Rozy says…There is this product called Tala Ant Egg oil, sounds fishy to me, but I am wishing it to be true!
The Right Brain replies:
Just when we thought we’d heard it all, here comes the invasion of the ants. Tala’s Ant Egg oil is one of several products that claims to use the oil recovered from crushed ant pupae to reduce hair growth. In addition the Tala product claims to be “tested with doctors” and “completely safe with no side effects.” Is this product “excell-ant” or just ant-agonizing?
We’re cosmetic chemists, not entomologists, but as far as we’ve been able to figure out Ant egg oil is really furan-2-carbaldehyde which also known as Furfural. Apparently this stuff is a “red brown liquid and it has a sour fragrant ant smell.” That’s surprising considering that Furfural is used in cosmetics as a fragrance additive! Maybe that’s not a problem since furfural can also be derived from several non-ant sources including wheat bran.
Regardless of the source, we couldn’t find ANY published data suggesting it’s effective in reducing hair growth. If this product was “tested with doctors” as Tala states then results haven’t been published in any of the standard peer reviewed data bases. (As always, if someone can find a legitimate study to the contrary we’d be happy to revise this post to reflect the new data.)
Not only does furfural (apparently) not reduce hair growth but this stuff may not be that good for your skin. It’s a known skin irritant (at high concentrations) and long term exposure can lead to skin allergy and increased sunburn. Even worse, there’s some concern that it may have carcinogenic properties. As a fragrance additive, furfural is typically used levels are around 0.036%. A safety study reported by the SCCNFP (SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE ON COSMETIC PRODUCTS AND NON-FOOD PRODUCTS INTENDED FOR CONSUMERS) says that ”The maximum exposure stated by RIFM does not represent any significant cancer risk. However, the exposure should not be increased.” Use levels in ant egg oil creams are substantially higher than this since its the first ingredient listed in the ingredient list. In other words, there’s not much to worry about if it’s in your perfume at very low levels but it’s not a good idea as a main component in a skin creme.
I can’t find ANY research which indicates ant egg oil has an effect on hair growth but I do find at least one report indicating that there are some potential dangers associated with using it on the skin at high concentrations. I’d stick with a product like Vaniqua which is proven to slow the growth of facial hair on women.
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