Nasty skincare ingredients you may be using - part one!
If you haven't read our post from last week on how to avoid chemicals in your skincare, make sure you do!
This week we break down some of the ingredients you should be avoiding, let you know where they may be hiding and make some recommendations of products I use myself.
This is used to absorb moisture or give a shimmery look. Be sure to look out for it in baby powder, eye shadow, blush & ‘mineral’ makeup. Talc is a mineral, produced by the mining of talc rocks and then processed by crushing, drying and milling. Processing eliminates a number of trace minerals from the talc, but does not separate minute fibers, which are very similar to asbestos and are easily inhaled. Talc particles have been may cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs. It is a cheap filler often used in cheap mineral makeups and can actually clog your pores. For babies you can use a mixture of arrowroot and cornstarch in the place of baby powder and aim for high quality natural vegan makeup like Ere Perez mineral makeup.
Even “unscented” products often contain artificial fragrance. Look out for the terms “fragrance” or “parfum”. Manufacturers can legally hide hundreds of synthetic chemicals in those words without saying what those ingredients are (usually petrochemical based) or leave them off the label completely if they are in concentrations of 2% or less and this is referred to as a ‘trade secret’.
To me this is one of the scariest things about skincare and cosmetics- that you can read a product and decide not to buy on it because of what is listed on the label but what about what isn’t listed on the label that you have no idea about!? I really recommend reading up on the brands and companies you are purchasing from and make sure you trust them. If you have any questions- email them! If they are completely transparent they should be happy to help! Don’t let beauty companies tell you there is no such thing as a natural product!
In addition to irritating the skin, inhaling these chemical fragrances allows them to be absorbed internally which can lead to further health issues like asthma or damage the immune and nervous systems, disrupt hormones and act as potential carcinogens or neurotoxins. Seriously! Natural essential oils are amazing- aim for those instead! We are working on some natural vegan perfumes, stay tuned or suggest a scent leave a comment below.
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 using these ingredients over time they can accumulate both in your body (and vital organs) and in our water ways.
They have the potential to be carcinogenic and cause liver and kidney cancers. They can affect male reproductive health and alter sperm structure and also cause possible neurotoxic effects such as tremors. Some studies suggest that memory function and brain development in offspring could be permanently affected by mothers’ exposure to DEA as it builds up inside your body too.
Your skin / body / house care product labels shouldn’t and don’t need to look like a chemistry experiment! Read the labels, look out for numbers, look out for abbreviations and choose products with minimal ingredients on the labels. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage included but remember even if an ingredient is listed last, or in the smallest quantity think about your exposure to that ingredient every day, or twice a day, 365 days a year. It can be a lot!
Typically deodorants from the supermarkets are intended to do 2 things- a) act as an antiperspirant and stop sweat and b) act as a deodorant and make you smell good. The main thing that stops the sweat is aluminium and there are many concerns associated with this ingredient. Aluminum has been associated with a variety of health issues, including: breast cancer, alzheimer’s disease, bone disorders and kidney problems.
The verdict is still out as to whether aluminum can actually be linked to these health issues and some studies have suggested otherwise but my personal opinion is why take the risk! I wish there could have been a comparison study from before we used to use aluminum based deodorants and the rates of breast cancer now. At the moment the chances for any woman to have breast cancer in her life is 1 in 8. That is HUGE! I personally don’t want to take the risk and have dealt with a lump in my breast once before. It was the scariest thing going to the doctor and thankfully, at that time it was a harmless lump which still comes and goes- and still worries me occasionally. But it was definitely a wake up call for me.
It has been said that aluminum clogs the lymph nodes, which are meant to expel toxins, and therefore they are accumulating- right next to our breasts! Personally I have chosen to use natural products- free from other nasty ingredients and the best deodorant I have found is from LAVANILLA LAB. I have tried them all! I still want to smell nice, I don’t mind sweating as I think this is part of our natural process, I don’t want white marks on my clothes. This is seriously the only one I have found that ticks all the boxes! If you are in Sydney you can find it at Cocos Wealth Of Health in Maroubra or grab it here online, where it's currently on sale! Thank me later :)
This is used in antibacterial and antifungal products, so be sure check for it in toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer & household cleaning products. It is a synthetic “antibacterial” ingredient and is classified as a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. It’s manufacturing process may produce dioxin, a powerful hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects measured in the parts per trillion; that is only one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools!
Hormone disruptors pose enormous long-term chronic health risks by interfering with the way hormones perform, such as changing genetic material, decreasing fertility and sexual function, and fostering birth defects. It can temporarily deactivate sensory nerve endings, so contact with it often causes little or no pain. Internally, it can lead to cold sweats, circulatory collapse, and convulsions. Stored in body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs and can cause paralysis, suppression of immune function, brain hemorrhages, and heart problems.
It has been said that triclosan is capable of forcing the emergence of “super bugs” that it cannot kill as they develop immunity to this ingredient. Its widespread use in popular products may have nightmare implications for our future. As an alternative use essential oils to clean! If you want to grab our DIY surface cleaner recipe sign up to our newsletter.
Pthalates DBP DEP
Phthalates are used in cosmetics (even in lubricants! EWWW!) Because they cling to the skin and nails to give perfumes, hair gels and nail polish more staying power. They can be easily absorbed through the skin or inhaled (and your vagina, penis skin is as absorbent as your mouth! It is so sensitive!) High phthalate levels can cause sluggish sperm, low androgen and testosterone levels in adult males. Phthalates are endocrine (hormone) disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormone systems in mammals. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, reduced sperm count and other developmental disorders. Our favorite natural, vegan and cruelty free lube 😅 is from Sliquid which is available from The Cruelty Free Shop.
BHA & BHT
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic preservatives commonly used in lipsticks, moisturizers and other cosmetics. BHA and BHT can cause allergic reactions in the skin and some research has identified BHA as a possible carcinogen. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has also listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance, based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function (WHAT THE HECK THIS IS SCARY STUFF!?) High doses of BHT may mimic estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, which can prevent expression of male sex hormones. What this means is that it can have adverse reproductive affects. BHA is a chemical of potential concern that is toxic to aquatic animals and can accumulate in waterways and in aquatic animals.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
PEG is a potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners. PEG can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions and perhaps scariest of all is that it enhances penetration of the skin- so when used in conjunction with other potentially toxic ingredients it can actually enhance your absorption.
If you don't like the sounds of these ingredients, be sure to check out our all natural products! You can read the full list of ingredients right here on the website.
Next week we'll be back with a few more ingredients to look out for! See you then!
xx Nicola Marie