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Phenoxyethanol

Frequently on "toxic" ingredient lists, this one has conflicting info. Here's what you should know:

  • When COMBINED with ethylhexylglycerin, there is a SYNERGISTIC effect and you can use a lower concentration of each preservative that DOES NOT cause cell death.

  • At .1 to.01% there is not a statistical diff in survivalbility of the cells as compared to control.

VERDICT:  In small concentrations, when the last ingredient is phenoxyethanol and especially when in combination with ethylhexylglycerin, it is safe for ocular tissues as per the current research.

Makeup & Skincare Toxin Info

A Note About In-Vitro vs. In-Vivo:  What happens in a lab setting (in-vitro) can be very different than what happens in real life (in-vivo). In a lab, the cells are continually exposed to the experimental agent alone, while in the real world the exposure isn't likely constant and other variables are involved like the rest of the chemicals in formulation. Keep in mind when reviewing lab studies that it doesn't ALWAYS mean a particular ingredient is ALWAYS toxic.

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Formaldehyde
Donors

These BAK and Formaldehyde donors were evaluated in the same study & were found to have similar negative effects:

  • Hydroxymethylglycinate Chemistry

  • DMDM Hydantoin

  • Quaternium-15

  • Ureas

NEGATIVE  SIDE EFFECTS:

  • Dose-dependent toxicity on survival and proliferation

  • Corneal, Meibomian and Conjunctiva Cell Cultures ALL affected

  • Growth Factors did NOT prevent cell death

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Parabens

In very low concentration, do not affect cell survivability. In a product with MULTIPLE parabens (ex: methyl, ethyl), they are likely using very small amounts of each to get the preservative effect. Meibomian gland stem cell cultures do ok. As a single agent at lower concentrations MG's survive.

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Retinol

Vitamin A is converted to retinoic acid. Anything with retinol, tretinoin, or retinoic acid are to be avoided. While retinoic acid is wonderful for the cornea and epithelial cells, it is a disaster for the meiboimian glands. Verdict: GREAT for Cornea, BAD for Meibomian Glands. Isotretinoin (Accutane) very toxic to MG's.

Natural Beauty Products
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Tea Tree Oil

Recent study showed toxicity to meibomian gland cells, but it is commonly used to control Demodex levels and reduce microbial concentration on eyelids.

Typical OTC concentrations are below the concentration where cell death was seen in studies.

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Tips for Choosing Eye Safe Makeup

Ingredient toxicity is often very complicated and nuanced. As you will see from this guide, the preparation of the cosmetic or cosmeceutical matters, where it is applied and the concentration. It's not so simple as vilifying independent ingredients. And especially in the case of patients with sensitive eyes, its important to remember that your particular hypersensitivities may be isolated to you. This guide is meant to familiarize you with what you should be evaluating and looking for but individual recommendations should be done by your eye doctor and/or dermatologist.

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Carbon Black

Frequently on "toxic" ingredient lists, this one has conflicting info. Here's what you should know.

Carbon Black studies done are almost all done on inhalation studies, not topical use. And the studies have been done on rats, not humans.

 

Can this be extrapolated to human cells in regular cosmetic use? Does this actually tell us what cosmetic use would do to glands? On intact skin, research indicating it is safe.

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Argireline

"BOTOX in a Jar" Acetyl hexapeptide 3/8. It decreases orbicularis strength and tone, but also get decreased force of tone in terminal oblique with getting terminal meibum out of the glands.

 

Potential to cause dry eye symptoms over time due to induced MGD due to incomplete blink/lack of full emptying of MGs in the blink.

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Bakuchiol

Touted as an alternative to retinol. There've been no studies specific to the eye, use caution!

Anyi-androgen effect possibly problematic for meibomian glands but no definitive research.

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Isopropyl Cloprostenate

Prostaglandin Analogs i.e. PGA's (-PROST endings).  We know from years of treating glaucoma patients with prostaglandin analogs the negative effect these have on meibomian glands. Common in lash lengtheners (33% contain it), this ingredient is to be avoided. Potency is a factor, avoid especially Isopropyl Cloprostenate

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Thanks for Joining Me!

Ingredients toxicity is often very complicated and nuanced. It isn't so simple it isn't so simple as vilifying independent ingredients in all cases.

 

Especially in the case of patients with sensitive eyes it's important to remember that your particular hypersensitivities may be isolated to you.

 

Individual recommendations should always be done by your eye doctor or your dermatologist.