• June 13, 2024

Choosing Vegan Skin Care Products

Mainstream skin care & cosmetic products are generally not suitable for vegans as they contain animal derived ingredients or have involved animal testing. But vegan alternatives are available covering all types of cosmetics and make-ups.

Checking products for animal derived ingredients can be tricky, as products won’t necessarily have their ingredients list displayed on the packaging. And if they do, they may be difficult to decipher. Many companies avoid using the word “animal” in their ingredient labels in order to avoid putting off consumers. Animal derived ingredients are commonly used because they are generally cheaper than vegetable derived ingredients. Common animal derived ingredients include: carmine (crushed insects), collagen & elastin (protein derived from animal tissue & ligaments), keratin (from animal horns, hooves, feathers, quills & hair), setaric acid (fatty acid found in animal & vegetable fat), and tallow (animal fat).

It’s generally pretty easy to find vegan cosmetic products online or at health food stores, chemists, and specialty stores. Look for products that specifically state that they are free from animal derived ingredients. A cruelty free logo can also show that the products are both free from animal ingredients and free from animal testing.

Choosing vegan products isn’t just about ensuring they are free from animal derived ingredients. Many skin care products have also been tested on animals. As a result of campaigning, animal testing for cosmetic products has been phased out in many countries including Australia and the UK. However, there are still many countries where animal testing is still permitted, such as the US and many cosmetics and skin care products still involve animal testing.

While animal testing of cosmetics is not allowed in Australia, the majority of cosmetic and skin care products sold here have been tested on animals overseas. This includes make-up, body products, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorants, sunscreen, etc. Many major brands claim that they do not test their products on animals, but in reality, they have simply paid external companies overseas to do the testing for them.

Some tests that are carried out on animals for skin care products include:

a) Eye Irritancy tests. In this case, a substance is applied to a rabbit’s eye to see if irritation or damage occurs. During the test, rabbits are given no pain relief and are held in stocks to prevent them from touching their eyes. The test often lasts for several days, evidently causing them great pain and suffering. (Rabbits are used because they have very poor tear ducts in their eyes, so they cannot wash away the substance.)

b) Skin irritancy test. This involves shaving off the fur of an animal and applying a potentially irritating substance to their skin. The skin is then observed for signs of irritation e.g. swelling, reddening, bleeding, cracking or ulceration.

c) Toxicity tests, such as the LD-50 (Lethal Dose 50%). Substances are fed to the animals, which are then observed for signs of poisoning e.g. tremors, bleeding, vomiting or loss of balance. The test may last for several days, again causing great suffering. The animals that do not die during the experiment are killed at the end, for autopsy.

Animal testing for cosmetic purposes is unnecessary. The law requires that cosmetic product ingredients be safety tested but this does not need to involve animal testing. Cruelty-free alternatives such as testing on reconstructed human skin, using computer modeling and enlisting human volunteers are often more reliable than using a different species (with a different biology) to test products intended for humans. Cosmetic companies can also utilize the over 8,000 cosmetic ingredients that have already been established as safe. Vegan face care

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