“Hidden” Ingredients May Be Aging Your Skin or Worse…

While researching and studying skincare ingredients for the last 6 years, one of the last pieces of the puzzle for me was an ingredient’s journey through manufacturing. It’s behind the scenes, it’s tough to uncover and it’s usually where a “faux organic” company hides its dark secrets and hidden ingredients.

I’ve comprised some tips I’ve learned along the way and how you, as an educated consumer, can make things very easy for yourself. Seek out 100% organic food grade skincare for the effectiveness of your products and the health of your skin.


Synthetics Can Cause Inflammation & Premature Aging

“Emulsifiers, preservatives and formaldehyde cause sensitivity and irritation, creating a domino effect where the body feels the need to protect itself through an inflammatory response,” says Palm Beach, FL, dermatologist Dr. Layne Nisenbaum.

Even more serious is the potential for inflammation related disease. Dr. Laura Koniver, Charleston, SC, shares “Its been found that by chronically irritating skin (at low levels – low enough that you don’t see any skin reaction visibly) you are chronically encouraging it to slough off and turn over new cells.  This is why low but consistent doses of retinal products, hydroxy acids and other skin acids, even all naturally derived fruit acids, works to give your skin a refreshed surface chronically forcing new cell turnover. While this is great in the short term (you get fresher skin within a few weeks) in the long term, chronic irritation and inflammation has been shown to incite cellular damage.  Chronic inflammation is turning out to be one of the major factors in all types of disease from coronary artery disease, to strokes, to cancer.”

Synthetics and naturally derived synthetics subtly irritate the skin, which may make it look “rosy”, “plump” and turn over new skin in the short term. But long term, this low level irritation triggers an inflammation response from the body. Its well accepted that chronic inflammation leads to free radical generation, cell damage, wrinkles and sagging skin. Or possibly even disease.

Your skincare ingredients could be aging you! So you need to be sure you know exactly the standards your ingredients uphold. Here’s where it can get tricky.


“Made With” Organic Ingredients

Its semantics on a label, but the difference in a certified organic product formulation versus “made with” certified organic ingredients is immense. Just because some of the ingredients are organic ingredients does not mean the entire product formulation is certified organic. Even if a majority of the product’s ingredients are certified organic, that doesn’t tell a consumer anything about the standards of the remaining ingredients. Be careful that you are looking at a product level certification, not an ingredient level certification.


Chemical Processing Taints Organic Ingredients

Significant differences occur in the processing standards of an uncertified “organic” product. Take for example Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate (from coconut oil). Sounds natural enough, right? Wrong.

To make this ingredient, you begin with raw natural coconut oil. Next comes the extraction process where the oil is separated out for use with petrochemicals and other chemical solvents. The extraction is followed by extensive processing and forced reactions with synthetic chemicals (usually several reactions with several chemicals), which transforms the ingredient until a foam boosting chemical surfactant is produced. This ingredient is being marketed as “from coconut” or “naturally derived” when it is no longer equivalent to coconut oil, but in actuality, is a synthetic creation. To put it simply, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate (from coconut oil) does not grow on coconut trees.

Not only are semi-natural ingredients deceptive, but they also have potential health concerns. With extensive processing comes the problems of safety and purity associated with many synthetic chemicals, which is precisely what an organic consumer is trying to avoid.


Byproduct Contamination or “Hidden” Ingredients

When synthetic chemicals are introduced in the manufacturing of a natural source ingredient, it contaminates not only the purity of the ingredient, but the product as a whole. One example of this is known human carcinogen 1,4 Dioxane, which would not appear on a label as it is not an official ingredient, but can be present in the formula due to processing natural ingredients with synthetic chemicals.

Therefore, even if you are able to identify or nearly identify a product’s ingredients as all natural, you have no access to information on the ingredient’s processing. Processing ingredients with synthetic chemicals is strictly prohibited in a certified organic product so you have the guarantee of a purely organic formulation.





Seek Out Miessence Certified Organic Products

  • Creators of the world’s first skincare product line certified to organic food standards in 2001
  • The cold formulation proprietary to Miessence keeps the ingredients raw, the oils safe from oxidation and the delicate beneficial properties of the herbs, flowers and extracts in tact… just like raw food for your skin
  • 100% active ingredients
  • Made fresh in small batches every 30 days, unheard of in an industry of dead, synthetically preserved products
  • A 100% certified organic product’s ingredients are untouched by synthetics from seed to final formulation
  • Non-GMO
  • Free from chemical manufacturing residues
  • Free from residues of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers
  • Organic agriculture standards produce bio-diverse crops and healthier soil
  • Made with a base of organic aloe vera, not water
  • Effective ingredients that have been used safely by humans internally and externally for thousands of years


Elise Minton. “Control the Signs of Aging” New Beauty Volume 7 Issue 2: page 144

Dr. Laura Koniver. (January 10, 2011). Thoughts on Health…. Retrieved from http://www.intuitionphysician.com/thoughts-on-health-faq-skin-care/



Anne van Dijk - September 10, 2012 7:23 am

Hi, I would like to have information about your products. Are they being sold in the Netherlands? Is it possible that you send me a sample for me to try? Thank you very much!
Anne van Dijk

Organic Glow - September 10, 2012 6:15 pm

Hi Anne!
Thank you for your interest in the Miessence food grade certified organic skincare. Yes we are currently shipping to the Netherlands. I’m not aware of any reps or retailers in the Netherlands who are currently carrying the Miessence line, so you would have to order through me. Send me a message with your skin type (normal, oily, dry or sensitive) and I’ll get back to you with sample info.

Loretta - September 11, 2012 9:03 pm

Thanks for this great article Alison. I don’t think representatives of some companies have actually done much if any on the products they promote.
I recently came across a US representative, promoting and defending a very well known UK organic brand when they actually sell shower gels with this ingredients listed below and the soil association logo on the website.

sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
lauryl betaine
calendula extract*
peg-150 distearate
propolis extract
geranium oil*
orange oil*
levulinic acid
chamomile extract*
lavender extract*
orange flower extract*
citric acid
alcohol denat.

*Organically produced ingredient.

The problem is the terms of ingredients can vary but mean the same thing which can be extremely confusing and mis-leading for consumers which is awfully unfair.

Even natural ingredients are not organic ingredients.

I can only compare ingredients to Miessence as i have yet to come across a company that makes organic skincare as pure as they do.

Rinna - September 25, 2012 6:17 am

wow, awesome article.

Rebecca - May 13, 2015 12:58 pm

Such a great post! I didn’t know that about new cell turnover and cell damage. We’re told by all these beauty companies, even some of the ‘natural’ ones, that sloughing off dead cells and uncovering fresh, new cells on your face is good – no downside! Good to know.

Organic Glow - May 13, 2015 6:42 pm

Thanks Rebecca! There is a difference between cell turnover and low level chronic irritation. Its great to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells naturally…. its another to apply chemicals that irritate the skin (as in Retin A) to turnover.

mariza - December 22, 2015 7:32 pm

Great and informative article! I do my best to buy organic or plant based beauty products but it’s extremely hard sometimes – especially because of the deceiving wording used in the ingredient lists. For this reason I am really interested in your product! Do you ship to Canada, or have retailers of the product here? I am interested in trying some samples. Spread the organic love!

Organic Glow - February 18, 2016 10:56 pm

Hi Mariza! Yes, Miessence will ship to Canada. Thanks so much for your interest and kind words!

Organic Glow - February 18, 2016 11:00 pm

SO true! Buyer beware!

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