in foods, including rice. China has a maximum level for total arsenic in rice of 0.4 microgram per kilogram. Note this is addressing foodstuffs!
Plants accumulate organic arsenic because it protects them from harmful micro-organisms, especially fungi. Rice isn’t unique in this.
“All plants pick up arsenic,” states John M. Duxbury, PhD, a professor of soil science and international agriculture at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “Concentrations in leaves of plants are much higher than in grains of plants. Thus, leafy vegetables can contain higher levels of arsenic than rice, especially when they are grown on arsenic-contaminated soils.”
So the statement of fact is: though they are measuring arsenic levels in food products reflected in these statements, the reminder is, ingestion is not the same as topical application in any context. Plus through critical thinking we must acknowledge all food, including our healthy, leafy greens, contain some measure of this contaminant making consumption literally impossible to avoid. Yet, the many proven health benefits we get from consuming fruits and vegetables watered and grown in any soil can far outweigh trace amounts of any contaminant found within the plant itself.
Am I Having An Allergic Reaction?
We have had a few women that are concerned about using any mineral makeup that contains mica. The letters we have received over the years, are written by women who are convinced that mica is a factor as to why they have a reaction with their skin after applying mineral makeup, especially since they eliminated the leading irritant, Bismuth Oxychloride, from their minerals. They had all but given up on the theory that mineral makeup is good for their skin or that they will ever be able to wear it until they come across our website.
Identifying The Allergy
Unfortunately, not all mica is conducive to being best suited for some women in their mineral makeup. However, is it really the mica or something else causing the allergic reaction? It is important to define the differences!
Our Skin Care Guide addresses this concern in many articles, and has made the point that in some instances, mica may prove to be a problem for some women. But with mica being a completely “inert” ingredient, basically a substance that is not chemically reactive, it is not usually an allergy to mica that is occurring. Typically, it is due to the high ratio used in the majority of mineral makeup when it becomes a slight to moderate irritant. An ingredient without chemical reaction, in the majority of cases, is not related to being an allergen, but because of the irritation it can cause, this confusion lingers.
The True Allergen Of Mica
What can cause a true allergy for some women is perhaps what the mica is coated with. There are many chemical compounds used to coat the mica to create better absorption, slip, finish, texture, staying power, water repellency, etc. Some of these, which due to their chemical nature, can and will cause an allergic reaction in a small number of women.
Some coatings that are popular are: Carnauba Wax (thickener, binder), Magnesium Myristate (emulsifier, binder) or Perfluoroalkyl Phosphate (film former, binder) and Lauroyl Lysine (surfactant, binder). These are all chemicals which can and will produce chemical reactions when used in cosmetic formulas, whereby, due to their “reactive” nature, can be a cause of an actual allergic reaction.
How Will I know?
Unfortunately, what contributes to this confusion is the “brand” of mineral makeup you may be using, may not always disclose the coating ingredients on the label, utilized to help the mica (sericite) to perform better. Basically, claiming “proprietary” reasons, so the label may simply list the first ingredient as Mica or Sericite, which are one in the same. However, this ingredient utilized by itself without some sort of coating, performs poorly in mineral makeup, has high melt out rates, poor adhesion, and little water repellant capabilities. Just some of the results which makes a particular brand substandard to others on the market.
We Killed Two Birds With One Stone
In addressing these concerns with women as to irritation from mica, or allergic reaction due to the coatings offered on mica, we provide a formula which has truly helped women find the answer to their mineral makeup woes.
Irritation Solved: We use Mica in a perfect ratio blend compared to other leading brands, and only use mica which is surface treated with polymer spheres of Methicone. Basically encasing the rough edged mica particles, creating wonderful slip and ease of application. This allows the mineral makeup to float onto the skin with minimal buffing, which also reduces the irritation factor. Bonus points for this surface treatment, is it prevents dryness on the skin by prevention of trans-epidermal moisture loss.
Allergen Solved: No worry of potential allergen since the surface treatment of Methicone is also “inert” in its formulation. It is not “reactive” to other chemicals, which in turn also makes it extremely hydrophobic (water resilient). And of course, it is fully disclosed on our ingredient labels.
Women, who are almost at their wits end, have been pleasantly surprised to learn, our mineral makeup is the only one they can use everyday. We are thrilled we have provided the answer and the solution to women with that nagging concern as to whether Mica is an allergen or is the cause of ongoing irritation to their skin. If you are still unsure of the benefits Sterling Minerals Cosmetics will offer, a few samples in your preferred shades, may very well put the question to rest once and for all, and perhaps, finally achieve pure harmony between your skin and mineral makeup.
