Monday, December 8, 2014Ingredient of the month

Cereals in cosmetics: with or without gluten?

Cereals are not only found in our plates. They are also incorporated into everyday cosmetics for the benefits they provide to the epidermis. There are numerous types of them, and they are not to be classified in the same category depending on whether people have an atopic skin or suffer from coeliac disease. CosmeticOBS has listed the INCI names of the main cereals containing gluten or not. 

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Main actives containing gluten

Gluten is composed of two reserve proteins (gliadin and glutenin) that can be found in particular cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, and oats.

Wheat is a cereal that provides the cosmetics industry with numerous actives: proteins, flour, germs, starch, gluten, amino acids…
However, the hydrolyzed proteins are those that have received significant attention recently, due to their allergenic nature. They are contained in large quantity both in hair products, for their nourishing and restructuring action on hair fibres, and in skincare creams (moisturizers and anti-aging products), and they are very rich in amino acids, which help preserve the epidermis and nails. But the process used to obtain them, hydrolysis, modifies and reinforces the natural allergenicity of gluten. And this is what makes them critical for people allergic to gluten, but also for those that tolerate it very well in its natural form.
In a revised Opinion published last October 22, 2014, the SCCS mentioned that ‘ there are indications that the risk of sensitization is higher when hydrolyzed wheat proteins of higher molecular weight are used on the skin, in particular as an ingredient of products that have strong surfactant properties such as soaps and liquid soaps’. Despite this statement, the experts considered ‘ the use of hydrolyzed wheat proteins safe for consumers in cosmetic products, provided that the maximum molecular weight of the peptides in hydrolysates is 3.5 kDa.’
See our full article on Hydrolyzed wheat proteins
See SCCS Opinion dated 22 October 2014

Amongst the other derivatives of wheat, the oil obtained from its germ is rich in fatty acids, including linoleic acid (Omega-6), vitamin E, and carotenoids, and is well-known for its nourishing, protective, and soothing properties. It is used in skincare formulations for dry and very dry skins (cold cream, cleansing milks, stretch mark creams, lip balms, hand creams…).

In the list of ingredients of cosmetic products:
Hydrolyzed wheat peptides : Hydrolyzed wheat peptides (skin treatment, hair conditioner)
Triticum vulgare germ oil : Wheat germ oil (emollient, moisturizer)
Triticum vulgare germ extract : Wheat germ extract (skin treatment, brightener)
Triticum vulgare gluten extract : Wheat gluten extract (skin treatment)
Triticum vulgare protein : Wheat protein (emollient, skin treatment, hair conditioner, pH regulator, film-forming agent)
Triticum vulgare starch : Wheat starch (abrasive, absorbing, binding, and bulking agent)
Triticum vulgare kernel flour : Wheat flour (abrasive and bulking agent)
• Wheat amino acids : Wheat amino acids (skin treatment, soothing agent, hair conditioner)
Wheat germ acid : Wheat germ acid (emollient, emulsifier, skin treatment, cleanser, surfactant)

Barley extracts are rich in polyphenols, which are much valued antioxidants in particular in anti-aging skincare formulations. They can thus naturally be found in protective and anti-wrinkle skincare products (face, chest, and hand creams, eye contours, masks for mature skins and dull complexions).Their distillate is widely used in natural cosmetics, as it provides fragile hair shampoos, after-shave balms, or moisturizing lotions with its soothing properties and gentleness… as well as the required organic ingredient percentage to be labelled.

In the list of ingredients of cosmetic products:
Hordeum vulgare extract : Barley extract (emollient, skin treatment)
Hordeum vulgare stem water : Barley stem water (skin treatment)
Hordeum vulgare water : Barley sprout floral water (skin treatment)
Hordeum vulgare seed flour : Barley seed flour (abrasive agent)
Hordeum vulgare leaf powder : Barley leaf powder (wetting agent, skin treatment)
Hordeum vulgare leaf juice : Barley leaf juice (emollient, skin treatment)
Hordeum vulgare cera : Wax derived from barley draff (emollient, skin treatment)

Rye culture is much less common than that of wheat, and this cereal is also not often incorporated into cosmetics formulas. But because they exhibit moisturizing, remineralizing, regenerating, and replenishing properties, it is mainly its seed extracts that are used in emulsions (face and body skincare for dry, sensitive, and mature skins lacking elasticity, cleansing gels, shampoos for weakened hair and damaged ends). They also act as bulking agents to reduce the apparent density of cosmetic products or as abrasive agents in scrubs or slimming products.

