Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Toxins in Skin Care
Check your bathroom cupboard now!
Check out your current personal care products. If they contain any of the following, you may like to reconsider your usage.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
This harsh detergent and emulsifier, often derived from petroleum, strips the skin of its natural oils, increasing skin permeability and thereby facilitating entry of other toxic ingredients into the dermis and bloodstream. A known skin irritant, SLS also has the potential to cause eye problems, cataracts, blindness, major organ damage, immune system damage, skin and hair problems, respiratory illness, headaches and vomiting. SLS is found in dried food and almost anything that requires lathering including toothpaste, shampoo, body wash and some moisturizers.
This preservative causes skin reactions and has been linked to cancer, eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, skin rashes, contact dermatitis, asthma, shortness of breath, nose bleeds, nausea, vomiting, chest pains and dizziness. Formaldehyde is used in nail polish, nail hardeners, mascara, soap, shampoo, anti-aging cream, bubble bath and deodorant.
The following chemicals are derived from Formaldehyde and are also best avoided.
• Imidazolidinyl urea (can cause contact dermatitis)
• Diazolidinyl urea (can cause contact dermatitis)
• DMDM hydantoin
• Quaternium 15
Derived from petroleum, this anti-foaming agent causes hair damage, skin irritation and is neurotoxic to the liver, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and the kidney. It is also teratogenic (causing foetal /birth defects). Used in hair colours, moisturisers, aftershave lotion, nail enamel, antifreeze, carpet cleaner and more.
Derived from petroleum or tar, this is a non-renewable resource that has a negative environmental impact. While the skin initially feels smoother it is merely the layer that paraffin forms the smooth layer. Skin is dried out by any petroleum based product. This perpetuates the cycle of continued product use to prevent the dryness, which the product is actually contributing to. Used in cold cream, wax strips, moisturisers, body oils and more.
Petrolatum (Petroleum jelly)
An incredibly cheap mineral oil derivative that actually leads to skin dryness, funnily enough this is used in moisturisers and lip balms that claim to relieve dry skin and lips! Talk about self perpetuating products!
This preservative causes allergic reactions and skin irritations.
This humectant is usually a petrochemical mix and has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. It provides texture and stability and is also found in brake fluid and anti-freeze. Try to avoid the chemicals below which are related to propylene glycol.
• PEG (polyethylene glycol) (A by-product of PEG-stearate-20 was used during WW1 as a toxic gas)
• PPG (polypropylene glycol)
Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Parabens
Used as preservatives to extend shelf life, Parabens can trigger skin irritation and allergic reactions. They can disrupt the endocrine system through oestrogen mimicking properties. Some studies have linked paraben exposure to breast cancer.
This vague term can be referring to any of up to 200 synthetic fragrances, none of which are required to be labeled separately. Often petroleum based, fragrances can cause dizziness, skin irritation and hyper pigmentation (which is why some people have brown marks where they put perfume)
“Fragrance –free” products may still contain smell masking chemicals.
DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine)
These chemicals are ‘amines’ (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come into contact with nitrates. Used as emulsifiers and foaming agents, they cause eye, hair and skin irritation and are toxic if continually absorbed over a long period of time. DEA is known to cause liver and kidney tumours in mice. DEA is still used in many products in Australia, despite international warnings. These chemicals cause allergic reactions, irritate eyes and dry the hair and skin. Put simply any product with MEA or DEA listed individually or in combination (e.g. cocamide DEA) should be avoided.
FDC RED 4, FDC RED 1 or FOOD RED 1, should all be avoided. They are banned in food but can still be used in cosmetics and are known to cause urinary bladder polyps and wasting of the adrenal glands.
(FD & C) and (D & C) colours should be avoided. Derived from petroleum coal tars have been linked to asthma, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness and lack of concentration. Coal Tars are confirmed human carcinogens and skin irritants. They are thought to increase risk of tumour growth. Used in anti-dandruff shampoos and to colour cosmetics.
Emulsifier, skin irritant and mutagen (causing changes in cellular DNA) TEA is also a contact allergen causing eczema. Used in skincare products and to coat conventionally grown fruits and veggies.
Watch out vegetarians!! This is used in lipstick, soap and shaving cream and is made from boiled sheep organs.
In toothpaste this may cause a reduction in dental cavity risk however it has also been
linked with cancer, hypothyroidism, osteoporosis, birth defects, increased risk of various fractures, dental and skeletal fluorosis and impaired brain function.
Fluoride is also found in many products that contain water.
Used as plasticizers in thousands of plastic products to make them more flexible. Examples include toys, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, detergents, vinyl, food packaging and food containers.
• DBP (dibutylphthalate)
• DEP (diethylphthalate)
• DMP (dimehtyphthalate)
They may be found on the ingredient list, but often they are not as there are no statutory requirements. Studies have found that pthalates used by pregnant mothers can increase the risk of low birth weight and undescended testes in baby boys and may also lead to feminising traits in these males later in life and possibly also increase the risk of prostate cancer. Pthalates have also been found in breast milk.
Believe it or not, this is NOT an extensive list of dangerous chemicals in our everyday products. It is however enough to get most people thinking....
Detox your home, body and mind (by Wendy Duyker)
The Guardian supplements
Clean Food Organic
Dangerous Beauty (by Dr Peter Dingle and Toni Brown)
The Chemical Maze (by Bill Statham)
Cosmetics Unmasked (Dr Stephen and Gina Antczak)