There are thousands of toxic chemicals in beauty and makeup products easily penetrates into skin. Many of the synthetic chemicals are skin irritants, skin penetrators and endocrine interrupters. Most of them are possibly carcinogenic too.
Top 10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients
Here are 10 toxic elements to highly avoid.
1. Petroleum distillates
Toluene is a petrochemical derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. You may see it on labels listed as benzene, toluol, phenyl methane, methyl benzene. It can affect respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate skin. Pregnant woman should avoid exposure to toluene vapors as it may damage fetus. Toluene leads to damage of immune system. It is present in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color/bleaching products.
These synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. If a product label contains FD&C or D&C, they represent artificial colors where F represents food and D&C represents drug and cosmetics. The European Labeling considers it as a human carcinogen and has banned it. Synthetic colors are suspected to be a human carcinogen, skin irritant and linked to ADHD in children.
Some of the preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products is Ethyl-, methyl-, butyl-, or propyl paraben. Shampoos, moisturizers, soaps, exfoliants, cleansers, and deodorants possess these toxic ingredients. Parabens has estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
Cosmetics preservatives has formaldehyde to kill bacteria growing in products. This chemical is a human carcinogen and can lead to cancers. It is also known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system. It is present in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.
These group of chemicals increases the flexibility and softness of plastics. The main phthalates are dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalate in perfumes and dimethyl phthalate in hair products.
They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females too. Pregnant women should avoid dibutyl phathalate. Try to avoid products with phthalates.
3. Sunscreen chemicals
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles appear to be among the safer and more effective active ingredients in sunscreen creams because they do not penetrate the skin. Try to avoid sprays containing nano particles, as they can penetrate to lungs and blood stream. Many other nanoparticles have received very little testing, yet they readily penetrate the skin and contaminate the body.
Vitamin A compounds (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinol)
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient but not safe for skin. Studies show that when applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds also can increase skin sensitivity. Furthermore sunlight breaks down vitamin A to produce toxic free radicals. These can damage DNA and hasten skin lesions and tumors. The ingredient is in sunscreens, skin lotions, lip products and makeup.
Benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, oxybenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate is also present in most sunscreen products which harms the skin.
Fragrances are in everything from shampoo, deodorant and lotions. Fragrances contains hormone disruptors. It is also listed among the top 5 allergens in the world. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, respiratory problems and even problems with reproductive system.
5. Triclosan & Triclocarban
Antimicrobial pesticides is present in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban) is very toxic to the aquatic environment. These are present in antibacterial soap, detergent, toothpaste, fabric, deodorants, facial tissue and even toys. It is also a known endocrine disruptor especially thyroid and reproductive hormones and a skin irritant too.
6. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
The SLS is possibly present in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products. It irritates skin, lung, and eye. The harmful substances actually strip the hair of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy, breaking down protein and halting healthy hair growth. Furthermore it penetrates into your eyes and build up in other tissues such as your brain, heart, and liver. SLS has a potential to interact and also combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a dangerous carcinogen. As a result these combinations can result a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage. It is present in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatment creams.
7. PEGs/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds
These carcinogen in personal care products are polyethylene glycol, PEG, polyethylene, sodium laureth sulfate, polyoxyethylene and polysorbate. It is a present in shampoo, cosmetics, and detergents. These ingredients are also present in nutritional supplements.
8. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
The National Toxicology Program considers Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as a human carcinogen. It can also cause skin hyper pigmentation. BHA produces liver damage and causes stomach cancers. Additionally, it interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels. It is present in food and personal care products.
9. Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol (an organic alcohol) is a skin-conditioning agent. It’s classified as a skin irritant and penetrator. Dermatitis as well as hives in humans is caused by propylene glycol at concentrations as low as 2 percent. It is present in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and also in hair sprays.
10. Boric acid and Sodium Borate
These chemicals disrupt hormones and harm the reproductive system. For children less than three years of age, Europe and Canada restrict these ingredients in body care products. It is a rule to label as not appropriate for broken or damaged skin. The cosmetic industry’s own safety panel states that these chemicals are unsafe for infant or damaged skin, because they can absorb readily into the body.
Check out the Skin Database to learn more of toxic chemicals that could be in your cosmetic and personal care products.