Hopefully, the skincare products you have on your shelf at home are made out of mostly natural ingredients. We all know the many positive benefits and rejuvenating properties that natural ingredients can bring to our skin, but avoiding the ingredients that can cause harm may prove to be a bit difficult.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that out of 82 thousand ingredients which are used in skincare products, one out of eight chemicals can be rather toxic. Some of these ingredients are listed as hormonal disruptors, carcinogens, and even pesticides. Furthermore, out of all these components, there are quite a few that are considered to be reproductive toxins.
Can you imagine having a difficulty bearing children because of the skincare product that you use? Many of these same products are used to do things like soften concrete, remove grime and gunk off of car parts, and reduce water surface tension in paints and inks. That’s right; this stuff is found in your typical household skincare products.
It is estimated that out of all skincare products on the market, at least 80% contain one of these potentially dangerous and toxic ingredients. One could almost say that the cosmetic companies don’t seem to give any thought to the safety of their products and how they affect the general public. As long as the result is smoother skin, then it seems they are ok with the means.
Luckily, all companies have to list their ingredients on their products and even if they don’t, you can easily find the ingredients used by contacting the company.
12 Toxic Ingredients To Watch Out For In 2017
We have compiled a list of potentially dangerous ingredients which you should strive to avoid as much as possible when choosing your skin care products.
BHA and BHT
Widely used in moisturizers and lipsticks, these very similar antioxidants are used to preserve cosmetic products.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) have also been known to be used in some foods. Both of these antioxidants can cause allergic reactions. They have been dubbed as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Long exposure to BHT in mice and rats has produced a plethora of liver, thyroid, and kidney issues resulting in lung problems and blood thickening.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and its compounds are used to make cosmetics feel creamy and sudsy. In other words, the thickness and viscosity of your shampoo or favorite soap is all due to DEA and components found in DEA. How sudsy your cosmetic products get can also be blamed on DEA.
Many cosmetic companies use this ingredient to give their products that special texture and sudsy effect. This component also happens to be the same ingredient that causes skin and eye irritation.
Exposure to high amounts of this ingredient has shown to cause cancer in the liver and precancerous changes which occurred in the skin and thyroid. Many health organizations across the globe have dubbed this ingredient to be harmful due to the possibility of serious damage during prolonged exposure.
Dibutyl phthalate is widely used in nail products. It’s a type of plasticizer which keeps your nail polish from becoming too brittle. Oddly enough, this same ingredient is also used as part of a fragrance formula in some cosmetic products. The frightening part about it being used as a fragrance ingredient is that companies have the right to NOT list it as an ingredient since fragrance formulas can be considered as a trade secret.
Not surprisingly, this ingredient is also harmful to your health. Although it has not been proven to be a mutagen itself, in laboratory experiments it has been shown to cause developmental defects, changes in the testes and prostate, and reduced sperm counts. The European Union has decided to classify DBP as an endocrine disruptor since it interferes with hormone functions.
We know it seems a bit odd to list fragrance as an ingredient, but there is a good reason why we are listing it. Most cosmetics use the word fragrance of parfum as a way to represent a complex mixture of often thousands of ingredients which give the specific product its distinct smell or scent.
Obviously, these mixtures are used in colognes and perfumes, but they are also used in all moisturizers and creams on the market, even those that claim to be fragrance-free or unscented. The problem is that most of the ingredients which are in these mixtures aren’t displayed on the product because they are considered to be trade secrets. We know that many of these unlisted ingredients which are part of the fragrance mixture are known to be allergens and irritants which can cause severe reactions.
Furthermore, some of these ingredients have been known to exacerbate asthma and even contribute to the development of asthma in children. Those who are likely to be sensitive to multiple ingredients are the most vulnerable whenever these fragrance mixtures are being used.
Many people refer to this ingredient as petroleum jelly. It is actually a mineral oil jelly which is used frequently as a moisture barrier ingredient in lip balms and some hair products to lock in moisture and make it shine.
By itself, petrolatum isn’t dangerous. However, when it becomes contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), that’s when it can be very dangerous to your health. Studies have suggested that extended exposure to PAH can be associated with cancer. Because of this potential link to cancer, the European Union classifies petrolatum a carcinogen, restricting its use in all cosmetic products.
Siloxanes and Methicones
When dealing with all of these different types of ingredients and components, it can be easy to lose track of what specific elements can be dangerous or toxic, especially when their names are lengthy and hard to pronounce or even read sometimes.
Luckily, you don’t have to memorize these lengthy names. All you have to remember is the ending of these ingredients, which is usually “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Ingredients with that ending are generally used to soften, moisten, and smooth cosmetics.
