When shopping for skin care products or make up, it’s important to look beyond the hype of celebrity endorsements and the imaginative packaging. More often than not, there might be ingredients there that are harmful to your skin and the rest of your body. Chemicals, additives, and preservatives have been added to beauty products to extend their shelf life and make them smell or look better.
However, they aren’t really adding value to the products you’re buying. Here are the top six ingredients you should be wary of:
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). This is a common ingredient in foundations, shampoo, bubble bath, and body wash, face wash and other facial cleansers, mouthwash and toothpastes. It is a surfactant or artificial foaming agent. It is a penetration enhancer enabling other chemicals to easily enter the body through the skin and scalp. This ingredient can disrupt the skin’s oil balance causing skin and scalp irritation. It can also lead to canker sores and eye damage or acne around the mouth and chin.
Parabens. Parabens are the most widely used cosmetic ingredient as preservatives. It can be found in 75% to 95% of all beauty, skin care, water-based products, hair care, sunscreens, and other cosmetic products. It is safe in small amounts, but products usually contain multiple types of parabens. Studies have linked these products to fetal development defects, reproductive toxicity, estrogen-related issues, and endocrine disruption. Due to its estrogen-like properties, it has been found in breast cancer tissue and is feared to be a cancer-causing agent.
Polyethylene/PEGs. Polyethylene is another common chemical used in foundations, fragrances, soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, lotions and other makeup products. It is used to soften and help products retain more moisture. It is also used as a thickening agent. Moreover, polyethylene is a penetration enhancer making the skin more vulnerable and easily penetrable for other chemicals. Broken or damaged skin is susceptible to PEGs. It can cause skin irritation, and system toxicity, including cancer, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and mental and reproductive issues. What’s even worse is that PEGs are not filtered when discharged into the sewage system and can travel downstream and into the waterways, where fish and other marine animals consume them.
Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid, and retinol. Retinol products are used in makeup, skin care, sunscreens, self-tanners, moisturizers, lip products, moisturizers, and anti-aging products. These chemicals can become carcinogenic under sunlight, and should only be used at night. Avoid sunscreen with retinol products. Under sunlight, retinol can result to 21% more skin cancer lesions. Besides the cancer link, it can also lead to reproductive problems.
Petroleum distillates. Petroleum distillates, including coal tar, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly are found in mascara, makeup, and other skin care products. Impurities in these ingredients have been linked to cancer. These chemicals are also linked to skin irritation and acne. Exposure has been linked to undifferentiated connective tissue disease, chemical pneumonia, and lung damage.
Hydroquinone. This is an active ingredient in skin lighteners. It is also found in sunscreens, nail polish, and anti-aging creams. It can contain mercury, which is a poison and can cause fetal problems. This chemical can cause ochronosis, with symptoms like blue-black lesions. It has also been linked to cancer.
These are just six of countless products being added to and hidden in the skin care and beauty products you use every day. Instead of making you beautiful, these may be causing more harm than good to your body. We encourage you to learn to read labels and research what certain ingredients do to you.
Trust only organic and natural ingredients. After all, these have been around for millennia and have been prized for their rejuvenating, healing, and health-improving properties.