Ciao bellas, Jasmine Simone here! So I just wanted to give you this last bit of foundation before I start getting heavily into my product reviews. I just wanted to lay a little foundation so you can understand my point of view when I determine what products are keepers for me and which ones I don’t think meet my beauty needs and lifestyle. There are many products that seem to work well, that I may choose not to use because of what it’s made up of.
In my earlier post on Mineral Oil, I told you there more ingredients that I try to avoid when at all possible. Keep in mind that because they are so inexpensive, they are very commonplace; I have to work pretty hard to avoid them and often have to spend a little extra money to get the natural version (not all the time though and I will suss out those gems for you, hehe!)
While each Top 10 list may slightly vary from expert to expert, the following ingredients are the ones that I see on virtually every list in my research giving the general consensus that these are especially risky.
1) Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Petroleum – You know this dirty bird. The by-product of crude oil, this product is very damaging to the skin and when absorbed, forms a layer that blocks out oxygen and can’t be broken down by our systems. It has been shown to cause blood and skin cancer in animals.
2) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and 90 percent of personal-care products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, mutagenic effects (tumors) and death. SLS may also damage skin’s immune system by causing layers to separate and age.
Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl, Isobutyl) – This synthetic ingredient is linked to breast and ovarian cancer by interrupting the endocrine system and unbalancing our hormones with synthetic estrogen (called xenoestrgens). It is used in deodorants. Take caution – sometimes they are not labeled as parabens.
Cocoamide Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), & Monoethanolamine (MEA) – Usually used as an emulsifier to create a foaming or sudsing reaction in products. This is easily absorbed throught the skin and can quickly accumulates in body organs, even the brain. Repeated use can result in major increases of liver and kidney cancer.
Dioxin – Often contained in antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and ethoxylated cleansers like Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Dioxin causes cancer, reduced immunity, nervous system disorders, miscarriages and birth deformity. This is one of the scariest ones because it is not listed as an ingredient, it is just one toxic element used to make up some of the synthetic ingredients listed above or a by-product of such.
Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol – This is as an ingredient that has been classified as an severe irritant and is considered so toxic by the EPA that protective clothing is required to handle it and must be buried when disposed of. Yuck! PG is used in industrial anti-freeze and the main ingredient in brake and hydraulic fluid. Avoid anything with PEG or PPG like the plague.
Polyethelyne glycol aka PEG-100 Stearate – Made by ethoxylating Propylene Glycol which in turn releases dangerous levels of Dioxin as a by-product. PEGS are commonly found in personal care, baby care, and sunscreen products. It is an endocrine disruptor and has been linked to cancer in animals. Disturbing!!
Benzoyl Peroxide – BP is addressed by Material Safety and Data Sheet (a database of organic and inorganic chemicals, also known as MSDS) as, and I quote, “May act as a mutagen, produces DNA damage in human and other mammalian cells in some concentrations. …Toxic by inhalation”. Possible tumor promoter. Whoa! This is used frequently in products for acne so my oily and combo skin beauties beware!
DMDM Hydantoin & Urea – used as a preservative, it often releases formaldehyde which may cause skin irritation, joint pain, cancer, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and loss of sleep. Formaldehyde on it’s own has been linked to leukemia, pancreatic, skin, lung, and liver cancer and it’s banned in Canada and Japan.
Phthalates – Commonly found in many products and is usually not listed on labels, this product changes into a xenoestrogen which of course means it is linked to breast and/or ovarian cancers. Other health effects include damage to liver/kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in girls and boys.
Unfortunately readers (I hope my boys out there are reading this too as this can certainly apply to your products), I hate to say the list goes on…and on (I debated making it longer – I have my personal qualms with aluminum, synthetic, fragrance and FD&C color dyes to name a few more.) Currently, these carcinogenic elements and many more are approved by the FDA for use in grooming products. I’ve been doing extensive personal research over the years and have learned to look out for products I can’t pronounce. !
The Material Safety Data sheet can be accessed at where you can look up the details on any organic or inorganic chemical. I like using the Oxford University section because you can search for any chemical by clicking on letter it begins with which made it easiest to navigate in my research. Healthy-Communications.Com armed me with my base of knowledge of the effects of these ingredients. I really enjoy this site, less for the layout and more for the nitty-gritty low-down on each of the chemicals – where it comes from and its effects (make sure to click on the links of the ingredient’s name – takes you to the MSDS fact sheet on that chemical.)
If you want a more commercial avenue to check out, check out The Safe Shoppers Bible written by Samuel Epstein, MD & David Steinman. It is a very informative book that gives detailed info on these ingredients and many more how to best navigate when shopping at your favorite neighborhood stores. And everyday, people are sharing their and discoveries and experiences with synthetic ingredients. Susan Jeske-a former beauty queen worked in the cosmetic industry for 20 years, trying every product imaginable until she became severely ill. When she started using only all natural or organic products at the advice of her holistic doctor, she was on the road to recovery in 2 weeks! She is now on a mission to share what she has learned in her research of these products and many more…if you get a chance, check her out!
No one will look out for ourselves and our loved ones better than we do. Yes, I am guilty at times of using products that may contain one or two synthetic ingredients I’ve seen on the toxic list….it’s pretty hard to avoid altogether. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to denounce my beautiful, high-pigment neon eyeshadows that MAAAAY contain a few of these ingredients (eep!), but I don’t wear them very often (avg. once a week). But I make sure to share what I know with the people that cross my path who are interested so that they have the chance to make to make that choice for themselves. The GREAT news is that it made me begin exploring the all-natural makeup option and let me tell you, there are some pretty impressive brands out there! My organic blushes and lip glosses have become my favorite makeup staples and I do notice the difference in my skin. If avoiding companies that use these poisonous chemicals became a collective movement, the public could create awareness and prevent their future use because it would hit these companies where it matters most – their pocket books. And we all know that gets the fastest results, ha!
My mottos is – avoid the Top 10+ list entirely in products I use daily if at all possible (i.e toothpaste, body wash, lotion) and look for products with ingredients I recognize. I’ve found that some of my favorite and most effective products are organic and contain 10 ingredients or less. Remember – if it’s edible, it’s credible!
Have any of you discovered bad reactions / allergies to certain synthetic ingredients? Any advice of what to use and/or stay away from? Don’t forget every Tuesday Sweetassgal spotlights a safe and green product!