We use many personal care product a day such as toothpaste, soap, body care, skin care products and make-up. The products we use means that many of us are being exposed to up to chemicals and substances on a given day. Are these ingredients safe for us? This industry is highly unregulated. It is easy to think that there is no way our government would allow something that isn’t safe on the market.
So the same way you look at food labels, you should do the same for your skin care products. Many of these synthetic chemicals we don’t want to read and hard-to-pronounce are skin irritants, skin penetrators, hormone disrupters and are carcinogenic. Below are some of the major toxic ingredients to help you on a journey to a more healthy and beautiful body.
DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine)
Usage: foaming factors
The reason to avoid: These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects. In the United States however, they are still used despite the fact that Americans may be exposed to them 10-20 times per day with products such as shampoos, shaving creams and bubble baths.
Products: makeup, body wash, shampoo, skincare
How to recognize on a label: DEA, Diethanolamine, TEA, and Triethanolamine
Usage: synthetic fragrance
The reason to avoid: It can negatively affect fertility and fetal development, considered a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization
Products: hair spray, lipstick, perfume and nail polish
How to recognize on a label: Benzylbutyl phthalate (BzBP), Di-n-butyl phthalate, Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Diethyl phthalate (DEP), Fragrance
Formaldehyde/DMDM Hydantion & Urea (Imidazolidinyl)
Usage: chemical preservatives
The reason to avoid: carcinogenic, skin and lung irritant, liver toxicant and neurotoxin, may cause joint pain, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, and loss of sleep. Other possible side effects include weakening the immune system and cancer.
Products: nail polish, deodorant, shampoo
How to recognize on a label: Formaldehyde, Formalin, Urea, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, Quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol, Sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate
Usage: synthetic preservative
The reason to avoid: possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
Products: soap, skincare, body care, hair care, toothpaste, deodorant
How to recognize on a label: alkyl parahydroxybenzoate, butylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and isobutylparabens
Usage: an emollient or lubricant
The reason to avoid: contains impurities linked to cancer
Products: skincare, body care, lip balm, makeup
How to recognize on a label: petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral oil
Propylene Glycol and Butylene Glycol
The reason to avoid: They easily penetrate the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to make extracts from herbs. The EPA warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
Products: skincare, hair care, body care, makeup, baby care products, contact lens cleaner
How to recognize on a label: Propylene Glycol, Proptylene Glycol, 1, 2-Propanediol, PEG (polyethylene glycol), PPG (polypropylene glycol)
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate
Usage: makes a product foamy
The reason to avoid: SLS’s are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. It alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to more easily enter the system. Animals exposed to SLS experience eye damage, labored breathing, severe skin irritation, and even death.
Products: shampoo, facial cleansers, body wash, bubble bath, baby bath, toothpaste
How to recognize on a label: Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, Anhydrous Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Irium
Synthetic Colorants (FD&C colors)
Usage: used to artificially color a cosmetic product
The reason to avoid: can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.
Products: shampoo, facial cleansers, body wash, skincare, baby care products, hair care, makeup
How to recognize on a label: FD&C or D&C (FD&C RED NO. 40)
Usage: used to artificially scent a cosmetic product
The reason to avoid: can cause allergic reactions, headache, dizziness, and respiratory distress, and possible effects to reproductive system.
Products: hair care, skin care, makeup, body care, perfume
How to recognize on a label: fragrance, parfum
Usage: provide sun protection
The reason to avoid: have been found to mimic estrogen in the body potentially causing hormonal disruption, can also cause skin irritation and easily absorb in to the skin
Products: sunscreens, facial moisturizer, lip protection
How to recognize on a label: 4-Methyl-Benzylidencamphor (4-MBC), Oxybenzone Benzophenone-3, Octyl-methoyl-cinnamates (OMC), Octyl-Dimethyl-Para-Amino-Benzoic Acid (OD-PABA), Homosalate(HMS)
Usage: used as a preservative
The reason to avoid: possible neurotoxin, possible health risks to unborn babies, allergic reactions
Products: hair care, body wash, sunscreen, skin care
How to recognize on a label: 3 (2h) -Isothiazolone, 2-Methyl-; 2-Methyl-3 (2h) -Isothiazolone; 2-Methyl-4-Isothiazolin-3-One; 2-Methyl- 3 (2h) -Isothiazolone; 2-Methyl-2h-Isothiazol-3-One; 3 (2h) Isothiazolone, 2methyl; 2-Methyl-3 (2h) -Isothiazolone; 2-Methyl-4-Isothiazolin-3-One
Usage: a contaminant of chemical color additives
The reason to avoid: a known neurotoxin, linked to brain damage, miscarriage, lowered IQ, increased aggression, and learning disabilities
Products: lipsticks, nail polish, hair color, and whitening toothpastes
How to recognize on a label: C.I. 77575; Glover; Ks-4; Lead (Acgih) ; Lead Flake; Lead Inorganic; Lead S2; Olow (Polish) ; Omaha ; Grant
Usage: moisturizer products
The reason to avoid: The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that this unpurified form contains contaminants that have been linked in studies to an increased risk of cancer.
Products: baby care products, skin care, lotions, make-up
How to recognize on a label: Liquid petroleum, Liquidum paraffinum, Petrolatum, Paraffin oil, Mineral oil
Usage: a synthetic chemical with antimicrobial properties
The reason to avoid: It can pass through skin, interfering with hormone function and immune system. And it linked to cancer. In December 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration banned Triclosan from hand soaps and body wash in the country.
Products: anti-bacterial soap, toothpaste, deodorants, make-up, lip stick
How to recognize on a label: triclosan