Today I am writing about the dangerous toxins in regular everyday beauty products and how they can affect us. I think people need to be more aware of the dangers and so I am going to explain what the worst offenders are and how to spot them. The truth is, most people don’t even look at the ingredients on their fave products and just assume if they have passed the tests they are obviously safe. Unfortunately, there is a massive amount of leniency given to the companies as to what they may use. I recently watched a documentary on just how many chemicals are in our beauty regime and learned the ugly truth about cosmetics in todays market. It was called “Our Chemical Lives”.
A lot of people assume that the small amount of these chemicals will not affect the body as it is in such small quantities that it should do no harm. That is where they are wrong. Our skin absorbs 60% of whatever topical lotion or product you use. When you read on you will be most likely shocked and dismayed by the amount of chemicals in one single product. Some of these ingredients are downright hazardous to your health and I believe people should be made aware and then be presented with the information. At least when you are informed then you are the one who chooses what to apply and not be simply bowled over by clever marketing and even fake organic claims.
According to statistics, the average woman uses 9 products, wearing up to 200 chemicals a day. Do yourself a favour and check the labels, that way you can make an informed decision. You will probably end up binning a lot of products to be honest. Some of these products labelled as skin care with clever marketing ploys can sell pretty much anything once they have the right advertisers to show models and their perfect skin from using so-called wonder products in fancy packaging. You would have to wonder if they care about skin at all with the amount of preservatives, chemicals, parabens and metals some of them are using.
The FDA, to name one, are extremely lenient what is allowed on the market. Some of these products contain additives that are considered to be endocrine disrupters which can lead to hormone related cancers in adults and early onset puberty in girls. Autoimmune diseases and cancer as well as many other illnesses are linked to some of the toxins involved. I have composed a list of the main culprits below here –
Heavy metals (ie) lead, mercury, aluminium and cadmium can be commonly found in deodorants, shampoo and nasal sprays, quickly accumulating in the body
Parabens such as Methyl-, Propyl-, Butyl- and Ethyl-Paraben are found in most products, even baby lotion and these are the endocrine disrupters which affect hormones and may even lead to infertility, among other hormonal problems
VOCs which are common pollutants are present in shampoos, perfume, aftershaves, nail varnish remover, foams, hair products and more are known to cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, kidney and liver damage and disrupt the central nervous system
Phthalates are in many products such as perfume, aftershave, hair mousse, hairspray and many more are known to cause allergies including asthma, hay fever, wheezing, itchy rashes and also rhinitis
Synthetic Fragrance is present in scented cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, perfume, aftershave, deodorants and is linked to hormone disruption
Synthetic Colours ( listed as numbers with the prefix CI ) are added to products for the colour alone and add no further effect but are often carcinogenic. Note: There are mineral based colours so not all colours are nasty
Toluene is found in various cosmetics and nail varnish can cause headaches, respiratory problems, nausea and even vomiting
BHA and BHT Preservatives found in cosmetics to extend their shelf-life such as makeup, soaps, body lotion, etc. can cause allergic reaction, are another hormone disrupter and can increase your chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that absorbs quickly and is found in antiperspirants, cleansers, hand sanitiser and toothpaste. It is another hormone disrupter and is believed to cause resistance to common antibiotics
Isopropanol is a solvent and helps absorption of products into the skin, found in many cosmetics, shampoo, moisturisers, nail varnish and more. Studies show it is neurotoxic, skin drying and irritating and more importantly it is potentially toxic to the liver
Benzoyl Peroxide is a harsh antibacterial agent used to treat acne prone and oily skin. Can cause redness, irritation, itching and swelling. In some cases even blistering
Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (ie) MDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methanamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethlglycinate. Fun times remembering all those badboys! However, not funny. They are artificial preservatives to prolong shelf-life and in low doses can cause eye and skin irritation and trigger allergies. In larger doses the fumes are carcinogenic (cancer causing)
Retinyl Palmitate found in shampoos and body wash is linked to reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity and is a possible carcinogen
Quaternium-15 also found in shampoo and body wash releases carcinogenic formaldehyde
Paraffinum Liquidum AKA Mineral Oil sounds like a good choice, however it has recently been discovered to interfere with the body’s own natural moisturising mechanism and over time can lead to dryness and chapping. Found in moisturisers, makeup, baby oils and more due to its ease of use and water loss prevention. It is abundantly cheap to buy so companies use it a lot
Propylene Glycol, PEG and PPG. These synthetic petrochemicals are added to many cosmetics to keep the product moist and make other components absorb better. Studies have linked them to eczema, hives and other allergic reactions. PEG compounds may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4 dioxane
Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethenol and Cocamidopropyl Betaine found in shampoo and body wash are linked to skin and organ system toxicity as well as allergies
Petrolatum AKA Petroleum Jelly is used for its emollient properties and found in lipsticks, balms, moisturisers, haircare products and deodorants. It can interfere with the skins natural moisturising abilities and eventually cause dryness and chapping
Sodium Lauryl or Sodium Laureth Sulfate Detergents are foaming agents found in mousses, shampoo, body wash and even toothpaste and can cause irritation of the skin, dandruff, rashes and eye irritation. Sodium Laureth sulphate may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane
Parfum is in 95% of fragrances used in toiletries and cosmetics and are petrochemically made with dozens of separate ingredients. They are neurotoxic and can cause headaches, mood swings, depression, dizziness and skin irritation. Can even trigger asthma attacks. Perfume used to make me vomit when pregnant! Goes to show why.
