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After I examined what I was eating, and what was in my home, I turned to look at what I was putting on my body. This week is all about Clean Beauty. I will show you the top ingredients of concern in your personal care products.
Why should we be concerned with what’s in our personal care products?
26 seconds is all that it takes for the chemicals in your personal care products to enter your bloodstream.
More than 85,000 chemicals have been introduced since the early 1940’s and almost 90% of those haven’t been tested for human safety.
Even if you are a super label checker, federal law allows companies to leave some chemical ingredients off their product labels, including those considered to be trade secrets, components of fragrance and nanomaterials. Let me repeat: Companies aren’t required to disclose all their ingredients! This is why it is important to avoid products that have fragrance or parfum listed on their ingredient list as this is where some of the worst ingredients hide.
Beware of greenwashing. The FDA does not regulate the use of words like “hypoallergenic”, “natural”, or “organic” to name a few. Some companies use these terms to market their products because they know that the eco movement is the fastest growing segment of the cosmetics industry.
Look for an upcoming post on healthier swaps. Check out my videos on my YouTube channel with my favorite swaps. I have covered deodorant and sunscreen. I will keep adding more so check back often.
You can also check out my SHOP page on my website to find links to some of my favorite products.
The Top Ingredients of concern in your Personal Care Products:
These are complex chemical mixtures that manufacturers are not required to disclose. They are considered to be trade secrets. Let’s call them dirty little secrets. This can include chemicals that are allergens, hormone disruptors or linked to cancer and more.
What to look for: fragrance, parfum
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate
These are surfactants and inexpensive and effective foaming agents. They are a known skin or eye irritant, linked to organ system toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, possible mutations and cancer. SLES can also form 1,4-dioxane which is a carcinogen.
What to look for: SLS, SLES, Sodium dodecyl sulfate, Sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, Sodium salt sulfuric acid, Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid, A13-00356, Akyposal SDS, Aquarex ME, Aquarex methyl
These are preservatives used to prevent the growth of microbes so that our products will last longer. They mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone system disruptors. They have also been linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity.
What to look for: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben
A group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics and PVC. In personal care products they are used to improve texture, increase spreadability, and enhance absorption. These chemicals are known for their “gender bending” effects on humans and animals. They have been linked to changes in genital formation, decreased birth rate of boys, early puberty, DNA damage to sperm, and decreased sperm counts, and the list goes on.
What to look for: fragrance, phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP
This is a silicone oil that creates a smooth application. It also creates a barrier on skin that prevents it from breathing. It is irritating to skin and can also trap bacteria and other impurities in your skin.
What to look for: Methicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone copolyol
This chemical substance is used to kill harmful microorganisms and is often used as a preservative. This has been linked to neurotoxicity, and is an irritant.
What to look for: Chloromethylisothiazolinone (CMIT), Benzisothiazolinone (BIT), Octylisothiazolinone (OIT), Dichlorooctylisothiazolinone (DCOIT)
This is used in some antiperspirants. It is a neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor and can irritate skin.
What to look for: Aluminum
This is found in nail polishes and hair dyes. It is banned by the European Union. This chemical has been linked to negative effects on the kidneys, nervous system, brain, liver and heart.
What to look for: Toluene
This chemical can be added directly into a product or can be released by preservatives. It is linked to cancer and skin irritation.
What to look for: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol)
Retinyl Palmitate or Retinol
These are forms of Vitamin A, which sounds good, right? The problem is that vitamin A makes UV rays more dangerous to your skin. This may speed development of skin tumors and lesions when exposed to the sun. The products with these ingredients usually have a warning to stay out of the sun, use suncreen, etc… The problem is that many sunscreens contain this ingredient.
What to look for: Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol
Now that we know what to avoid, what’s next? Look for an upcoming post on healthier swaps.
If you want all of the information now in one convenient place, check out my course: