Most people don’t realize there are very toxic, cancer causing ingredients in their favourite skincare and beauty products. For those of us who are already aware, it’s still hard to know exactly what to avoid because most of the ingredients added to skincare and beauty products these days, are hard to even pronounce or figure out what it means.The FDA does not regulate personal care products ingredients and companies are not required to disclose all the ingredients used to make these products. Therefore, cheap, toxic, cancer causing ingredients have made their way into our skin care and beauty products without us even knowing. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs anything applied to it, which then enters the bloodstream. So take some time out of your routine to review the back of the ingredient’s lists next time you shop for your favourite skincare and beauty products. You may be shocked to find out that some of your favourite products include some of the following ingredients which are bad for your skin, your health and the environment.
1. Fragrance – (Parfum, Scent) Often found a wide range of items from skincare, cleaning, laundry products and air fresheners. Fragrance is a blanket term that can be made up of thousands of different chemicals. A catchall for hidden chemicals, such as phthalates. Many of them are toxic, cancer forming and come with a long list of side effects ranging from asthma, allergies, immunotoxicity, headaches, vomiting, dizziness to skin discoloration. Phthalates, are another chemical commonly used with fragrances to make them last longer.They are linked to birth defects and are considered a reproductive toxin. They may not be listed in ingredients. 2. Propylene Glycol & Butylene Glycol – Found in cleansers, shampoos, baby wipes, deodorants, hair products, bubble baths to name a few. Also found in windshield wiper fluid! The EPA considers them so toxic they say that skin contact or inhalation can cause brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. In some personal care products these chemicals are used in very high, industrial strength concentrations. 3. DEA, MEA & TEA – Suspected carcinogens used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, body washes, soaps. They are hormone disrupting and form cancer causing nitrates. Restricted in Europe yet legal in the USA, they increase the risk for liver and kidney cancer. 4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate – Known as (SLS, SLES). A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, it’s absorbed into the body and irritates skin. This toxic ingredient found in almost all drugstore shampoos, conditioners, leave in creams, hair sprays, facial soaps, body soaps and body washes. Strong detergents and degreasers that are found in over 90% of foaming personal care products. SLS and SLES is linked to skin irritation, eye irritation, rashes and hair loss. Animal studies show eye damage (especially to young), immune system damage and death. Can create nitrosamines which are carcinogenic. Once absorbed into the skin, can also be retained in your organs for a lifetime. 5. DMDM & Urea – Found in a wide variety of personal care products. It is a preservative that releases formaldehyde which causes allergies, chest pain, fatigue, ear infections, immune dysfunction, asthma, heart palpitations, cancer and more. 6. Polyethylene Glycol – (PEG) – is a Petroleum ingredient often found in almost any skincare product. Penetration enhancer used in many products, it’s often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens and dehydrates your skin. Increases signs of skin aging and leaves your skin vulnerable to bacteria and disease. 7. Parabens – Often found in shampoos, creams & lotions. There are many different forms of parabens which are used as a preservative in many skincare products. Avoid them ALL. They are strong hormone disruptors and have been directly linked to breast cancer,endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity and heart problems. Often listed as Methylparaben, Probylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben & Benezylparaben. 8. FD & C Color – Found in makeup, lipsticks, creams, hair products and more. Synthetic pigments from coal that deposit toxins into the skin. Some colors can even deplete oxygen in the body and cause death. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be cancer causing. 9. Mineral Oil (Petroleum by-product) – Often found in Baby Products (Baby Oil), Vaseline, Lip Products & Moisturizers. It creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins. It coats the skin like a plastic wrap, clogging pores, causing acne and trapping in toxins. 10. Isopropyl alcohol (Petroleum by product) – Found commonly in cleansers, toners, creams and hair and nail products. It dries and irritates skin, stripping its moisture and immune barrier. 11. Coal Tar - A known carcinogen banned in the EU, but still used in North America. Used in dry skin treatments, anti-lice and anti-dandruff shampoos, also listed as a colour plus number, i.e. FD&C Red No. 6. 12. Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane - Never listed because it’s a by-product made from adding carcinogenic ethylene oxide to make other chemicals less harsh. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found 1,4-dioxane in 57 percent of baby washes in the U.S. Avoid any ingredients containing the letters "eth." 13. Formaldehyde - Probable carcinogen and irritant found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos. Banned in the EU. 14. Hydroquinone - Used for lightening skin. Banned in the UK, rated most toxic on the EWG’s Skin Deep database, and linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity. 15. Lead - Known carcinogen found in lipstick and hair dye, but never listed because it’s a contaminant, not an ingredient. 16. Mercury - Known allergen that impairs brain development. Found in mascara and some eyedrops. 17. Avobenzone,Oxybenzone - Active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight. 18. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) - Used in hair products and dyes, but toxic to skin and immune system. 19. Phthalates - Plasticizers banned in the EU and California in children’s toys, but present in many fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lotions. Linked to endocrine disruption, liver/kidney/lung damage, cancer. 20. Placental extract - Used in some skin and hair products, which linked to endocrine disruption. 21. Silicone-derived emollients - Used to make a product feel soft, these don’t biodegrade, and also prevent skin from breathing. Linked to tumour growth and skin irritation. 22. Talc - Similar to asbestos in composition, it’s found in baby powder, eye shadow, blush, deodorant. Linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems. 23. Toluene - Known to disrupt the immune and endocrine systems, and fetal development, it’s used in nail and hair products. Often hidden under fragrance. 24. Triclosan - Found in antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and deodorants, it is linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. 25. Octinoxate - Function(s): UV ABSORBER; UV FILTER. This common sunscreen ingredient is shown to have hormone-mimicking effects on laboratory animals. This chemical is found in humans, including mothers' milk samples. Result in biochemical or cellular level changes. Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease. Wildlife and environmental toxicity. Absorbs into the skin and enhanced skin absorption, Ecotoxicology, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Mostly Used Toxic Ingredients. Lookout for the following toxics in your household & personal care items
Parabens -- Synthetic preservatives that are potential endocrine disrupters
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate-- Harsh cleansing agent that can potentially damage the lipid layer of your skin and cause irritation
Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/Paraffin-- Non-renewable byproducts of crude oil with potentially dangerous impurities
Chemical Sunscreens (Avobenzone/Oxybenzone)-- Synthetic sunscreens that get absorbed and potentially disrupt hormone balance
Glycols -- Petroleum derived synthetic chemicals that can potentially draw other chemicals into the bloodstream
Phthalates -- Synthetic fragrance components that are potential toxins
Ethoxylated ingredients like Sodium Myreth Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEGs or PPGs-- Ingredients that are made in part with the petrochemical ethylene oxide, that results in 1,4 Dioxane as a trace contaminant, classified as a possible carcinogen
Ethanolamines like MEA/DEA/TEA -- Foam and viscosity boosting ingredients that can interact with other ingredients to form nitrosamines, a known carcinogen
Synthetic polymers (PVP/ Acrylates) -- Synthetic stabilisers that may contain residual PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons); most widespread organic pollutant
Formaldehyde Donors (DMDM Hydantoin/ Diazolidinyl Urea/ Methylisothiazolinone) -- Preservatives that work by releasing formaldehyde.