Top Chemical Ingredients to Avoid in Your Beauty and Skin Care Products.

toxic ingredients on labels

Learn to identify the chemical ingredients on the labels of products you buy so you can choose your skin care wisely.

Many of the synthetic chemical ingredients listed here may cause bad reactions resulting in sensitivities, allergies, headaches, skin irritations, rashes, nausea, fatigue, hair loss...not to mention the many long-term effects on the skin, such as rapid aging, clogged pores, dehydration and the inability to absorb nutrients.

There are many more dangerous ingredients than what I have listed here, but it would take a book to put them all down. At least you will get the idea and a bit more knowledge on the most common toxic chemical ingredients in skin care products today.


DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (monoethanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine). Look for names like Cocoamide DEA or MEA, Lauramide DEA, etc. These are hormone-disrupting chemicals and are known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. These are commonly found in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers.

FD&C Color Pigments: Many (pigments) may cause skin sensitivity and irritation...and absorption (of certain colors) can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death." Yikes! Colors used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics...are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic."

Fragrances: Most deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby products contain fragrance. Many of the compounds in fragrances are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. "Fragrances can contain up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Almost all of them are synthetic. The different ingredients in most fragrances don't have to be listed because of formulation laws or trade secrets.

Some of the symptoms have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Observation done in clinics by medical doctors has shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes.

Isopropyl Alcohol: As a solvent and denaturant. Alcohol is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances, and many other cosmetics. Derived from petroleum. It is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac and is used to dilute essential oils. According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, ingestion or inhalation of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis, anesthesia, and coma. It can be fatal if just one ounce is ingested!

PEG (Polyethelene glycol): An emulsifier used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease as well as thicken products. A number after "PEG" refers to its molecular weight, which influences its characteristics. Because of their effectiveness, PEGs are often used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners, and at the same time found in many personal care products. Not only are they potentially carcinogenic, but they contribute to stripping the skin's Natural Moisture Factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable.

Propylene Glycol (PG): Used as a "surfactant" or wetting agent and solvent, PG is actually the active component in antifreeze. There is no difference between what's used in industry and what's used in personal care products. Industry uses it to break down protein and cellular structures (what the skin is made of), so why is it found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste?, Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing, and goggles when working with this toxic substance. PG's Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact because PG has systemic consequences such as a brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. So, why isn't there a warning label on products such as stick deodorant, where the concentration is greater than most industrial applications? This is scarey!

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Used as industrial cleaners, these detergents and surfactants are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers, yet at the same time used as major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioners, and about 90% of all shampoos and products that foam. In the article "Dangerous Beauty," Mark Fearer shares that, "In tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and corrosion, and even death...according to the American College of Toxicology." Children's eyes are also at risk: "Studies indicate SLS kept young eyes from developing properly by possibly denaturing (dissolving) the proteins and not allowing for proper structural formation. This damage was permanent." Still other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. "Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein-denaturing properties." One of the most dangerous of all ingredients in personal care products, research shows that "SLS when combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens that cause the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate-contaminate food." According to the American College of Toxicology report, SLS stays in the body for up to five days. Other studies show that SLS easily penetrates the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, the lungs, and the brain. This poses questions of its being a serious potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers, and toothpaste.


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