I have always been a beauty product fiend. I find it really fun to try out all different skin, hair, and makeup products to see how they make me feel, and I’m constantly on a search for that one miracle product that will change my life (ha). As I’ve gotten slightly wiser over the past few years, though, I’ve learned that there are so many products out there that do way more harm than good. I don’t just mean a lotion that dries out your skin or a mascara that clumps like crazy. I mean products that are actually believed to cause long-term issues within your body.
Yes, you may just be applying a product topically, but your skin can only protect you from so much. Any product that is applied atop your skin can seep through your pores and enter your bloodstream, interacting with what’s inside your body. This is why it’s important to keep it as natural as possible when it comes to beauty products. An excellent word of advice is to try to avoid putting something on your skin that you wouldn’t also be okay with eating.
There are tons and tons of beauty products that you can make at home using natural ingredients – have a look at some of our homemade beauty products – but sometimes you may not have the time or resources to make something on your own. Luckily, a need for staying natural is being recognized in the market, and more and more beauty brands are starting to offer natural, organic products. It’s important to note, though, that not all products labeled “natural” are telling the full truth. Read the list of ingredients, and make sure you know what each one is before deciding if you’re comfortable putting a product on your body.
It might sound like a lot of work to study every list of ingredients before buying a product, but try to keep in mind that what you’re doing is so much bigger than that. You’re protecting one of your most important assets: your body. I also think it’s a fun little game to compare ingredient lists and choose the one that’s the purest – it makes me feel so good to know I’m walking away with something that’s healthy for me.
To make this task a little easier, I wanted to share with you some ingredients that are believed to possibly harm the body. As with many scientific studies, it’s hard to definitively label an ingredient “good” or “bad”, but these are ingredients that have popped up often during my research on the topic. For more information, here are some sites I’ve found to be helpful: TLC, Organic Beauty Talk, Mind Body Green, MightyNest.
If you have any to add to this list, please leave a comment to let us know!
Sulfates – These are used in many foaming products and can damage the eyes and severely irritate skin, so look out for these in shampoo and shower gel.
Parabens – Look for methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben – commonly found in many lotions, hair conditioners, deodorants, and makeup products. Parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors.
BHA & BHT – These are used as a preservative and commonly found in moisturizers and makeup. BHA and BHT can induce allergic reactions in the skin and some research has identified BHA as a possible human carcinogen.
Petrochemicals – Look out for certain alcohols, or terms ending in “anol”, like isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol, methyl alcohol or methanol, butyl alcohol or butanol, ethyl alcohol or ethanol. These chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and be toxic to the kidney, brain and respiratory system.
DEA, MEA, & TEA – These ingredients are used to make products creamy or sudsy. Look out for them in lotions, sunscreens, and cleansers like hand soap or shampoo. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects and studies have shown that repeated skin applications can lead to an increased risk of liver and kidney cancer.
Propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol – Look out for “ethylene glycol”, which can be found in certain lotions, and propylene glycol, which is often an ingredient in mascara. These chemicals can easily penetrate the skin, weakening protein and cellular structure.
Triclosan – This is used in antibacterial and antifungal products, so be sure check for it in toothpaste and deodorant. Triclosan is classified as a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans.
Synthetic dyes – Look out for any term that begins with “F&DC”, usually followed by a color and a number. Certain colors can be absorbed into the skin and cause depletion of oxygen in the body, and animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.
Talc – This is used to absorb moisture or give a shimmery look. Be sure to look out for it in baby powder, eye shadow, and blush. Using talcum powder can increase your risk of ovarian cancer.
Artificial fragrance – Even “unscented” products often contain artificial fragrance. Look out for the terms “fragrance” or “parfum”. In addition to irritating the skin, inhaling these chemicals allows them to be absorbed internally which can lead to further health issues like asthma or damage the immune and nervous systems.
Let us know if you have any to add to the list!
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