I truly believe that everyone should read the label and the ingredient list when buying a beauty product. This is coming form an ex beauty junkie, who’s eyes would light up and who’s heart would beat fast whenever I saw a bargain beauty product or any beauty product for that matter. I have since studied natural skincare formulation and been studying the ingredients of some the commercial beauty products, which has helped me to break my addiction . It did break my heart in the beginning, as it meant that I had to give up some of my most loved and used beauty products. However, once I knew what was in them I just couldn’t go back to using them. I get horrified of some of the chemical and synthetic ingredients that make up these products . Our skin absorbs around 60 % of the ingredients and therefore a good rule when buying a beauty product is – if you cannot eat the ingredients, then don’t put it on your skin. There are so many beautiful alternatives that can be used in beauty, such as oils and butters, that its worth thinking about and considering changing the way we go about our beauty routine. Natural and organic brands avoid the worst chemical offenders , and anyone can too, if they learn to read the label.
Here is the list of some of the most often used in commercial beauty products. Some of them should always ring the alarm bells , especially the ones that are carcinogenic , an ingredient that is directly linked to cancer , or neurotoxic, an ingredient that can cause damage to the nervous system. Parabens (Methyl,Propyl,Butyl, Ethyl-Paraben ) – Found in shampoos, shower gels , make up , body lotions and scrubs. The most widely used preservatives in the cosmetic industry. All of these preservatives are potential allergens. They are very easily absorbed into the skin and studies show that they are estrogen mimics that have been found in samples of breast tumours. BHA and BHT preservatives – Found in make up, body lotions and soaps. These are artificial preservatives that are commonly found in cosmetics to expend their shelf life. BHA and BHT can cause allergic skin reaction. BHA is also a hormone disruptor – it mimics the natural action of hormone in the body , which can raise the risk of estrogen -dependent cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer. Therefore, BHA and BHT are a potential carcinogens. Isopropanol – A solvent that drives other ingredients deeper into the skin. It is found in make up, shampoos, moisturizers and nail polish. Studies show that it is neurotoxic , skin irritating and potently toxic for the liver. Paraffinum Liquidum- Mineral Oil– A cheap ingredient , that is very often found in face creams , make up , body lotions and baby oils. Can interfere with the body’s own natural moisturising mechanism , which overtime will lead to dryness and chapping. Mineral Oil is also a suspected carcinogenic and also interferes with vitamin absorption in the body . Petrolatum – Petrolum jelly– is derived form Mineral oil and is used for film forming properties. It is found in lipsticks and balms, haircare products, moisturisers and deodorants. Same as Mineral Oil can interfere with the body’s own natural moisturising mechanism , which overtime will lead to dryness and chapping. Sodium Lauryl or Sodium Laureth Sulfate- These are detergent and foaming agents found in shampoos, body washes and toothpastes. These detergents can cause allergic reactions, eye irritations, scalp and skin rashes .Sodium Laureth Sulfate may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane. Propylene Glycol , PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) and PPG(Polypropylene Glycol)- These are the combinations of synthetic petrochemicals which are found in moisturisers , deodorants , make up and soaps. They help to keep the product moist and drive other ingredients deper into the skin. These chemicals can cause allergic reactions. PEG compounds are suspected to be carcinogenic. Synthetic colours (Numbers with prefix CL)- Their only function is to add colour to toiletries and cosmetics. Many synthetic colours are carcinogenic. Exceptions are mineral based colours. Sodium hydroxide – This chemicals is used to neutralize acids, hydrolize fats to make soaps. It is used in toothpastes and in skin creams as a PH adjuster. This chemical has been linked to cancer and animal studies show that it effects brain and nervous system, organ and metabolic systems even at at very low doses. Parfum/ Fragrance – Around 95 % used in toiletries and cosmetics are petro chemically based, made of dozens of separate ingredients. Term ‘ Fragrances’ means synthetic fragrances, otherwise the label would indicate ‘ essential oils’. The word ‘fragrance’ can itself indicate the presence of up to 4000 different unlisted ingredients. Perfumes are neurotoxic and can cause headaches, mood swings, skin irritation, depression and dizziness. They are also a trigger of asthma attacks. Just as an example , this is an ingredient content of a shower gel, by a famous skincare brand , sold in Boots, that states on its packaging that this body wash contains Lime oil, Kiwi juice water, and a skin softening omega -rich veggie oil : Aqua, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Brassica Campestris , Sodium chloride, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Cocamide MEA, Citric Acid, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba, Gum, Dioctyl Adipate, Sodium Benzoate, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Parfum, Tetrasodium EDTA, Menthyl Lactate, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Benzophenone -3 , BHT, Citrus Aurantifolia, Linalool, Citral, Clycerin, Methylisothiazolinine, Actinidia Chinensis extract, Potassium Sorbate, Denatonium Benzoate, Cl 19140, Cl 42090.
This is just one of millions of examples of how a product is marketed to look relatively ‘natural’, but is actually full of dangerous ingredients. When trying to live a more holistic life, it is so important not to turn a blind eye on what goes into our beauty products. Its worth knowing that if you don’t recognise the ingredient, then your body wont either. After all, if you don’t know better, you cant do better.