Chemicals in beauty products

cosmetics

 Did  you know that on the average day, the average women wears 515 chemicals? These chemicals are found in her face wash, face lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, deodorant, perfume, mascara, eye shadow, foundation… 

Some of the ingredients in beauty products aren’t that pretty. U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.

In of 2010, the David Suzuki Foundation invited Canadians to pull back the shower curtain and participate in an online survey about toxic ingredients in cosmetics. More than 6,200 individuals participated in (the) survey, providing information for more than 12,500 personal care products. 

Survey results:

  • Almost 80 per cent of products reportedly contained at least one of the Dirty Dozen ingredients;
  • More than half of all products reportedly contained multiple Dirty Dozen ingredients;
  • Participants were unable to locate ingredient lists on more than 1,000 products. 

Here is their list of the dirty dozen:

1. BHA and BHT

Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

make-up2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number

In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively).

Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.

3. DEA-related ingredients

Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA. 

4. Dibutyl phthalate

Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more »

5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives

Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.

6. Parabens

Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions. 

perfume7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)

Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more »

8. PEG compounds

Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).

9. Petrolatum

Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.

10. Siloxanes

Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

11. Sodium laureth sulfate

Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).

12. Triclosan

Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. [2]

Also of concern:

Phthalates:

Plasticizers banned in the EU and California in children’s toys, but present in many fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lotions. Linked to endocrine disruption, liver/kidney/lung damage, cancer.

baby powderTalc: 

Similar to asbestos in composition, it’s found in baby powder, eye shadow, blush, deodorant. Linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems. [3]

These chemicals are just as commonly contained in cosmetic products available in Australia.

Three major problems with most of these chemicals exist …

  1. They tend to accumulate in the body. Some gets excreted, but not all.
  2. We use them frequently, oftentimes every single day. Small, one-time amounts of some of them might be okay. When you continuously slather it all over you, day in and day out, the problem compounds. Short term studies can’t account for that.
  3. They often have external effects, whether it be drug resistance of bacteria, environmental accumulation, or developmental effects in unborn fetuses. [4]

References:                                                                                                                               1. http://bodyunburdened.com/the-chemicals-in-your-cosmetics/  (November 2013)

2. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/dirty-dozen-cosmetic-chemicals/ (October 2010 )

3. http://www.treehugger.com/organic-beauty/20-toxic-ingredients-avoid-when-buying-body-care-products-and-cosmetics.html (February 25, 2014)

4. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/5-chemicals-in-cosmetics-you-should-avoid/#axzz3RWu3QmJ2 (July 16, 2013)

READ THE INGREDIENTS LIST ON THE BACK OF THE BOTTLES.

I USE A RANGE OF PRODUCTS FROM MODERE. THEY DO NOT CONTAIN OVER 3000 COMMONLY USED CHEMICALS!

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