Women apply hundreds of chemicals on their bodies every day, but how often do they think about the toxic ingredients or the side-effects associated with these unregulated products?
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and up to 60% of anything we put on our skin is absorbed into our system. However, the FDA does NOT approve any cosmetics or skincare regimens. They say it is the responsibility of cosmetic manufacturers to ensure, before marketing their products, which the products are safe when used as directed. Do you trust the cosmetic manufacturers?
Did you know unless a chemical used in beauty products is proven to cause harm to human health, it is classified by the FDA as GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe.” Without them having our best interest, we must protect ourselves by gaining more knowledge on the chemicals we could be damaging our bodies with on a daily basis.
The infographic below breaks down the various everyday products that have harmful chemicals present in them. Also, review the list of harmful toxins at the end of the article so you can spot them when reading ingredient labels.
Toxins To Avoid!
Since the cosmetic industry is unregulated, consumers have a hard time trusting the manufacturers. The best thing we can do to take control is to read ingredient lists carefully to avoid chemicals that are known to be harmful, even though they may continue to be widely used.
Coal Tar: A known carcinogen banned in the EU, but still used in North America. Used in dry skin treatments, anti-lice, and anti-dandruff shampoos, also listed as a color plus number, i.e. FD&C Red No. 6.
DEA/TEA/MEA: Suspected carcinogens used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, body washes, soaps.
Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane: Never listed because it’s a by-product made from adding carcinogenic ethylene oxide to make other chemicals less harsh. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found 1,4-dioxane in 57 percent of baby washes in the U.S. Avoid any ingredients containing the letters “eth.”
Formaldehyde: Probable carcinogen and irritant found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos. Banned in the EU.
Fragrance/Parfum: A catchall for hidden chemicals, such as phthalates. The fragrance is connected to headaches, dizziness, asthma, and allergies.
Hydroquinone: Used for lightening skin. Banned in the UK, rated most toxic on the EWG’s Skin Deep database, and linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Lead: Known carcinogen found in lipstick and hair dye, but never listed because it’s a contaminant, not an ingredient.
Mercury: Known allergen that impairs brain development. Found in mascara and some eyedrops.
Mineral oil: By-product of petroleum that’s used in baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels. It creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.
Oxybenzone: Active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight.
Parabens: Used as preservatives, found in many products. Linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity.
Paraphenylenediamine (PPD): Used in hair products and dyes, but toxic to skin and immune system.
Phthalates: Plasticizers banned in the EU and California in children’s toys, but present in many fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lotions. Linked to endocrine disruption, liver/kidney/lung damage, cancer.
Placental extract: Used in some skin and hair products, but linked to endocrine disruption.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG): Penetration enhancer used in many products, it’s often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens.
Silicone-derived emollients: Used to make a product feel soft, these don’t biodegrade, and also prevent skin from breathing. Linked to tumor growth and skin irritation.
Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES): A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, it’s absorbed into the body and irritates skin.
Talc: Similar to asbestos in composition, it’s found in baby powder, eye shadow, blush, deodorant. Linked to Ovarian cancer and respiratory problems.
Toluene: Known to disrupt the immune and endocrine systems, and fetal development. It’s used in nail and hair products and often hidden under fragrance.
Triclosan: Found in antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and deodorants, it is linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. Avoid the brand Microban.
Reader – Do you have any of these chemicals in your products right now in your bathroom? How does this knowledge change your views on cosmetics?