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Organic Skin Science

Organic BB Cream

If you’ve ever looked at the ingredients list of your mineral makeup or mineral skincare products, it’s likely you’ll see “Iron Oxides”. While this ingredient may sound a little intimidating, you may be surprised to learn that Iron Oxides are a non-toxic and allergy friendly ingredient that can do wonders for all complexion types. These naturally occurring compounds, primarily used as pigment in makeup and SPF products, are a popular ingredient choice in beauty formulations as a result of their skin health benefits - from providing protection against environmental stressors to imparting a natural glow. 

What Are Iron Oxides?

Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen atoms. They exist in various forms, each with distinct properties and applications. These compounds are commonly found in nature within the vibrant hues of minerals, rocks, and soil.

In addition to many geological and biological functions that they play in nature, iron oxides are also widely used in electronics, food, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in beauty and personal care products.

In the world of beauty, Iron oxides are most often used to add pigment to cosmetics and skincare, from mineral foundation to tinted sunscreen, they offer a natural alternative to synthetic colours.

Why Iron Oxides are included in beauty formulations

Iron Oxides are an ingredient of choice in makeup and beauty products thanks to the rich and intense colour they naturally deliver within formulations. They also offer impressive staying power, as Iron Oxides are naturally resistant to moisture so the colours will not smear or bleed easily once applied. 

Benefits of Iron Oxide for Skin

Aside from their highly pigmented colour, Iron Oxide also provides many benefits to the skin when applied cosmetically.

Natural SPF 

Without a doubt, one of the most important benefits of iron oxides in skincare is their ability to provide natural protection against harmful UV rays. Iron oxide particles, particularly those in the red and yellow spectrum, possess excellent light-reflecting properties, effectively scattering and absorbing both UVA and UVB rays. This makes them an ideal ingredient in sunscreens, tinted moisturiser and mineral makeup items to offer colour and natural protection from the sun. 

Environmental Stress

Similarly to sun protection, the natural barrier that Iron Oxides deliver to the skin also protects our complexion from environmental aggressors such as pollution, smoke and stressful climates.
  

Antioxidant Defence

Containing antioxidant properties allows Iron Oxides to neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative stress on the skin. This assists with preventing premature ageing, reduces inflammation, and promotes overall skin health.


Non-Comedogenic & Suitable For All Skin Types

Thanks to their breathable, non-comedogenic nature, iron oxides are generally well-tolerated by all skin types and are less likely to cause irritation or clog pores. This makes them suitable for a wide range of skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin.

In addition to their skin health benefits, Iron Oxides also deliver on aesthetic benefits to the skin. As nature’s colour corrector, they even out skin tone while providing a subtle glow thanks to their light reflective properties.

All You Need To Know About Iron Oxides in Beauty Product


Iron oxides are a group of sixteen compounds, composed of iron and oxygen atoms, that abounds in nature. For example, the rust that forms on metal objects when they are exposed to water or oxygen for a long period of time is one of the naturally occurring forms of iron oxide. In addition to many geological and biological functions that they play in nature, iron oxides are also widely used in electronics, food, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in beauty and personal care products.


Why Do We Use Iron Oxides?

Iron oxides have been used in the cosmetic industry since the early 1900s as natural, inexpensive, and durable pigments. They can be found in anything from eyeshadows, eyeliners, and mascaras, to blushes, face powders, hair dyes, and lipsticks. Do you know how rust has that deep red/brownish shade? Well, that shade is what gives your favorite oxblood red lipstick it's color.

Iron oxides that are created during the process of oxidation come in a wide variety of earthy tones and shades, not just reds and browns. Think in terms of deep yellow, fire orange, and even black. These colorful fine powders are all classified into three main color groups: yellow, colcothar (or red), and black iron oxides.

One of the main reasons why these compounds are used in makeup and beauty products is because they give the products rich and intense color. Another reason is their admirable staying power. Iron oxides are resistant to moisture, and when this feature is transferred to makeup, you get long-lasting products (you do not need to reapply every half an hour) and do not smear or bleed easily.

What To Try: Anti-Ageing Mineral Foundation SPF15

Are Iron Oxides Safe?

As we have already mentioned, iron oxides are compounds that naturally occur in nature, which makes them 100% natural. However, the iron oxide that occurs naturally in an uncontrolled setting very often contains traces of heavy metals, such as mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. These elements are undesirable in cosmetic products because they can be harmful to our health. This is why the iron oxides that are used in cosmetic formulas are mostly produced synthetically.

The word ‘synthetic’ is usually associated with something bad, but in this case, the ingredient is produced in a lab for safety reasons. The strictly controlled manufacturing conditions are necessary to avoid the inclusion of impurities that would otherwise occur in naturally produced iron oxides. Their basic composition remains the same i.e. what lab workers do is re-create the naturally occurring process of oxidation in a controlled environment, free of heavy metals and other potentially harmful ingredients. Apart from that, after oxidation, synthetically produced iron oxides are purified, so they can be 100% free of irritants and any undesirable compounds.

What To Try: Organic BB Cream

While iron oxide pigments in topical cosmetic products are unmatched in terms of durability and pigmentation, there is one tiny disadvantage of using them in products that are placed beneath the skin (permanent makeup or temporary tattoos). When iron oxides are placed under the dermis, the iron is gradually absorbed by the blood vessels, which may cause the color to change and even fade away. Still, this is rather an aesthetic issue and poses no threat to human health. 

 

FAQ's

Q1: Are iron oxides safe for skin?

Yes, generally speaking - Iron Oxides are safe for skin. However it’s important to consider manufacturing practices and particle size when choosing products containing this ingredient. The size and morphology of iron oxide particles influence their efficacy and skin compatibility. Nanoscale particles may enhance transparency and application aesthetics but raise concerns regarding potential skin penetration and safety. Manufacturers must carefully assess particle size and adhere to regulatory guidelines to ensure product safety. As LAMAV is Certified Organic, we use high quality, non-nano minerals within our makeup formulations.

Q2: Does BB cream have iron oxide?

Yes our BB creams contain iron oxide to create a natural colour and provide a small amount of natural mineral sun protection.

Q3: Does iron oxide clog pores?

No, Iron Oxide is non-comedogenic so will not block pores.

Q4: Is iron oxide good for acne?

Yes, Iron Oxide is breathable and lightweight on the skin, making it ideal for acne prone skin.
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