A Conundrum To Be Sure
We have some women who have come to us, complaining about dry, scaly patches of the eyelid, or that their eyelids itched, or their eyes would be red and watery whenever they wore makeup or eye shadow. They have been to countless dermatologists over the years and either they could never determine what was going on, or blamed it on eczema or seasonal allergies. They used steroid creams, eye drops and medicated ointments, only to see no lasting results. Their eyelids would recover for a brief period, and only when they began wearing eye shadow again, did they repeat the process of dryness, scaliness, exacerbated with itchy irritation.
Only through process of elimination and determining a common denominator, would these women finally find the answer and relief they are looking for.
This became an interesting phenom and in each case, once other possibilities were eliminated, it was discovered that their eye shadow contained bismuth oxychloride, Carmine (Dead Beetle Juice) and / or FD&C dyes or lakes. The reason why these ingredients had eluded detection, was probably due to their location on the ingredient list. Many women have confessed, they rarely read past the first four to five ingredients, feeling if the offending ingredient isn’t high up on the list, they can use the product. Or a more common answer, the ingredient list is so extensive, it can get lost in the translation.
Bismuth Oxychloride has been used for decades in eye shadows and liquid makeup formulas to contribute to a pearlescent sheen or dewy complexion. The only difference is, compared to mineral makeup containing it as a main ingredient, it is typically near the bottom of the ingredient list and / or is in the “may contain” list on eye colors.
Only when they switched to our Rose Bloom Eye Color, did they see significant improvement, because we use minimalistic formulas and they don’t contain bismuth oxychloride, Carmine or dyes or lakes.
The Common Thread
For the most part, women could and can wear eye shadow containing bismuth oxychloride for many years without incident. But as we are seeing today with mineral makeup containing this ingredient, women have had havoc wreaked on their skin and are now extremely sensitized to it. Despite the use of Carmine, dyes and lakes, they were not always the common thread since some products didn’t contain these but did contain the bismuth oxychloride.
On women where they have never worn mineral makeup before, but have experienced dry, scaly, itchy eyelids, due to eye shadow usage over time, tended to blame the wrong ingredient simply based on its location on the ingredient list. However, once they are asked to look at the complete ingredient list of their favorite eye shadow, do they see the mystery ingredient. In all cases, women have identified bismuth oxychloride as being included at the bottom of the list.
What’s Up With This “May Contain” Stuff
The “may contain” list is a way for manufacturers to inform the consumer that this ingredient can be present, especially when dealing with varying colors or formulas. This keeps the manufacturer FDA compliant and serves to inform the consumer in the event of a possible allergen, essentially a disclaimer of sorts. Plus, with mega commercialized companies where their products are massed produced, such as coming out of China, the “may contain” notation is also a way to treat the ingredient as a contaminant. In other words, Code for; we don’t intend to use this ingredient, but due to us running many batches through, and we don’t clean our machines between batches, your eye shadows may be contaminated with this ingredient.
Even though bismuth oxychloride may seem minute in these formulas, the eyelid and eyes (think mucous membrane) is an extremely sensitive area, much thinner skin than on the rest of our faces, so it stands to reason, it does not need to be in copious amounts for some women when using eye shadows, to eventually have a reaction to it. One thing which was another common thread, once they used our eye shadows or any other product which did not contain this, their eyelids improved and the skin healed over time. Even though eczema could still be part of the equation, nevertheless, bismuth oxychloride will enhance dryness and exacerbate already itchy skin.
It’s All In The Color
We also use the “may contain” list of ingredients on our eye colors, blush, lip colors and bronzer, since some of our colors are boosted with different ultramarines, or manganese violet, ferric ferrocyanide and chromium oxide green. This just simplifies our labeling practices due to the wide range of colors we offer. Otherwise, we know exactly what is in our products and our machines are cleaned between every formula batch we make. No hidden allergens in our mineral makeup, only color boosters for shading.
Women with eczema also found them to be quite soothing without interfering with any treatment they may have been using to heal the skin once and for all. Or best case scenario, simply by elimination of BO, the eyelids were allowed to heal when using our eye shadow products.
Ongoing Worry And Confusion
Many women have written to us about the angst and problems surrounding the past use of Bismuth Oxychloride. Even though they have stopped using this ingredient, which included switching to our mineral makeup, some are still experiencing some slight itching, although nothing like before, yet are concerned with what is happening with their face and whether or not they will ever recover.