MIT (Methylisochlorothiazolinone) is probably the longest word i have ever written in my life and is a preservative found in most cosmetics. It has caused an epidemic of skin reactions so that dermatologists have demanded it be removed from the production of cosmetics. It is also a neurotoxin and potential carcinogen
Siloxanes such as cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane and cyclomethicaone are silicone based compounds found in lotions and creams that form a film and temporarily make skin feel smoother. Some can disrupt hormones and this means they are potential carcinogens and reproductive toxins
Dibutyl Phthalate is a solvent found in nailvarnish and perfumes. Studies show it can cause developmental and reproductive abnormalities. It is toxic to the liver and kidneys. As a nail biter and nail varnish wearer I am stunned and horrified. My liver and kidneys get enough abuse from my drinking habits thanks!!
PVP/VA Copolymer is a substance that helps the product stick to the skin or hold hair in place. Found in hairspray, tanning products, styling aids, makeup, skin creams and toothpastes. If inhaled can cause plastic like particles to damage the lungs and prevents the skin to breathe.
I am quite sure there are a lot more to add to the list but frankly I don’t have the time or resources and I’m sure you aren’t about to go memorising them all. I am confident you get the idea. Those are just a few fine examples of what to expect.
I hope this list will be of some use, firstly because you deserve to know the level of toxicity in everyday cosmetics and secondly since it took me ages to write! Years ago before all these chemicals were to be found, cancer was practically unheard of. It is worth keeping in mind that there are chemicals in almost everything and on pretty much every surface you touch, therefore cannot be completely avoided. However, you do have a choice of what you directly apply to your skin.
Don’t be fooled by the lotions and potions that claim everything bar everlasting youth. Be sure to check the label or else opt for the safe bet which is certified organic products. Granted not all products can be 100% organic since that level is extremely hard to achieve but choose wisely and beware of products that claim to be organic yet use other toxins and fool customers into a false sense of safety. The long term effects of these toxins are not yet known but cosmetic companies are not required to warn you.
A certified organic stamp is the only way to be sure you are getting real organic products. There is a huge range of genuinely natural skincare and cosmetics available. You can also make your own products with natural ingredients to be sure of what you are putting on your body. There is no excuse for the use of toxic components when there are perfectly good natural alternatives. You do not have to compromise your health in order to have beautiful skin, hair and nails or in order to smell great and stay looking young.
I hope this is an eye-opener for people and that you will take care and remember that its important to look after your skin the right way. I am using as many organic products i can find in order to replace ‘my once toxic waste ground’ of a bathroom cupboard and I’m feeling much better about my detoxed life. Im going to write a post soon on how I detoxed my life and the steps to achieve it so stay tuned!
Please feel free to comment if you have anything you would like to add to this. I myself was amazed by the contents of my seemingly good skincare and hair products. Thats why i chose to go down the route of genuine natural and organic products.
Thanks for reading and if you would like to know more about award-winning organic and natural products, do email me through here. I’ll be more than happy to help and give you my product knowledge based on what you need. Find me here at uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/ciaradoran