You know that what you put onto your skin is just as important as what you put into your body. When grocery shopping and deciding on food you probably stop to read labels and find out what is really in the food you are eating (and if you don’t do this…start now!). You may not know, though, that you should be doing the same thing with all of your skin care products. Think all beauty and skin care products are created equal? Think again! If you see any of the following ingredients on a beauty label, put the product down and look for something else that will help, rather than harm, your skin.
If you are familiar with formaldehyde you may be shocked to learn that it can be an ingredient in your beauty products. Yes, this is the formaldehyde used in preserving dead bodies. Formaldehyde can be found in nail polish and nail polish treatments, shampoo and conditioner, body washes and cleansers and eyeshadow. Formaldehyde is a recognized human carcinogen (cancer causing agent) by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. In other words, if you see formaldehyde in an ingredient list, drop the product immediately.
Parabens, along with sodium lauryl sufates, have gotten tons of attention in the past few years where beauty products are concerned. Parabens are used in the vast majority of makeup products, cleansers, shampoos, body washes and deodorants. They sound like a great thing – they are used as preservatives to avoid bacteria growth in products. However, they are a highly suspected source of increased breast cancer risk.
This does not sound like something you want on your face or body and it certainly isn’t. While this ingredient may not be quite as hazardous to your health as formaldehyde, propylene glycol is definitely something to avoid. Often found in moisturizers, conditioners and shampoos, propylene glycol is a known skin irritant and is far from soothing, which is the intended use.
This skin care and beauty product ingredient is a tricky one to identify and pin down because it is hard to define a fragrance. The term was originally used to protect the secret formulations of beauty companies, but this works against consumers who want to be informed of what they put on their skin. Some fragrances are irritants to the skin and are unfortunately found in many skin and beauty products from shampoos to foundations.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This is an ingredient that has gotten a lot of buzz in the beauty community. This surfectant is located in somewhere near 90% of all foaming products, such as cleaners, shampoos, body washes and soaps. Sodium lauryl (and laureth) sulfates are known to be irritants to the skin, lungs and eyes. Additionally, there is concern that sodium lauryl sulfates can combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.
Toxic beauty ingredients can be seemingly hard to avoid because they are so prevalent. However, beauty companies are now catering to consumers desires for safety and effective products. Be sure to read the labels on all products you use and look for natural options when you can to decrease the risk of irritation and illness.