Chemicals to avoid in your skincare products and cosmetics

Skincare and cosmetics are a part of a daily routine for most people. It’s often one of the things we do before leaving the house and going to bed, so it’s important that the products we use in our everyday lives are not harmful to your overall health. However, you’ll be surprised at some of the chemicals that are listed in the ingredient list. 

When looking for the best shampoo or other skincare products, you don’t need to know the purpose of every single ingredient in order to determine whether it’s safe to use. In this article, we’ll list out the main ingredients to watch out for when purchasing skincare and cosmetics. 

Harmful Ingredients

Parabens

Parabens is used as a preservative in most soap, shampoo, and makeup. For most water-based products, parabens helps prevent it from growing bacteria. However, this ingredient can be harmful to your health and should be avoided. It is known to be an endocrine disruptor, which mimics estrogen in the body and disrupts the hormonal balance. It’s also known to be a potential cause of breast tumors.

Artificial/Synthetic Fragrances

Any type of artificial fragrance in products should always be a red flag. Artificial/Synthetic fragrances are found in almost everything from skincare to makeup, air fresheners, and other scented items. There are thousands of ingredients used to make fragrance mixtures and the federal law doesn’t make it a requirement to list any of them in the product. Therefore, there could potentially be many harmful ones among the thousands. In order to avoid artificial and synthetic fragrances, we recommend buying scented products that contain essential oils. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate(SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate(SLES) are used to make products foam up and are often found in toothpaste, shampoo, and soap. These ingredients can be harmful as they are the cause of many skin irritations and may potentially trigger allergies. 

To avoid SLS and SLES, look for a natural shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste and check the ingredients list. 

Triclosan

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent used in many soaps, shampoo, shaving cream, and more. It was banned in 2016 but is still allowed as a part of personal cosmetics. Although it’s used as an antibacterial agent, it actually contributes to antibacterial resistant bacteria growth. It also causes gut inflammation, promotes tumor growth, disrupts thyroid functions, and disrupts the hormones. 

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

Polyethylene Glycol(PEG) is found in many body wash, lotion, sunscreen, and makeup. It’s used to thicken products, mix ingredients, and alter the moisture factor of your skin. However, PEG can often be contaminated with carcinogenic ingredients and is harmful to the respiratory system. 

It also comes in the form of tiny plastic beads found in face scrub and exfoliating washes. PEG can also be a skin irritant and is potentially more harmful to wounds or broken skin. The microplastic beads can also be harmful to the environment as they are too small to be filtered out while traveling through the sewage system and flushed out to the ocean. Therefore, there’s a high chance that they can be consumed by fish and sea mammals.

Phthalate

Phthalate is used in plastics and helps strengthen the strength and flexibility. It’s often used in nail polish, hair spray, cosmetics, and fragrances. It’s known to cause headaches, respiratory problems, birth defects, and is an endocrine disruptor. Sometimes, it’s not listed under ingredients and can be part of artificial or synthetic fragrances.

Diethanolamine (DEA)

Diethanolamine(DEA) is used as a bubbling agent and is used in many shampoos, facial cleansers, makeup, fragrance, and body wash. Due to its harmful nature, it’s been banned from personal care products in Europe, but not yet in the United States. It’s a colorless, viscous liquid that’s known to be carcinogenic and contains respiratory toxins. 

Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is found in sunscreen, SPF lotions, and makeup. In sunscreen, it’s one of the most toxic ingredients. It’s known to be an endocrine disruptor and alter thyroid functions. It’s also been linked to skin allergies. Oxybenzone should be avoided as much as possible along with the other “O” ingredients, including octocrylene and octinoxate. In order to avoid oxybenzone, look for sunscreens with zinc or titanium oxide.