Chemicals you do not want on your skin

This is a ‘short-list’ of some of the more hazardous and toxic chemicals you will often find in your skin and personal care products. Take a very close look at the labels of your skin and personal care products, including your hair shampoo and conditioner and see if any of these potentially toxic chemicals described here are listed on the label.

If they are there, you should seriously consider finding an alternative that does not contain any of these chemicals and toss the old products out. They are not good for your and your families health.

Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and/or Ethyl Paraben

Used as preservatives to extend the shelf life of skin and personal care products. Parabens have been reported to have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Studies have shown that they are weakly estrogenic and can be absorbed by the body through the skin. Widely used even though they are potentially toxic.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)

DEA and TEA are often used in cosmetics and shampoos as emulsifiers and/or foaming agents. They can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are “amines” (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. They are toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time. (See Scientific Literature).

Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea

These are widely used preservatives. The American Academy of Dermatology has found them to be a primary cause of contact dermatitis. Two trade names for these chemicals are Germall II and Germall 115. Neither of the Germall chemicals contains a good antifungal agent, and they must be combined with other preservatives. Both these chemicals release formaldehyde, which can be toxic. (See Scientific Literature).

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate

A cheap, harsh detergent used in shampoos, bubble baths, hand and body wash products for its cleansing and foam-building properties. Often derived from petroleum, it is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the phrase “comes from coconuts.” It causes eye irritation, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, skin rashes and other allergic reactions. Avoid at all cost. (See Scientific Literature).

Methylisothiazoline (MIT)

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is a biocide widely used in industrial and cosmetic products and has been shown to pose a potential risk to unborn babies. It is widely used in shampoos and there very well could be neuro-developmental consequences from Mit. It is of particularly concerned to women with occupational exposure to MIT during pregnancy as there is a possibility of risk to the foetus. Avoid at all cost. (See Scientific Literature).

Petrolatum

Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value for the skin and can interfere with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness and chapping. It often creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap. Most Petro-chemicals are carcinogens and are to be avoided. (See Scientific Literature).

Propylene Glycol

Ideally this is a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. When you see PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol) on labels, beware—these are related synthetics. The natural versions are fine and perfectly safe, not so their synthetic counter parts.

PVP/VA Copolymer

A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs of sensitive persons. Most Petro-chemicals are carcinogens.

Stearalkonium Chloride

A plant-derived ingredient, it reduces static electricity by neutralizing electrical charges on hair, and is a good conditioning agent. It is a quaternary ammonium compound also used in hair conditioners and creams. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, it is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which are beneficial to the hair. Causes allergic reactions. Potentially toxic.

Synthetic Colors

Used to make cosmetics “pretty,” synthetic colors, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided at all costs. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 3 / D&C Green No. 6. Many synthetic colors can be carcinogenic. If a cosmetic contains them, don’t use it. (See Scientific Literature).

Synthetic Fragrances

The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply read “fragrance.” Some problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation—the list goes on. Synthetic fragrances should be avoided. Be careful when looking at these because often the lable may say “fragrance of Lavender”, or fragrance of “Rose” or similarly popular essential oils. Fragrance of = Synthetic, NOT the real essential oil.

There are thousands more chemicals and it is not the intention of this article to bore you to tears, but rather to alert you to some of the most commonly used chemicals which are found in most brands on your department store and supermarket shelves.

So keep you eyes on the ingredients and think twice if you see any of the above on the list