The Toxic Skincare Ingredients That Can Ruin Your Health

toxic-skincare

 

It’s no secret that skincare is a necessary process in modern society. Thanks to all of the chemicals and toxins that we are exposed to throughout the day, as well as artificial lighting, heating/cooling and more, our skin needs a bit of TLC to be at its best.

 

The problem is, many conventional skincare products actually contain ingredients that can be harmful to your skin and your health.

 

Here are some of the most common ingredients you will want to avoid in your skincare choices.

 

Parabens

What are they?

Parabens are widely used preservatives, used for their ability to prevent growth of bacteria, yeast and molds in cosmetic and skincare products.

 

Where are they found?

They are most commonly found in facial cleansers, as well as deodorants, shampoos, make-up and body washes. They may also be added to pharmaceutical products, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

How can I spot them?

Any paraben listed is pretty easy to spot, as they will usually have the word ‘paraben’ in the name – such as methylparaben.

 

How do they affect health?

Parabens mimic estrogen, which can not only throw out the delicate balance of sex hormones and worsen your current skin issues, but may also be associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.

 

Phthalates

What are they?

Phthalates might be hard to spell, but what they are is pretty simple – they’re a type of chemical that increases flexibility and softness of plastics used in products.

 

Where are they found?

The main phthalates that are used in skincare are those found in perfumed products and lotions, however they can also be found in nail polish and hair spray.

 

How can I spot them?

There’s three main phthalates to look out for – diethyl phthalate, or DEP, is most used in skincare, but also watch out for dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, and dimethyl phthalate, or DMP.

 

However, if it’s part of a fragrance, it won’t be listed separately, so you’ll want to avoid any artificial fragrance just to be safe.

 

How do they affect health?

Phthalates are thought to be endocrine disruptors, throwing out the delicate hormonal balance and may worsen your skin issues if they are hormonal in origin.

 

Endocrine disruption can also increase risk of breast cancer, and early development in young girls, as well as birth defects of the reproductive system in infants.

 

Phthalates are also linked to damage of major organs such as liver, kidney and lungs, as well as suspected links to cancer. In fact, they are banned in Europe because of the potential health issues.

 

Petrochemicals

What are they?

Made from by-products of petroleum, these chemicals are generally used to create a film on the skin, to give a moisturized feeling.

 

Where are they found?

They are commonly used in moisturizers, skin oils and baby oils, as well as in styling gels for hair.

 

How can I spot them?

There’s a lot of petrochemicals out there. Here’s a few to avoid:

  • Mineral oil
  • Paraffin wax
  • Toluene
  • Benzene
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • PEG, or polyethylene glycol
  • Any ingredient ending in ‘eth’ such as laureth
  • DEA, or diethanolamine, and MEA, or ethanolamine
  • Butanol and any ingredient including ‘butyl’
  • Ethanol and any ingredient including ‘ethyl’
  • Artificial fragrance or parfum

 

This is not a comprehensive list, but is a good starting point – with most skincare products, if they have one petrochemical you can spot, there will most likely be multiple others listed under various names.

 

How do they affect health?

Petrochemicals have multiple effects on health. The film it forms on skin can block the skin from releasing sweat, toxins and more, reducing your skin’s effectiveness as a pathway of elimination.

 

The main issue with petrochemicals is that they can generate a substance known as 1,4 dioxane. This compound can cause cancer, and be toxic to kidneys, brain and lungs.

 

The risk with this is higher than you might think – research showed that 22% of all products contain levels of 1,4 dioxane that are considered unsafe.

 

Synthetic Fragrances & Colors

What are they?

Just like the name suggests, these are artificial colors and fragrances, used to create scent and color in cosmetic, haircare and skincare products.

 

Where are they found?

These can be found in almost any type of skincare product – cleansers, toners, moisturizers, creams and more.

 

How can I spot them?

Fragrance listed without any further information is a pretty big giveaway that it’s artificial – if it’s natural, the company will list that. Colors are easy enough to spot – look for D&C followed by a color and a number, such as D&C Red 27.

 

How do they affect health?

Fragrance blends are associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory issues and may even act as endocrine disruptors. They can also exacerbate asthma and trigger headaches or dizziness.

 

Synthetic colors are suspected to cause cancer, as well as irritating skin and being linked to ADHD in children. In fact, Europe have banned artificial colors.

 

Both colors and fragrances are also a common source of petrochemicals and phthalates, and all of the health issues that come along with those products.

 

Sulfates

What are they?

A degreaser, sulfates cause the foaming that many of us know to be associated with cleansers and shampoos.

 

Where are they found?

Sulfates are found in almost every product in skincare and haircare that foams up, including cleansers, soaps and shampoos. It’s commonly used in acne skin care products due to its degreasing action.

 

How can I spot them?

Luckily, sulfates are pretty easy to spot – the two main types to look out for are sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, and sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES.

 

How do they affect health?

Sulfates can irrritate the body, particularly irritating the skin, lungs and eyes. Unpleasant, but not the end of the world.

 

But, the big bad about sulfates is their potential to react with other chemicals and form a potent carcinogen known as nitrosamine. This can also lead to kidney and respiratory issues..

 

Looking for the right skincare products and regime for your healthiest skin? Make sure to book an appointment!

 

References

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128042.htm

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128250.htm

http://www.ewg.org/news/news-releases/2007/02/08/ewg-research-shows-22-percent-all-cosmetics-may-be-contaminated-cancer

https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/ingredients-concern/food-dyes

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607613063/abstract

http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditivesinSpecificProducts/InCosmetics/default.htm

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm388821.htm