Which Cosmetic Injectables Are Vegan?
Our bodies experience many changes as we age, and some of these changes unfortunately express themselves in the skin. As our biological functions slow down, many of the substances that maintain a youthful appearance begin to deplete within the body. This leads to the appearance of the signs of aging in the skin, including folds and wrinkles, blemishes, and even loss of volume in the skin.
Many individuals turn to cosmetic injectables to combat these signs and to maintain their youthful skin. With the continuing popularity of the vegan lifestyle, many individuals are also interested in figuring out whether injectable cosmetics align with their standards of veganism.
What makes a cosmetic injectable vegan?
There are two factors which determine whether or not a product is vegan. These factors include the ingredients used to formulate the product, and the process of testing used to make the product safe for human use.
In order for any product to be vegan, it must be produced without any animal ingredients or animal by-products, or any other ingredient derived from animals. As opposed to vegetarianism, this means zero ingredients or products from animals, even if that animal remains alive. This includes foods like eggs and dairy, and materials such as wool, in addition to the more obvious products where an animal is raised specifically to provide the ingredient / material. When it comes to cosmetic products, the ingredients list is the first place to look when determining whether a particular cosmetic product is vegan or not.
Popular cosmetic injectable ingredients
Collagen is a very popular ingredient in many cosmetic fillers. It is a protein that is found in many areas of the body, including the skin and bones, and is a major contributor of strength and elasticity. When sourced for cosmetic fillers, collagen is normally derived from cows, making it of animal origin. There are also non-animal alternatives that have been developed, which are derived from the patient’s own skin.
This synthetic polymer is effective in dermal injections as it helps stimulate collagen production. The ingredient itself is made without animal products, making it vegan.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is native to the human body and is responsible for maintaining moisture within the skin. As our skin ages, production of this key bio-chemical slows down and skin loses moisture, making hyaluronic acid a very popular ingredient in many lip and dermal fillers. Hyaluronic acid can be sourced from animals or can be produced through a process of bacterial fermentation, therefore making it of non-animal origin.
Although a product can be vegan, based on its ingredients, it is not considered cruelty-free if it is tested on animals. This aspect is where vegans must be very careful in getting information about a product, as a product simply needs to be free of animal ingredients in order to be legally labelled vegan, regardless of the actual testing process. Testing on animals continues to play a role in cosmetic product development. Though some vegans may not put as much importance on testing, most vegans are looking for products that are free of animal ingredients and are also cruelty-free in their entire development and testing process. Even if a dermal injectable uses only vegan ingredients, each cosmetic brand uses a different testing process, and so vegan patients may wish to scrutinize the testing standards of each brand.
Review of Popular Cosmetic Injectable Brands
Juvederm fillers, including dermal fillers and lip fillers, are formulated with non-animal origin hyaluronic acid. However, they are required by law to test their fillers on animals, as they are considered medical products. As Juvederm is also manufactured by Allergan, they have worked to reduce animal testing, but are unable to eliminate it from the testing process entirely.
Lip fillers and dermal injectables manufactured by Restylane are made of hyaluronic acid, produced through bacterial fermentation, making the ingredients non-animal in origin. However, they do test their products on animals.
Like many of the other brands, Filorga uses synthetic hyaluronic acid, therefore making the ingredients vegan. On their website, Filorga states that they do not test their cosmetic products on animals.
Sculptra utilizes poly-L-lactic acid in their fillers, which is itself a vegan product. However, like many of the other brands listed above, they have conducted testing on animals.
While many cosmetic injectable companies have started moving toward ingredients which are non-animal in origin, the testing process can complicate matters for patients looking for fully-vegan solutions. For vegans seeking treatment to reverse signs of aging or increase lip or facial volume, injectables may not be an option.
Cosmetic injectables are considered medical products, and as such, are required by law to be tested on animals prior to use in humans. On the other hand, as these products are considered medical devices, patients can always check the certification of each product for further information from the approving bodies, on whether or not animal testing is required.