If, like me, you are fanatical (yes, I admit it!) about checking the ingredients in your skin & hair care products this is a list you NEED to read.
These are the ‘nasty’ ingredients still found in many products – including a majority of high-end brands.
Found in antiperspirants, and cosmetics (eye shadow), deodorants; this metal has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. Avoid all products containing this ingredient.
Alternatives: Madara Bio Active Deodorant & Phb Pressed Mineral Eye Shadow
Used in many personal care products including hairsprays and nail polish removers. Inhalation of fumes may be toxic and are a threat to public health. Benzene is a powerful bone marrow poison and there is mounting evidence that it also is associated with leukemia. Derived from toluene and gasoline, it is also used in the manufacturing of detergents, nylon and artificial leather.
Alternatives: Fresh Therapies Natural Nail Varnish Remover & Giovanni LA Hold Hair Spritz
Used in shampoos designed to combat dandruff, dry skin, and scalp. Used as color in cosmetics and hair dyes. Disguised in names such as FD, FDC, FD&C color. Causes cancer in animals and is a frequent source of allergies, rashes, and hives.
There are so many natural shampoos about these days there really is no need to use this toxic ingredient.
You won’t see this word listed on the ingredient label, but if you are buying cotton balls, facial tissue, toilet tissue, sanitary pads and tampons (all of which have very close contact with your body) you may be exposed to them. These environmental pollutants are created unintentionally as a by-product of commercial of municipal waste incineration and burning of fuels. Chlorinated dioxins are also formed through the bleaching of pulp and paper including cotton balls, facial tissue, toilet tissue, sanitary pads and tampons. Studies show that exposure to dioxins may cause a number of serious health consequences including reproductive damage, birth defects, miscarriage and cancer.
This is a bit of a tough one but you can purchase TCF (Totally Chlorine Free) paper products these days.
Commonly found in nail products, formaldehyde is associated with an increased risk of cancer of the nose and lung cancer in humans. Formaldehyde is irritating to mucous membranes, can cause inability to urinate, internal bleeding and is a known carcinogen.
These days there are many nail polishes that do not contain formaldehyde.
These are preservatives, and are used to inhibit microbial growth so that manufacturers can extend shelf life. They go by the names butyl, ethyl, methyl and propyl parabens. Methyl paraben combines benzoic acid with the methyl group of chemicals to make it highly toxic in the body. Parabens are known xenoestrogens.
I ALWAYS check to make sure there are no parabens on the ingredients list.
Derived from petroleum, paraffins may be contaminated with xenoestrogenic polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). They are known to activate estrogen receptors and stimulate MCF-7 breast cancer cell proliferation and are therefore carcinogenic. They are used because they are cheap, like mineral oil and petrolatum.
Used frequently in lip and baby products. Made from mineral oil jelly (petro-chemical), petrolatum causes photosensitivity (sensitivity to the sun) and interferes with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism. Using petroleum products on the skin will eventually lead to unhealthy and dehydrated skin. Manufacturers like it because it is very inexpensive. Petroleum products are also xenoestrogenic, and may contain impurities linked to breast cancer.
Frequently used in lip balms so check before you buy.
Propylene Glycol (PEG)
This is a synthetic petro-chemical mix. It is also made from the same chemical that is used to create anti-freeze, hydraulic fluids, plasticisers and solvents. PEG facilitates penetration of formulation deeper into the skin, thereby allowing increasing amounts of other chemicals and toxins to reach the bloodstream.
This petroleum-derived chemical used in hairspray and cosmetics may contribute to the inhalation of foreign bodies in the lungs. PVP/VA should be considered toxic.
Quaternary ammonium salts (QUATS)
QUATS are caustic ammonium chemicals used as water repellents, fungicides, emulsifiers, in paper and fabric softener. They are used in the fabric industry as softeners and antistatic agents, and are used in hair rinses and conditioners because they make the hair feel soft. In the long run, however, they damage the hair, making it dry and brittle. They are allergenic.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)
Although SLS has not directly been linked with cancer, it can combine with other ingredients to form carcinogenic nitrosamines, in chemicals such as DEA, TEA and MEA. SLS may also contain dioxins. LS degenerates cell membranes and can change the genetic information in cells and damage the immune system. Used as a foaming agent, SLS is found in 90% of commercial shampoos and cleansers, and it is a known skin irritant. According to the Cosmetics Industry Review (CIR), SLS should not be used in products that remain in contact with the skin because it penetrates into the system. SLS also contributes to hair loss, rashes, dandruff, and allergic reactions. It is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the term “derived from coconut.”
Don’t be fooled!
Although now used in hair conditioners and creams, Stearalkonium Chloride was developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener. Causes allergic reactions. This toxic chemical is used in hair products simply because it is a lot cheaper than using proteins and herbals. Toxic.
These are labeled FD&C or D&C followed by a number. FD&C colors are approved for food, drug and cosmetics. D&C colors are approved for drugs and cosmetics only. Many synthetic colors are believed to be cancer-causing. Many have already been banned by the FDA in America. If a cosmetic has them, do not use them!
This is why the only colour my bath products contain are natural ones like hibiscus powder (pink) or organic Spirulina powder (green).
The word “fragrance” on a product label could refer to a combination of up to 200 individual synthetic fragrances. There is no requirement to list individual fragrances. Many are polycyclic musk combinations with fragrance that remain in the human body fat and have been found in mother’s milk. Many “fragrance” chemicals are phthalates (pronounced “thay-lates”), which are xenoestrogenic and toxic.
There are some lovely natural perfumes about like Walden & Pacifica – much safer.
Some studies link the use of inhaled talc with lung conditions and an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who use talc products in the genital region. The problem is in determining whether talc is the toxin, or if talc is contaminated with asbestos or other possible impurities.
Best to avoid, especially for your little ones.
Often used to adjust the pH of a formulation. Used with many fatty acids to convert acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes a base for a cleanser. TEA causes allergic reactions, including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin, and can be toxic if absorbed into the body for a long period of time.
Happy hunting. There are plenty of natural alternatives out there these days.