You want to be careful of harmful ingredients when you use a product daily, whether makeup, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, or deodorant. These toxic ingredients can build up in your system and cause long-term health concerns. Unfortunately, there are many consumer products made with chemicals. We’ve reviewed some of the top ingredients you should be aware of and avoid in your care products.
Parabens are preservative chemicals, at the top of the list of ingredients to avoid, and are in roughly 90% of cosmetics! This chemical mimics estrogen, which causes significant hormonal issues. Because of the hormonal problems, it is also linked to breast and skin cancer and decreased sperm count. Parabens are hard to avoid because they are in so many products. Look for paraben-free labeling or for a cosmetic company that doesn’t use parabens in any of its formulas.
Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals within a fragrance. This means any number of chemicals could be present without you knowing what. Some substances commonly used in fragrance cause asthma, allergies, and hormone disruption. While it’s lovely to have products with pleasant smells, it’s better to avoid fragrance entirely.
Most people are familiar with lead poisoning from paint in older houses. However, few people know over half of commercial lipsticks contain lead! Lead is a neurotoxin linked to learning, language, and behavioral issues. More recently, it’s connected to adult reproductive and hormonal problems. There is no safe threshold for lead exposure, so it’s best to avoid it entirely.
When you read a product label, you will not likely see formaldehyde listed. Companies often include several ingredients in a product that, when combined, release formaldehyde. In addition to being a skin sensitizer and allergen, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.
These ingredients will give you a clue that the product contains formaldehyde:
Retinol is a top-rated anti-aging product, but when combined with sunlight becomes carcinogenic. During the day, you should avoid using any products containing retinol palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid, and retinol. These products are safe to use at bedtime!
Triclosan is linked to thyroid issues and has contributed to the rise in antibiotic-resistant illnesses. This ingredient is in antibacterial soaps and some cosmetics. Triclosan is an active ingredient on the product label. Any product marketed as an antimicrobial is likely to contain triclosan.
Phthalates are banned in cosmetics in the European Union but are present in the United States in color cosmetics. This chemical causes endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer. Watch for and avoid phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP, and fragrance when reading the product ingredients.
Reading about the chemicals in your everyday products can be scary and overwhelming. How will you remember and avoid all these dangerous chemicals? One of the easiest ways to get started is by researching companies, reading labels, and choosing brands that avoid these chemicals in all their products.