Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tightening my Tummy and this Crazy Wrap Thing

As I continue to sell ItWorks products I run into similar questions from my potential customers. One of the most popular questions is "How do the wraps work?" I decided to address that in today's post.

Since my focus has been and continues to be using natural products I couldn’t possibly talk about the wraps on my blog without researching it for myself. My favorite site for checking cosmetic ingredients is The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, which rates both finished products and individual ingredients for the toxicity based on the available studies and information. Their database is very large, having over 64,000 entries. Scoring is based on a scale: 0-2 is a low hazard, a 3-6 is a moderate hazard and a 7-10 is a high hazard. So we want to see lots of ingredients with low scores;  a zero being ideal.
Here is how it looked: Water (Aqua) – 0
Glucose – 0
Caprylic /Capric Triglyceride – 0
Glycerin – 0
Alcohol Denat – 0
Stearic Acid – 1
Stearyl Alcohol – 1
Ceteareth 12 – 3-7, The biggest concern is that it not be used on injured or damaged skin.  Do not apply to damaged skin (cuts or scrapes, etc). It is a penetration enhancer to help get the herbs into the skin.
Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract – 0
Urea – 0
Centella asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Leaf Extract – 0
Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract – 2  This is regulated as to how much concentration can be used in a particular material.  This is why it is listed as a 2 on the hazard scale. Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Thalle Extract – 0
Hedera helix (Ivy) Leaf Extract – 0
Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) Leaf/Stem Extract – 0
Ruscus aculeatus (Butchers Broom) Root Extract – 0
Paullinia cupana (Guarana) Seed Extract – 0   It's listed as a 1 because it is in many products as an additive.  The concern is that one may exposed to too much of this ingredient.
Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil – 0
Decyl Oleate – 0
Magnesium Aluminum Silicate – 1  The Research reviewed by the Cosmetic Database site says this is only a concern if it is overused or one is overexposed.  When within the concentration limits, there is no concern.
Glyceryl Stearate – 1
PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate – 4 This is a derivative of Coconut Oil. There are contamination concerns with the manufacture of this ingredient. If too much is used, then there is a concern.  Like the others, if used as directed(wrap every 72 hours, one wrap at a time)
Tocopheryl Acetate – 3 This is vitamin E. If too much is used, then there is a concern with skin irritation.  Like the others, use as directed; one wrap every 72 hours.
TEA-Hydroiodide – 2
Methylsilanol Mannuronate – 0
Menthol – 1
Camphor – 2
Panthenol – 1
Phenoxyethanol – 3  This number is in relation to risk for products that are used around the mouth.  There is no concern for the Body Applicator as it is used from the neck down.
Retinyl Palmitate – 8  This is a Vitamin A derivative that the FDA was scrutinizing in sunscreen hence the high rating. It is also something you would not want to take by mouth. Vitamin A in sunscreens was under scrutiny because the studies were showing the promotion of skin cancer.   You shouldn’t be sunbathing while wrapping. I am not one to take artificial Vitamin A so my exposure to this is limited to the wraps. This is not a prescription strength concentration so I am not personally concerned.
Triethanolamine – 5  This is regulated as to how much concentration can be used in a particular material. 
Carbomer – 0
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil – 0
Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil – 0
Caprylyl Glycol – 0
Sorbic Acid – 3
BHT – 6  This is used as a preservative in cosmetics. It was given a 6 due to the fact that it can irritate the eyes or lungs.  Is recognized as safe for use outside of in food.  Don’t eat your wrap!

Limonene – 6  This is a scent that is found naturally in fruits. Citrus oil in high concentrations can be irritating to sensitive skin, eyes and lungs. Another reason to use from the neck down and as directed. (one wrap at a time, every 72 hours)
Linalool – 5  If too much is used, then there is a concern. It is a fragrance ingredient. Like the others, use as directed.(one wrap at a time, every 72 hours)

So as you can see, most of the ingredients that scored as a 3 or above are due to their allergenic potential and are at the end of the ingredient list. So I would say the recommendation to use the wrap for only 45 minutes the first time is justified and acceptable. Once you assure your skin won’t have a reaction, then you can wear the wraps for longer periods of time in subsequent uses. Also, drinking water and staying well-hydrated during that 72 hours will allow your body to not only process the herbs in the wrap but also flush out what your body doesn't need.

After looking up several of the ingredients in my other beauty products on the EWG list and weighing it against what I have to gain using the wraps, I’m willing to accept exposure to these few ingredients. Of course, that is a personal decision. Given that use of the wraps is limited to once every 3 days and eventually I  will stop using them when I've achieved my desired results, its not going to be a long term exposure to those few ingredients either. 

Now lets look at the herbs....

The graphic above sums it up nicely. And none of these statements below have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, so I encourage you to do your own research. What I have gathered here is just documentation of historical use of the herbs and what current scientists are finding in their labs. I used several sources including the PFAF Plant database, NIH’s Medline, and WebMD as well as several other herbal sites.

Let’s look at each herb in the wrap. 

Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut). According to the NIH’s Medline Plus, it is effective for improving the circulatory system and is historically used to improve varicose veins in the legs.Centella asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Leaf Extract,  (Gotu Kola): Increases circulation according to several sources including the American Cancer Society. Historically, it is used to increase circulation and enhance memory and is also used as a cleansing herb for skin problems.Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract has a high antioxidant content and is used in many natural skin care products.Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Thalle Extract, is harvested from the Atlantic Ocean.  It is historically thought to increase skin elasticity and thickness.  Recent studies in Japan have suggested good results from its use. It is recommended to not use it orally during pregnancy or nursing due to its high iodine content. It is also extremely rich in many different vitamins and minerals.Hedera helix (Ivy) Leaf Extract sometimes called English Ivy, historically is used for disorders in the lung. I have made many syrups and tinctures using it for coughs and bronchitis. But it is also known to be used to increase circulation and to treat under-skin infections(cellulitis). A major action of this herb is that of a circulatory compound which assists other components to be absorbed by the skin, whilst also helping to remove waste products and fatty build-ups from the tissue and helps release fatty deposits from the cells.Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) Leaf/Stem Extract is thought to be the most abundant plant source of silica and is in a highly absorbable form.  It was thought to stimulate production of collagen, and it has shown promise in studies to speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity.  It is astringent, antioxidant and thought to benefit circulation, as well.Ruscus aculeatus (Butchers Broom) Root Extract  once used to make brooms, is thought to improve circulation and is used to treat varicose veinsPaullinia cupana (Guarana) Seed Extract,  is revered by the natives of Brazil. It is thought to be stimulating to the circulatory system and is used in weight loss products. It also has astringent properties.
Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, contains such microelements and nutrients as zinc, copper, silicon, iodine, chromium, Vitamins E and B group, acids and other natural ingredients. When used externally, this natural product allows us enjoy its antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and soothing properties.Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil has analgesic, astringent, diuretic, rubefacient, stimulant and tonic therapeutic properties in skincare.Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil: has a cleansing effect on the skin and reduces redness and irritation. It is reputed to aid in wound healing and is antispetic and anti-parasitic.

I hope this post helps you see for yourself that the wraps are safe to use. If you have more questions, please feel free to post questions below.