Sometimes it is very difficult to avoid all of these ingredients in cosmetics (although they all have better alternatives), but we would do a great deal for our health if we could at least avoid most of them. Be wise and know what’s best for your skin!
Look for: anything ending in –paraben (ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben…)
Parabens are a group of inexpensive chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetic to keep it from growing bacteria and keep ingredients fresher for longer. They can be found in almost all skincare products.
Studies show that some types of paraben – methylparaben applied to the skin in response to UVB radiation leads to accelerated skin aging and DNA damage. Parabens may contribute to hormone imbalance and harm fertility, increase the risk of cancer, cause skin irritation. Generally paraben-free products will be labeled as such.
2. ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE/PARFUM
Look for: Fragrance, perfume, parfum, essential oil blend, aroma
A fragrance/parfum is a combination of chemicals that give a cosmetic product a specific scent. Almost every cosmetic product contains fragrances.
The producers are not obliged to state exactly what the substance is, so they simply list it on the ingredients list as – Parfum or Fragrance. They are made up of hundreds of different ingredients not listed on the label, so you are never sure what you are actually exposed to. They are linked to health effects including cancer, allergies and sensitivities.
3. SULFATES (SLS, SDS)
Look for: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)
Sulfates are cleansing agents, detergents that remove dirt and make foam, lather, and bubble. They are commonly found in products like shampoo, toothpaste and household cleaning products.
They can “clean too much” and often dry out the skin and take the natural oil from the hair, which causes irritations and “burning” feeling on the skin. There are more than 100 types of sulfats and not all of them are considered bad. Some scientistc (C.B.Davis) state that SLS generally is safe but when combined with some other ingredients it can become potentially carcinogenic.
4. MEA, DEA, TEA
Look for: Triethanolamine, diethanolamine, anything containing words DEA, TEA, MEA (example: cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate…)
MEA, DEA and TEA are used to control pH level of products and to create foams in products. They can be found in many products ranging from shampoos, haircolors, liquid soaps, shower gels, makeup to household cleaning products.
There is a common opinion among people that a product must contain foam in order to clean it well. More foam = more clean is not so correct. They can dry out the skin and cause serious irritations. Furthermore, they can react with other ingredients in a product, like nitrates, and form nitrosamines, which are potentially carcenogenic.
Look for: Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), dybutyl phthalate (DBP)
Phatalates are group of chemicals used as solvents and plasticizers (make plastic more flexible). They are widely used in nail polishes, hairsprays, body washes, hair care products.
Phatalates can affect hormones and potentially cause reproductive, developmental and other health issues.
6. FORMALDEHYDE (& SUBSTANCES THAT RELEASE FORMALDEHYDE)
Look for: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol
Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas. It can be found in nail polishes, soaps, makeup, shampoos, lotions, deodorants.
It can be added directly to a product or released from preservatives. Formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, skin and increase risk allergy. Long exposure to formaldehyde may be carcinogenic.
7. ALUMINIUM SALTS
Look for: Aluminum Chlorohydrate, Aluminum Chloride
Aluminium salts are the active ingredient in antiperspirants.
Their harmful effects in cosmetic products are still widely discussed. Whether they are truly harmful or not, an aluminum-free product is a good alternative.
Look for: Triclosan (TSC), triclocarban (TCC)
Triclosan an antibacterical ingredient used mainly as a preservative, to stop bacteria growing. It can be found in antibactericl products, aftershave lotions, bath products, hair conditioners, makeup products, deodorants, toothpastes.
A limit of 0.3% concentration of triclosan in a product is considered safe, but people can use many different cosmetics containing triclosan (toothpastes, hand soaps) and could end up being exposed to excessive amounts. Troclosan also can cause allergies and hormon disruption.
9. MINERAL OIL
Look for: Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Oil, Mineral Oil
The mineral oil used in cosmetics products is obtained from refining petroleum. Their main function is to keep skin moisturized. It is usually found in creams, lotions, ointments, and cosmetics.
Petrolatum acctually has n known health concerns when properly refined. the red flag arises if the refining process is not well done because petrolatum can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which is potentially carcinogenic. PAHs in petrolatum can also cause skin irritation and allergies.