Chemicals you should steer clear of if you want your skin to look healthy


If you are careful about what you ingest through the mouth, you should also be vigilant in ensuring that what you apply to any part of your face and body is not only effective but safe and healthy as well. After all, what you put on your skin or your teeth can penetrate deeper and enter your bloodstream.

This warrants the careful evaluation and analysis of the ingredients in your beauty products applied externally. With thousands of chemicals in a variety of beauty products, it is easy to see how beauty companies are not regulated on their use of any raw material or ingredient either by the government or any organization or agency.

You won’t see any indication of product pre-approval prior to the introduction to the market. There’s just the most negligible approval process to speak of, and it only happens to be for color additives and ingredients categorized under over-the-counter medications.

Plenty of the synthetic ingredients are even skin penetrators, endocrine function disruptors, skin irritants, and carcinogens. The list of unwanted chemicals is endless but the more frequently found include:


Preservatives and Antimicrobials

Hundreds of commercial products use a group of chemicals called phthalates, which raise the level of softness and flexibility of plastics. The common cosmetic and personal care products phthalates include diethyl phthalate in lotions and perfumes, dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, and dimethyl phthalate in hair spray.

Aside from being linked to the increased risk of breast cancer and early breast development in girls, phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors that also cause reproductive birth defects in males and females. Be wary of ‘secret formulas’ in perfumes, deodorants, colognes, hair sprays, and moisturizers, as they could very well be phthalates in disguise.

Another common preservative to help prevent bacterial growth is formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs), known human carcinogens associated with nasal and nasopharyngeal occupational-related cancers.

FRPs and formaldehyde also exhibit harmfulness to the immune system and are found in cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, nail polish treatments, and eye shadows.

A commonly used antimicrobial chemical is triclosan, another recognized endocrine disruptor to the thyroid and reproductive hormones in addition to being a skin irritant. Studies have shown increasing incidences of triclosan supporting the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Triclosan is found in antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, and deodorants.

A widely used preservative is what are collectively known as parabens, which inhibit the growth of yeast, mold, and bacteria in cosmetic products. Despite their seemingly beneficial function, parabens have a distinct estrogen-imitating capability associated with the increased risk of breast cancer. Parabens have been found in breast tumor biopsy samples, which might indicate how easily they are absorbed through the skin.

Parabens are found in facial cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, body washes, and makeup, as well as pharmaceutical and food products.


Product enhancers

A small organic alcohol, polypropylene glycol is a skin-conditioning agent known to be a skin irritant and penetrator. It has been linked to hives and dermatitis in humans, with just 2 percent concentrations manifesting these sensitization effects. Hair sprays, shampoos, conditioners, makeup products, sunscreen, and moisturizers contain this chemical.

Synthetic colors such as D&C and FD&C, which come before a number, are sourced from petroleum and other coal tar chemicals. The letters represent Food (F), Drug (D), and Cosmetics (C) but the chemicals themselves are known human carcinogens and skin irritants that have also been linked to ADHD in kids.

Fragrances could be chock-full of unknown substances that cause respiratory problems, dermatitis, allergies, and potential reproductive system issues. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are surfactants found in a great majority of cleaning and personal care products. They cause the foaming in products but are known as lung, eye, and skin irritants.

The surfactants easily interact with other chemicals that cause respiratory and kidney damage. They are found in acne treatment, mascara, body wash, and shampoo.


Solvents and protective agents

A petrochemical known as toluene is sourced from petroleum or coal tar ingredients and can affect the respiratory system aside from causing skin irritation and nausea. Toluene, which is listed as methylbenzene, toluol, benzene, and phenylmethane, has been associated with immune system toxicity, fetal development damage, and potentially severe neurological harm.

Sunscreen chemicals may absorb UV light but are endocrine disruptors and tend to be easily absorbed into the body to cause cancer and cellular damage. They include Octyl Methoxycinnamate, homosalate, avobenzone, PABA, and benzophenone.



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