What is unique about Episencial products?
Episencial is the only company to make baby-safe, all-natural skincare products that support skin immunity and help treat common skin conditions, like eczema, cradle cap and common dehydration. With clinically effective formulas designed to support the health and development of both the skin and body, Episencial provides a protective barrier to insulate vulnerable skin, offset environmental contaminants, and help keep children safe.
By virtue of all natural ingredients - Episencial products reduce exposure to unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals so prevalent in skincare products; even those marketed for babies and children. Doctors and medical professionals throughout North America use Episencial's skincare products in their hospitals.
What is "developing skin?"
Just like adult skin can be categorized as normal, dry, oily, acneic, etc., babies and kids have a unique skin type called "developing skin." As the largest organ of the body, new skin is growing and developing into a protective barrier and way to sense and experience the world. And, just like a baby, developing skin needs special loving care to grow healthy and strong.
Why is it important to use organic products in skincare products?
Episencial uses organic ingredients for their skin care products because they are better for the environment, but also because they are better for the skin. Organic ingredients have more nutritional value with greater antioxidant capabilities than their non-organic counterparts. This is important because of the skin's transdermal properties. Many nutrients applied to the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body. Unfortunately, the same is true for harmful chemicals that are remarkably prevalent in personal care products - even those marketed for children. So, as a parent, you can make well-considered choices about personal grooming products for your children in order to help protect them and the planet from environmental pollution.
What does "made with organic ingredients" really mean?
All Episencial products are at least 50 percent organic. Some are a much higher percentage of organic ingredients. What is important is that the RIGHT ingredients are organic. Some plants, like thyme for example, are very hardy in nature and don't require the use of pesticides and fumigants. Others, like raspberries are sweet and delicious and often require insecticides and such for commercial production. To keep the products affordable, Episencial has selected the ingredients with the highest likelihood of contamination and specifically chosen those to be organic. Also, the natural condition of organic crops is that they are not as reliable as those that are grown under the techniques of mainstream agribusiness. If a crop goes bad due to infection or weather, Episencial has to seek other sources for that particular raw ingredient. So, the actual organic ingredients may vary slightly from batch to batch depending upon what was available in an organic form at the time of production.
What causes diaper rash and how can Episencial get rid of it?
The cause of diaper rash is multi-faceted. Imagine a Petri-dish and what you do to cause bacteria and fungi to grow. You create a moist environment and add heat! Essentially, a baby's bum are little growing zones. If any kind of harmful bacteria or fungi gets a start, it can be very difficult to get rid of it. Actually, every square inch of skin has more bacteria than it does skin cells. A rash is basically indicative of an imbalance in bacteria. So, to rebalance, give the bum as much airtime, sans diaper, as possible. Don't use wipes with alcohol or any drying agents at all - the best thing is cotton pads with pure water or wipe with a rinse of pure water to eliminate any chemical residue. All wipes have drying agents, as they are necessary to keep bacteria from molding the wipes. Then, use the Episencial Nurturing Balm to create a barrier and healing environment for the skin to do what it knows how to do - protect their bodies from invaders!
I have acne. Can I use these products?
The Playful Foaming Wash is perfect for acneic skin as it is cleanses without stripping natural oils. The Soothing Cream is also great because of the insulating features of the product combined with antibacterial neem oil and probiotics, which are often great for acne.
Have Episencial products been clinically tested - specifically the Soothing Cream?
Episencial performs all the standard testing that is done by skincare companies - especially for safety and effectiveness. The Episencial Soothing Cream was formulated around 2 generations of experience treating problem skin and 7 years specifically researching the developing skin type of babies and kids. Episencial is guided by the principals of creating a healthy and healing environment for the skin so that it is empowered to heal itself. As you probably know, there is no single known cause of eczema, which technically makes it impossible to "cure" at this time. What Episencial can do is properly support the dermis to stimulate healing responses and help prevent reoccurrence. This is not a product for open eczema wounds, it helps prevent and can help bring the skin back to health before the sore phase of eczema. Episencial calls on ingredients that have been used for thousands of years to support eczematic skin such as Neem Oil from the Ayurvedic traditions and probiotics to help restore the ecosystem of the skin. The Soothing Cream has brought relief to many who suffer from Eczema, though Episencial make no medical claims around the product.
At what age do you recommend using Episencial products?
