The US has banned 30 controversial or potentially dangerous ingredients from cosmetics, while in Europe the number is 1300. Our red list contains more than 2,700 ingredients.
For us, clean beauty not only means formulas that respect nature, animals and health, but also an approach based on transparency and honest teachings. Our Swiss Clean Beauty Charter defines the ingredients that you will not find in any of our products because they are questionable, potentially harmful or because they can be replaced by better, more respectful alternatives. We will also explain the ingredients that you might find in our formulations one day because they don't worry us.
Developed with our collective of scientific experts, doctors and chemists, our clean charter is accessible to everyone and offers a healthy and carefully considered vision of cosmetic care. As a brand developed by a dermatologist and prescribed in many clinics around the world, we are committed to being informed, informative and beyond any demagoguery.
Our passion is top of the range Medi-Luxe® cosmeceutical care that uses very advanced technology to fulfil our mission: 100% results and 0% compromises. This is what our "Clean Charter" calls for.
The ingredients that you will not find in our treatments.
Animal derivatives are present everywhere, even where you would not expect to find them, such as in wine fermentation. They can come directly from animals, as in the case of musk, lanolin or keratin, or they are produced by animals, like eggs, silk or honey.
Beyond the issue of veganism, any ingredient of animal origin can come from a production system that is not respectful of animals or the environment. Even though there are serious certifications that guarantee ethical manufacturing, our developments have never required ingredients of animal origin. Animals, animal parts or their derivatives have no particular or irreplaceable usefulness in the development, preparation or testing of ingredients for cosmeceutical care.
Our brand is certified by PETA as 100% vegan and cruelty-free . Animal testing for cosmetic ingredients is unnecessary and cruel. We were already in compliance with the European Union regulation of 2013 long before its publication, and we demand the same from all our suppliers.
Parabens are synthetic preservatives that have been used for decades, not only in cosmetics but also in pharmaceuticals and food products. Preservatives are essential in any cosmetic product to prevent the spreading of bacteria (see the preservatives we use below).
A study in 2004 linked parabens to the development of cancers. Even if the subject remains hotly debated — the author of the research has since retracted it — some parabens are still being studied by the European Commission.
As a precaution, none of our formulas have included parabens since our inception. We prefer safer preservatives that respect the skin, body and environment.
Sulphates are detergent salts used in beauty products to make them "foam". They are very common and effective, and their main derivatives, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), are considered safe by the EU, USA (FDA) and Canada.
The main criticism of sulphates, especially SLS, is their effectiveness: they work so well that they can cause irritation and redness in some cases. In addition, in the USA, where the production of raw materials is poorly regulated, unlike Switzerland and the EU, some consumers fear contamination of SLES by 1,4 dioxane during production, which is a potentially carcinogenic ingredient.
The risk of 1,4-dioxane contamination is almost non-existent for skincare products made in Europe, where manufacture and compliance are very closely monitored. However, we have chosen to use excellent natural alternatives instead.
Microplastics are mainly used as exfoliating beads in cleansers.
Microplastics are rightly criticised because they build up in lakes and rivers, which increasingly leads to the poisoning of aquatic fauna.
Microplastic beads are unnecessary because there are many high-quality natural alternatives. For example, we use natural particles of rice or cellulose (wood extracts) in our cleansers and peels.
Once considered the technology of the future, nanomaterials are less than 100 billionths of a metre in size and have the property of crossing biological barriers. Specifically, they can penetrate deeper into the skin, working in a more targeted and powerful way.
The effect of these ultra-fine particles on human health remains uncertain for topical applications (on the skin); the primary concern remains their toxicity when inhaled in large quantities by workers in the microelectronics industry.
Their strength is also the source of possible serious problems: the nanoparticles could penetrate through layers of the skin, pass into the bloodstream and accumulate in organs, with unknown long-term effects. For the sake of adopting precautionary principles, we do not include [NANO] ingredients.
PEG (polyethylene glycol)
Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs) are ingredients used as a humectant, i.e. they help to retain the water in formulas and therefore hydrate the skin. Mainly of synthetic origin, they can be transformed into esters which, in turn, act as emulsifiers that make it possible to blend non-mixable materials such as water and oil.
These substances do not in themselves present a real danger to health because they are stable and neutral. PEGs are also usually tolerated very well by the skin. They are mainly criticised because of their manufacturing process, which is one of the most polluting in the cosmetics industry.
There are many excellent natural alternatives available today, so, although it is very expensive, we have decided to eliminate all PEGs from our formulas.
PPG (polypropylene glycol)
Polypropylene Glycols (PPGs) are also humectants that allow formulas to retain their water content. They are often used as thickeners and emulsifiers to improve the mixtures of ingredients that don't usually combine well (like water and oils) in a homogeneous way.
Like their PEG cousins, PPGs have not received an unfavourable opinion from even the most stringent regulatory and supervisory bodies; PPGs have even been classified with a score of 1 (the highest) by the Environmental Working Group.
Their manufacturing process is very energy intensive and polluting. In addition, excellent natural alternatives have appeared in recent years, which has allowed us to reformulate our products without any PPGs.
