15 Ingredients in Cosmetics you should Know About
Both men and women use some sort of cosmetics or skin care product in their day to day routine. You might be surprised that more than 90 percent of these contain at least one or a combination of chemical and synthetic ingredients that have been related to the causes of skin disorders and even cancer. There are over 500 components used in the production of most major cosmetics and the scary thing is you really have no way of knowing if these chemical are safe.
It's important for consumers to know that the cosmetic industry is not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The companies are obligated to list the ingredients on the label in order, but by federal law, they do not have to evaluate their safety. The only way that the FDA can take action is if there is proven facts showing that the product is potentially dangerous. With that being said, items containing words like natural or herbal really don’t mean a thing even though the company itself may practice standards of safety.
1. Diethanolamine (DEA) - This is a lathering instigator used in lotions, soaps, and shampoos. This chemical is not harmful by itself, but when used in combination with other ingredients, DEA can create a carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA can easily be absorbed through the skin and has been related to stomach, bladder, liver, and esophagus cancers.
2. Parabens -In recent years there has been an increased focus on Parabens. Commonly known as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben, they have been linked to quite a few reports on breast cancer. A study from the FDA states that parabens aren’t dangerous at extremely small levels but with thousands and thousands of these products containing parabens, you it quite possible to build up a higher level in a lifetime. Look for products that are labeled “paraben free”.
3. Formaldehyde - Which can also be known as DMDM hydantoin diazolidinyl urea, Imidazalidol urea Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, N-(Hydroxymethyl) glycine, monosodium salt, and quaternium-15, is shockingly a general ingredient used in a number of beauty products . Some of them are used as a preservative for an alternative to Paraben. Formaldehyde was categorized as a human carcinogen in the middle of 2004 and is known to cause irritated throats, eyes, and noses as well as the cause of cancer and asthma with recurrent usage.
4. Phenylenediamine (PPD) - You’ll find this frequently in cosmetic dyes from anything from hair to eyelashes. Although PPD is not approved for products that come in contact with the skin, hair dye usually gets on your forehead or ears and you leave it on for at least 25 minutes.
5. Phthalates - This component, used primarily in nail polish, has been a hot topic of discussion because they disrupt the endocrine system which can cause reproductive and neurological side effects in men and women. Although most famous for their use in baby teethers and bottles, it is also used in nail polish and a few other cosmetics. It is not very easy to spot this on labels, but look for names such as DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate).
6. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) - A foaming agent widely used in soaps and shampoos, SLS and SLES are skin irritants that can get into the heart, brain and liver through the skin and build up in these organs. Shampoos are amongst the most complaints received by the FDA. The descriptions include eye and scalp irritation and swelling of the hands, face and arms .There are also reports of extremely tangled hair that is far from the “shiny” and “healthy” hair the companies claim.
7. Petrolatum - Even though we’ve used it for decades, this jelly like ointment, or petroleum jelly, is made from crude oil. It is frequently used in the cosmetic industry because basically is is really cheap. Some facts about this oily substance you might not know is that it actually provokes acne in your skin and can cause premature aging. On top of that, its immunity to contamination is low and it can be invaded by harmful substances such as 1,4-dioxane , a suspected toxin to humans.
8. Triclosan The active ingredient in almost all of the antibacterial liquid hand soaps out there. It can also be used in the manufacturing of toothpastes, acne treatments, and deodorants. Triclosan accumulates in fat and can multiply in the bodies of both humans and animals. It has been paired with thyroid dysfunction and can also react with the chlorine in our tap to create chloroform.
9. Toluene - An industrial solvent used for manufacturing of paints, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and rubber and unfortunately your nail polish. Toluene is poisonous to the nervous system and breathing it in can cause you vertigo and headaches. There is major concern because of its links to birth defects and miscarriage, so salon workers are more at risk. Try to use Toluene-free brands of nail polishes as a substitute instead.
10. Fragrance - Cosmetic companies can mask a vast range of synthetic chemicals under this label. Fragrance is present in mostly existent in sunscreens, skin and body care, shampoos, and some baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. Symptoms included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Medical research by physicians has related overexposure of fragrance to affect the central nervous system. There are reports of hyperactivity, changes in behavior, and depression.
11. Triethanolamine (TEA) - TEA is used to balance PH and is a common ingredient in cosmetics that are commonly named as gentle on the skin. On the contrary, is has been correlated with allergic reactions , dry hair and skin, and red and irritated eyes. TEA is immersed into the body through the skin with regular use, and as a result can become toxic.
12. Hydroquinone - This is a skin lightening ingredient that is illegal in Japan, Australia, and Europe. This chemical is allowed in personal care products in the U.S. with a concentration maximum of 2 percent. Hydroquinone is used in Asian and African skin-bleaching creams as well as those that claim to fade age spots as well. Because the chemical reduces Melanin, it also increases the penetration of UVA and UVB rays into the skin causing carcinogenic effects.
13. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) - This combination of antioxidants can be found in anything from sunscreen for your kids to your favorite color lipstick. You can even find it in some foods although it has been banned in several other countries. These are toxic to the immune, respiratory, liver and neurologic systems.
14. Talc - Everyone knows about this powder but are you aware that is may be infused with asbestos? And asbestos is recognized as being cancerous. Talc is present in everyday cosmetics such as rouge and with large controversy, baby powder. The US Department of Health's National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been pushing for talc to be classified as a carcinogen but their attempts up to date have been unsuccessful.
15. Nanoparticles - This is a more recent ingredient which just means it’s probably been untested or unfinished. Besides adding it to bronzers, eye shadows , and lotions, you can find them hidden in sunscreens as well. These minute molecules do not have to be listed on product labels even though they can be absorbed into the blood stream. Be aware that powdered sunscreens or sprays can be inhaled easily and aggravate inflammatory responses, oxidative stress, and cell damage.
If this article has made you interested about the ingredients used in your cosmetics and skin care products, the best thing is to do your research. Learn and read about chemicals that are used and try to go as simple and chemical free as you can. Just remember, beauty should be measured by what’s inside, not what we see on the outside.