Our fine skingredients. At VMV HYPOALLERGENICS®, we source our ingredients from trusted providers around the world; most come from the highest-quality purveyors in Europe and the USA. We choose ingredients based solely on their efficacy, quality, beneficial merit, and hypoallergenicity … not on their aesthetic properties.
Even with such meticulously selected skingredients, our formulations contain the least amount of ingredients possible: our ingredients give maximum benefits without having to pile them on, a practice that increases the likelihood of irritations and cross reactions.
Our ingredients are so fine (we patch test each and every one!) that we’ve proudly displayed them on our labels since we started in 1979 … long before many countries’ regulatory bodies mandated that ingredients be listed on cosmetics products.
Does VMV Use “Natural” Ingredients?
If they’re not allergens and if they’re proven to be effective at their particular function by evidence-based clinical trials, yes. Our top criterion for selecting ingredients is hypoallergenicity. Many natural ingredients are allergens. So while we’ll try to use natural, organic ingredients, we’ll only do so if they are proven to be hypoallergenic and effective. Our virgin coconut oil (present in many of our products), for example, comes from a coconut farm that is USDA-certified organic. At this farm, which VMV supports, nothing goes to waste. Coconut by-products are used to feed fish in fresh flowing rivers on the land (gravity-fed fishponds) which has evolved naturally into a bird sanctuary for wild ducks, white herons, and hawks. Instead of parabens, our preservative system makes use of monolaurin, another coconut-derived product which is used in the majority of VMV products.
At VMV we conform primarily to dermatological and contact dermatitis requirements regarding skin and medical safety.
When choosing ingredients our primary filters are the allergen lists published by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergens, both of which conduct multi-center patch tests over several years on tens of thousands of patients, and both of which are independent organizations, which ensures our objectivity in ingredient selection. We further vet our ingredients via internal patch tests, which are also conducted on final formulations as well as accessories like brushes and sponges. If an ingredient is on these lists, we will not use it. Sometimes, an ingredient suddenly makes it to these lists (such as vitamin E, which we used to use in almost all our products), and then we reformulate. At times this can result in a lag where some of our products may still contain a recently listed allergen, but we do commit to reformulating all our products to ensure that we do not use proven allergens.
In addition, we refer to the American Academy of Dermatology’s requirements, as well as those of other countries regarding sun protection and skin safety. As skin cancer, photosensitivity, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, psoriasis and other diseases are real concerns for many of our clients, we must prioritize protection and allergenicity before any other consideration (many of our clients have more serious conditions such as melanoma, rosacea, polymorphic light eruption, etc., and need this level of protection and care).
While we try to also select ingredients that are considered environmentally-friendly, for products that have such serious protection, preventive care or therapeutic functions, we prioritize safety, skin non-allergenicity and protection first. This is why many of our studies are published in dermatological journals such as Dermatitis (of the American Contact Dermatitis Society [ACDS), the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, the Archives of Dermatology, and even awarded at the World Congress of Dermatology, and why they’re included as safer alternatives in the Contact Allergen Management Program of the ACDS.
Many environmental watch groups have important information that can be helpful regarding certain ingredients. But we still defer to official regulatory boards internationally. The reason for this is that some environmental groups can be unclear about certain objections. For example, lead in lipsticks is a common alert, and lead is a proven carcinogen. But the concentrations of lead usually used in lipsticks (certainly in our formulations) is less than what is found in the water we drink or air that we breathe. Certain ingredients that have shown toxicity have done so in experiments with rats (for example) that were fed the ingredient, sometimes at levels about the equivalent of the animal’s body weight over several years. This is a different scenario from eating these ingredients, or even taking them in through medications. In normal cosmetics, the concentrations of such ingredients can be too small to cause problems. Many of these ingredients have molecules that are too large to penetrate the epidermis, making penetration through the dermis to the bloodstream and internal organs unlikely. This is why, for example, we currently do not use nano-sized ingredients because the jury is still out on whether they penetrate too deeply into the skin.
There are certain ingredients that we know are proven red flags for certain people. For example, retinoic acid is a known teratogen (affects embryonic development). While there are no studies that conclusively show that topically-applied cosmetics can penetrate deep enough to affect a growing fetus, we do not recommend this product for pregnant women.
We take the same approach in the selection and management of all our ingredients. We choose those that are scientifically proven in multi-subject, multi-center patch tests to be the safest for the skin. For products that provide a more serious health function, like sunscreens or active treatments, we also prioritize evidence-based efficacy. Whenever we can, we prioritize environmental safety as well, which is why we do not use phthalates, for example.
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