Are Dangerous Ingredients Lurking In Your Skincare?
Are the substances that go into our grooming aids really safe for daily use? Many skincare companies are making a huge effort to avoid toxic ingredients and ensure the safety of their products. However, large segments of the beauty industry add known or suspected carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxins to their skin and hair care and cosmetic formulations. And it’s all perfectly legal. Unlike food, personal care products are not regulated by the FDA or any other government agency. Many dermatologists, doctors, and other medical specialists say that in view of the scientific uncertainties, it may be best to avoid products with chemical additives. Therefore, it’s just as important to read the labels on skincare products as it is at the grocery store. Consumers might consider exercising caution with the following ingredients:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a widely used cleansing agent, can irritate the eyes and skin. In some scientific studies, it has also been shown to cause severe epidermal changes to the the skin of mice, and therefore may possibly pose a link to skin tumors.
Sodium Lauryth Sulfate, also known as ammonium lauryl sulfate, is another cheap and effective surfactant, frequently added to hair care products, exfoliants, scrubs, and cleansers. Animal studies show sense organ effects even at very low doses. Numerous studies also suggest that sodium lauryth sulfate has toxic effects on the body.
Petrochemicals are the chemical products made from raw materials of petroleum or other hydrocarbon origin. They include benzoic acid, ethanol, ethylene, vinyl acetate, propylene, toluene, and dozens of others. Used to make petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and paraffin wax, and other cosmetic preparations, petrochemicals can also emit harmful volatile organic compounds, such as dioxin, which can trigger asthma and other respiratory ailments. In addition, those compounds can mimic hormones in the body, causing a variety of health disorders.
Phthalates are frequently added to shampoos, lotions, and other personal care products as stabilizers, lubricants, and emulsifying agents. They are often used as solvents in perfumes. In spite of their widespread use, their safety is heavily contested. Some scientists have linked phthalates to problems in reproductive development as well as endocrine, respiratory, and other health disorders.
Parabens, a class of chemicals that includes methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben, act as bactericides and fungicides, thus helping avoid spoilage. Dozens of scientific studies have indicated that parabens can cause a hormone-like response when applied to laboratory animals or on tissue cultures, disrupting the endocrine system and potentially contributing to reproductive disorders.