Formaldehyde is a very old preservative. It is a known carcinogen and is now banned in cosmetics in Europe.
Some products can "release" very small amounts of formaldehyde over time. Examples of such formaldehyde releasers include DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea and Quaternium-15.
Although we are only talking about possible traces of formaldehyde here, and although the purity of ingredients is very strict monitored in Europe (unlike the United States), these ingredients are not necessary and therefore not including them in our formulas has no bearing on the results or the experience. There is therefore no benefit to using them, even if the risk of contamination is minimal.
Triclosan is a broad spectrum antibacterial preservative (that is, it is effective against a large number of germs) often used in deodorants or medical antiseptic cleansers.
It is mainly criticised because it lingers in the environment; suspicions that it might possibly be toxic have also recently become more concrete in several scientific studies. Finally, if overused, this kind of an antibacterial can also create resistance.
Since it is not necessary in anti-ageing care products thanks to the existence of gentler and equally effective alternatives, we do not use it in any of our treatments.
Mineral Oils and Waxes
Inert and very well tolerated by the skin, mineral oils and waxes are fatty substances derived from petroleum, such as petroleum jelly and paraffin, for example. They are purified during production and therefore present no risk of contamination. They are particularly appreciated for the protective film they form, which helps maintain a good level of hydration of the skin and is an essential benefit for medical treatments against certain pathologies, such as eczema.
These petrolatum derivatives come from the petrochemical industry, and therefore they are pollutant and, by definition, unnatural. They are also criticised, often wrongly, as occlusive ingredients, which are a problem for acne-prone or very oily skin. However, no studies have proved that they have a harmful effect on health, especially when these ingredients are applied to the skin (and not ingested).
We don't need mineral oils to stabilise pharmaceutical type ingredients. There have been excellent quality, beneficial alternatives that are more natural available for more than a decade.
BHA and BHT
BHAs (ButylHydroxyAnisole) and BHTs (ButylHydroxyToluene) are antioxidants of synthetic origin that are as powerful as they are controversial. They are found in many beauty products: from foundations to body oils.
Several studies seem to show a persistent risk to health, especially in high doses and in the event of accumulation. These studies have largely been carried out on animals and in very high doses, often through ingestion.
Although their toxicity has not been demonstrated for humans, especially when they are not ingested and their concentration is low — as would be the case for care products — we have chosen not to use BHAs or BHTs.
EDTA is a "chelating" agent that captures other molecules and allows them to be fixed. In cosmetics, it is also used as a stabiliser to prevent fermentation by bacteria. Medicinally, it is used to treat poisoning from heavy metals, such as lead.
Recent studies seem to show that EDTA has an allergenic potential. If large doses are ingested, it can also be harmful and dangerous. However, these problems are not proven when used at very low doses in topical care. Environmental groups are also concerned about the dangers of a build-up of large amounts of EDTA in waterways, which is a problem for industries that are very fond of this ingredient, such as the production of paper or detergents. It should be noted, however, that the percentages of EDTA used in cosmetic care are tiny and therefore only generate a minimal part of any aquatic pollution.
The health or environmental hazards mainly concern other industries and other types of use than those relating to skin care. However, EDTA can now be avoided with less controversial and more respectful complexes, so that's what we decided to do.
"Volatile" silicones (siloxanes)
Siloxanes are a family of silicones widely used in shampoos, make-up and certain skincare products. They give a particularly silky texture and preserve skin hydration, while staying as light as a veil.
Cyclic silicones, in particular cyclosiloxanes, are criticised by researchers because of their impact on the environment, especially on marine fauna. Recent studies have shown that some of these cyclic siloxanes, which are particularly volatile, could be toxic when ingested in high doses. For this reason, two of them, D4 and D5, are currently regulated by the EU in rinse-out products (e.g. conditioners).
Their toxicity to humans has not been established, especially when it comes to treatments applied to the skin (and not ingested). However, due to their volatile nature, these ingredients present various risks, especially marine fauna. That's why we use natural alternatives like coconut oil extracts.
Talc is of mineral origin and has many beneficial properties: it smooths the surface of the skin and it can also absorb excess water or fatty substances. It is also classified as a "skin protection agent" by the international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients.
There are risks if it is inhaled, especially by children. As such, the European Union requires a written precaution on all volatile products (such as powder) containing talc. This ingredient has also been singled out in feminine hygiene products in the United States as a possible source of ovarian cancer. However, these trials have shown that the risks do not come from the talc itself but from the impurities and traces of heavy metals it may contain.
Talc produced in Europe must comply with very strict verified rules of origin. We are therefore not worried by the talc contained in products in Europe as long as the precautions for use are respected. However, we get no benefit from talc that cannot be replicated by safe alternatives.
Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA) are mainly used to balance the pH of treatments. They are also appreciated for the foaming effect they produce, and sometimes they replace ammonia in so-called "ammonia-free" hair dyes.
Ethanolamines present a particular danger when in contact with nitrite. For this reason, the European Union has completely banned TEA and banned MEA and TEA concentrations of more than 0.5% and 2.5% respectively.