The Episencial products are perfect for sensitive skin at any age - from birth up. As always, check with your doctor before you use any products on your infant.
What thy mean by claiming to be a "green" company.
Episencial believes their products and business practices are opportunities to effect positive changes for their world. When Episencial say Episencial are "green" it is because sustainability is at the very core of how Episencial conducts business:
- Episencial uses botanical, sustainably farmed, and certified organic ingredients.
- Episencial does not engage in animal testing.
- Episencial supports alternative energy development. Their products are manufactured in a solar-powered production plant.
- Their plastic containers are recycled, food-grade, non-leaching, with no residues of dioxins, BpA, phthalates, or other xenoestrogens.
- Their paper packaging is manufactured from recycled sources or comes exclusively from certified sustainable resources.
- Their containers and boxes are beautifully designed and sturdy enough to encourage re-use and re-purposing.
Does the Episencial sunscreen contain nanoparticles?
The short answer is: Episencial does not use harmful nanoparticles in its formulas. Nanoparticles, particularly those of metallic ingredients, are so small that they are able to pass through the wall, or membrane, of cells in the body and into the bloodstream. Because mineral-based sunscreens use metals such as Zinc and Titanium as the active ingredient, it is helpful to understand that a particle of nano size is not the same thing as a nano particle. A nanoparticle is any particle less than 100 nanometers in diameter (across). This can be confusing as a nano-sized material is not necessarily a nanoparticle. For example, a bulk ingredient material that has been reduced to 500 nanometers is not a nanoparticle because it is 5 times larger than 100 nanometers. As a point of reference, a particle must be less than 50 nanometers (a nanoparticle) to enter skin cells; less than 70 nanometers to enter the lungs. Trying to fit a 100 nanometer particle into the skin cell membrane is like trying to force a baseball through a hole the size of a Ping-Pong ball. It is physically impossible.
Episencial's mineral sunscreen ingredients are all significantly larger than 100 nanometers. Medical science does not yet fully understand the complications and risks associated with nanoparticles, but their presence in the bloodstream has been linked to liver damage, Alzheimer's and other health problems. So, when choosing a chemical-free sunscreen, it is important to ensure that the manufacturer does NOT use nanoparticles of zinc or titanium.
What is the real deal with PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate?
The ingredient PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate (MGD) is a completely safe and natural raw material that Episencial uses for its thickening properties. Their PEG-120 is produced from renewable resources (sugar, not petroleum) so it is not at risk of contamination with 1,4 dioxane. It offers an eye irritation score of 0 (zero) and fantastic safety records. Without a thickening ingredient all cleansing products would be very watery and pour too easily out of the bottle, causing spills, wasted product and frustrated kids and parents. Most companies use a petroleum based thickener like PEG-150 Distearate, which Episencial would never use. Episencial wouldn't use PEG-150 (or MGD that was sourced from petroleum) because it can damage the skin and is not-at-all eco friendly. A potential risk that the EWG lists for PEG-120 is ethylene oxide (EO) contamination. Consequently, Episencial take added precautions in the purification of their products and employ additional testing measures to ensure their products are safe from contaminants. Episencial is very picky about their raw materials and require extensive safety testing, as they seek to verificaty quality and all claims.
Please note: because EWG does not distinguish between contaminated and pure ingredients, Episencial is taking it out of their formulas.
What is the real deal with Cocamidoproply Betaine?
Episencial did not make the choice to use Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB) lightly and, in fact, only did so after finding source material that was of the highest quality and thoroughly refined. You see, the primary issue with CAPB among health advocates (such as The Environmental Working Group which rates CAPB as a 5 on its 1-10 scale) is not the ingredient itself, rather the prevalence of nitrosamine contamination - this is particularly true when used in combination with the ingredient DEA/TEA. Episencial uses a very small amount of plant-based CAPB as, in its purified state it is a safe and mild cleansing agent (rather than known irritants such a sodium laurel and laureth sulfates) that improve the texture of the product. The refined nature of their source material and testing protocols coupled with the small quantity and the fact that CAPB does not accumulate in the body, allows them to take advantage of its benefits while neutralizing potential health risks. That said, do look out for products that include both DEA/TEA and CAPB as those formulas are likely to be contaminated with nitrosamines. Nitrosamines can be very harmful to the body as they are absorbed through the skin, and should always be avoided. Episencial specifically exclude DEA/TEA in their formulas for this very reason.
