Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The list of bad ingredients

"Check the ingredients." "Read the label." Do you know what to look for? I knew to avoid parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and fragrance but beyond that I wasn't really sure what was bad and what was good. I came across this great list (thank you Fiddlebumps Apothecary!) and hope it helps you sort out your skin care products. I have been replacing products with non-toxic options and am thrilled with my new routine (read more about the products I've switched to here and here).

Your skin is the largest organ and is very permeable, so whatever you put on it is absorbed right into your body. During a typical personal care regimen, the majority of us expose ourselves to more than 200 different chemicals - YIKES!!! Many of these ingredients are known cancer-causing agents and endocrine disrupters yet the beauty industry continues to use them. Why? Because they're cheaper and the FDA allows it These same ingredients are banned in the European Union, Ugh.

Just because a product says "all-natural" doesn't mean much - still check the ingredients!

  • DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine): These are hormone disrupting chemicals known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. They are almost always in products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleaners. On "CBS This Morning," Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor of environmental health at the University of Illinois and author of "Toxic Beauty" stated "Repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase of the incidence of two cancers - liver and kidney cancers." 
  • FD & C Color Pigments: These pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation and have caused cancer in animal studies. The colors are used in foods, drugs and cosmetics and are made from coal tar.
  • Formaldehyde:  This cancer causing substance is in so many beauty products it's ridiculous. Research has shown that even low levels can irritate the eyes, nose and throat; cause skin problems and severe breathing problems. It sneaks into products under numerous aliases - look for the following: formalin, formic aldehyde, Paraformaldehyde, Benzylhemiformal, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1, 3-dioxane, Diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin, Sodium hydroxymethyl, Glycinate, Methenamine, Oxomethane, Oxymethylene.
  • Fragrances/Phthalates: Fragrance is everywhere - deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, baby products, skin care. "Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors has shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope and other behavioral changes." (From "Home Safe Home" author Debra Lynn Dadd). Fragrance can also be disguised on the label as: DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, DNOP. Even many products that say "fragrance free" will still have fragrance on their label as a way to hide other ingredients.
  • Hydroquinone - related to cancer, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption and developmental and reproductive toxicity. It can be used as an active ingredient in over the counter products like skin lighteners, hair bleaches, concealers, facial cleansers and sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher. Can also look like this on a label: 1,4-Benzenediol, 1,4-Dihydroxybenzene, P-Diozybenzene, 4-Hydroxyphenol, P-Hydroxyphelol, 1,4 Benzenediol.
  • Mineral Oil/Petroleum: This is a new one for me and very disappointing. Mineral oil and petroleum actually coat the skin just like a plastic wrap, disrupting the skin's natural immune barrier and inhibiting its ability to breathe. Your skin is not able to release toxins so they accumulate in the body which can promote acne and other disorders. It also slows down skin function and normal cell development, which results in premature aging. Adios Aquaphor, I used to love you.
  • Mercury: Why, why, why is mercury still used in cosmetics or anything at all for that matter?! Still highly toxic at low levels, Mercury damages brain function and is still highly toxic at the lowest levels of exposure. It is used as a preservative and can be found in makeup removers, eye moisturizers, mascaras, soap-free cleansers, nose, ear and eye drops; eye ointments; topical medications and antiseptic sprays; cleaning fluids for contact lenses. It can be disguised on labels as: Thimerosal, Mercuochrome, Merthiolate, Merzonin, Sodium Ethylmercurithiosalicylate, Mertorgan, Merfamin, Thiomersalan, and Thiomersalate.
  • Parabens: Parabens are used in many skin care products as a preservative. Studies have shown they mimic the hormone estrogen in the body's cells which can cause infertility, disrupt endocrine function and cancer. They are a cheap way for manufacturer's to make products last longer and are found in lotion, shampoo, conditioners, sunscreens and deodorants. Stay away from the following ingredients: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and benzylparaben. 
  • Phenoxyethanol: Is a preservative derived from coal tar that has been shown to slow down the central nervous system and cause skin and eye irritation. It is a popular in anti-bacterial products and bug repellants. Many "greenwashing" products that pretend to be natural use it as a preservative and note that it is derived from grapefruit. It is chemically known as ethylene glycol, phenyl ether, ethylene glycol, mono phenyl ether, phenoxyethanol. 
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): PEGs are petroleum based compounds that are lined to liver abnormalities and kidney damage. They are the second most common ingredient in moisturizers aside from water and are used as thickeners, solvents and moisture carriers. PEGs can be found in sunscreens, moisturizers, baby lotion, antiperspirants, and shaving product. Beware of these aliases on a label: Propylene Glycol, Proptylene Glycol, 1,2-Propanediol.
  • Propylene Glycol (PG): When used as a surfactant, wetting agent or solvent, PG is actually the active component in antifreeze. Industry uses it to break down protein and cellular structure (which is what your skin is made of!) and the same exact ingredient is used in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpastes. It is quickly penetrated into the skin and the EPA requires its workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this toxic substance. Propylene Glycol has systemic consequences (meaning it affects your whole entire body)  such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. Now don't you just want to rub it all over your body?
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Are used as detergents and surfactants and are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners, and engine degreasers. Tough stuff. They are even more widely used as major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioners and about 90% of all shampoos and products that foam.  "In tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced eye damage along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and corrosion." according to Mark Fearer of "Dangerous Beauty." Children's eye health is especially at risk and studies indicate that SLS kept young eyes from developing properly by possibly dissolving the proteins and not allowing for proper structural formation. SLS is one of the most dangerous of all ingredients in personal care products and research shows that "SLS combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens that cause the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate-contaminated food." SLS can look like this on a label: Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, Anhydrous Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Irium, SLS, SLES, MSDS, ALES, ALS.
  • Triethanolamine (TEA): Are chemicals used in cosmetics to adjust PH levels and are often the base for cleansers.  They are associated with allergic reactions and dryness of the skin and hair.
  • Triclosan: The EPA registers this chemical as a pesticide and has assigned it high scores as a risk to both human health and the environment. Linked to liver damage it is found in antibacterial products such as detergents, dish washing fluids, soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, creams, hand sanitizers, and toothpaste.
That's a hefty list. Just so you know what a label should look like, check this out: 
My body butter made by Ana's Corner which has Shea Butter, Kokum Butter, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Calendula Oil, Lavendar Essential Oil, Tocotrienols (Natural Preservative). I could probably eat it if I wanted. I am crazy about this stuff and keep a tub in my purse so I'm never without it. Now compare that to the ingredients found in Lubriderm Intense Skin Repair:
No thank you! I used Lubriderm for over 20 years and replaced it immediately once I educated myself about the dangers of its ingredients. I urge you to take a look at the labels of all the products you use on yourself and your family. EWG's Skin Deep website is an amazing resource that will do the work for you, literally a life saver. Making the necessary changes is easy - please let me know if I can help!!


  1. 3 Researches REVEAL How Coconut Oil Kills Belly Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually get rid of fat by eating coconut fat (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from big medical journals are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world around!