Dangerous beauty

Do You Really Know What’s in Your Cosmetics & Skin Care Products?

The skin is capable of absorbing many of the ingredients that it comes into contact with. Some medical treatments are even administered by applying lotions externally. Therefore, whenever you put something on your skin just take a few moments to ask yourself if you are happy for it to penetrate into your bloodstream and circulate to all your vital organs.

Now, I’m not trying to suggest that if, for example, you always use Petroleum Jelly on your chapped lips then your liver and kidneys are going to be coated with Petroleum Jelly. It doesn’t work like that. Every product can be broken down into its own constituents, and some of those constituents will have access to the internal workings of your body. Fortunately, Mother Nature has given us a fantastic biological system that is generally capable of getting rid of unwanted nasties before they can do us any damage. However, when you consider just how chemical-full our world is, it is not surprising that things sometimes go wrong.

Below is a list of the some of the most common ingredients found in personal care products and their effects on the human body:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate: A synthetic substance that causes skin irritation and allergic reaction in many users. It penetrates the skin, and has links to gastrointestinal and liver toxicity. Sodium Laureth Sulfate enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, lungs and the brain.

Propylene Glycol: One of the most common ingredients in personal care products…… also used as a de-icing fluid for airplanes. How is this possible that the same propylene glycol that we so freely apply to our skin every day is also used as antifreeze and in brake fluid? Exposure to propylene glycol can potentially lead to serious health problems including brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.

PEG: This is an abbreviation for polyethylene glycol. There are various PEGs, all with different numbers eg: PEG-8. PEGs are potentially carcinogenic, being associated with uterine, breast, brain cancers and leukaemia, yet they are found in many personal skin care products. For extensive info about PEGs see HealthyCommunications.com.

Isopropyl Alcohol: A very drying and irritating solvent that strips your skin’s moisture and natural immune barrier, making you more vulnerable to bacteria, moulds and viruses. Inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting and coma.

Mineral Oil: Petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders.

Fragrance: Many synthetic fragrances are toxic or carcinogenic and can cause allergic reactions. Potential problems caused by these chemicals are headaches, dizziness, rashes, coughing, and vomiting.

Diethanolamine (DEA) or Triethanolamine (TEA) are found in most personal care products. TEA causes allergic reactions including eye problems, hair and skin dryness. Both DEA and TEA are highly susceptible to contamination with nitrosamines, known to be potent carcinogens.

FD&C Color Pigments: Synthetic colors should be avoided, as they are believed to be cancer-causing agents.

Parabens: Parabens have had a lot of press lately and there are more and more products specifically labeled “paraben free”. This is because parabens, in their many forms (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben) have been linked to breast cancer. The FDA claims that parabens aren’t dangerous at very low levels, but when you consider that 25,000 different cosmetics and skincare products contain these chemicals, it’s feasible to build up quite an exposure in a lifetime.

Formaldehyde: A frighteningly common ingredient in a variety of beauty products. Formaldehyde can irritate your eyes, nose and throat, dry out and irritate your skin and even cause asthma and cancer with repeated exposure.

Hydroquinone: A skin-bleaching ingredient, hydroquinone is banned in Japan, the European Union, and Australia, but it’s still in use in the United States and other countries worldwide. Hydroquinone is found not only in Asian and African skin-lightening products, but in creams to lighten age-spots as well. There’s some evidence that hydroquinone is a carcinogen, and is linked to ochronosis, a condition in which grayish brown spots and bumps occur on the skin.

Toluene: Found in nail polish and hair dye, this is a nasty one. Toluene is toxic to the nervous system and breathing it in can cause dizziness and headaches. High exposures can lead to birth defects and miscarriage, so watch out if you work in a nail salon.

Coal Tar: Coal tar is used to treat eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders and can be found in anti-itch creams and scalp treatments. It’s also a known carcinogen.

Our thanks to Francisco at Best All Natural Skin Care for allowing us to use the above information from their website.