Hair products that use these types of components dry quicker and deodorants that use them slide more easily. These same products are often used in windshield water repellents, building sealants, and lubricants. Environment Canada concluded after countless assessments that both cyclotetrasiloxane and cylcopentasiloxane, also known as D4 and D5, have the potential to be toxic and can bioaccumulate in marine life.
Other global chemical regulation organizations concluded that D4 is an endocrine disruptor because of its capabilities to influence hormone functions. Furthermore, D5 has been shown to influence neurotransmitters in the nervous system, impair the human reproductive system, and affect the immune system.
This ingredient is frequently used in antibacterial cosmetics. Cleansers and antiperspirants usually have triclosan listed as an ingredient. Besides these cosmetics, triclosan has also been used in laundry detergent, garbage bags, toys, linens, mattresses, furniture fabric, and paints. Also, many other household products that are advertised as antibacterial use triclosan. This ingredient can cause health problems when it passes through the skin. Triclosan is linked with disrupting hormone function.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists tested 2,517 people who were ages six and older and found that triclosan was located in the urine of 75% of the participants. It has also been dubbed as a persistent chemical, which means it doesn’t biodegrade easily.
So if thousands of users wash it off into drains, the result could be an accumulated amount of triclosan which can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria to develop.
Hands down, one of the most widely used preservatives in the cosmetic world are chemicals known as parabens. Yet again, these are considered to be part of the fragrance formula for most cosmetic products and since the companies want to keep their trade secret hidden, you won’t find any labels that state clear use of parabens. Usually, parabens are used in very small amounts, but they are estimated to be found in 80% of all cosmetics.
Parabens have been determined to easily penetrate skin and can cause hormonal imbalance. The big problem is that parabens can mimic estrogen, the female sex hormone. Furthermore, parabens have been known to be detected in breast tissues, which suggests the possibility of being linked to cancer.
Naturally, parabens can be found in foods such as strawberries, carrots, and onions, but in very small doses. The amount of parabens that are introduced into the blood stream due to the use of cosmetics far outweighs the maximum intake of parabens from food.
The CDC has done tests to determine the levels of parabens found in human urine which concluded with four different types of parabens being identified. This pointed towards high exposure even though the levels of parabens in products are low.
Coal Tar Dyes
P-phenylenediamine and colors listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number represent an ingredient used in many hair dyes on the market. Usually, darker dyes use more of this chemical than those that are lighter. Unfortunately, coal tar dye is actually a mixture of many different ingredients which are derived from petroleum.
This ingredient is recognized as a human carcinogen and even if synthesized is still believed to be a possible cause of cancer. Additionally, some of these dyes also combine heavy metals and aluminum substances with coal tar to produce different types of colors. These metals are known to be toxic to our brains.
Many of these colors and dyes aren’t approved for use in food, but cosmetic companies still use them in things like lipstick where they can be easily ingested. There have been countless amounts of research done in an attempt to link P-phenylenediamine to the development of cancer and tumors in laboratory tests. Reviews have been done which link many different hair dyes to cancer.
However, evidence has been inconclusive and more research is needed to further prove the direct effect that hair dyes can have on the development of cancer. Some conflicting evidence has surfaced from other research studies which stated that, at the given moment, personal use of hair dyes is “not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity in humans.”
Although, many worldwide organizations do have p-phenylenediamine listed as toxic in contact with skin, if inhaled, or if swallowed.
Ingredients like diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, and quaternium-15 are all considered to be formaldehyde-releasing agents. They are used widely to preserve cosmetics. Formaldehyde can be found in wood products, vinyl flooring, and even toilet bowl cleaners. The main reason why these ingredients are considered to be a threat is because they slowly and steadily release formaldehyde, which is classified as a human carcinogen.
There have been concerns and limitations set to reduce the formation of formaldehyde as a gas from building products. These same concerns have also been applied to cosmetics which can cause the absorption of formaldehyde not only through inhalation but direct skin contact, as well.
Most cosmetics companies can get away with using formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in their products because of the low level of formaldehyde that is being released. However, since this product is considered to be persistent, its effects can add up over time and cause health problems and issues. There is also concern regarding multiple products that might contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients which can add up to dangerous levels over time.
Our skin is our biggest organ. Nearly every other part of our body is somehow related to our skin and its condition. Whenever you get sick, it can often be seen by the tone and the condition of your skin. Our epidermis is a mirror of our internal organs and their health status. Because cosmetic products are applied directly to our skin, it is absolutely vital for you to know 100% what chemicals and ingredients you are using on your biggest organ.
In small quantities, many ingredients aren’t harmful, but they can add up over time and produce undesired results. Because of this, we strongly suggest that you focus on using only organic and natural products on your skin. Our bodies are fragile; exposing them to harmful ingredients is never a good idea.