Please note: because EWG does not distinguish between types of CAPB, Episencial are taking it out of their formulas.
What's the real deal with tea tree oil and lavender safe? Are they xeno-estrogens?
To have access to vast amounts of information can be both a gift and a curse. It can be quite difficult to know what information can be trusted. In the case of xenoestrogens, which are estrogen-like chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body to cause hormonal disruption, there is a great deal of fear-inducing misinformation out there on the Episencial. Thankfully, there are some sources that work very hard to validate their findings and are much more reliable than other sources. In the case of suspected xeno-estrogens Lavender and Tea Tree oil, the Cosmetic Database weighs in by giving both of them a rating of 0-2 depending upon use. Even at its highest, 2, these ingredients are well within the realm of safety.
What is the real deal with Retinyl Palmitate and Vitamin A?
Retinyl Palmitate contains vitamin A, an essential building block of skin. According to a review in the journal "Clinics in Dermatology," human skin naturally contains a significant amount of vitamin A, as the vitamin and it's derivatives called retinoids, have a crucial role in maintaining and repairing skin tissue.
However, vitamin A - in excess - can have cause photosensitivity as Episencial as thinning of skin through accelerated exfoliation. A study done by the Environmental Working Group to test the safety of vitamin A was done at concentrations between 10 percent and 50 percent pure vitamin A - this is not reflective of how vitamin A is safely used. In addition, the affects of vitamin A on the experimental group vs. the control group were statistically significant and dose-dependent (EWG 2010).
Episencial can assure you that their Protective Face Balm contains vitamin A at the safe, healthy and appropriate levels to support the thickening of skin and production of collagen.
Do Episencial products contain preservatives?
No, Episencial does not use preservatives in any of their products. Episencial never uses parabens, phenoxyethanol, or other unhealthy chemical preservatives that may act like estrogens in the body or donate toxins such as formaldehyde, and 1-4 dioxane. Episencial's formulas include a patented blend of botanicals to keep the products fresh and stable for upwards of two years. Their all natural approach to product freshness includes glycerol caprylate (made from grape seed, palm nut or coconut) and natural fruit esters. Because of their decades of experience working with natural ingredients, Episencial know that Capryl Hydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin - primarily used as moisturizers and humectants in their products - also work, in their exclusive formula, to naturally and safety stabilize the product; in effect "preserving" the product without the use of synthetic preservatives Episencial know to be both unnecessary and potentially unhealthy.
Are the fruit juice extracts and oils in Episencial products "fragrances"?
The word "fragrance" on a label may indicate thousands of undisclosed synthetic chemicals, many of which are known to cause discoloration to skin, coughing, vomiting, and skin irritation upon inhalation or contact. Even more troubling, they can also affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability. Finding products that are fragrance free really is of paramount importance. Episencial products smell wonderful from pure fruit juice and vegetable extracts. The smells delight both parent and child. While parents should absolutely be concerned about fragrance, smells are not inherently bad. They are an important part of bonding, brain development, and baby's exploration of the world. It is the word "fragrance" that Episencial must avoid, because it doesn't give us complete information about the products Episencial are using and can be used by manufacturers to bury other ingredients that you would never normally use on your baby or yourself.
The EWG gives fragrance a rating of 8 not because smells are bad, but because fragrance can include very harmful dispersants: "The word fragrance or perfume on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate.
What product do you recommend using with cloth diapers?
Episencial recommend Soothing Cream for use with cloth diapers. While healing and protective like Nurturing Balm, Soothing Cream does not contain zinc and therefore is much easier on your washing machine. For severe rash and wounds, however, Nurturing Balm is best.
Can the Nurturing Balm diaper cream be used as a sunscreen?
This product does not perform the same functions of a sunscreen. It is meant to protect, strengthen, and create a delicate barrier against germs & bacteria. The particles of Zinc oxide for sun screen have a smaller molecular size than the zinc that is used in their diaper spray. The best product for sun protection is the Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35.
Do Episencial products contain wheat?
Episencial products do not contain wheat, they are gluten free. There are ingredients used in the products that are derived from oat, but oat extracts do not retain gluten or have allergenic properties. As always, it is good to test a patch of skin on your child and check with your pediatrician before using any product on your infant.
Do your products contain gluten?
