Hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, peels, exfoliants, mud, clay, retinol, vitamins A-Z, ceramides, essential oils; sometimes it seems like there are too many skincare ingredients to fit in one product, much less on the human face. Add that to the new layering trend, and, it may even seem like companies are creating more room on the human face for even more products. If you’re confused about which ingredients to look for when you’re looking to buy your next skin care product, maybe you should focus on what not to use. The FDA has only so much say in what goes into and what stays out of your cosmetic products, so for optimal health, you may need to be the one who makes the decisions. Here are some ingredients to avoid in your products to help you narrow it down.
Aluminum is a chemical salt you don’t want to find in your skin care products. It is used for its disinfectant and absorbent properties and is most often found in deodorants and antiperspirants. Recent studies of breast cancer patients detected higher amounts of aluminum is the outer areas of the breast, where deodorant is normally applied. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that the accumulation of aluminum in bodily tissues can lead to bone disease, tissue damage, impaired kidney function, and has also been found in the brains of those suffering Alzheimer’s disease. Opt for aluminum free natural deodorants and antiperspirants.
Hydroquinone is a compound commonly used for lightening of freckles, melanoma, age spots and discolorations which has been found to increase exposure to UV rays and cause mutations in laboratory studies. The chemical has been shown to cause contact dermatitis, and degeneration of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Doctors warn pregnant women to avoid its use during pregnancy and nursing, and the Environmental Working Group has assigned a hazardous warning to the compound. Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid may be a better choice for skin brightening.
Fragrance can be intoxicating, in more ways than one. Apparently, fragrance can contain up to 200 undeclared ingredients, some of which may be hormone altering preservatives called phthalates, and you may have no way of knowing. Since companies don’t have to give a chemical breakdown of fragrances, it is difficult to tell the exact components of the scent. Problems such as coughing, vomiting, hyper pigmentation, allergies, skin rashes, and dizziness have all been known to occur from the use of synthetic fragrances. A word to the wise: avoid the word “fragrance” on the ingredient label unless it is derived from essential oils.
Parabens can include propyl, butyl, methyl, and ethyl parabens. This group of preservatives extend shelf life of cosmetics, and are estimated to be contained in over 90% of all beauty products. A 2006 study of the urine sample of healthy adults showed evidence of parabens in over 90 percent of the participants.
You probably don’t want to find any chemicals used to make plastics in your cosmetic supplies. Phthalates are chemicals derived from oil, often found in product like perfume, hair spray, and nail polish and are often used to help the product cling to the skin, nails, and hair. The fear is that these products may be absorbed through the skin, fingernails, and lungs. Animal studies have shown an association between phthalates and kidney, liver, lung, and reproduction system damage. Human studies have shown abnormal development in male infants whose mothers show high levels of phthalates in their bodies. You may especially want to look out for dibutyl phthalate (DBP) di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and butylbenzylphthalate (BBP) on ingredient lists.
What ingredients are you looking to avoid on your beauty products? Let us know! It may be helpful!