Due to the heavy nature of bismuth oxychloride, it requires intense buffing action to keep it from sliding off the face. It is this same buffing action which also has ground this mineral into the pores of the skin and unfortunately exacerbates acne and creates irritation. For some women the itching stops with the first washing of the skin and for others it is ongoing even after they have discontinued wearing all types of mineral makeup, including still having a reaction after they perspire as though they were still wearing the bismuth oxychloride on their face.
Depending on how long the mineral makeup containing this ingredient was used, it could take up to several months for the tiny particles to be completely expelled from the skin. Similar to an acne cycle which also can take up to several months to clear from the onset of the beginning of the plugged pore, to pimple, to cystic, to drying up, to healed. Things we do to our faces can show up and last for weeks to come.
Identifying The Itch
Our mineral makeup is quite soothing and in most cases can soothe the itching that was associated with irritated skin, but one thing is, to not confuse the two types of itchy sensations. If the itching is slight, this can be normal and a sign the skin is beginning to heal, much in the same way when a pimple is forming and when acne begins to clear. The difference is, the type of itching associated with mineral makeup containing bismuth oxychloride, is intense, not here and there, but ongoing extensive itching, and continues until the minerals are removed.
So if you have switched away from mineral makeup containing bismuth oxychloride to ours, then be patient and realize that an itch here and there, especially on areas around the nose and on the forehead, can be expected while allowing the skin to recover from using this ingredient in the past. Plus, using our press and sweep application along with our wonderful Moist Method will further reduce this problem. The same thing can be said about abuse of the skin with abrasive scrubs, rough washcloths, over cleansing or the use of drying, irritating ingredients like Retin A.
Handle With Care
Treat the skin and face delicately, and the itching associated with healing will also disappear over time with ongoing gentle treatment of the face and skin. Also try to avoid scratching since this further irritates the skin, creating more itchiness, which then you get into a vicious cycle of healing itch, scratch, itch, healing itch scratch, etc.
And after all of this, then try to reduce the anxiety surrounding this ingredient since a psychological reaction of itchy skin can also occur. It will get better over time and in all likelihood the skin will clear completely with no residual effects.
Answer: For a very long time now micronized minerals versus non micronized minerals has been the way mineral makeup ingredients have been described for determining the best option for coverage and health safety. But in an era of much confusion over cosmetic ingredients, it is more vital than ever to convey accurately the scientific differences or variations of the same ingredient.
The fact of the matter is, all mineral makeup is micronized for consistency, ease of flow, and to achieve level of application best suited for the best coverage. Micronized has really been about describing micron size of the particles and were considered to have less whitening effect on the skin, producing less pigment. Whereby, it was easier to ascribe to the theory, when you were buying micronized minerals, which were commonly referred to as TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) or micronized ZnO or Z-cote (Zinc Oxide), that these were the mineral equivalent to a tiny micron particle size. These are also referred to as sub micron or nano size of 0.25-0.30 more or less, and these are equal to 250-300 nanometers. This size is literally below an actual single micron.
Non-micronized would then define mineral cosmetics as being 3 microns or larger, typically being similar to our micron size. Our minerals for example, range from 5-10 microns or equivalent to 5000-10,000 nanometers. So by accurate definition, ours can also be considered micronized, but they are not nano sized due to the finished size of the micron particles, offering more of the whitening effect, providing more pigment, creating better coverage. TiO2 and ZnO are simply the chemical compound descriptions for TD and ZO and shouldn’t necessarily be used to identify the variation in micron particles, as in the past, even though this descriptive is still being used by chemical companies providing these raw ingredients to formulators in order to illustrate the micron size difference.
Today you’ll see more descriptions as “no nano sized particles used” or “does not contain nano sized particles” as the way to actually determine what grade of micronized powders are being utilized. Also, the micron size determines coverage of your mineral makeup. If a company uses nano particles in their mineral makeup application, then the coverage will be quite sheer as in the case of many liquid sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in order to avoid the whitening effect these ingredients can cause. Larger particle size equates to better coverage, and it is why using nano scale particles isn’t really conducive to the needs of the mineral makeup wearer, and to be completely accurate, is why our micronized minerals are not nano scale.
However, there is one small wrinkle with this analogy, sheer coverage can also be obtained by reducing the ingredients TD and ZO in the overall formulation, and ZO has less whitening capacity than that of TD also, so sheerness in coverage isn’t always a determining factor of micron size.