The products do not contain gluten. Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel extract and Tocopherol (Vitamin E) are sometimes confused to have allergenic properties. Avena Sativa is an extract, and not mashed oats. Avena Sativa may still contain trace amounts of gluten; however, medical studies show that even celiac patients in remission who suffer severe reactions to gluten tolerate large amounts of oats (93g ingested p/day) with NO adverse effects (Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan; 57(1):163-9). Avena Sativa is a nutrient packed ingredient with flavenoids, minerals, Vitamins B1, B2, D, E, carotene and healthy fats. Wheat is the primary gluten donor of all the grains, so Episencial use the oat instead of wheat to protect and nourish sensitive skin. Regardless, if you are concerned about gluten sensitivity, it is best to check with your pediatrician before using any product.
Are these products vegan?
Four of their products are vegan. Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35 & Protective Face Balm SPF 6 contain beeswax and Soothing Cream contains probiotics from a yogurt culture.
Does Episencial test on animals?
Episencial does not test products on animals, and does not have animal testing conducted on their behalf. Episencial ensure the safety of their products by using gentle ingredients that have been used reliably for many years in addition to clinical testing in the laboratory setting.
Does the Green Tea Extract in your Soothing Cream and Sunny Sunscreen contain caffeine?
Episencial's Green Tea Extract is caffeine-free! Episencial extract the polyphenol content for its antioxidizing capacity - it is 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C. Episencial also love its biochemical properties as an anti-carcinogen, anti-inflammatory, and anti-radiation.
Why do your products contain so many ingredients? Isn't fewer ingredients better?
The length of the ingredients is a positive! It is a feature of the products as those ingredients are beneficial to the developing and sensitive skin types. Episencial specifically selects actively healthy ingredients - as many of them as possible, while still keeping the price affordable.
What additives do you use in the bath products as to not irritate the eyes?
Episencial DOES NOT use additives to make the products non-irritating. The ingredients themselves are so mild and high quality that they simply don't irritate the skin or eyes.
Why do Episencial products smell differently from time to time?
Because Episencial work exclusively with all natural ingredients there are, by nature, variances in the aroma of their products - it is part of the art of working with natural ingredients. While Episencial test to ensure the each of their products meets their stringent standards for safety and efficacy; because Episencial do not use synthetic perfumes or fragrances there isn't exactly a "smell test." Each batch may be slightly - and usually unnoticeably - different.
Do Episencial products expire?
Their products are stable for at least two years from the manufacturing date and Episencial manufacture the products many times each year to be sure they are always fresh. That means you always have more than a year and a half for any given product!
Is Episencial packaging recyclable?
Yes, their packaging is recyclable and much of it is recycled too! Their packaging comes from certified sustainable resources. In addition their products are biodegradable and produced in a solar powered manufacturing facility. Before you throw anything away, Episencial encourages you to reuse it to make potions, for paint or any other creative thing you can think about.
Why do you use plastic containers?
The Episencial containers are made of recycled food grade, PET 1 plastic that does not leach toxic chemicals. Children's personal care products may not be sold legally in glass containers. Glass is considered a safety hazard by the government. Aluminum and other types of packaging have their own set of problems. There are new materials under development that will be ready for use at some point, but the manufacturers of these products are not yet ready for large-scale distribution and there has not been enough safety testing on those materials to warrant use. Their plastic containers are recycled, recyclable, reusable, produced in a solar powered manufacturing facility, sturdy, safe, and ergonomically friendly.
Don't aromatherapy oils degrade plastic and lose their potency when exposed to light?
Pure aromatherapy oils are 100 percent oil. These can be very fragile and can indeed degrade plastic and lose potency when exposed to light. Pure oils should always be purchased in dark glass containers. Amber and Cobalt glass are preferable. Aromatherapy for babies and pregnancy must always be below .05 percent total pure oil, their product formulations do not have the degrading effect on plastic and do not lose potency as easily. The non-aromatherapy ingredients, fruit extracts, minerals, antioxidants, and such are specially formulated to protect the oils and add sustainability through the bonding of organic chemistry. The Episencial lotions, cleansers and personal care products are given extra protection by the fact that they are formulated and stored inside opaque containers and in a cool, dark place (away from heat, moisture and light.) The shelf life of their products is enhanced because they are manufactured, shipped and stored in small quantities- so fresh batches of products are produced all the time.