If you’re looking at our website, chances are good that you’re already aware we all live in a toxic world. We are exposed through the air we breathe, the cleaning chemicals we use and the non-organic food we eat. But are you aware that many of the skin care products you use every day also can contain toxins?
Sad to say, in the United States many chemicals known to be harmful are nonetheless legal to use in cosmetics, lotions and topical potions. Some are linked with breast cancer, birth defects and infertility in both men and women. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average woman uses 12 products containing 168 different ingredients, while the average man uses six with 85 ingredients every single day.
Given that, it’s smart to start reading the labels on all your skin care products and learn to avoid the most harmful chemicals. It might be even more important for teens, as many of these chemicals disrupt hormones at a time when hormone production is already playing an especially complex role in their bodies.
The Worst Offenders
Here are top five you need to avoid:
Parabens: These are widely used preservatives that you’ll find in many prescription creams as well as cosmetics. Trouble is, parabens mimic estrogens and are absorbed through the skin. They have been found biopsy tissue from breast cancer tumors.
Phalates: These chemicals increase flexibility and softness of plastics and are commonly found in fragrance (Think lotions, creams, hair spray and even laundry detergents and dryer sheets.) They are known endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer, early breast development in girls and reproductive birth defects in boys and girls. They are not required to be disclosed on the label. Your best indicator is “fragrance.”
Formaldehyde: We usually associate this chemical with the outgassing of new building materials or carpet. Alas, it’s used in cosmetics as a preservative. It’s been deemed a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. It can be found in nail polish, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, etc.
Propylene glycol: This is an alcohol used as a skin conditioning agent. Classified as a skin irritant and penetrator, it is associated with causing dermatitis and hives in humans. It’s found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup, hairspray, etc.
Toluene: This is a petrochemical often listed on labels as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane or methylbenzene. It’s a potent solvent that can affect your nervous system, cause nausea and irritate your skin. It has been linked to immune system toxicity. It’s found in nail polish, hair color/bleaching products and, incidentally, outgassing memory foam mattresses.
These are just a few of the toxic substances found in many common cosmetics. That’s why we carry Gabriel Cosmetics, Derma-e, Aubrey and other high quality skin care products. All guarantee they are toxin-free!
To learn more about safe cosmetics check out EWG’s Safe Cosmetics database here.