Written by Iris West
Let’s face it; today’s cosmetic industry is rife with fly-by-nights that care more about the bottom line than your well-being. They churn out myriad products to be marketed as a magical pill to all your beauty concerns. But, here’s the thing that most users don’t know: most of these products are ladened with appalling ingredients.
If you are a health freak like me, you are careful about what goes into your body – from food to medicine and everything in between. If you thought FDA packed enough punch to keep up with all the ingredients in cosmetic products – and, indeed, food – then you are in for a big surprise. While FDA does its best to keep a tab on everyone, the cosmetic industry itself is still highly unregulated, giving most companies carte blanche to do their worse.
That being said, you should be on the lookout for these chemicals that could bring devastating effects on your body. Again, there is minimal, or no scrutiny by the relevant authorities before these cosmetic products hit the market, finding their way into your home. Read on to keep these toxic ingredients at bay.
Infused into thousands of cosmetic products, phthalates is used to enhance softness and flexibility of plastics. Dibutyl phthalate, for one, is commonly found in nail polish. Dimethyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate are typically used in hair spray and perfumes/lotions respectively. Although harmless in small traces, phthalate is a hormone disruptor in certain doses. Long-term exposure is devastating, if not downright disparaging.
It’s carcinogenic, with links to elevated risk of breast cancer and skin melanoma. It has been attributed to reproductive birth defects (in both females and males) and early breast development (in girls). With such side effects, you would think no product currently in the market has phthalate. But, many shoddy companies conceals its presence under the “secret formula” label. With that, phthalate can be found in colognes, lotions, deodorants, and much more.
Wondered why your lotions, deodorants, and other cosmetic products don’t grow mold, bacteria or yeast? Most cosmetic manufacturers add Parabens as preservatives. Great, right? Hold your horse; they do more harm than good. Parabens have been discovered to ape one of the most important biochemicals: estrogen, a hormone plays a vital role in human’s reproductive health.
With estrogen-mimicking tendencies, Parabens is poised to elevate the risk of breast cancer. Don’t believe us? Independent studies have shown that biopsy samples indicated presence of parabens in breast tumors. Parabens is generally found in most shampoos, makeups, facial cleansers, body washers, and so many other synthetic personal care products.
An antimicrobial broadly used in many cosmetic products, triclosan has always attracted controversy. That in itself isn’t surprising at all. It’s a well-known skin irritant and an endocrine disruptor, affecting primarily reproductive and thyroid hormones. As if that isn’t grave enough, triclosan can cause microbes to become resistant to common antibiotics. Triclosan is found in antiseptic soaps, deodorants, and toothpaste.
SLS and SLES
SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) are more common than you think; they are found in nearly all cleaning and personal care products. As major surfactants, SLS and SLES are unexpectedly irritating if they come in contact with your lung, skin, and eyes. What is of more concern, however, is their tendency to react with other chemicals to form a carcinogenic compounds: nitrosamines. Such a combination can cause a plethora of complications, including respiratory and kidney damage.
Propylene glycol is a widely used household skin-conditioning agent. It’s used in many products, ranging from conditioners and shampoo to makeup, sunscreen, and hair sprays. But, did you know that propylene glycol is a vigorous penetrator and skin irritant? Well, some people are sensitive to propylene glycol with concentrations as low as 2%. Even worse, it has been linked to hives as well as dermatitis.
A petroleum-based product, toluene wears many labels – benzene, methylbenzene, and toluol to name a few. What makes it such a cosmetic industry’s favorite is its solvency. That aside, toluene has been known to cause nausea, irritate skin, and affect lungs. And that isn’t all – it has also been known to increase toxicity in your immune system. Ditch synthetic nail treatment, nail polish, and hair dyes to avoid toluene.
When it comes to fragrance in the cosmetic industry, everything and anything goes. Think about this: what actually constitute a fragrance? It would seem like most companies make a concoction of hazardous chemicals and call it a “fragrance.” Accordingly, studies have shown that many synthetic fragrances are to blame for dermatitis, allergies, respiratory complications, and a raft of other reproductive system distresses. As you might expect, such fragrances can be found in moisturizers, shampoo, cologne, and other personal care products.
Benefits of Natural Health and Beauty Products?
Here’s the thing: not all cosmetic products are created equal. While some companies claim that their products are natural, you’d find that they aren’t upon closer look. So, as an example, let’s consider the benefits of a product that caught my eye: Lash Flirtation by Quane Cosmetics, a natural eyelash and brow enhancer.
- Kind to Mother Earth
Lash Flirtation is made from an infusion of 100% organic oils – castor, argan, and other natural ingredients. These ingredients are farmed ethically, with little or no impact on air, water, and land. Unlike synthetic eyelash enhancers, nothing harmful goes down your drain when you wash them off.
- Say Goodbye to Strange Side Effects
Let’s be honest; synthetic brow enhancers can irritate your skin, making you edgy. With natural, organic oils, that is a thing of the past.
- No Internal Issues
Such organic oils aren’t harmful penetrators. They will not interfere with your respiratory, endocrine or reproductive system.
Natural Beauty Products – Your Best Shot at Personal Care
Adverse side effects from synthetic ingredients made you cringe, right? Well, you should; your health and well-being should always be your priority. But, we have some good news: beauty products with organic oils and a series of other natural ingredients offer a huge sigh of relief. Their allure lies in the fact that they are not only efficient but also extremely safe, giving you that buoyant look without compromising your health.
What are your tips for enhancing beauty naturally? Post your answers below.