We’re all so environmental and health-conscious, it’s hard for big corporations to get one over on us anymore! We know what we want, and what we don’t, and we’re certainly not going to buy beauty products with harmful chemicals in them! The key of course is to KNOW what to buy, and what to steer clear of… and I can help! Here are 8 ingredients to avoid in your skin care products.
Parabens are endocrine inhibitors and are potentially estrogen mimickers, which are, needless to say, bad: some studies have linked estrogen inhibitors to the development of breast cancer. So why would parabens be an ingredient in most cosmetics, moisturizers, and shaving creams? Because they’re very good preservatives. But here’s the stance on parabens on the FDA website, “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area.” In other words, you may want consider avoiding parabens in your skin care products. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Chances are, anything you use that bubbles or foams contains the popular chemical ammonium laurel sulfate. Shampoo, hand soap, shave cream, you name it. But for some people, this entire group of chemicals can cause a range of allergy-type symptoms, from a mild rash to a full-blown headache, hives, and throat swelling. Sometimes these symptoms develop over time, so the more you use sulfates, the worse your reaction. Be good to your hair and skin and avoid sulfates altogether.
3. Synthetic Dyes and Fragrances
If you’re living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, then you’ll want to avoid synthetic dyes and fragrances in your skin care and beauty products because often times, these are made from animal by-products.
OK, bear with me here, because this is going to get a little counter-intuitive. Petrochemicals are oil-based chemicals, which makes them a natural for including in lip gloss and moisturizer, right? Wrong. These products actually interfere with your body’s own moisture system, and, in combination with sun, can actually cause skin chapping and dehydration. So why would petrochemicals be found in lip gloss and lip balm? So you’ll keep applying it… and use it up faster… then buy more… see?
Though, according to the FDA website, “At the present time, FDA does not have compelling evidence that phthalates, as used in cosmetics, pose a safety risk,” I’m not comforted, given that the use of phthalates has been banned for use in toys in Europe. So I add them to the list of ingredients to avoid in my skin care items and cosmetics.
GMOs are genetically modified organisms. Even before you know what they do, does that sound like something you might want in your skin care products? I know I’m a little leery. I do have to note that having, say, corn starch made with genetically modified corn in it in my face powder doesn’t sound so bad… but for some reason, it’s a little too high-tech for my taste.
Lately the over-use of antibiotics has gotten a lot of press, because scientists are starting to see that our obsession with them is basically encouraging the development of strains of bacteria that are more and more immune to antibiotics. Doctors are prescribing them less. But we consumers are using them MORE, carrying around antibacterial wipes and hand washes in our purses, and even adding a popular one, triclosan, to our make-up. If you’re worried about germs in your mascara, go a different route and toss it in the trash rather than buying one with triclosan in it.
If the use of this chemical is noted on the EPA website as causing significant problems with indoor air quality, why on earth would we want to wear it on our skin and bodies? Look at the label on any of your nail varnishes and it’s almost certain to appear there. The use of formaldehyde in cosmetics is banned in Japan and Sweden, yet we still use it here. Why? It’s so dangerous, and nasty… this is certainly an ingredient to avoid in your skin care products and cosmetics!
Ick, can you believe all the nasty stuff in some of our make-up and skin-care products? It’s crazy… and so bad for our bodies and the environment! Now you know to avoid these ingredients in your skin care products, you can feel (and maybe even look!) better all around! Which of these nasty chemicals frightens you the most, and have you ever spied it in a beauty product before?
Top image source: prevention.com