Harmful Chemicals To Avoid When Choosing Skin & Hair Care Products December 31, 2015 12:51 13 Comments
Parabens are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products. Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. They can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers.
If you take a look at your product label and notice FD&C or D&C, they represent artificial colors. F representing food and D&C representing drug and cosmetics. These letters precede a color and number (e.g., D&C Red 27 or FD&C blue 1). These synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. Synthetic colors are suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant and are linked to ADHD in children. The European Classification and Labeling considers it a human carcinogen and the European Union has banned it
Mineral oil ( liquid paraffin
Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless oil that’s made from petroleum—as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline.
There is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting to approximately 1 gram per person. Possible routes of contamination include air inhalation, food intake, and dermal [skin] absorption.”
Mineral oil is considered “comedogenic,” which means it can clog your pores and increase the risk of acne and blackheads.
Mineral oil provides no nutrients whatsoever. It actually seals off your skin, preventing it from breathing. It has no benefits for your skin. It’s not infusing it with nutrients. It’s not providing hydration that actually goes into the skin where it counts. It’s just sitting there on the top of the skin preventing moisture loss.
Mineral oil attracts needed moisture from cells deep inside your skin. This means that cell renewal is slowed, collagen breaks down, and the connective tissue is destroyed. Normal cell development is slowed down and the skin ages prematurely when skin cells are robbed of moisture.
Petrolatum is a jelly made of mineral oil that is often used in lip products. While the products that use it are often advertised to help prevent chapping, petrolatum can actually interfere with the body’s natural moisturizing abilities, putting you more at risk for damage. What’s more, this ingredient can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, compounds that are associated with cancer.
Fragrance ( parfume )
Some 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances. Fragrance is an obvious ingredient in perfumes, colognes, and deodorants, but it's used in nearly every type of personal care product. It can be found in conditioners, shampoos, body wash and moisturizers. Even products marketed as "fragrance-free" or "unscented" may in fact contain fragrance along with a masking agent that prevents the brain from perceiving odour.
The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions. Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients.
Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. A survey of asthmatics found that perfume and/or colognes triggered attacks in nearly three out of four individuals.
Some of the undisclosed ingredients are chemicals “with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.” Examples include diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies, and musk ketone, which concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk.
A group of chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products. Dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalate in perfumes and lotions, and dimethyl phthalate in hair spray. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Unfortunately, it is not disclosed on every product as it's added to fragrances (remember the "secret formula" not listed), a major loophole in the law. They can be found in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
This surfactant can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products (think foaming products). SLS's are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. These combinations can lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage. They can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser and mascara.
Formaldehyde, which is what scientists and morticians use to preserve corpses and body parts. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP's) preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and has been linked to occupational related cancers: nasal and nasopharyngeal. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system. It can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.
A petrochemical derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. You may see it on labels listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene. Toluene is a potent solvent able to dissolve paint and paint thinner. It can affect your respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate your skin. Expecting mothers should avoid exposure to toluene vapors as it may cause developmental damage in the fetus. Toluene has also been linked to immune system toxicity. It can be found in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color/bleaching products.
Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It's classified as a skin irritant and penetrator. It has been associated with causing dermatitis as well as hives in humans -- these effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2 percent. It can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.
DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine)
These three chemicals are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing agents—research indicates a strong link to liver and kidney cancer. They are commonly found in shampoos, soaps, bubble baths, and facial cleansers.
Quarternium-15 commonly causes allergic reactions and dermatitis, and breaks down into formaldehyde. Quarternium-15 is used as a preservative in many skin and hair care products.
Isopropyl Alcohol is used in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotion, and aftershave lotions as well as in your car’s antifreeze and shellac! Scientists believe that it has the ability to destroy intestinal flora, leaving the body’s major organs open to parasites, and thus to cancers. Beyond attacking the intestinal flora, isopropyl alcohol can cause headaches, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, and coma.
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol)
PEGs are most commonly used in spray-on oven cleaners and in many hair and skin products. PEG’s main fuctions are to dissolve oil and grease. Thus, on the body, they take the protective oils off the skin and hair, making them more vulnerable to other toxins.
You’re most likely to find Stearalkonium Chloride in hair products, particularly rinses, conditioners, and bleachers. It is used to reduce static and improve luster, but it is also known to be an irritant and does little to actually improve your hair’s health.
Triethanolamine is used in many cosmetic products to help balance pH levels, as well as to act as a cleansing base. When absorbed into the body over a long period of time, it can become toxic. Even short periods of exposure can cause allergic reactions, including eye problems and dry hair and skin. Look for Triethanolamine in eyeliners, eye shadows, blushers, mascara, foundation, hair dyes, hair care products, shaving products, and sunscreens.
Like parabens, Imidazolidinyl Urea is used as a preservative in a variety of health and beauty products. These toxic chemicals are a common cause of skin irritation and allergic contact dermatitis. Imidazolindyl Urea may appear under the trade names Germall II and Germall 115 and can be found in foundations, eye makeup, makeup removers, burn remedies, shampoos, sunscreens, and more.