Looking into the Safety of Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate

Activist's formulation focus is on an efficacious mix of natural botanicals extracts and lab-created purified active ingredients to create results you can see and feel on your skin. We seek out nature's most beautiful ingredients that impart lovely textures, smells and colors and blend them with pure, potent actives that have been proven in clinical studies to be effective in achieving skin goals.

There is a third category of ingredients that are there for purely practical reasons: to ensure our formulas work correctly, whether that's keeping out germs with preservatives or allowing oil-based products to gently cleanse and rinse away.

Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate, also known by its trade name as Cromollient SCE, is an ingredient in this third category. It's a gentle emollient (which soothes and hydrates the skin) and surfactant (which emulsifies oils, or allows them to mix with water) that is used at low levels in Sea to Skin Cleansing Gel and Botanical Cleansing Oil.

This ingredient is a much more gentle alternative to sulfates and other harsh surfactants, and it's designed to be used in cleansers for the most sensitive skin, including baby products. We carefully selected this ingredient for its gentleness and safety profile.

Why do we use it?

In these two products, its purpose is to allow the oils — which are so good at gently cleansing the skin and removing makeup, sunscreen and other impurities— to rinse off, so that you don't have to use a second cleanser such as a foaming face wash. Otherwise, you'd have dissolved your excess oil, makeup, sunscreen, pollution, etc. into the oil but it would still be on your face, and any water added during the rinsing process would bounce right off because oil and water repel each other.

All cleansers that rinse off, whether they are foaming face washes with water-based formulas or emulsifying cleansing oils and balms with oil-based formulas, require some surfactant, and there are no 100% natural surfactants because this functionality simply doesn't exist in nature without processing natural ingredients into new chemical structures, which is what is meant by a "synthetic" ingredient.

When we selected a surfactant, our chief concerns were that it respects the skin's lipid barrier and is safe for our bodies and environment from a toxicity standpoint. Cromollient SCE, being gentle enough for babies' skin, fits our needs, but as a synthetic ingredient there are purification requirements during manufacturing to ensure the end product does not create toxicity risks. 

Safety concerns we take seriously

The production of Cromollient SCE involves ethoxylation a chemical process that can create small amounts of 1,4-dioxane as a byproduct, which then needs to be removed. 1,4-dioxane is a toxin with carcinogenic potential, and absolutely no one wants to use or manufacture products containing it. Because it's a very well-known contaminant that everyone wants to avoid, it is very carefully controlled for. Our supplier is Croda, a leading global ingredients manufacturer who performs third party testing through Intertek Champaign Laboratories to verify that finished products using Cromollient SCE at recommended levels contain less than 1 ppm (part per million) 1,4-dioxane, which is the standard for personal care and cleansing and is in accordance with recent environmental legislation NY State Senate Bill S4389B.

Because we use Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate at such low levels, Sea to Skin Cleansing Gel contains less than 0.075 ppm 1,4-dioxane and Botanical Cleansing Oil contains less than 0.5 ppm 1,4-dioxane, which are both well under the 1.0 ppm goal. If you are concerned about carcinogenic potential from your skincare, we want to assure you that these products are not ones that you need to avoid. We would never consider producing any product with true carcinogenic potential, either.

For an idea of the risk level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that in three epidemiologic studies on workers exposed to 1,4-dioxane, the number of cancer incidences was no higher than the rates of the average American population. Chronic workplace exposure to this chemical in a manufacturing setting would be much, much higher than the miniscule amounts that skincare customers may be exposed to.

Sadly, our world is increasingly toxic, and on a daily basis we are faced with many choices in which we have to conduct our own risk-benefit analysis using the information available to us. We know that our air, water and soil are contaminated with chemicals that didn't exist prior to industrialization, and that going about our daily lives means we're exposing ourselves to varying amounts of toxins, from commuting to work and school, to eating and drinking, to just plain breathing.

As an environmentalist brand, we have to do this same risk-benefit analysis when it comes to packaging, formulation, manufacturing, shipping and other decisions because the truth is that nothing is truly sustainable; nothing can be done without having an impact on our planet. In order to exist in the modern world we must make choices to do the most good with the least amount of damage, aiming for a net-positive impact, including providing a skincare alternative that greatly reduces climate change, plastic pollution and human rights harms compared to conventional products, while giving back at least 1% of our revenue to environmental advocacy groups through our membership with 1% for the Planet.