A shocking number of cosmetics and supposed health products contain a mixture of preservatives and chemicals that has been minimally tested. So many different chemicals are used across a relatively small range of products that most people have never even heard of half the harmful ingredients in what they’re buying.
Watch out for these dangers when you’re buying beauty products:
These wonderful chemicals are usually disguised as DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), or TEA (triethanolamine) and are used in a wide range of soaps, lotions, shaving creams and numerous cosmetics, which is why many of the top makeup brands are turning to mineral makeup and so on. Ethanolamines have been linked to increased incidences of tumors on the kidneys and liver.
2. DMDM (dimethyl-dimethyl) Hydantion
Used as a preservative in many soaps and shampoos, DMDM Hydantion may release slight traces of formaldehyde, causing nausea, dizziness and a range of other unpleasant symptoms. It is also an irritant for some skin types and the eyes.
3. Mineral oil
A lot of people who are usually savvy shoppers will look right past this one because it sounds natural and natural often means healthy. Unfortunately, the mineral oil in cosmetics is made from petroleum and there is huge debate in the industry about whether or not it’s safe to use at all. Until it’s been decided for sure you might want to steer clear of this stuff.
Parabens are preservatives that help reduce the risk of mold, yeast and other bacteria, but they also disrupt the endocrine system and can be particularly damaging to breast feeding babies and those still in the womb.
5. Sodium lauryl sulphate
One of the most common ingredients on this list—you’ll find it in almost any personal care product that foams and many that don’t—sodium lauryl sulphate is also one of the worst. Studies on animals have shown that it causes skin and eye irritation, labored breathing, diarrhea and even death. It has also been closely linked to depression.
6. Synthetic fragrances
The FDA doesn’t actually regulate what cosmetic companies use as synthetic fragrances so this term can mean literally anything. Often this means companies use the cheapest chemicals they can find that actually smell good. Most of these chemicals are petrochemicals and contain several other items on this list. And companies don’t have to tell you about any of them—synthetic fragrances contain an average of 14 undisclosed chemicals.
Phthalates are one of the hardest items on this list to spot since they’re often hidden considered part of the fragrance. These chemicals interrupt the endocrine system and have been banned from children’s toys throughout the EU because of potential toxicity but they can still be found in a range of fragrances, deodorants and lotions.
8. Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
A chemical originally used to tan leather, AHA is found in an incredible number of skin care products, especially anti-aging products. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true: AHA dries out your skin and ages it more quickly. It may also cause skin irritation and puffiness.
This clear liquid is found primarily in hair dye and bleach as well as most nail polish. It has been associated with toxicity to the immune system, endocrine system disruption and abnormal fetal development.
10. FD&C Color Pigments
Made from coal tar and loaded with heavy metal salts that can all too easily be absorbed into the skin, FD&C color pigments cause severe skin irritation. Recent studies suggest that they might also be linked to cancer.
So how do you get away from all these chemicals? Purchase only all natural personal care products or learn how to make your own (or some combination of the two). Read ingredient lists on every single personal care product you buy.