In the list of ingredients of cosmetic products:
Secale cereale seed extract : Rye seed extract (abrasive agent, bulking agent, skin treatment)
Secale cereale seed flour : Rye seed flour (abrasive agent, bulking agent)
Secale cereale phytoplacenta extract: Rye phyto placenta extract (skin treatment)
Hydrolyzed rye phytoplacenta extract: Hydrolyzed rye phyto placenta extract (skin treatment)

Gluten-free cereals in cosmetics

Quinoa is not a cereal, but it is often considered as such. It is also still little used in cosmetics, but this should change in this sector as it is changing in food. Indeed, this small grain is extremely rich in proteins and essential amino acids (those that our body cannot make itself and needs to get from external sources), and offers many cosmetic or nutritional advantages.
It shows particularly nourishing and revitalizing, both for the skin and dry hair, which its proteins also help strengthen and control.
It is repairing and moisturizing, and it suits sensitive and devitalized, dry or mature skins perfectly well.
The icing on the cake is that it can balance one’s figure both when applied on the skin and eaten: as a slimming active, it works the opposite way of adipocytes, which store fat, and it gently slims down.
Lastly, the fact that it is most often grown in accordance with organic and fair trade standards adds an ethical note to its numerous properties.

In the list of ingredients of cosmetic products:
Chenopodium quinoa seed extract : Quinoa seed extract (skin treatment)
Chenopodium quinoa flower/leaf extract : Quinoa flower/leaf extract (skin treatment)
Chenopodium quinoa seed oil : Quinoa seed oil (emollient, skin treatment)
Chenopodium quinoa husk extract : Quinoa husk extract (skin treatment)
Hydrolyzed quinoa : Hydrolyzed quinoa (skin treatment)

Rice is mostly exploited for the powder derived from its starch (in makeup) or its hull, its grain husk (in exfoliating products and scrubs).
Rice is a mattifying active and a regulator that suits combination and oily skins when used as a powder or vinegar. As a wax or extract, it is also rich in vitamins, enzymes, and minerals, and it is claimed to nourish and regenerate both the skin and hair. Similarly to quinoa, its proteins play the role of a film-forming and repairing agent for hair fibres.
Rice also exhibits a very good skin tolerance and antioxidant properties.
See our full article on Rice

In the list of ingredients of cosmetic products:
Oryza sativa or Oryza sativa extract : Rice grain extract (abrasive and absorbing agent, hair conditioner, bulking agent, skin treatment)
Oryza sativa powder: Rice grain powder (bulking agent)
Oryza sativa hull powder : Rice hull (grain husk) powder (volumizing, abrasive agent)
Oryza sativa germ powder : Rice germ powder (bulking, abrasive agent)
Oryza sativa cera : Rice wax (hair conditioner, skin treatment, soothing and occlusive agent…)
Oryza sativa bran oil : Rice bran oil (emollient, moisturizer, suspending agent…)
Oryza sativa bran extract : Rice bran extract (skin treatment)
Hydrolyzed rice protein : Hydrolyzed rice proteins (antistatic agent, hair conditioner, skin treatment)

Buckwheat seeds contain an active that can be found in many eye contours, especially in natural and organic products.
The wax derived from it is composed of both essential fatty acids and phytosterols (campesterol, stigmasterol, sitosterol…). These botanical lipids can activate lipolysis, the natural fat degradation process, and block fat storage, visibly reducing the volume of bags under our eyes.
All this is done without removing the lipids from this sensitive area, thanks to the fatty acids (Omega-6 and 9) which help balance the epidermis and contribute to good hydration.

In the list of ingredients of cosmetic products:
Polygonum fagopyrum seed extract : Buckwheat seed extract (skin treatment)
Polygonum fagopyrum leaf extract : Buckwheat leaf extract (skin treatment)
Polygonum fagopyrum stem extract : Buckwheat stem extract (antioxidant)
Polygonum fagopyrum sprout extract : Buckwheat sprout extract (antioxidant, astringent, whitening agent, skin treatment)

Sesame is mostly used for its oil. And its sole composition explains its usefulness in cosmetics: it contains oleic fatty acid (Omega-9) and linoleic fatty acid (Omega-6), both having a positive action on epidermal lipids, facilitating the good cohesion of the skin cells, and limiting the skin’s water loss, antioxidant vitamin E in large quantity, and sesamolin and lecithin, which are also antioxidant.
On top of that, sesame oil is composed of minerals and unsaponifiables, and thus plays the role of a nourishing, softening active that regenerates the skin and makes it suppler, repairs the hair, and exhibits anti-free radical and anti-aging properties… It is also well-known for efficiently acting against irritations and skin dryness.
Even better, it boasts a dry skin feel, which makes it penetrate the skin quickly without leaving an oily film.

In the list of ingredients of cosmetic products:
Sesamum indicum seed oil : Sesame seed oil (emollient, hair conditioner, masking agent)
Sesamum indicum seed extract : Sesame seed extract (hair and skin treatment, smoothing and soothing agent)
Sesamum indicum seed powder: Sesame seed powder (skin treatment)


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