So, if size does matter and to know conclusively, the question really should be, “does our mineral makeup contain nano sized particles?” Which we are happy to state resoundingly, “no.”
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Bowling Green, Kentucky
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Titanium Ore, Rutile Form
Answer: This is an excellent question and probably has others confused as well. They can be considered both minerals and chemicals, actually!
Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as they are most commonly referred to, are physical sun blockers and are widely considered minerals in their purist form, yet to be thoroughly accurate, they are inorganic chemical compounds with varying chemical properties depending on which application they are used for. The pure form of the chemical elements found in our periodic table, Titanium (Dioxide) and Zinc (Ore “zincite” ) Oxide are typically known to create the chemical formulas of TiO2 and ZnO. Furthermore, TD and ZO are never and cannot be used directly from the ground in their raw mineral form. They must go through a synthetic chemical process to purify and alter the mineral structure, whereby now providing the creation of the aforementioned chemical compounds we find in mineral makeup and other products today.
Zinc Ore (zincite) Crystal Form
Where the underlying confusion begins, is when many blogs and commercial websites advertise certain products as being “chemical free”, which is literally impossible and devoid of all science.
Examples are phrases, such as “avoid chemical sunscreens in favor of natural mineral based sunscreens.” However, due to this slight skewing of facts, it has created the mindset that minerals and natural / organic ingredients are best and are mutually exclusive from chemicals. Except for one simple fact, all things in nature have chemical properties, our bodies are made up of chemicals, as is water, and minerals in their natural state, though taken from the ground, are chemical elements, and further go through a chemical process to make them safe and useable in the cosmetic marketplace. In fact, most ZnO found in the commercial market today is synthetically created.
Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide have many uses besides being physical sun blocking agents. They are used in different applications, from pigment in paints, ceramics, medicines, plastics, ink, to food coloring.
For many it has been easier to simply identify the differences as TiO2 and ZnO are minerals and all other sunscreens are derived from chemicals, when in actuality it would be more accurate to state that the majority of sunscreen chemicals are synthetically (man made) derived. Remember however, although ZnO is found naturally in the earths crust as zincite (rare crystallized version) or zinc ore, it is today, primarily being created through a synthetic process.
It is also important to remember that many things we use in nature found in our skincare and cosmetics go through a chemical process to have the raw ingredients we enjoy so much, be purified or improved for performance, in order to be made “safe for use” in our favorite products. Hence the word “chemicals” should no longer bear the connotation of somehow being harmful or unsafe, or that they be set apart from the natural / organic world.
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Answer: There is no glitter in our mineral makeup powders. However, sometimes women confuse the hint of shimmery particles they see in our minerals when held in certain light as being the same as glitter, and are worried this may cast a glittery or sparkly effect on the skin. How the loose minerals appear in the jar will be quite different than how the finished look will be once applied and melded to moisturized skin. Women of mature years especially don’t want to look like a glitter ball, but do want a healthy glow brought back to their skin which can only be achieved with Mica in mineral powders.
Glitter as a rule is used for dramatic effect in makeup for highlighting areas of the face for costuming, parties and gala events because it is so eye catching.
What you are seeing in our mineral makeup products, is the small amount of mica we include in all of our formulas except for Evening Rose Veil. Mica is made up of tiny flat platelets and has wonderful light refracting properties. Mineral makeup that is made with nano sized mica, 1 micron and smaller, will appear quite matte, but will also lose that luminosity that women of mature years are trying to restore.
A mineral makeup without Mica or containing nano scale mica, would be like any other makeup, flat and lifeless on the skin unless supplemented with Bismuth Oxychloride, and this is a potential skin irritant.
Mica is what contributes to the 3D effect that makes the skin appear flawless, polished, youthful and beautiful. Our Mica combined with a surface treatment of Methicone, once applied to moisturized skin or with the “Moist Method” of application will be nothing short of amazing. The tiny flat platelets and the methicone polymers adhere to the face, and the mica acts like tiny little mirrors, reflecting light back from the face, creating soft focus and a healthy glow, never, ever shiny or sparkly. But you’ll never experience the irritation that can come from using mica based mineral cosmetics.
Try it and you’ll be amazed at how natural you’ll look, and will truly enjoy how our mineral makeup will restore your skin to it’s youthful appearance once more.
Mica is used as intense color in high ratios only in our eye colors when different levels of shimmer are wanted. Basically achieving looks from semi matte to high shimmer with some sparkle, but still never glitter.
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