At one time it seemed to be a trend of going “natural”, but today because people are becoming educated and aware of all the chemicals and toxins found in many of today’s beauty products, they are turning to nature more and more often to find the best organic skin care options available. It is important to focus on natural skin care that not only boosts skin health and enhances beauty but does it without irritating, artificial ingredients.
This toxic ingredient list is not limited to the five chemicals listed above, but they are among those most commonly found in popular beauty products, and the main one’s worth avoiding.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal which has unfortunately become quite prevalent. It is found in many products, such as whitening toothpastes and lipsticks, and in other substances such as water, either through direct or indirect contamination. The adverse effects of lead exposure are thoroughly documented and include, but are not limited to, neurotoxicity (brain damage), seizures, gastrointestinal issues, reproductive dysfunction such as reduced sperm count and motility, and kidney dysfunction.
Formaldehyde is a chemical that may be inhaled or absorbed trans dermally (through the skin). It is used in nail polishes, shampoos, including baby shampoos, and liquid body soaps. Side effects include skin irritation and nausea. Formaldehyde exposure may be a contributing factor in cancer development, according to the International Agency for Research.
These chemicals are most often used as a preservative and are noted as propylparaben, methylparaben, ethyl paraben and butylparaben. They are found in body creams, lotions and shampoos, as well as in almost any beauty product that has water added to it. Parabens have been shown to not only disrupt hormones, but also to potentially cause cancer.
According to SafeCosmetics.org, phthalates were found in at least 72 products they tested, although it was not listed on their list of ingredients. The only exception was nail polish. This toxic chemical is a fragrance used in vinyl shower curtains (it gives vinyl its smell), air fresheners, detergents and more. Like parabens, phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormones and decrease sperm count.
Nitrosamines are not often listed as an ingredient on cosmetic products because they are impurities, not actual ingredients. This toxin is so prolific, it is found in almost every skin care product. It’s in baby shampoos, sunless tanning lotions, mascara, concealer, the list goes on and on. Many studies link nitrosamine to cancer and in 1996, the FDA suggested cosmetic manufacturers remove from their products ingredients that when combined, create nitrosamine. This suggestion has apparently, been largely ignored, as the Environmental Working Group found that 1 in 10 cosmetics still contain combinations of ingredients that create nitrosamines.
Other Common Culprits
Here are several more of the components most frequently found in skincare products, along with the potential problems they present.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This foaming agent is found in a wide range of beauty products, including soaps, shampoos, even toothpaste. SLS may cause eye irritation, rashes, and ironically actually dry skin and hair out. According to the Environmental Working Group, an organization that monitors and certifies skincare products according to strict ingredient standards, there is also a risk of respiratory reaction with sodium lauryl sulfate use.
Fragrances: Synthetic fragrances such as those added to soaps, moisturizers, body washes, and many more beauty products, cause a significant problem for those with allergies. They can cause respiratory issues, headaches, and rashes. There’s no need for these additives, and a natural skin care routine can eliminate the risks associated with them.
Oxybenzone: This ingredient may fly under the radar more than the higher profile chemicals, but it’s no less toxic. Oxybenzone is used in some sunscreens to protect skin from UV rays. It can trigger allergic skin reactions resulting in irritation and may even affect the endocrine system. A better option is to go with a simple yet effective formula like our SPF 30, which contains just the necessities, like zinc oxide, plus nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera juice and jojoba oil. Quality natural and organic skincare products protect delicate skin without unnecessary chemicals that may have lasting health effects.