Chemicals to Avoid in Skincare

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Unlike the food we chew and swallow, which is broken down in the GI tract before it is absorbed, creams and lotions applied to the skin bypass the digestive process and go directly into the blood stream. The average woman uses a dozen personal care products containing 168 chemical ingredients every day. Men use 6 products a day containing 85 chemicals. Only 11% of the 10,500 chemicals in your cosmetics have been screened for safety. Think of beauty or personal care products not as cosmetics, but as food.

If you can’t eat it, don’t use it on your skin!

Below are the top toxic chemicals to avoid in your products and why…

MINERAL OIL / PETROLATUM
• A petroleum derivative that coats the skin like plastic wrap and stands in the way of the skin’s natural function of releasing toxins.
• Slows the skin’s cell development, causing premature aging.
• Baby oil is 100% mineral oil.

PEG (POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL)
• Used to dissolve oil and grease and to thicken products. 
• Strips the skin of its natural moisture factor, leaving the skin and the immune system vulnerable.
 • Potentially cancer causing.
• Used in spray-on oven cleaners and also in many hair care and skin care products.

PROPYLENE GLYCOL / BUTYLENE GLYCOL
• Active ingredient in antifreeze that’s used as a wetting agent. It breaks down protein and cellular structure.
• Found in body care products, including toothpaste, makeup, and deodorants (stick deodorants are higher in concentration of PG than is allowed for most industrial use!). 
• The EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing, and goggles when working with it.
• Direct contact can cause brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
• Also beware of Butylene Glycol, a petroleum plastic like PG.

SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE
• Used as detergents and surfactants in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners, and engine degreasers.  Most widely used in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioner, shampoo, and other foaming products. 
• Exposure causes eye damage, depression, diarrhea, and many other ailments. 
• This is perhaps the MOST DANGEROUS of all ingredients, and when used in combination with other chemicals, can form nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogen.

TALC
• Widely used in makeup, baby and adult powders, and foundation.
• Strongly linked to ovarian cancer.

ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL
• Petroleum derived and is used in antifreeze and shellac.
• Side effects: headache, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, and coma. 
• Found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotion, and aftershave lotions.
• Penetrates the skin easily and is thought to destroy intestinal flora, leaving your body’s major organs open to parasites, and thus to cancers.

FRAGRANCE / PERFUME
• The term “fragrance” indicates the presence of up to 4,000 different ingredients. The majority of these are synthetic and are either cancer-causing or otherwise toxic.
• Exposure to fragrances has been shown to affect the central nervous system.
• Found in most deodorants (and the underarm is too close to the breast area), shampoos, sunscreens, skincare, and body care products. 
• Essential oils are the healthy alternative.

DEA (DIETHANOLAMINE), MEA (MONOETHANOLAMINE), AND TEA (TRIETHANOLAMINE)
• Hormone-disrupting chemicals and form cancer-causing agents. 
• Commonly found in bubble baths, shampoos, soaps, and facial cleansers.
• Easily absorbed by the skin and research indicates a strong link to liver and kidney cancer. 
• There is also evidence that carcinogens form when Cocamide DEA (a cleanser, thickener and foam booster) is applied to the skin.

PARABENS (METHYL, PROPYL, BUTYL, ISOBUTYL, and ETHYL)
• Used as inhibitor of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic. 
• Has been assessed as hormonally active by the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (appears to mimic estrogen in our bodies and has been found in breast tissue).
• EWG found parabens to be a possible endocrine disruptor, which could lead to impaired fertility or fetal development.
• Direct contact can cause brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
• Found to be a skin sensitizer and skin or sense organ toxicant.

PHTHALATES
• Linked to medical conditions: Polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility and breast cancer, abdominal obesity in women, insulin resistance in men, shown to damage developing testes in males, low sperm count, sexual dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, and testicular cancer, linked to early puberty in girls.
• These reproductive toxins are all around us: shower curtains, rubber ducks, PVC furniture and clothes, sex toys, fragrances, MP3 players, hair sprays, nail polishes, and perfumes.

FORMALDEHYDE
• Acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure to formaldehyde in humans can result in respiratory symptoms, and eye, nose, and throat irritation.
• Limited human studies have reported an association between formaldehyde exposure and lung and nasopharyngeal cancer. Animal inhalation studies have reported an increased incidence of nasal squamous cell cancer.
• EPA considers formaldehyde a probable human carcinogen.

BHT BUTILATED HYDROXYTOLUENE) / BHA (BUTILATED HYDROXYANISOLE)
• Found in cosmetics and personal care products.
• Used as an anti-oxidant. 
• Banned in EU (immune system toxicant, endocrine disruptor, and probable human carcinogen).
• Animal studies show brain, liver, neurotoxin, reproductive, and respiratory toxicant.

The choices we make about our skin care products are as important as the food we eat! Avoid toxic chemicals and follow the healthy tips below instead…

Wholistic’s Healthy Tips:

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• Healthy diet, exercise, and the right supplements can help keep skin looking healthy and young.
• Drink a lot of fluids daily: Water: ½ body weight in oz. and organic green tea
• Ingest Omega-3 and Omega-9 fats
• Take a probiotic daily
• Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners
• Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol intake
• Refer to the dirty dozen list: www.ewg.org
• Think Happy
• See your Integrative Practitioner
• Always read labels. If it says, “Do not swallow” or “For external use only” do not buy.
• You can look up any ingredient online using The Skin Deep Database. Read online reviews.
• Cosmetics may claim to be “natural” or “organic” but still include synthetic fragrances, paraben and formaldehyde preservatives, phthalates, and other toxic ingredients.
• Remember salespeople are trained to sell.
• Try our Wholistic Skin Care line that’s 100% Natural & made with organic ingredients!

Click below to view our natural skincare line!

Elena Bensonoff