13 Dangerous and Potentially Toxic Ingredients to Avoid
in Your Cosmetics and Personal Care Items

I stopped using products with harmful chemicals many years ago and my skin and body thank me every day! People often tell me I look younger than my age and I have to attribute it in part to being conscious of goes on and in my body. Sure, I pay more for organic food and chemical-free skin products. But I know the benefits of treating my body with care far out weight the monetary costs; and just think about all the money women spend to fix their faces after 40 years of spending money on products that caused their faces to look like they needed fixing! Besides that, using chemical-free products can actually extend your life and help you avoid cancer.

In Chinese medicine, the skin is considered “the third lung.” This means that the skin, as our largest organ, is equally as vital as our heart, liver, and lungs, and deserves to be treated as such. It is the barrier between us and the world, and it is also one of the major ways that the body releases wastes. We now know that anything put on the skin passes through the skin and goes into the blood and circulates through the body. You should never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat! (That’ll make you read some labels!)

The ingredients listed below enter the bloodstream directly through your skin, reaching and potentially damaging organs, and disrupting hormones and a host of internal systems.

If you are reading the labels of your common bathroom products and thinking,” but these ingredients are in everything!”, you are right. As of right now there is very little regulation of the cosmetic and personal care industry, and these ingredients are very inexpensive and therefore are the most commonly used. However, these ingredients have been linked with skin irritations and allergies, and there is concern that the long-term side-effects of daily use include cancer.

For those of you who have children and use baby wipes, be sure to check the ingredients. Several of these ingredients appear together in the common brands. Makes you want to cringe when you think about putting all these chemicals in so sensitive an area. So the next time you go shopping, read your labels!

Propylene glycol (PG) : Is used in moisturizers, suntan lotions, and lipsticks to hold in moisture. Usually consists of a mix of synthetic petrochemicals. Is the active ingredient in antifreeze, and can be found in brake and hydraulic fluids. Commonly known in scientific circles to cause allergic and toxic reactions. Possible effect of exposure includes fetus toxicity.

Sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate (SLS): Is used in cleansers and soaps to increase foaming. Is the same synthetic ingredient used in carwash detergent and engine degreasers. Associated with skin rashes, hair loss, scalp dryness, eye irritation, and diarrhea. Known to damage hair follicles and cause hair to fall out.

Aluminum (or aluminum chlorohydrate): Used in antiperspirants to prevent sweating. Early research has linked it to cancer of the lymph system and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Fluoride: Used in toothpaste for dental hygiene and protection. Causes teeth to rot and crumble, by the same mechanism as osteoporosis. Commonly known in scientific circles to be highly toxic. “A seven ounce tube of toothpaste, theoretically at least, contains enough fluoride to kill a small child.” - Procter&Gamble, quoted in Fluoride the Aging Factor, pg.14.

Petroleum, petrolatum, paraffin, or mineral oil: Is commonly found in baby oil, creams, lipstick and lip gloss, and makeup remover. It is used to seal in moisture. Interferes with the body’s own moisturizing ability, which leads to dry skin and chapping, the very problem that these products were designed to prevent or heal. Can cause “lip-balm addiction.”

Ethanolamines (MEA, DEA or cocamide DEA, or TEA): Commonly used as a cleanser, emulsifier, foaming agent, or emollient. Also used to adjust the pH of a product. Found in night creams, lotions. There is a strong link between them and liver and kidney cancers. TEA has been implicated in allergic reactions, eye problems, and dry skin and hair. There is evidence that it has the potential to become toxic if absorbed frequently and consistently over a long period of time.

Urea: Used as a preservative in shampoos and body washes. Is a formaldehyde donor, which means it releases formaldehyde at certain temperatures. Formaldehyde is proven toxic and a carcinogen, and has been associated with menstrual irregularities, birth defects, as well as headaches, depression, joint and chest pain, allergies, chronic fatigue, and ear infections.

Talc: Used in baby and feminine powders. A connection has been shown between talc and ovarian cancer. In fact, researchers have found talc in the ovaries of women with ovarian cancer!

Parabens (Ethyl, methyl, butyl, or propyl): Used as preservatives to extend the shelf life of a product, and also to inhibit microbial growth. Many different sources list them as highly toxic due to the number of allergic reactions and skin rashes attributed to them. Recent research has found traces of parabens breast cancer tumors.

Alcohol (Ethyl or Isopropyl): Seen in toners, astringents, cleansers, and mouthwashes. Destroys skin’s pH balance by stripping away the naturally protective acid mantle barrier, which leaves the body open to infection. Mouthwashes that contain 25% alcohol have been linked with mouth, tongue, and throat cancers. Isopropyl alcohol is derived from petroleum and can be found in antifreeze.

Triclosan: Used in antibacterial soaps, cleansers, and sometimes toothpaste. The chemical composition is similar to that of Agent Orange. It is so dangerous that that the EPA considers it a pesticide and highly toxic. Shown to disrupt hormone function, and to accumulate in the organs of the body in toxic levels.

Synthetic Colors or Fragrances: Exposure to these chemicals has been shown to cause distress to the Central Nervous System, giving symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, coughing, vomiting, and hyperpigmentation.

Octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC), benzophenone-3, homosalate, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC), and octyl-dimethyl-PABA: Common sunscreen ingredients. Recent research has shown all five of these substances have estrogenic properties. Can cause endometriosis, severe PMS, breast cysts, and migraines. Also have the risk of exacerbating estrogen-dependent cancers. It is possible for women who are breast-feeding to pass the hormone on to their babies. 4-MBC is considered the worst offender of the five.

Author's Bio: 

Having lost 50 lbs. through identifying and addressing the underlying causes of her emotional eating, Tricia Greaves founded Heal Your Hunger an online resource which offers hope and healing for emotional eaters worldwide. Tricia is also the director of The Greaves Foundation for those with nowhere else to turn for help with eating disorders, obesity and addictions. Tricia is the author of many articles on emotional eating, eating disorders, healthy weight loss and addictions. She is also the contributing author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health and the popular Thank God I book series in which she writes a chapter called, “Thank God I Was Fat.” To learn more and to register for your free “HYH JumpStart Kit,” visit healyourhunger.com.