For many of us, discovering our favorite skin and beauty products has been a lifelong quest. Finding new products to love that are free of toxic chemicals, synthetic fragrances or preservatives and impurities (like traces of lead or other heavy metals) may seem impossible.
There are MANY ingredients to avoid but here's our list of the top TEN ingredients you may still find in products claiming to be natural.
1. DMDM Hydantoin is an organic compound that companies use to help preserve; however, it can cause dermatitis and releases formaldehyde.
2. Propylene Glycol is an organic compound that is used as a surfactant or wetting agent that is known to penetrate quickly into the skin. This ingredient is actually the active ingredient in Anti-Freeze! You will find this in many makeup, lotion, hair care products, aftershave, mouthwashes, etc.
3. Parabens are antimicrobial preservatives that can accumulate in fatty tissues and can mimic estrogen. They have been linked to cancer. Parabens are found in personal care products, food and pharmaceuticals.
4. Synthetic Fragrances can contain as many as 200 different chemicals. Many of the compounds in fragrances can affect the central nervous system may also be carcinogenic.
5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is used primarily in shampoos, body washes, soaps, and toothpastes as a foaming agent and surfactant. SLS causes eye irritation, skin rashes and hair loss - some studies even show damage to the immune system through repeated exposure.
6. Phthalates are are absorbed into the skin and will accumulate over time. They disrupt estrogen metabolism and have been linked to liver toxicity, genital malformation, and are thought to cause some cancers. You will find this in nearly all mainstream fragrances, perfumes, nail polish, and hairspray.
7. Triclosan is an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent. Many manufactures use this in soap, mouthwash, deodorant etc. Triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption, causes bacterial resistance overtime and is damaging to the environment.
8. Synthetic Colors are labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a color and number (i.e. Yellow #5. These should be avoided as they are often derived from metals or animal sources. There is also evidence to support the development of behavioral problems and cancer from exposure to these.
9. Petrolatum (aka Mineral Oil) is used in lip products such as lipsticks and balms. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is SUPER cheap. It acts as plastic wrap and tends to interfere with the body’s own moisturizing mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping (also ensuring that you reapply OFTEN).
10. Imidazolidinyl Urea is the next most commonly used preservative after parabens. It is also one of the main causes for contact dermatitis and will release formaldehyde at just over 10 degrees!
Our bodies are subjected to endless toxins on a day-to-day basis: pollution, stress, genetically modified foods... Start reading your labels and take baby steps to limit exposure or lose these ingredients entirely to find your way to healthy skin care and beauty regimen.
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