The average women absorbs 14kg of moisturizing ingredients into the bloodstream over 60 years. As our skin is the body’s largest organ, we need to be careful in selecting the type of products that we’re putting onto our skin. When selecting your skin care product, here are some of the main toxic skin care ingredients to avoid
Mainly used as preservatives and antibacterials, parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl paraben) are the most frequently used chemicals in cosmetics besides water.
Research in the UK established that parabens mimic oestrogen. Upsetting the significant effects including lowered sperm counts, breast cancer, osteroporosis and autoimmune deseases.
In addition, research using Flow Cytometry conducted by Hort Research in New Zealand on behalf of Living Nature concluded that Parabens can cause unsuspected long-term damage because they don’t irrirtate the skin or create a toxic effect. Hence the damaged DNA can still replicate and this, combined with oxidative stress (which creates intense damage in the cell), could combine to cause abnormalities in cell reporduction. This is where we can get cancerous cells forming. Pretty scary when you think of how many people with melanomas are putting on sunscreens that contain parabens.
This cosmetic form of mineral oil is commonly found in skin and personal care products. It is an eye irritant, experimental teratogen, has dangerous reporductive effects and is ingestible poison. Also commonly used in cleaning products, it has been suspected of causing liver and kidney abnormalities and has also been noted as an experimental carcinogen in anial tests. As a humectant, propylene glycol has the potentail to remove water from skin, which is not what a moisturiser is sold to do. A clinical review published in the American Academy of Dermtologists journal of January 1991 shows it to cause a significant number of skin reactions.
Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)
Used as a surfactant (foaming agent) in body washes, bubble baths, foaming cleansers, cream cleansers, shampoos and toothpaste it is a common skin irritant and is rapidly absorbed and retained in the eyes, brain, heart and liver.
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
The alcohol form of SLS is slightly less irritating but may cause more drying. Both SLS and SLES may cause potentially carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients. This means that large amounts of nitrates can enter the blood stream from just one shampooing.
Petroleum derivatives such as coal tar, mineral oil, paraffin and propylene glycol are used extensively in skincare products ranging from the most basic pharmaceutical creams and preparations for eczema and psoriasis to high-end ultra expensive skincare and cosmeceuticals.
Mineral oil, or liquid petroleum, is a by product in the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. Uses vary, from medicinal grade white oil used in cosmetic preparations to the less refined forms used as industrial lubricants, coolers and sealants. There has been much debate as to its use in skincare; however, according to the International Agency for Research into Caner in Geneva, mineral oils are most likely carcinogenic. Mineral oils are cheap and, for this reason, are used extensively in skincare, but ironically, they offer no skin benefits. In fact, by forming an occlusive barrier they prevent the skin from breathing and functioning normally.
The many natural plant oil alternatives, which offer both skin and health benefits, do cost considerably more – hence the reluctance by large skincare companiese to remove mineral oils and reformulate.
This detergent and emulsifier is frequently used in both cosmetics and shampoos despite US FDA warnings to the cosmetics industry that DEA has a realationship to cancers in animal testing. Besides clear evedence of carcinogenicity, NTP (National Toxicity Programme) also emphasise that DEA is readily absorbed through the skin and accumulates in organs such as teh brain, where it induces chronic toxic effects.
These often contain carcinogens such as methyl chloride but, because manufacturers do not have to disclose the ingredients used or test for toxic synergies, there is no way of knowing hether or not they are safe. Unless an essential oil is specified on the label, the chances are it will be synthetic.
Colours made from coal tars have been found to be carcinogenic in varying degrees and can cause nausea, mood swings, headaches and fatigue. Research at the University of Pittsburg indicates that up to twice as much toxic material can be absorbed into the bloodsteaam through the skin as the digestive system, which makes colours a problem in shampoos, eye colouring, mascara, nail varnishes and lipstick.
Word of caution – Skin care is a daily ritual. Applying toxins on your body day after day may cause problems to your health. Please read labels carefully before making your next skin care purchase.
For the most comprehensive list of ingredients used in the production of skin care and cosmetic products, and their uses/definitions & more… “Milady’s Skin Care and Cosmetics Ingredients Dictionary” is a must have. CLICK HERE to find out more
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