We love to take care of our body and beauty, don’t we? Our beauty cabinets are proof of that. But not everything in our cabinets is as benefitting as it claims to be. Many products, while they do give us a temporary beauty lift, may be causing a long-term impact on our skin and bodily health. This happens when these products use chemicals which damage us and the planet in the long run. And this happens in plenty.
Excessive usage of chemical products on your skin can result in skin damage, premature ageing, in some cases even worse health effects. It’s easy to avoid these chemicals if we know about them. Let’s look at some of these harmful, toxic ingredients to be avoided in skincare and beauty products.
Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare & Beauty Product
On an average day, a person is exposed to dozens, if not hundreds, of harmful chemicals through their beauty products alone. Let’s educate ourselves about some of these chemical ingredients that have to be avoided in the cosmetic products we use.
1. Synthetic Fragrance
Fragrances are used in almost all chemical cosmetic products be it your moisturizing cream, body lotion, foundation, lipstick, face wash, body wash etc. They may not be of any other functional value except for their smell. While there are fantastic natural fragrances available for the seeker, brands often put synthetic fragrances as those come cheap.
These fragrances emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals which are known to cause cancer. Some products are labelled as unscented but they contain fragrances with masking agents. Some fragrances are even responsible for triggering an asthmatic attack, allergic reactions or a migraine in some people.
2. Added Color
Personal care products come in many shades which may be so alluring for us. You find them in many soaps, shampoos, creams, toothpaste, hair gel and many more in the list. But most of these colours or dyes are made of harmful synthetic chemical compounds.
According to experts, it takes approximately 26 synthetic chemicals to artificially create a single dye. For example, if your cosmetic product is having a purple colour, it might be formed of almost 50 or more synthetic chemicals. Many of these colour-producing substances are made of coal tar and contain many metal salts like arsenic and lead which can have a toxic effect on your body. These toxin or chemical substances increase your skin sensitivity and your skin becomes prone to rash and irritation. These artificial colour are also linked with causing cancer in human beings.
3. Coal Tar
Coal Tar is mostly used in hair dyes, dandruff shampoos, anti-itching creams, mouthwash and toothpaste, soaps and lotions.
Coal tar is a known Carcinogen substance which has been banned in Europe. Coal tar is obtained by burning coal. This is a complex mixture of hundreds of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Exposure to Coal tar is known to cause skin cancer and brain damage.
Almost 80-95% of cosmetic products contain Parabens. If your cosmetic product reads any of this chemical substance on the label- Methyl/isobutyl/Propylparaben/ethyl/butyl, hydroxybenzoic acid, hydroxybenzoate or ester, then be sure that it contains parabens.
Parabens are known to be carcinogenic substances and are added to developmental defects, reproductive toxicity and disruption of the endocrine system. Parabens are also believed to mimic estrogen causing hormonal imbalance.
Know More: Parabens-All You Need To Know
Oxybenzone is a chemical substance which is mostly found in sunscreens cream, foundation cream, lip balms etc. This chemical sunscreen absorbs the UV rays and causes potential damage to the skin.
Oxybenzone or benzophenone gets quickly absorbed by the skin. It gets accumulated in fatty tissues of the body and cause damage to the cell. Oxybenzone is also linked to low birth weight, hormone disruption, and allergies.
Mercury is mostly found in skin lightening creams, anti-ageing creams, acne treatment creams and mascara. Instead of mercury, look out for chemical names like mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric or Mercurio mentioned on the label.
Exposure to Mercury can result in serious health hazards. Mercury can accumulate in our body and over a period of time impact brain and nervous system.
Hydroquinone is mostly found in skin lightening creams, sunscreens, and anti-ageing creams.
Ingestion of Hydroquinone even is small quantity is known to cause severe health conditions and may even lead to death in some cases. This chemical is also known to be carcinogenic substance.
Phthalates are multifunctional chemicals which are mostly found in all consumer products. Commonly found in nail polish, colour cosmetic, fragranced lotions, body wash and hair care products.
Phthalates are known to cause hormonal imbalance in human. They disrupt the functioning of the endocrine system. In recent studies, Phthalates have found to alter metabolism rate, resulting in obesity. Increased risk of breast cancer has also been reported. Developmental and reproductive toxicity is also reported in some cases.
Formaldehyde mostly found in nail polish, shampoos, hair dyes, deodorants, liquid body wash, keratin hair treatments and other hair growth products.
Formaldehyde has been banned in some countries as it has been classified as a carcinogenic substance. It is also an irritant and allergen which has a toxic effect on your immune system and liver as well. Formaldehyde is also known to be responsible for causing joint pain, dermatitis and headaches.
10. BHA And BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are synthetic antioxidants which are used as preservatives in almost all beauty products – hair care products, skin care products as well as in personal care products.
BHA is considered as a carcinogen by U.S National Toxicology program. BHA is known to cause stomach and liver damage, also causes damage to thyroid and reproductive organs. BHT though not considered as a carcinogen but is known to cause damage to kidney and liver.
11. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) And/Or Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) are mostly found in soaps, shampoos and cleaners. SLS and SLES are the main ingredient which gives lather and foams these products.
SLS and SLES are known to be skin irritants. They tend to take away natural moisture of your skin causing irritation and skin rashes. In some cases, they are responsible for causing severe skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, itchy scalp. The recommended in cosmetics is not more than 1% in cosmetics.
Lead is the most harmful chemical found in all beauty products ranging from lipsticks, creams, body lotions, blush, mascara , foundation, compact powder.
You are exposed to lead when you apply lipstick and through your mouth it gets into the body and through creams, lotions applied on skin, lead penetrates into the tissues which lead to serious health hazards.
Retinol is the main ingredient found in many anti-aging creams.
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A, though not very harmful but when applied on UV rays exposed skin breaks down into harmful byproduct which is known to cause cellular damage.
1,4-Dioxane is found in all personal care products ranging from hair dyes, shampoos, body lotions, detergents, face wash, face creams etc. 68% of baby bath products contain 1,4-Dioxane while 23% of personal care products contain 1,4-Dioxane.
1,4-Dioxane is most toxic chemical found in many beauty products and a known carcinogen which damages your liver and kidney.
15. Mineral Oil
Mineral Oil is mostly found in face creams, moisturizing body lotions and baby oils. On labels it is mentioned as liquid paraffin, white oil.
Mineral Oil is an ingredient of petroleum. It forms a barrier on the skin surface making it difficult to breathe and absorb natural moisture.
Why To Choose Organic Products For Skincare?
If you are cautious about the safety of your skin, opt for organic products which are pure, natural and 100 % safe on your skin. The term organic means ‘working with nature ‘.Organic Beauty products are the formulation of cosmetic products using organically farmed ingredients rather than using harmful chemicals. Using pure and organic ingredients (like honey which helps to make your skin radiant, aloe vera which keeps it hydrated, cocoa butter which makes it silky soft) are beneficial for your skin. Organic beauty products keep your skin healthy and well nourished without having any side effects. And it helps the planet too as fewer chemicals get poured into our lands and water bodies.
15 Chemicals to Avoid from Hair Care Products
Author Name: Akhila Menon
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