Am I Having An Allergic Reaction To Mica?
We have had a few women that are concerned about using any mineral makeup that contains Mica. The letters we have received over the years are written by women who are convinced that Mica is a factor as to why they have a reaction with their skin after applying mineral makeup, especially since they eliminated the leading irritant Bismuth Oxychloride from their minerals. They had all but given up on the theory that mineral makeup is good for their skin or that they will ever be able to wear it until they come across our website.
Identifying The Allergy
Unfortunately, not all Mica is conducive to being best suited for some women in their mineral makeup. However, is it really the Mica or something else causing the allergic reaction? It is important to define the difference!
We address this concern in many articles and we have shown in some instances, Mica may prove to be a problem for some women. But with Mica being a completely "inert" ingredient, basically a substance that is not chemically reactive, it is not usually an allergy to Mica that is occurring on the skin. Typically, it is due to the high ratio used in the majority of mineral makeup when it becomes a slight to moderate irritant. An ingredient without chemical reaction, in the majority of cases, is not related to being an allergen, but because of the irritation it can cause, the confusion lingers.
The True Allergen Of Mica
What can cause a true allergy for some women is perhaps what the Mica is coated with. There are many chemical compounds used to coat mica to create better absorption, slip, finish, texture, staying power, water repellency, etc. Some of these which due to their chemical nature, can and will cause an allergic reaction in a small number of women.
Some coatings that are popular are: Carnauba Wax (thickener, binder, occlusive), Tetradecyloctyldecyl Myristate (emulsifier, film former, binder) or Perfluoroalkyl Phosphate (film former, binder) and Lauroyl Lysine (surfactant, binder, occlusive). This is a tiny fraction of synthetic chemicals which could produce chemical reactions when used in cosmetic formulas, whereby due to their "reactive" nature can be a cause of an actual allergic reaction. Some of these are better and less problematic than others and this would be dependent on one's own skin sensitivity. Plus, dry vs wet formulations, such as mineral makeup vs liquid makeup also determines skins' reactivity to an ingredient.
Magnesium Myristate (slip modifier, skin conditioning agent non-occlusive) is another ingredient that women have excellent results with but has been confused with many of the Myristate variables listed on any skincare or makeup label which is quite extensive, are available for cosmetic use, which includes those that are considered occlusive and irritating to the skin.
Magnesium Myristate seems to be the exception since it has a great skin safe rating and is the combination of Magnesium Salts (mineral) and Myristic Acid (fatty acid typically derived from coconut or palm oils). This ingredient has strong absorbent properties and some disinfecting properties. Magnesium Myristate contributes the following noticeable aspects to cosmetics: adhesion, free flow, slip, soft feel, rub resistance, lubricity, creamy surface smoothness, and water repellency.
How Will I know?
Unfortunately, what contributes to this confusion is the "brand" of mineral makeup you may be using since the brand may not always disclose the coating ingredient on the label. Basically, claiming "proprietary" reasons so the label may simply list the first ingredient as Mica or Sericite which are one in the same. However, this ingredient utilized by itself without some sort of coating performs poorly in mineral makeup, has high melt out rates, poor adhesion and less than desirable water repellent capabilities. Just some of the results which makes a particular brand substandard to others on the market.
We Killed Two Birds With One Stone
In addressing these concerns with women as to irritation from Mica or allergic reaction due to the coatings offered on Mica, we provide a formula which has truly helped women find the answer to their mineral makeup woes.
Irritation Solved: We use a small amount of Mica in a perfect ratio blend of our other acne and skin safe ingredients compared to other leading brands and only use mica which is surface treated with polymer spheres of Methicone. Basically encapsulating the rough edged mica particles, creating wonderful slip and ease of application. This allows the mineral makeup to float onto the skin with minimal buffing which also reduces the irritation factor. Bonus points for this surface treatment, is it reduces dryness on the skin by prevention of trans-epidermal moisture loss.
Allergen Solved: No worry of potential allergen since the surface treatment of Methicone is also "inert" in its formulation. It is not "reactive" to other chemicals which in turn also makes it extremely hydrophobic (water resilient). And of course, it is fully disclosed on our ingredient labels.
Women who are almost at their wits end have been pleasantly surprised to learn our mineral makeup is the only one they can use everyday. We are thrilled we have provided the answer and the solution to women with that nagging concern as to whether Mica is an allergen or is the cause of ongoing irritation to their skin. If you are still unsure of the benefits Sterling Minerals products will offer, a few samples in your preferred shades may very well put the question to rest once and for all and perhaps, finally, achieve pure harmony between your skin and mineral makeup.