What Is Cera Alba?

This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!

Ingredient:

Cera Alba

What it is:

Cera alba (aka “beeswax”) is a purified wax that comes from bee honeycombs that the bees make by converting nectar they gather from flowers. Among other things, the wax acts as a storage container for the honey and beekeepers harvest both simultaneously. Once a honeycomb is filled with honey, the beekeeper removes the comb and uses gravity and heat to separate the wax from the honey. Both are then purified for sale.

What it does:

Beeswax is an amazingly versatile substance and it’s been used for centuries. In ancient times it was used as an adhesive, the Romans used it to help waterproof their buildings, and the Egyptians used it as part of the mummification process. Now, it’s used for everything from candles and crayons to cosmetics and pharmaceutical coatings. We’re especially interested in its skin benefits and the qualities it adds to cosmetics.

  • Beeswax helps create a thin, protective layer over skin to help prevent loss of moisture and help protect it from environmental assaults (1,2). Plus, unlike petroleum-derived waxes like paraffin, when formulated correctly, it won’t clog pores (3)!
  • Beeswax also acts as an emulsifier in product formulations (2). In addition to helping preserve and slowly release active ingredients, it contributes to creating a soft, silky texture (2).

Why we use it:

In addition to the benefits above, it’s a natural, renewable resource. We love finding gifts from nature that are not only effective, but are also safe (4), easy to source, and take relatively little effort to process into a raw ingredient for commercial use. It really doesn’t get much better!

Why we’re featuring it today:

When choosing ingredients for our products we take everything into account to ensure a safe, effective, responsible, and delightful product.  You’ll find cera alba in our Organic Nipple Balm, Organic Healing Balm, and Organic Lip Balm.

References:

  1. Mahmood, K. (2015). Fats and Oils in Personal Care Products. In Lipids and Skin Health (pp. 321-328). Springer International Publishing.
  2. Beeswax | North Carolina Cooperative Extension. (n.d.). Retrieved January 13, 2015, from http://cleveland.ces.ncsu.edu/beeswax/
  3. Kumar, S and Kumar, A. (2013). Study on Petroleum Derived Waxes and Their Uses. International Journal of Research in Science and Technology, 2(6). Retrieved January 13, 2015, from http://www.ijrst.com/images/short_pdf/Sep_2013_SANDEEP%20KUMAR.pdf
  4. 1: Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Candelilla Wax, Carnauba Wax, Japan Wax, and Beeswax. (1984, 12). International Journal of Toxicology, 3(3), 1-41. doi: 10.3109/10915818409010515
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  • Colleen Evans

    No way. Cera Alba please. Beeswax is not an emulsifier. If her lotions are emulsifying, she’s using more than beeswax.