Did you know that there are often hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals in the skincare products for sale online and in the shops? Often they are hard to find on the product labels, either buried in small type or hidden altogether. Would you put these chemicals on your skin if you knew that they were first developed to remove grease from automotive parts, or stop concrete from setting too quickly? How about as weed-killers or paint emulsifiers? Is it any wonder that these chemicals can irritate your skin? Or in some cases cause breast cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, psoriasis, asthma, miscarriage, developmental delays children, and even organ damage.
A personal care product use survey of more than 2,300 people, conducted by EWG and a coalition of public interest and environmental health organizations, showed that the average adult uses 9 personal care products daily, containing 126 unique chemical ingredients.
Additional additives in cosmetics include a wide range of carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), pesticides, herbicides, reproductive toxins, hormone disruptors, chemically-based polymers, plasticizers, lead, and other heavy metals.
These are some of the worst:
Heavy Metals – The use of lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, and aluminum in skincare products is common. These heavy metals can bind to important minerals in the body such as calcium and iron causing them to reach out, or chelate. This chelation can cause many harmful health issues, and result in symptoms such as headaches, constipation, exhaustion, and muscle or joint pain. Without being addressed, mineral chelation can contribute to many diseases ranging from neurodegenerative disease to cancer.
Phthalates – These are part of a group of chemicals the beauty industry uses to increase the softness of their products. You can find them in everything from skin creams to hairspray, though, and they are often not disclosed on packaging since they are included in proprietary or ‘secret’ formulations. Phthalates are an endocrine disruptor, as well as being a scientifically documented reason for increased breast cancer risk.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate) ALS Ammonium Laureth Sulfate ALES – These chemicals are found in a whopping 90 percent of all personal care and cleaning products though they are a known eye, skin, and airway irritant and can damages skin allowing ready penetration of carcinogens.
Parabens – While parabens prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in skincare products, they have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Toluene – This is a petrochemical derived from petroleum or coal tar. It appears on labels listed as benzene, phenylmethane, methylbenzene. This chemical is a solvent able to dissolve paint and paint thinner. It negatively affects the respiratory system, can cause nausea and irritate the skin.
Synthetic Colours Derived from Petroleum and Coal Tar – Chemical color additives such as D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1 can cause ADHD in children and are known carcinogens. The European Union has banned the use of these chemical colors, but they are still used in many countries’ products, including those sold in the U.S.
Benzophenone – This chemical is used in personal care products such as lip balm and nail polish to protect them from UV light. It can cause cancer, adds to developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, irritation, ecotoxicity, and is a known endocrine disruptor
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) – These chemicals are used as preservatives in a variety of personal care products. They are endocrine-disrupting, are toxic to the internal organs, can cause reproductive and developmental health issues, and can also increase the risk of cancer. Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) – These two chemicals are part of a broader collection of ethanolamines—a chemical group comprised of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and alcohols. They cause organ toxicity and have been linked to cancerous tumors on the liver.
Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) – These chemicals are very hard on the lungs, are allergens, and neurotoxic.
Synthetic Perfume Phthalates, Artificial Fragrance - These chemicals can damage to the liver and reproductive organs.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) – This is a group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. One of the more common PAHs is naphthalene. It is linked to breast and other cancers.