Warnings of the carcinogenic potential of these ingredients are increasing. In addition, despite being banned, nitrite derivatives such as nitrosamines are too often present in make-up; in 2017, the cantonal laboratory of Basel found nitrosamine in almost 25% of the products tested. Although we have never used these molecules, as a precaution, we refuse to have any ethanolamines in our care products.
Perfumes with phthalates
There are around a dozen phthalates (BBP, DBP, DEHP, DINP, DCHP, DNOP, DMP, etc.). These are chemical derivatives of phthalic acid used in perfumes as denaturing agents to preserve alcohol.
The European Union has banned almost all of them since 2013 because they are recognised as endocrine disruptors. Only DEP remains authorised, although it is now the subject of studies and debates.
When they were present, phthalates in skin care were mainly found in synthetic fragrances, so in very low (even tiny) doses. In addition, natural fragrances are often not well tolerated by the skin, and are the cause of many allergies. It is therefore particularly difficult to create stable fragrances that keep well and that are not allergenic. Our fragrances do not include any phthalates. In addition, in strict compliance with European regulations and recommendations, we avoid any natural or synthetic allergen, whether it has been proven or is only suspected.
Glycols (Propylene, Butylene)
These are products from petrochemicals, which explains their bad reputation.
They exist naturally in plants, sesame seeds and mushrooms. They are interesting "carriers" for active ingredients, which are considered to be inactive and not very allergenic. They are also common in the food industry.
Beyond their synthetic origin, in the past there have been cases of children were poisoned after ingesting it in very high doses. However, the criticism that they are carcinogenic or toxic has not been corroborated by any clinical study to date, especially when it comes to care applied to the skin (and not ingested).
Although these ingredients do not worry us, we have made the choice to avoid them and replace them with more promising ingredients.
The ingredients that you might come across one day because they don't give us any cause for concern.
Preservatives are essential in cosmetics because they prevent contamination and the growth of bacteria. There are many kinds, including phenoxyethanol and cocamidopropyl betaine, derived from coconut oil.
There are two types of controversy: first, preservatives are, by nature, overwhelmingly unnatural. This is the reason why even "natural" or "organic" labels allow preservatives of synthetic origin to be included. In addition, some suspect them to be harmful, allergenic or sensitising, although there is no tangible evidence.
We use the minimum amount of preservatives necessary to avoid any risk of contamination, which is all the more essential with highly natural formulas like ours (up to 95% of ingredients of natural origin). In addition, our airless bottles mean our treatments have minimal exposure to oxygen and CO2, and therefore a very low risk of contamination or mould. Phenoxyethanol, for example, is present at concentrations as low as 0.05% - which is 20 times less than the regulatory threshold in the EU (1%) and significantly lower than the threshold approved in the EU and the Canada for products for infants.
More specifically, in relation to phenoxyethanol, it is important to note that no study has proven any risk for humans. It is not one of the 14 substances currently being studied at the request of the European Commission for their potential endocrine disrupting effects. We will continue to follow all the studies and advances in this crucial area of the preservative family.
Linear silicones, including Dimethicone, come from silica, the main element of sand. They have well known benefits for pharmaceutical and medical products, in particular thanks to their stability, the fact that they are well tolerated by the skin and the protective film they produce (which is not very comedogenic or occlusive). These silicones are frequently used to treat wounds or 2nd or 3rd degree burns, for example.
Silicone is seen as a pollutant because it can take several generations to degrade in the environment. However, unlike plastic, it does not disintegrate into microscopic particles, and therefore does not poison aquatic fauna. In addition, although slow, its natural degradation mainly brings it back to its "natural" state, i.e. water and silica (sand). Finally, linear silicones are not toxic: they are neither carcinogenic nor suspected of being endocrine disruptors. However, it is estimated that the silicone used in skin care represents less than 1% of world production.
We have eliminated linear silicones from all of our products if they do not fulfil an irreplaceable role in terms of performance or safety. As such, we do not use silicone for its smoothing and silky effect. It is important to note that silicones are exceptionally stable and neutral vectors for very unstable ingredients like vitamin C; the protective and neutral film they produce on the skin can also be difficult to replace in certain cases.
For our vitamins C and other highly unstable ingredients, new technologies have allowed us to replace silicone to keep them active.
However, for any product requiring physical protection of the skin, for example against pollution, silicone is by far the most complete ingredient allowing for a neutral, total and non-comedogenic physical barrier. Careful blending is required between different (linear) silicones to meet all of these ambitious goals at the same time.
It is therefore an ingredient that we only agree to use when its "medical" functions are irreplaceable, and never for reasons of convenience. We also work actively with our suppliers to ensure that their manufacture produces the least possible environmental impact, for example through the use of renewable electricity.
Denatured alcohol is used in a large number of cosmetic products to strengthen a formula's preservative system or to dissolve ingredients.
Alcohol is singled out for its irritant potential, especially for more sensitive skin. This is especially the case for products such as tonics or micellar waters.
We favour fatty alcohols, which are better tolerated and have benefits that go beyond a stabilising or anti-contaminant effect. In our products, denatured alcohol represents only 0.001% at most, which makes it practically undetectable. It is also important to note that alcohol is one of the most widely used natural preservatives in organic cosmetics.
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