Issue #23: Teflon in My Shaving Cream?

Slickest Shaving Cream in the West

by Alicia Voorhies, RN

I just happened to catch a glimpse of “PTFE” gleaming at me from the side of the can in the shower the other day.  So I took a look around the internet to see what was up with my new found dilemma.  To my surprise, Teflon in shaving cream is all the rage for a super smooth, nick and irritation free shave.   When I checked with the Skin Deep Database for more info on PTFE in cosmetics, I was expecting to see a high hazard rating, but that wasn't the case.  It was only given a fair (1-2) score.  Hmmmm.  Do I need to worry about it then?

Well, let's walk it through.  PTFE is classified by Skin Deep as organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), which is known to be a human respiratory toxicant in products that may be aerosolized (airborne).  So this explains why Teflon is a concern in non-stick cookware: it will release fumes at higher temperatures. That only leaves us with one question:  do we need to worry about PTFE in our skincare ingredients, since it only becomes toxic after reaching temperatures above 350 degrees?   I'm not super excited about the idea of Teflon being in my shaving cream, but don't feel the need to immediately toss can out the bathroom window. Teflon itself is not suspected to be an environmental toxin or to be bioaccumulative.  So the choice is yours – assuming you're not using a product like Gillette Fusion Moisturizing Hydra Gel, which not only contains PTFE, but a host of other toxic chemicals.

If you're in the market for a natural shaving solution, a few of my favorites are Dr. Bronner's, Red Leaf, and John Masters.  If you're up for a DIY shaving cream, Brighthub has a great recipe

Photo Source: Red Leaf Bath and Body