10 Harmful chemicals in cosmetics that you should avoid
Did you know that approximately 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body? That’s quite a scary thought, when you realise that the cosmetics industry is unregulated. Although the most major cosmetic manufacturers are reasonably careful about what they put into their products, some of the chemicals that are widely in use are, in fact, toxic. You would check the ingredients on the labels of your food and, after reading this, you may want to also check the ingredients in your cosmetic products. Here are ten of the nastier, toxic chemicals that you can find in some cosmetics:
Triclosan can be found in toothpastes, deodorants and anti-bacterial soaps. Its purpose is to kill bacteria, but there have been some major concerns that it is contributing to making some bacteria antibiotic resistant. It is also a skin irritant and has been known to interfere with the functioning of the human reproductive hormones and the thyroid gland.
Formaldehyde is another one of harmful chemicals in cosmetics. Yes, that’s the same stuff they use to embalm dead bodies; it is also used in nail polish, shampoos, conditioners and some body washes. It is used to prevent the growth of bacteria in the product, but it is also known to be a human carcinogenic linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers.
3. Propylene glycol
Used as a skin conditioning agent, Propylene glycol is a skin irritant and has been associated with causing hives and dermatitis in humans. Propylene glycol can be found in makeup, shampoo, conditioners and hair spray.
4. Fragrance / Parfum
This ingredient almost looks natural and makes you think of plant extracts and rose petals. The truth is the term was invented to protect manufactures’ secret ingredients in fragrances and it can refer to many different chemicals. Some of these ingredients are perfectly safe, but some are allergens, carcinogens or endocrine disruptors.
5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate / Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Another one of harmful chemicals in cosmetics is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Often used in shampoos and shower gels, usually labelled as SLS or SLES, Sodium Laureth Sulfate / Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is both skin irritant and it also increase the skin’s ability to absorb chemicals. This means that you absorb more of any other nasty stuff that is in your makeup or other beauty products.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are used in hundreds of different types of products, mainly in nail polish, perfumes, lotions and hair spray. They are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics and they have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and early breast development in young girls.
Toluene is a petrochemical ingredient that is found in nail polish and hair colouring and bleaching products. It is a solvent that is capable of dissolving paint and it is known to be a skin irritant, it can cause nausea and other health problems.
8. Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine
Usually listed simply as DEA, or TEA, Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine are emulsifiers and foaming agents. They are possibly carcinogens in their own right, but the biggest concern is that, when they are combined with nitrites in other cosmetics, they can cause carcinogenic compounds.
Oxybenzone is most commonly found in spray on sunscreens and it is known to be a major hormone disrupter. This is not good for anyone, but is especially to be avoided in products that you might use on children.
Parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics to prevent the growth of bacteria. These chemicals are readily absorbed by the skin and have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Traces of Parabens have been found in biopsy samples taken from breast tumors.
There are many other harmful chemicals in cosmetics that we did’t include in our list. Do you know some of them? Feel free to comment below.