“What does Petal Power Joy Ride Crème have that the other chamois creams don’t have?” This is a GREAT question and one we get pretty frequently. Most people are pretty surprised when I tell them it’s what we DON’T have that makes our chamois cream different from the others.
When I first started to develop our Joy Ride Crème, I gave our formulators a long list of NO’s. I told them this cream should have no parabens, no petroleum products, no tea tree and/or other mint oils, no animal products, no animal testing, no gluten, no man-made chemicals. Since I am picky about what I put on my body, it was really important to me that this chamois cream be made with super mild, all-natural, and plant-based ingredients. Luckily, our formulator “gets it”. They are one of the nation’s leading manufacturer’s of all-natural and organic spa and wellness products, so making the Joy Ride Crème without anything on my no-no list was a piece of cake for them.
Here are a few of the ingredients we choose NOT to use in our chamois cream and why:
What they are: Parabens are a class of preservatives widely used in cosmetics, foods, and pharmaceuticals to extend the product’s shelf life by inhibiting bacteria and mold growth. The most common forms of parabens used in cosmetics products are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben.
Why we leave them out: Parabens are considered “xenoestrogens”, which means they mimic estrogen in the body, potentially disrupting hormone function. When parabens enter the bloodstream, they trick your body into thinking they are actually estrogen. The more estrogen your body is exposed to, the risk of breast cancer is greater. While there has been much controversy over whether or not parabens are safe in cosmetics, we have opted to leave it out since there are safer, plant-derived alternatives we use keep our product fresh.
Tea Tree Oil
What it is: Tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca oil) is one of nature’s finest and most effective anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory essential oils. Native to Australia, tea tree oil has been used for centuries to prevent and treat a wide variety of maladies.
Why we leave it out: There’s little doubt about how effective tea tree oil is against fighting bacteria however it can also be incredibly harsh on your skin. Contact dermatitis is extremely common, resulting in itching, burning, redness, rashes, and even blistering. Many people are extremely sensitive to tea tree oil, especially women. I’m not a doctor, but common sense seems to dictate that people who have sensitive skin may not want to be sitting in a product containing tea tree oil for a couple hours on a bike ride. Plus, it also smells awful. Like make-your-eyes-water awful. We prefer to just leave it out. Taking the time to get clean BEFORE you apply chamois cream goes a long way to rid your skin of any harmful bacteria.
Menthol/Peppermint Oil/Other Mint Oils
What they are: Menthol can be derived synthetically or organically from a variety of different mint oils. When applied to the skin, menthol and mint oils naturally trigger cold receptors which results in that cool, tingling sensation. It’s widely used in a variety of products such as lip balms, cold medications, topical analgesics to relieve joint/muscle pain, mouthwash, toothpaste, cigarettes, and a long list of others.
Why we leave them out: Menthol is commonly used in chamois cream (often referred to as a “Euro” style cream). Some cyclists really like the cooling sensation menthol provides. But for some people, the tingling is so uncomfortable on what’s arguably the most delicate skin on your body, it literally makes them want to turn inside out. I’ve had some women say the burning after applying some Euro-style creams is so intense, they’ve had to take a shower to remove the stuff before getting on their bike. Menthol and other mint oils are generally considered safe, but because many people don’t dig the minty-fresh “party in your pants” sensation, we choose to leave these ingredients out of our chamois cream.
What they are: Since the term “petroleum products” refers to a pretty broad category, I’m going to just focus on the petroleum-derived products commonly used in chamois creams and creams/balms used as anti-friction creams (like diaper rash ointments and others): petroleum jelly, petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin wax, and paraffin oil. These ingredients are derived from crude oil…yes, the stuff that goes into making gasoline and motor oil. Petroleum-based products are cheap and effective…so they are widely used in a variety of health and beauty products.
Why we leave them out: Oh boy, where do I start? I am vehemently against using ANY of these ingredients in chamois cream (you can read the blog post I wrote on this subject here). In a nutshell, it’s not good for your skin, it’s not good for your bike shorts, and it’s not good for your bike seat. It may be effective to reduce friction, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Petroleum products don’t allow your skin to breathe, they do nothing to actually nourish your skin, they can cause skin irritation, and there have been studies linking these ingredients to cancer. Let’s move on to what these ingredients can do to your bike shorts and saddle, shall we? Depending on the concentration of petroleum used, these ingredients can stain clothing and your saddle…and they are REALLY hard to wash out, if not impossible. And since this nasty stuff can’t be washed out easily, it also means bacteria can get trapped in your chamois. GROSS. Last but certainly not least, petroleum can break down foam rubber over time. And since your chamois and your bike seat are both made out of foam rubber, these two expensive pieces of gear can potentially wear out much quicker. Wouldn’t you rather just invest in a better chamois cream than a new pair of shorts or a bike seat? I know I would.
We proudly display our list of ingredients on our website so you can easily see what we use…and equally important, what we don’t use. This is especially critical for people who have sensitivities or allergies. And not only do we provide a complete list, we also give information about how each ingredients is derived. On Amazon.com, we provide a picture of the ingredients list on the label. We encourage all of our retailers who sell online to either list the ingredients in their product descriptions or provide a picture of them on the label. Why? Because we firmly believe that ingredients matter.
People want to know what they are putting on their bodies and in their bodies…and they are becoming more educated about the impacts of certain ingredients on their health and well-being. For whatever reason, it’s incredibly difficult to find a list of ingredients for many health and beauty products online (including other brands of chamois cream!). Quite often, if you want to know what the ingredients are, it means a trip to the store. We won’t make you work that hard. For a complete list of the ingredients we use in our Joy Ride Creme and how they are derived, simply click here.