PROBLEM #1 – What is the “Wet” in Wet Wipes?
The ingredients used in face wipes is quite common among all mainstream brands particularly those found in drug stores.
Many of the ingredients are inexpensive and derived from petro chemicals.. not necessarily toxic but definitely a skin irritant. The other thing about wet wipes that most people are not aware of is… due to the nature of the product they are very vulnerable to mould and fungus growth, so the preservatives used must be strong and effective in order to work. Unfortunately with the non-natural brands they are free to use some of the more harsh and formaldehyde-forming ingredients (which keep in mind will be used around your eyes, mouth and on your skin) without rinsing.
The following ingredients are what I would call chemicals of concern:
1. Pegs: You may find a number after each one. They are glycols that help the formula penetrate while carcinogenic contaminants are the primary concern, PEG compounds themselves show some evidence of genotoxicity and if used on broken skin can cause irritation and systemic toxicity.
2. Propylene Glycol: This ingredient is found in many non -natural wet wipes and many other cosmetic products because it helps ingredients penetrate the skin. The problem with this ingredient is that it is considered a skin irritant and some countries, (Health Canada) has flagged this ingredient as a moderate human health priority, which means it is flagged for future assessment.
3. Parabens: Wet wipes require extensive preservation as mentioned earlier so the presence of parabens in wet wipes formulations should have been a thing of the past. For some reason in 2018 some of the biggest drug store wet wipes brands still have them in their formulations. So my position on this is better to stay “safe not sorry”. While the most common parabens also have “paraben” in their name — butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben—they can also be listed as “alkyl parahydroxy benzoates”.
Read more about parabens here.
4. Synthetic Fragrance: This is defiantly considered a skin irritant (even though we love the sensorial affect). I don’t like synthetic fragrances as I know what can be hidden in the name ‘fragrance’. The production of fragrance is complicated and so are the possible list of solvents that are involved in making them and they are definitely NOT skin friendly and definitely not something I would be rubbing around my eyes. So look for natural fragrance on the label or the actual essential oils. Just ensure you are not sensitive to any of them.
Read more on fragrances here.
REMEMBER *THIS* NEXT TIME YOU USE A FACE WIPE:
When you cleanse your face with a regular cleanser, you wash the product off your skin afterwards. With face wipes you’re wiping away makeup and dirt off your skin BUT then replacing it with the harsh chemicals which are then left on your skin (if you do not wash your face afterwards).
PROBLEM #2 – RAYON SUBSTRATE
Most face wipes use ‘rayon’ fibres, which are primarily made from wood pulp.
Think about when you have a cold and you are constantly wiping your nose with tissue. Tissue also uses wood pulp, which causes tiny micro-cuts on your skin. When we are constantly wiping our nose, we’re creating many tiny cuts, which is why our noses become red and sore.
Same analogy can be used with rayon face wipes, every time you wipe your face, you’re causing tiny micro cuts all over your skin, making it more receptive to breakouts and wrinkles.
PROBLEM #3 – SUSTAINABILITY
Wet wipes are filling up landfills, clogging city sewers, and devastating the habitat for marine wildlife. Most wipes are made with rayon and plastic resins including polyester and polypropylene, making them not entirely biodegradable. In addition, face wipes that use rayon require wood fibres from trees, which have taken 20-70 years to grow.