COSMETIC INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

Alcohol Denat

Denatured alcohol – a very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s moisture & natural immune barrier, making you more vulnerable to bacteria, moulds and viruses. It is found in many skin and hair products, fragrance, and antibacterial hand washes.

Alcohol, Isopropyl

This is a very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s moisture and natural immune barrier, making you more vulnerable to bacteria, moulds and viruses. It is made from propylene, a petroleum derivative and is found in many skin and hair products, fragrance, antibacterial hand washes as well as antifreeze. It can act as a ‘carrier’ accelerating the penetration of other harmful chemicals into your skin.

Aluminium

Used in antiperspirants. Clogs sweat ducts to prevent sweating. No one knows quite how it works but clogging leads to pressure from the sweat build-up inside the ducts, & its thought that this may cause the sweat glands to stop secreting. A look at the incidence of breast cancer among 400 US women suggests it may be a combination of underarm shaving and deodorant use that allows chemicals to seep into breast tissue.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)

Often used in cosmetics as emulsifiers and/or foaming agents. They can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are “amines” (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a toxin with a poison rating higher than lead. Fluoride used in water fluoridation is a toxic waste product from the fertiliser industry. It has been linked to health problems such as brittle bones, osteoporosis and (incredibly) porous dental enamel. In hypersensitive people fluoride also causes eczema, gastric distress, headaches & weakness and has been linked to genetic damage, including cancer, and hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder in children.

Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben

Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Studies have shown that they are weakly estrogenic and can be absorbed by the body through the skin. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic.

Mineral Oil

This is a petroleum by-product which coats the skin like plastic. It clogs the pores and interferes with the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. It is used in many skin care products. Mums will probably be shocked but baby oil is 100% mineral oil.

Petrolatum

Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value for the skin and can interfere with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness & chapping. It often creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.

Petroleum Distillates

found in bodywash. Potential endocrine disruptor, raising concern for impaired fertility or development, and increased risks for certain cancers. Neurotoxin, cardiovascular or blood toxicant, respiratory toxicant, skin or sense organ toxicant . Source: SkinDeep

Phthalates (pronounced thalates)

In Dec 2002 researchers found high levels of chemicals called phthalates in some well-known perfumes and toiletries, which also imitate toxic forms of oestrogen, are not listed on labels. (Dimethyl Phthalate, (DMP) diethyl phthalate (DEP), and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). These chemicals already known to contribute to male infertility & to cause genital abnormalities in mice & rats were found in 34 products. Genital abnormalities such as undescended testicles, malformations of the urinary tract and hypospadias now occur in 4 per cent of baby boys. Prostate damage, and reduced sperm numbers are on the rise among adult men.

Phenylphenol

found in bodywash. Potential endocrine disruptor, raising concern for impaired fertility or development, and increased risks for certain cancers. Neurotoxin, cardiovascular or blood toxicant, respiratory toxicant, skin or sense organ toxicant . Source: SkinDeep

Propylene Glycol

deally this is a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. When you see PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol) on labels, beware – these are related synthetics.

PVP/VA Copolymer

A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs of sensitive persons.

Sodium Chloride

In other words ‘salt’, commonly used to increase the viscosity in some cosmetics. Can cause eye & skin irritation if used in too high concentrations. It’s usually used to make a cheap, watery consistency product look thick and rich instead

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

A cheap, harsh detergent used in shampoos for its cleansing and foam-building properties. Often derived from petroleum, it is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the phrase “comes from coconuts.”. 90% of every shampoo or body wash is actually a detergent used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Over-exposure to SLS has been linked to eye damage, depression, laboured breathing, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, diarrhoea and severe skin irritation. SLS has been suspected to also damage the skin’s immune system by causing layers to separate and inflame. When combined with other chemicals, SLS can be transformed into nitrosamines, a carcinogen. Your body may retain the SLS for up to five days, during which time it may enter and maintain residual levels in the heart, liver, the lungs, and the brain.

Stearalkonium Chloride

A compound used in hair conditioners and creams. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, it is a lot cheaper & easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which are beneficial to the hair. Causes allergic reactions. Toxic.

Synthetic Colours

Used to make cosmetics “pretty,” synthetic colours, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided at all costs. They will be labelled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a colour and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Many synthetic colours can be carcinogenic. If a cosmetic contains them, don’t use it.

Synthetic Fragrances

The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply read “fragrance.” Some problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper pigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation—the list goes on. Advice: Don’t buy a cosmetic that has the word “fragrance” on the ingredients label.

Talc

commonly found in baby powders, face powders, body powders. Talc is a known carcinogen and is a major cause of ovarian cancer. It can be harmful if inhaled as it can lodge in the lungs, causing respiratory disorders.

Triclosan

A synthetic ‘antibacterial’ ingredient found in many skin care products. The EPA registers it as a pesticide, giving it high scores as a risk to both human health and the environment. It is classified as a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Its manufacturing process may produce dioxin, a powerful hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects measured in the parts per trillion; that is only one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools! It can temporarily deactivate sensory nerve endings, so contact with it often causes little or no pain. Internally, it can lead to cold sweats, circulatory collapse, and convulsions. Stored in body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs, and can cause paralysis, suppression of immune function, brain haemorrhages, and heart problems. It has a wide-spread use in popular antibacterial cleansers, tooth pastes and household products. Source: PureNuffStuff.

Zinc Oxide

ound in skin preparations, nappy creams, foundations. Ingredient classified as toxic, affecting reproduction and development, respiratory toxicant, immune system toxin. Source: SkinDeep