All Women's Talk

7 Scary Skincare Ingredients You Should Avoid ...

By Sabrina

With so many skin products in the market, it's impossible to decide what's good and what's not. But as guest contributor Sabrina points out, some ingredients are best avoided. What are these ingredients? Read on to find out.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that I started paying close attention to the ingredients list on the back of my skin care products. The thought had never occurred to me that my favourite products would be made with chemicals, toxins and other harmful additives. Seriously, who envisions an anti-aging cream to contain something as sinister and nasty as formaldehyde?

Realizing the error of my ways - and a diagnosis of Celiacs - I began reading labels like it was my job. Turns out, upwards of 60% of what goes on your skin is absorbed. While we associate ingestion and inhalation of toxic substances as being dangerous, we often forget that skin absorption can be just as bad for us.

Keeping this in mind, it’s time for a little education on what you should be avoiding. Some of the most common ingredients are the most harmful. Skin allergies, infertility, birth defects, learning disabilities and cancer are amongst some of these toxic side effects. So, what should you be looking for? Let me enlighten you!

1 Parabens

There’s been a lot of buzz in the media lately over the negative side effects of parabens and many skin care lines are coming out with paraben-free products.

For a long time now, parabens have been used as a product preservative and sadly, they are not always labeled on packaging. When choosing a deodorant or facial cream, be sure to dig deeper and look up the full ingredient list online.

Continuous use of parabens can cause men to become infertile and women’s hormones to become imbalanced. Even more, parabens have been found inside female breast cancer tumors.

2 Benzoyl Peroxide

You’ve no doubt seen this ingredient listed before. It’s a common ingredient in most acne-fighting products, but has serious side effects. Benzoyl Peroxide has been found to promote the growth of tumors because it acts as a mutagen. This mutagen causes DNA damage in not just humans, but animal cells as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide is harmful via inhalation, not just absorption. Inhalation can lead to skin or respiratory irritation, so resist the urge to sniff it.


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3 Dioxin

Like parabens, this toxic ingredient is often left off labels. Antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, polyethylene glycol, emulsifiers and ethoxylated cleansers often contain dioxins.

The effects of dioxin can be quite damaging. Prolonged use can lead to cancer, reduced immune functioning and nervous system disorders. Dioxin can also cause birth defects when used by pregnant women. Worst case scenario; it can cause a miscarriage.

4 Phthalates

Often hard to find on labels, this ingredient can lead to liver and kidney damage, cause early breast development in both men and women, decrease male sperm counts and cause birth defects. Luckily, most US, Canadian and EU companies are removing this ingredient from their products.

5 Free Radicals

The title may seem vague, but many sunscreens contain chemicals that increase the production of free radicals. Free radicals cause DNA damage and cancer, so look out for ingredients like avobenzone, benzophenone, ethoxycinnamate and PABA.

6 Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

If you’re looking at picking a product that foams, keep a keen eye for this ingredient. Found in foamy skin care products, car washes, engine degreasers and floor cleaners, SLS can cause skin irritation, eye damage, hard breathing, diarrhea and even death.

7 F,D and C Color Pigments

Synthetic colors from coal tar can deposit toxins in skin and lead to skin irritation. Constant absorption results in oxygen depletion, which has been known to lead to death. Studies suggest they are carcinogenic as well.

Don’t be daunted by your skin product ingredient lists; or lack thereof. Be product-smart and do the best you can to avoid potentially harmful ingredients. Your skin and body will thank you!

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