Would you slather gasoline or diesel on your face? How about liquid plastic, formaldehyde, or lead? Of course not! Unfortunately, you may be shocked to find what is in your skin care products.
I encourage you to take a closer look at what you put on your skin to reduce or eliminate the toxins you expose yourself. Many skin care products contain petroleum by-products, phthalates (a plasticizing agent), formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, and other toxins. You won’t always be able to identify these ingredients listed in your skin care products because they can be hidden. So, I’m sharing what to look for to help you decipher your skin care products’ labels and avoid some of the most toxic ingredients.
Why avoid them? These are known to disrupt hormones and some are even linked to cancer. Most skin care companies regularly use ingredients linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive harm in the cosmetics and personal care products we use every day. Although manufacturers and the FDA claim these ingredients are safe in small amounts, we should not be convinced by their claims. The concern is that our environment exposes us to so many toxins, why would we want to add more fuel to the fire (literally!)? Your skin care products don’t just sit on your skin; they can penetrate it and end up in your bloodstream. Some ingredients even wind up in the air around you, meaning you inhale them.
The Top 5 Ingredients In Skin Care Products To Avoid At All Cost
Keep this in mind: The FDA has banned 11 ingredients while the E.U. has banned over 1,300. The FDA says safety for personal care products is the responsibility of the manufacturer. That’s not reassuring since manufacturers can add any raw material that they like, and there’s no way to know if they are safe before they reach the shelves. Ultimately, it’s really up to you, the consumer, to be proactive in protecting yourself from harmful skin care products.
Here are 5 ingredients to look for in your skin care products:
#1 Ingredient To Avoid: Fragrance
Fragrances are ubiquitous in skin care because we like to smell good, and manufacturers know that! The problem is that most skin care products contain synthetic fragrance, which is where many harmful ingredients can be hidden. Fragrances include several endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are among the top allergens globally. Research has associated EDC’s to certain conditions such as thyroid problems, infertility, early menopause, early puberty, obesity, diabetes, and certain types of cancer (including prostate, testicular, and breast cancer).
One of the chemicals of particular concern is diethyl phthalate (DEP), a known EDC used to make smells last longer.
In a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), they found metabolites of diethyl phthalate and other phthalates in over 75 percent of the samples. This shows widespread exposure and absorption of phthalates in the United States. We need more research on phthalates and human health, but there are already exists some shocking studies. For example, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found a correlation in the study’s group of U.S. men between high phthalate metabolite levels and abdominal obesity and insulin resistance.
#2 Ingredient To Avoid – Formaldehyde Releasers
Check the label for quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, Bronopol, or imidazolidinyl urea. These ingredients are called formaldehyde releasers because they release formaldehyde into the surrounding air and liquids. In other words, when you rub products containing these chemicals on your skin, they can evaporate and go into the air you breathe or perhaps through your skin.
Formaldehyde is known to cause DNA damage and cancer. It is most dangerous when inhaled, and in liquid form can be absorbed through the skin. In addition to being carcinogenic, formaldehyde and its releasers can cause “allergic” reactions, including skin irritations and asthma.
The FDA provided data that close to one-fifth of all cosmetics in the USA contain a formaldehyde releaser.
While some say the small amount in personal care products is “safe,” I feel this ignores the cumulative effect of prolonged, repeated exposure to trace amounts of a known carcinogen. We’re exposed to formaldehyde thru pressed-wood furniture (most furniture in people’s homes), building materials, permanent-press fabrics, paper product coatings, glues and adhesives, cigarette smoke, and vehicle exhaust. Carcinogens already surround us. Why expose yourself to more toxins when we don’t have to? In skin care products, formaldehyde releasers act as preservatives, but the good news is there are natural and safe alternatives!
#3 Ingredient To Avoid – Mineral Oil (untreated and mildly treated)
Mineral oil is derived from crude oil and is in a variety of skin care and cosmetics. In addition to being a non-renewable source and not environmentally friendly, there are concerns about its safety. Untreated and mildly treated mineral oils are a known human carcinogen. They contain harmful impurities such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic.
While most mineral oils in personal care products are refined and considered “safe,” they’re still derived from crude oil and may contain trace chemicals, so it is dangerous to be slathering these oils onto our bodies. They accumulate in our bodies in our fat, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and lungs. There is growing evidence that skin care products are the source of mineral oil contaminants found accumulated in our bodies. Until it is 100 percent certain mineral oil is pure, I would steer clear of mineral oils. There are much healthier, eco-friendly, effective alternative natural oils.
#4 Ingredient To Avoid – Parabens
Parabens are known xenoestrogens, which means they have estrogenic activity in the body. Parabens are found in breast tumors, yet many skin care companies deny this means anything to your health.
However, the findings of a study conducted by Environmental Health Perspectives concluded, “Parabens might be active at exposure levels not previously considered toxicologically relevant from studies testing their effects in isolation.”
It is already well known that parabens can be absorbed into the body. For example, the Environmental Working Group studied teenage girls, and all of the participants tested positive for two parabens: methylparaben and propylparaben.
It’s time for skin care companies to stop denying the concerns about parabens. Since the FDA does not operate in the public’s best interest when it pertains to skin care products, the responsibility falls to the consumer to read labels and demand change from the manufacturer. To avoid paraben’s, avoid products that list these chemicals: propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben, or butylparaben. Great news, you can shop with confidence when you use any of The Spa Dr.® skin care products are paraben-free!
#5 Ingredient To Avoid – DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamide) and TEA (triethanolamine)
Studies have linked high doses of these chemicals to cancers, such as liver cancer, skin cancers, and thyroid cancer, which is why Canada and the European Union classify DEA as harmful and toxic. DEA, MEA, and TEA make skin care products creamy (moisturizers and sunscreens), foamy (cleansers and soaps) and increase the formula’s pH. The problem is that DEA, MEA, AND TEA react with other chemicals in cosmetics to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Even low-level exposure to nitrosamines causes insulin resistance, leading to diabetes. They also damage DNA and have been linked to Parkinson’s disease. These are entirely avoidable because there are safe, natural alternatives!
Slow Steady Regulatory Progress
Unfortunately, this is just a start! There are many more ingredients in skin care products that are toxic and harmful to your health, and I share a more comprehensive list in the “clean slate” section of my book Clean Skin From Within.
The European Union has taken one of the leads in guarding the public against chemicals. In the U.S., federal laws are inadequate to protect consumers, and several U.S. manufacturers oppose tighter regulations, but many states are taking a proactive approach to protect people. In California, the “Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act,” if passed, will explicitly prohibit 12 of the most harmful chemicals in cosmetics. So, results are slowly taking place with increased awareness and pressure from advocacy groups.
Like myself, you may be fed-up with harmful skin care products available on the market. There is no need to expose ourselves to toxic chemicals when there are many natural, safe, and effective preservatives, thickeners, and fragrances. The Spa Dr.® products use only pure, high-quality, natural, safe, and effective ingredients in all of our products.
The Spa Dr.® Commitment To Safe Cosmetics
The Spa Dr.®’s Daily Essential skin care system and the Pearl and Rose Petal Facial Exfoliant skin care products have been reviewed by the EWG and are EWG VERIFIED™. This indicates the product meets the strictest standards for transparency and health set by the Environmental Working Group.
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