We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, but what about “you are what you apply”? The skin is the largest organ in the body that can readily absorb the substances we put on it.
Research by the Environmental Working Group found that between cosmetics, perfumes, personal care products and feminine hygiene products, the average American woman applies an average of 168 chemicals to her face and body every day.
Did you catch that?
Considering that many of these chemicals are found to be toxic and linked to multiple health concerns, it may be time to look at the back of your products!
There are THOUSANDS of dangerous chemicals in cosmetics today. I’ve chosen these top 5 based on their widespread use and potential risk.
THE FILTHY FIVE:
Can be one or more of 200 chemicals. One fragrance can be an accumulation of dozens to hundreds of different chemicals. Companies do not have to disclose what “fragrance” is.
Where it’s found: Makeup, deodorant, shampoos, body washes, hand soaps, lotions, facial cleansers, shaving creams (Anything with a fragrance!)
Health implications: Allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, organ damage, and potential effects on the reproductive system
Parabens: ANYTHING ending in paraben
Known as the most widely used preservative in the industry. Used to keep mold, bacteria, and yeast out of cosmetics.
Where it’s found: Makeup, deodorant, shampoos, body washes, facial cleansers, shaving creams
Health implications: acts like a weak estrogen in your body. Found in cancerous breast tissue. Can cause reproductive and developmental disorders, as well as disrupt the endocrine system.
Other names to look for on the labels: PEG compounds, Polyethylene, Polyethylene glycol, Polyoxyethylene,”oleth-,” or “-oxynol-.”
Used as solvent in the manufacture of other chemicals
Where it’s found: suds forming products (shampoos, bubble bath, hand/facial cleansers, as well as moisturizers, sunscreens, hair relaxers, and many baby products
Health implications: cancer, organ toxicity, developmental disorders, effect on the nervous system
Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasers
Other names to look for on the label: 2 Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal. 015)
A chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products. Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative in mortuaries, medical laboratories and cosmetics.
Where it’s found: baby shampoo. nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue, hair gel, hair-smoothing products, body soap, body wash, color cosmetics
Health implications: linked to cancer, respiratory distress, and a skin allergen
Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, TEA)
SEA-related ingredients are organic substances that function as emulsifiers to produce foam and bubbles in cosmetics. TEAs adjust a product’s pH
Where it’s found: Soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners and dyes, lotions, shaving creams, paraffin and waxes, household cleaning products, pharmaceutical ointments, eyeliners, mascara, eye shadows, blush, make-up bases, foundations, fragrances, and sunscreens
Health Implications: cancer, irritation (skin, eyes, lungs) organ system toxicity
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Take this “filthy five” list and check out your frequently used products to see if you are exposing yourself to harmful chemicals.
- Look up your products on the EWG Cosmetics Skin Deep Database (www.ewg.org) to receive a thorough profile for your products and potential hazards and health concerns.
- Join us in leading a movement to get safer products into the hands of everyone at www.beautycounter.com/abeautifulless