Chemicals To Avoid
We know how hard it is to ditch conventional chemical skincare and beauty products, especially when they promise quick results; however, these products are usually band-aid approaches that cause more damage in the long run. So, here is a guide of chemicals to avoid in your skincare that highlights what they do and how they affect your internal health. Hopefully it will give you the push you need to switch to using all-natural products.
Parabens are used widely in the beauty and skincare industry for many reasons, from fragrance-enhancers to extending product shelf-lives at a lower cost. However, they are also anti-microbial chemicals with known hormone-disrupting effects.
PETROLATUM AND PETROCHEMICALS
Also referred to as "petroleum," Petrolatum and petroleum-based products are ubiquitous in hair products, lip balms, lip sticks, moisturizers, and more. Examples of petrochemicals are: Propylene Glycol, Paraffinnum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), and PEGs. They are used to add shine and provide protective coatings. Unfortunately, petroleum is a possible carcinogen that has been known to clog pores, prevent moisture permeation, and has also been linked to kidney damage – definitely not something that we want on our skin and bodies.
SILOXANES AND SILICONES
Siloxanes are the backbones of Silicones. Ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone" are examples of Siloxanes. They are often used in moisturizers and creams to soften, smooth, and moisten, giving the product a smoother texture when applied on the skin. Unfortunately, these are endocrine-disruptors and reproductive toxicants.
Phenoxyethanols are used in the beauty industry as reliable and anti-microbial stabilizers and preservatives. They have been popular substitutions for parabens. Phenoxyethanols are synthetic ingredients that are believed to be toxic and have been linked to contact dermatitis, reproductive toxicity, and neurotoxicity.
Phthalates are commonly used as plasticizers in the beauty industry and is most commonly found in nail care products and perfumes. When looking at ingredients lists, avoid anything that ends with "-phthalates." Evidence supports that certain phthalates are endocrine disruptors and reproductive toxicants. They are also possible carcinogens.
Examples of common sulfates are Sodium Lauryl Sulfates and Sodium Laureth Sulfates. These are both harsh detergents that are present in foaming shampoos, cleansers, and soaps. Sulfates are what give these products their foaming ability. They are often derived from petroleum and are possible carcinogens and known irritants.
The most concerning aspect of chemical sunscreens is that many of them are formulated with UV absorbers that are carcinogenic and/or endocrine-disruptors. The higher the SPF, the more chemical sun-screening agents there are in the product. Natural alternatives with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are much safer alternatives.
Triclosan is very widely used in the cosmetics industry as an anti-bacterial ingredient and can be found in toothpastes, antiperspirants, and cleansers. Studies suspect that Triclosan contributes to antibiotic resistance in bacteria and it has been questioned as an endocrine disruptor.
Nanotechnology in the cosmetic and beauty industry is still a relatively new technology but they have been found to have potentially harmful effects on the consumer. Potential side-effects of nanoparticles in skincare include lung damage, cell toxicity, damaged DNA, and cancer.
Often derived from coal tar, synthetic colours contain heavy metal salts that can be absorbed into the skin. This can cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Animal studies have found that almost all of these heavy metal salts are carcinogenic. Looking for pigment in your makeup? Stick to all-natural minerals to be safe.
Synthetic fragrances are commonly used to stabilize scents in beauty products, making it easy for manufacturers to keep products quality-controlled. The problem is that these synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates that are known endocrine-disruptors and can alter genital development.
Examples of synthetic polymers are Sodium Polyacrylate and Carbomer. They are what give creams and other skincare products their thick, viscous texture. Synthetic polymers are derived from petroleum, a chemical ingredient mentioned above, and are highly pr