When it comes to skin care products, not all are made equal. And certainly not all are right – or even good – for your skin. Did you know that according to a US research, one in eight ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products are actually hazardous industrial chemicals? Many of them are carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants. Imagine all those being absorbed by your skin and into your body! Here are some toxic ingredients you need to watch out for:
1. Dioxin. This won’t be listed as it is in the ingredients but it can often be found in antibacterial ingredients such as triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs, and ethoxylated cleansers like sodium laureth sulfate. This chemical can cause cancer, compromise your immunity, cause miscarriage and birth defects.
2. Benozyl Peroxide. Used in acne products, there have been concerns that this might cause tumors by acting as a mutagen and producing DNA damage in humans. It’s toxic when inhaled and irritates eyes, skin and the respiratory tract.
3. Parabens. They come in the form of methyl, ethyl, butyl and propyl. This chemical is used most often in shampoos and moisturizers as preservatives. At the very least they can cause irritation but many parabens are toxic and are associated with breast cancer. They can easily penetrate skin and interfere with hormone function.
4. DEA, cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA including MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine). Most often found as a foam booster such as in shampoos. It’s a skin and eye irritant and may cause contact dermatitis. This chemical is easily absorbed by the skin then accumulates in the body organs and the brain. In laboratory experiments, it’s been found that high doses of this chemical leads to liver cancer and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid.
5. Phthalates (includes dibutyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate). This chemical is found in nail products and hair sprays as well as some fragrances. It is usually not listed as an ingredient. It’s considered a high hazard compound and it can interact with other chemicals to cause genetic mutations. Laboratory results show it can cause developmental defects, decreased sperm count and early breast development in both genders.
6. PEG (polyethylene glycol). Usually used in synthesized form and are known to cause allergies. They are unfortunately in almost all products including baby care and sunscreens.
7. Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol. These are petroleum plastics and are considered by the EPA to be so toxic that they require gloves, proper protective clothing and goggles to handle and must be disposed by burying. They also warn against skin contact in order to prevent brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.
8. DMDM Hydantoin and Urea (Imidazolidinyl). These are two kinds of preservatives for a wide range of cosmetics. They are a concern because they slowly and continuously release formaldehyde – a known human carcinogen.
9. FD&C Color and Pigments. These artificial colors come from coal tar and contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins on skin which causes irritation. Absorption of these compounds can cause depletion of oxygen. They are also human carcinogens.
10. Sunscreen chemicals such as
avobenzone, benzphenone, ethoxycinnamate and PABA are known to increase production of harmful free radicals and have the ability to attack and harm DNA cells. Because of this, they are believed to be a contributing factor to melanoma cases among sunscreen users.
Certainly, we need the help of cosmetics and skin care products in order to keep our skin healthy and beautiful but we must also take care and watch out for these ingredients can do more harm than good. You’ve already armed yourself by reading this article and being better informed so that next time you take a good close look at the product label, you’ll know exactly what to watch out for.