Monday, January 25, 2010

Quality Control begins with the raw materials

I've already blogged about cosmetic grade vs. pharmaceutical grade... But, I've noticed that skin care companies will try to get around admitting to using cosmetic grade ingredients by saying that they are using FOOD GRADE ingredients. So, let's take a look at that...
Nearly 75% of men and women use some kind of skin care product each day. There are literally thousands of brands and millions of products to choose from. Is there really a difference between them?
Fact #1: The FDA manufacturing standards are not rigid enough for skin care products but are improving every year as research delivers warnings about the dangers of many different chemical such as FD&C dyes, sodium salts, sulfates, and propylene glycol.
Is there a difference between vitamin ingredients?
The FDA allows questionable fillers and binders such as; cork by products, chemical FD&C dyes, sodium salts, sulfates, and propylene glycol to name only a few. Although these ingredients may be legal, what are their benefits? Reports have indicate that some of these ingredients can be toxic at certain levels with prolong use.
The FDA typically does not monitor the contents or purity of most skin care products but at BB*Jayde we do. Every single raw ingredient is test by us and a 3rd party QC lab for purity and potency.
Purity: What does it really mean? ---Defined: The quality or state of being pure or unmixed with any other element.
In most cases, Impure ingredients are used by many companies. The FDA does not require manufacturers to list these ingredients on the labels. Many times the raw materials may contain only 50% or less of the listed ingredients along with 50% or more corn starch and other fillers. These fillers are known allergens for some people. These items have been known to cause irritation and weaken the immune system. A conscientious company will not compromise the integrity of a product with such raw materials.

Hypoallergenic: What does it really mean? --- Defined: non-allergy producing. A term applied to a preparation in which every possible care has been taken in formulation and production to ensure minimum instance of allergic reactions. (Blakiston's Medical Dictionary)
Facts #2: Not all products are created equal
Pharmaceutical Grade: What does it mean?
There are basically three different grades of raw materials used in products they are:
  • Pharmaceutical Grade - meets pharmaceutical standards and is 99% or greater purity.
  • Food Grade - filler ingredients must meet standards set for human consumption
  • Cosmetic Grade - meets standards set for use externally. Must contain at least 50% of the ingredient, may also contain 50% impurities and up to 30% bacteria.

The difference between each grade type is one of quality and purity. In technical terms, no substance is 100% pure, for there are always other substances added to various products. The difference between the grades is one of how much of these other substances are present in the product.
There are several criteria by which pharmaceutical grade are judged. The product must be in excess of 99% purity with no binders, fillers, excipients, dyes, or unknown substances.

United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
The USP provides assurance to the consumer, as well as those involved in manufacturing and processing, that the quality and purity of the raw materials utilized are of pharmaceutical grade.
The bottom line is, if the product is not manufactured properly it may not work or could cause side effects. If you're not sure what you are buying, ask for a COA. If they can not provide a COA, then you know they are using cosmetic grade ingredients.
Fact #3: Quality Control begins with the raw materials
There are few raw material manufacturers and many many "middle men" or "suppliers"
Most companies deal with suppliers who purchase the ingredients from another supplier who purchased it from a manufacturer. As the ingredients pass thru the hands of different suppliers, each may add fillers to increase their profits.
It's best to deal with a manufacturer, however
What makes one manufacturersuperior over the other begins with how the material is grown. Raw materials and quality control is the key to an excellent skin care productt.
Questions to ask about your materials
  • Is the ingredient natural or synthesized?
  • How were they cultured?
  • Did the seeds come from organic sources?
  • Were pesticides used at any point?
  • Where were they grown?
  • How were they harvested?
  • Were fields depleted in the process?
  • How often are the fields rotated?
Quality control begins by selecting the freshest active raw materials. Immediately after harvesting is completed the product starts to age. Transporting and storing the materials in a temperature controlled environment is pertinent to insure the longevity of the items. Once the finished products reach the warehouse, rotation and inventory control is the key to maintaining fresh ingredients.
Just like food and drugs, vitamins age until they have lost their entire potency. Many people take vitamins all their life and wonder why they have medical problems. Medical problems can be magnified by improperly made, irresponsible stored or poor quality raw materials. Vitamins are a science just like drugs and all other product producing industries. Unfortunately, there will always be companies who prefer the bottom line in place of your health and quality products.
You can't always judge a product by its cover
"Ingredients" on the label do not always tell the facts. In most cases they don't even come close. Mosy skin care products do not have the amounts of active ingredients used listed on the label. Obviously, it is an impossible task for any agency to monitor every product that is on the market. This is a serious concern and is why specific procedures must be met and verified to insure consumer safety.
Globally, there are various units of measurements displayed on labels. Interpreting these labels requires the expertise of a professional who understands the difference between them along with the latest laws and regulations placed on the industry.
The DSHEA act of 1994, approved by our congress, mandated labels changes within our industry. Over the years policies and standards have been redefined. The rules and regulations have changed creating confusion to the consumers and unnecessary expenses to manufactures. Because our country trades on a global level It will take decades before a worldwide standard is set and acceptable to all governing bodies in this comprehensive industry.
How do you find quality vitamins and other active ingredients?
This is difficult for the average person. The following information is guidelines you may be able to follow.
  • The seller must maintain a temperature controlled environment.
  • The seller should not have a warehouse on or off the premises.
  • The seller should prepare a fresh batch daily by HAND. Too much is at stake to risk mass producing products on machinery.
  • The seller should be certified or have certified staff in their presence while making certain products (with vitamins or other ingredients such as essential oils)
  • The seller needs to understand how vitamins are made, must know the manufacturers and have toured many of the vitamin labs they are carrying.
  • The seller should only use pharmaceutical grade vitamins and active ingredients.

If the product is made correctly and selected accurately by the consumer the products will work for all. This is a win win situation for everyone. If the person making these products does not have the technology or knowledge to make the products correctly, then simply do not make them.
Sometime in the near future and after I get permission from my attorney, I'm going to create a list of known products that do not live up to their name or meet the criteria to be a safe and good product


gina said...

ok-that is eye-opening and sort of scary! But we need to hear it, you know? I'm trying my best to switch all of our products.