Jergens Naturals, Part Unnatural

This ad for Jergens Naturals is part of a disturbing new trend. People want natural products. Jergens jumped on the natural products bandwagon with a line called Jergens Naturals.

People understand natural to mean all-natural. But Jergens Naturals aren’t all-natural, they’re part-natural, containing “over 90% natural ingredients.” Part-natural means part-unnatural. A product that is part-unnatural, by definition can’t be called natural.

The product featured in the ad, called Hydrate, claims to be 92% natural. That means it’s 8% unnatural.

Let’s get real here. If I took a bottle and filled it with 10% benzene and 90% milk, can I sell it as Marc’s Natural Milk and claim that it’s 90% natural milk? Would you give it to your kids?

I’m not a chemist or a scientist. I’m not saying that using this or any other Jergens product constitutes a health risk. I am saying that if there are 8% unnatural ingredients, then don’t call your product Naturals.

Here’s a complete list of the ingredients of the Hydrate product, taken from the Jergens website:

INGREDIENTS: WATER, GLYCERIN, GLYCERYL STEARATE, MYRISTYL MYRISTATE, THEOBROMA CACAO (COCOA) SEED BUTTER, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL GLYCERIDES, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, AGAVE TEQUILANA LEAF EXTRACT, OPUNTIA VULGARIS EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS (SAFFLOWER) SEED OIL, LIMNANTHES ALBA (MEADOWFOAM) SEED OIL, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER), OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) OIL UNSAPONIFIABLES, LECITHIN, JOJOBA ESTERS, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) FRUIT OIL, AVENA SATIVA (OAT) MEAL EXTRACT, CALENDULA OFFICINALIS FLOWER EXTRACT, PERSEA GRATISSIMA (AVOCADO) OIL, *TOCOPHEROL, CETEARETH-20, POLYGLYCERIN-10, PEG-100 STEARATE, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, HYDROGENATED PALM GLYCERIDES, HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, FRAGRANCE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, DMDM HYDANTOIN, PHENOXYETHANOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CARAMEL.

*VITAMIN E

Most of the ingredients appear to be natural, but if you look closely, especially at the end, you’ll find the ingredients that aren’t natural, such as DMDM Hydantoin. According to John L. Meisenheimer, M.D., a board certified dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida, DMDM Hydantoin releases formaldehyde and may result in an allergic eczema. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that formaldehyde has “been shown to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans.” 

I researched this blog post while writing it. I started out with the intention of discussing why anything that isn’t all-natural isn’t natural and I ended up with formaldehyde.

We’re learning together.

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5 responses to “Jergens Naturals, Part Unnatural

  1. You know. I was just sitting here bored on a Saturday night watching tv, and saw the commercial for Jergens Naturals. Out of curiousity, I googled it because if it was 92% natural, I wanted to see what the “unnatural” ingredients were.

    So many times we as consumers get duped into purchasing products that these companies say are “good” for us, only to find out that they contain some type of ingredient(s) that turn out to be formaldahyde releasing or something like that.

    I work in Marketing. I know that the ultimate goal for these companies is to make a buck. But, bloggers like yourself call them to the carpet, and I appreciate that.

    What if companies truly started listening to their customers, and instead of using the cheapest ingredients they can find, like petrolatum, and chargest the highest price they can get for it, offered something of quality. Hmmm, I might be living in a dream world but I think that the company that picks up what consumers are truly demanding will “naturally” and “organically” rise to the top, enjoy amazing profits, and know that what they are selling is actually helping, not hurting, people.

    Just my two cents

  2. Prachel,

    Thanks for the comment. Admonkey is primarily concerned with advertising, not consumer safety, but sometimes the two overlap..

    Looking over this post, I realize that I could have been more thorough. Let’s take a look at the next ingredient: phenoxyethanol. Here’s information from the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for this chemical:

    Potential Acute Health Effects:

    Extremely hazardous in case of eye contact (irritant). Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. Skin inflammation is characterized by itching, scaling, reddening, or, occasionally, blistering.

    Potential Chronic Health Effects:

    Extremely hazardous in case of eye contact (irritant).
    Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.

    The next ingredient, ethylhexylglycerin is a known skin irritant that can cause contact dermatitis. (Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Ethylhexylglycerin in a Cream, Birgitte Stausbøl-Grøn, Klaus Ejner Andersen, 2007; Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Ethylhexylglycerin, G. Linsen, G and Annie Goossens, Contact Dermatitis vol:47 issue:3 pages:169, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.)

    I agree with you. At the very least, it’s cynical for companies to put potentially harmful chemicals in their products and then use the word “Natural” in the name of the product and in their advertising. You can decide for yourself if you think it’s evil.

    Consumers will never gravitate toward products that aren’t harmful if they’re not educated and if corporations continue to advertise under a cloak of deceit. There was a time when people just trusted companies not to put harmful ingedients in products (they wouldn’t put it in if it was bad, but our experience over the last 40 years shows us this isn’t the case.

    But a society that doesn’t have a problem injecting Botulinum Toxin (Botox) into their faces in the name of vanity probably isn’t going to be too concerned about which chemicals are in their face creams.

    Marc

  3. Not that I’m totally impressed, but this is more than I expected when I found a link on Delicious telling that the info is awesome. Thanks.

  4. Other Jergens products also contain the DMDM Hydantoin. I haven’t researched it, but I’m sure other brands probably do too.

  5. Pingback: Does anyone know what the unnatural ingredients in Jergens Naturals body moisturisers are? | CocoDerma