Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Did you know that the average woman is exposed to over 250 chemicals and the average man to over 100 on a regular basis? What is even more alarming is that 60% of these chemicals are absorbed through our skin and is in our blood stream in minutes! You would think that companies would err on the side of caution and not use ingredients unless they have been proven to be safe. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be true. Products and/or their ingredients need to be proven dangerous before they're discontinued. Sadly, in order for ingredients or products to be proven to be unsafe, many people have to report having severe side effects. Many lives have been irrevocably damaged by synthetic chemicals used in products that are supposed to promote health and well-being.  It is our belief that if an ingredient or product is unsafe to consume than it is too dangerous to be absorbed by our skin. The cosmetic industry falls under the FDA's jurisdiction but with limited funding and staff, the cosmetic industry is practically self regulated, With limited resources, there are non-profit organizations taking on the difficult task of proving these ingredients are dangerous. 

Big business has shown quite clearly over the years that where there is big money to be made, they have little ethics in engaging in practices that may harm the health of their customers. The tobacco industry is a prime example. For many years they marketed a product that was known to kill people, and did so knowing this, whilst trying to convince people that smoking didn’t do any harm. And now, when it’s proven incontrovertibly, they are still selling a deadly product. They have given up trying to maintain that it’s harmless because it’s proven beyond doubt that it’s not. But they’re still selling the product. So where there is big money involved, big business doesn't seem to have the ethics required to act in the interests of their consumers if it means that they will reduce their profits. Self regulation just doesn't work.

 So what are some specific examples of some of these ingredients that are toxic, and are certainly not proven to be safe?

Alcohol, isopropyl (SD-40) A very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s natural acid mantle, making us more vulnerable to bacteria, molds and viruses. It is made from propylene, a petroleum derivative. It may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin.

Ammonium ingredients Toxic, carcinogenic

Benzoates Implicated in wide variety of health problems including testicular cancer, cell mutation and other cancer.

Benzoyl peroxide Produces tremendously dangerous free radicals in the skin that increases the chances of cancer. It also causes over-drying of the skin. FDA has now changed the safety rating of benzoyl peroxide from category I to category III.

BHA and BHT Encourages the breakdown of vitamins such as vitamin d, can cause lipid and cholesterol levels to increase, endocrine disruptor, toxic

DEA ingredients All ingredients with DEA after the first word such as concamid-dea, cause cancer. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects.

Fragrances Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to four thousand separate ingredients, many toxic or carcinogenic. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.

Hydroquinone Toxic, irritants, hydroquinone has been shown to cause leukemia in mice and other animals. The European Union banned it from cosmetics in 2001. Can cause hyper-pigmentation.

Lanolin (also called wool wax or grease) is secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep. Any chemicals used on sheep will contaminate the lanolin obtained from the wool. The majority of lanolin used in cosmetics is highly contaminated with chlorinated organo pesticides like DDT.

Laureth family ( sodium lauryl sulfate, most ingredients with laureth or lauryl in the name- make sure you research the particular name) Carcinogenic, skin irritants may be contaminated with large amounts of toxins in manufacturing process contains ammonium salts, mutagen, acne and dermatitis producing and hair loss.

PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene Potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners.

Parabens – (methyl, propyl, etc, paraben family) Implicated in a multitude of health problems, estrogenic, cancer causing, allergenic, found in breast tissue, replicates in dna, stored in fat cells.

Petrochemicals (paraffin, mineral oil, petroleum, petrolatum, vaseline) Coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores, slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging, acne producing, may be carcinogenic, causes dry skin, respiratory toxin, may cause dizziness, any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH ( polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)

Phenol Carbolic Acid Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and even death.

Phthalates(look for your plastics- squeeze bottles, soft plastics) carcinogens, mutation agents, stored fat cells

Propylene/butylene glycol Is a petroleum derivative, penetrates the skin very quickly and causes contact dermatitis, skin irritations, acne, allergies, the EPA considers PG so toxic that it warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities, and can also weaken protein & cellular structure

Retinol, or Retinyl Palmitate/Acetate These synthetic vitamin A compounds are not safe for skin use. Sunlight breaks them down and creates free radicals that increase the risk of skin cancers. Avoid all skin and lip products with any of these vitamin A chemicals.

Octyl stearate Acne producing, contact dermatitis, allergic reactions

Oxybenzone Used in sunscreens to absorb UV light. In humans, this chemical causes skin irritation and allergic reactions. Animal studies report it acts as an endocrine disruptor and interferes with hormone activity.

Silicone derived emollients – dimethicone copolyol, cyclomethicone etc… Occlusive – that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.)

TEA ingredients (not tea, but rather ingredients with TEA in front such as Tea lauryl sulfate) Severe irritants, can contain ammonium slats, eye irritant, sensitizers, highly acidic. Over 40% of cosmetics containing Triethanolamine (TEA), have been found to be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are potent carcinogens.

Toluene May appear on ingredients labels as phenylmethane, methylbenzene, or toluol and is found in nail products. Highly toxic, can cause dermatitis, liver or kidney damage, affects central nervous system. Inhaling large amounts during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects, limited mental abilities and even spontaneous abortion.