The other day, I described Skin Authority as a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde company with some of its formulations being rather nasty, while others were apparently benign. I had bought Skin Authority’s Brightening Serum, judging that the nice Dr Jekyll had had more of a hand in it then his murderous alter ego. My assumption, I discovered thanks to Theresa, proved to be wrong and, in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ironically so.

My bottle of Skin Authority’s Brightening Serum lists BHA as an ingredient. I took this to be beta-hydroxy acid, an exfoliant that would be contributing to the skin lightening. Dark spot fading properties of this serum.  But then Theresa left a comment on my post saying that BHA was much more likely to be the preservative butylated hydroxyanisole. I ought to be grateful to her, even though she seriously rained on my parade.

Butylated hydroxyanisole and its close relative, butylated hydroxytoulene (BHT) are very controversial ingredients. As early as 1995, Business Week reported: “Repeated studies have shown that BHA and BHT increase the risk of cancer as well as accumulate in body tissue, cause liver enlargement, and retard the rate of DNA synthesis and thus, cell development.”

For a while, it was thought that the radical scavenging properties of BHA were beneficially antioxidant. But this theory was nixed by a 2002 study that said: "use of BHA as a chemopreventive agent against cancer in human has been challenged by the observation that BHA may exert toxic effect in some tissues of animals".

I confirmed that the BHA in my Skin Authority Brightening Serum was indeed butylated hydroxyanisole by emailing my Skin Authority “skincare coach”, who replied promptly and professionally, and pointed me in the direction of cosmeticsinfo.org, the website of the cosmetics industry body. The entry there on BHA is, to my mind, a little selective. It says that BHA has been tested on rodents and, therefore, the results aren’t relevant to humans.  As TIA’s article on BHA and BHT mentions, there have been a lot of different studies and the ingredients are banned in California.

Even though the cosmetic industry body says that topical use of BHA and BHT is safe, I’m with the Californians on this one and I’m not going to continue to use Brightening Serum.

I’ve had a couple of other emails from Skin Authority in the past week, from the CEO, Celeste Hilling, no less, asking me to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’d feel more like applauding her for this initiative if she reconsidered some of the ingredients in her cosmetics.

Ingredients: Deionized Water, SD Alcohol 40, Oligopeptide-34, Glycolic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, BHA, Allantoin, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose