As we become more savvy in issues of natural health, it seems that more consumers are beginning to avoid petroleum based products like the plague. If you are left wondering “What’s the fuss over Petroleum?” Hopefully we can give a closer look into this divisive common additive to hair and skincare products.
Petroleum is commonly used by companies as an inexpensive filler ingredient that gives the perception of moisture for hair and skin products. *In addition to use in the beauty industry, crude petroleum is also the raw ingredients for plastics, motor oil, pesticides and fertilizers. Petroleum, in one form or another is a common ingredient in a majority of store bought hair and skin products and savvy consumers must be vigilant in spotting its many names in product ingredients lists. Petroleum aliases include lanolin, mineral oil and paraffin wax to name a few.
Although it has its place in the world, the side effects of petroleum based ingredients on the body could range from chronic dry skin and hair to carcinogens. For the planet, the environmental damage in harvesting this material is substantial.
As a “moisture” substitute in the beauty industry, petroleum is composed of non-polar, water-repelling hydrocarbons, which do exactly opposite of what we want hair or skin product to do. Instead of attracting moisture to skin and hair, petroleum tends to coat our bodies with an impenetrable barrier for moisture. Natural alternatives include natural butters and oils such as shea butter, or coconut oil, and fruit based oil extracts for example. Humectants such as glycerin or honey are also great for drawing moisture from the atmosphere and retaining the moisture balance of our skin and hair.
Petroleum products tend to leave a hard to remove buildup on hair, whereas natural ingredients have a breathable protection and is easily removed.
For those looking to grow healthy hair, *Petroleum works against effective hair growth in two ways. First, when applied to the scalp, petroleum based products can clog the hair follicles. This clogging can lead to scalp problems such as dandruff or sluggish growth over time. Many people apply petroleum to combat scalp dryness and flaking, but flaking and dryness result because there is a lack of moisture reaching the scalp in the first place. Healing ingredients such as Babbsu, Peach Kernel Oil, and Neem, as found in the Beija-Flor Naturals Licorice Root Elixir are a more healthy alternative for scalp moisture balance.
Second, the barrier that petroleum creates upon the hair shaft keeps additional needed moisture from entering the shaft. Petroleum based products will cause the hair to shine, but will not allow the hair to be effectively moisturized. Many people mistake the artificial shine as healthy moisture. As users add more and more petroleum based grease or pomade to the hair the drier the hair will begin to feel over time.
True moisture, WATER, simply cannot get into the shaft when layers of petroleum based products have built up on the hair strands. overuse of petroleum-based products repel moisture over time which can lead to lead to dryness and breakage and make hair appear as if it is not growing.
When shopping for skin and haircare goods familiarize yourself with the many petro-chemical names, and closely monitor the effects of these ingredients on your body. Although Beija-Flor Naturals offers organic plant based products , we urge you to do your own research to find the best healthy alternatives for your own body.