Okay – you’ve become a bona fide food label checker, always on alert for excessive sodium, harmful dyes, trans fats, artificial flavorings, and preservatives. Good job! But did you know there are harmful ingredients hiding in the products you depend on to soften your skin, wash your hair, clean your teeth, color your lips and keep you morning fresh. These chemicals enter our bodies – through ingestion (toothpaste, lipstick), skin absorption (lotions, deodorant, makeup) and even inhalation (perfumes, fumes, etc.). Imagine how many health and beauty products you and your family use every day and you can begin to see how over time the accumulation of dangerous ingredients can be alarming.
Here are some of the most common types of harmful beauty product ingredients that you should watch out for and avoid.
On cosmetic product labels, you will most likely see the following parabens listed: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben. The concern with parabens is their known effect to disrupt hormone function, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens on the skin surface (via lotions, for example) may react with the sun’s UVB rays, aging the skin and causing DNA damage.
(Including: petroleum jelly, isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol, methyl alcohol or methanol, butyl alcohol or butanol, ethyl alcohol or ethanol)
Extremely commonplace in cosmetic products, petrochemicals, the by-products of petroleum, are often found in: fragrances, lip gloss (petroleum oil is often used as a base), nail polish, soaps, body lotions. Petrochemicals are known to cause numerous health issues, ranging from skin rashes to cancer and liver, kidney, and nervous system toxicity. DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate) in particular has been linked with birth defects and lifelong reproductive
Lead is a proven neurotoxin linked to troubles in learning, language, and behavior, as well as miscarriage and reduced fertility in both men and women. Mercury, a toxin readily absorbed by the skin, is linked to nervous system, reproductive, immune and respiratory toxicity, and is especially dangerous during fetal development. Nanoparticles of zinc and titanium dioxide are potentially dangerous when inhaled or absorbed.
FORMALDEHYDE RELEASING PRESERVATIVES
(DMDM Hydantoin, Urea, and Quaternium-15)
These toxins can cause allergic skin reactions, rashes, and are probable carcinogens. Cosmetic products containing formaldehyde-releasing preservatives can leak formaldehyde into your body via skin absorption, ingestion, or by releasing formaldehyde into the air you breathe. Studies have linked formaldehyde to leukemia.