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Top 7 Most Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients: What the labels do not tell you about your Shampoo or Nail Polish

Posted Oct 01 2008 9:16pm 1 Comment

If you are like me you try to eat the best organic products, exercise daily and purchase products that reduce the potential harmful effects of toxic, chemical exposure. After talking with a friend of mine a week ago, I learned an alarming number of harmful ingredients were present in my daily beauty products. There was potential harm in just about everything I put on my body; from my shampoo to my nail polish. I stopped to think, how many of us really focus on what we are putting on our bodies? We concentrate a lot of our focus on what is going in our bodies; but we should give equal attention to what is being absorbed into our skin....the single, largest toxin absorbing part of our body.

The following are seven ingredients that you should be mindful of the next time your purchase beauty products:

1. Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

Active ingredient in: Moisturizers, toners, cleansers, masks, age-spot removers

Potential Harm: AHAs are known for accelerating the exfoliation of dead skin cells. But they can also increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun by as much as 50 percent, leaving you exposed to accelerated skin aging and the possibility of skin cancer.

Potential Solution: AHAs are best used at a concentration that is less than 10 percent.

2. Formaldehyde

Active ingredient in: Nail polish, shampoos, soaps, skin creams.

Potential Harm: This potentially irritating preservative can be absorbed into the skin and cause allergic reactions, headaches, even asthma. The ingredient, if listed at all, is often referred to as formalin. Its use in cosmetics is banned in Japan and Sweden.

Solution: Read labels carefully: products containing levels that might trigger an adverse reaction are required to carry a caution.

3. Propylene Glycol

Ingredient in: Suntan lotions, lipsticks and other cosmetics and toiletries.

Potential Harm: Its humectant properties are used to stop products from drying out. But it has also been linked to liver abnormalities and kidney damage. It is also known as a skin and eye irritant.

Solution: Avoid it altogether and instead choose alternative products containing glycerin or sorbitol.

4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Active ingredient in: Bubble baths, toothpastes, shampoos and lotions

Potential Harm: This detergent, which has been found to enter the brain, heart and liver and impair the immune system, has been linked to eye irritations, skin rashes and allergic reactions. The biggest problems occur when it is mixed with other chemicals, like those typically used in toiletries, because it can form carcinogenic compounds.

Solution: Minimize the risks by using products with SLS sparingly and rinsing off quickly afterwards.

5. Talc

Ingredient in: Makeup and body powders

Potential Harm: Mineral talc has been linked to ovarian cancer and has been found to induce cancer in rodents.

Solution: Avoid using talc-based powders, especially on genital areas.

6. Mineral Oil

Ingredient in: Makeup removers, lipsticks, lotions

Potential harm: A petroleum derivative, it has been linked to everything from clogged pores to cancer. Its density does not allow skin to breathe.

Solution: Avoid it entirely

7. Methyl Methacrylate

Ingredient in: Nail products, primarily used in application of acrylic nails

Potential harm: The chemical has been linked to fungal infections, nail deformities and other problems. Prolonged exposure can lead to eye, skin and lung irritation, abnormal liver or kidney function, nervous system damage or reproductive problems.

Solution: Stick with salons that use ethyl methacrylate, a safer bonding liquid, instead. Althought this may be more expensive; you health is worth it!

With increased awareness and conscious shopping; you too can decrease the potential harm for everyday beauty products.

Comments (1)
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Excellent article. Beauty care products are notoriously under-regulated. Any number of dangerous chemical and synthetic additives are used in their processing.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and you should never put anything on your skin that you would not put in your mouth.

Choose organic skin care products are made with ingredients that have not been subject to toxic chemicals.

 

 

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