Trying to understand your product labels leave you feeling like you’re stuck in a maze? Reading your product labels needn’t be a job for a rocket scientist. At least not any longer.
Never accept the words of any marketer as the law. If you refuse to be fooled by false claims and cover-up words such as “natural”and “eco”. The beauty industry is a poorly regulated industry and these words have many loop-holes. Empower yourself and decide what is best for you and your family.
Firstly you should know that all product ingredients are listed in a certain order. The highest concentration of ingredients are always listed first.
Please take a minute of your shopping time to read the labels of all merchandise you purchase.
The following is a list of common ingredients found in skin care preparations:
Antioxidants – Ingredients that help prevent cell damage, thus keeping skin healthier.
Example: Ascorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Roobios, Green Tea, Grape Seed, Gingko
Binding Agents – Binding Agents keep products from separating.
Emollients – Ingredients that lie on the surface of the skin to prevent water loss. They also fill in the lines of dry, dehydrated skin.
Example: Aloe, Cyclomethicone, Tocopherol, Urea, Shea Butter, Yeast, Retinyl Palmitate, Algae Extract
Humectants – Ingredients that draw moisture to the skin (usually from the air). They help soften skin’s surface and diminish fine lines caused by dryness.
Example: Glycerine, Hyaluronic Acid, Lactic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, Honey
Lubricants – These ingredients coat the skin, and reduce friction to allow the product to glide on smoothly.
Example: Silicone, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone
pH Adjusters – Chemical-like acids that control the pH of formulas. To avoid skin feeling dry, tight and itchy, we want our products to be between 4.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale which matches our skin’s natural pH.
Example: Acetic Acid, Aminomethyl Propanol, Ascorbic Acid, Ethanolamine, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate
Preservatives – Ingredients that are designed to prevent growth of micro-organisms. They kill bacteria and keep products from spoiling, thus extending shelf life.
Example: Any ingredient ending in the word ‘paraben’.
Solvents – The purpose of these substances is to dissolve other ingredients.
Example: Water, oil and alcohol
Surfactants – Ingredients that help products to lather. They help products to glide across the skin, and are often found is cleansers, soaps and shampoos.
Example: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Ethyl Sulfate
The ‘we don’t want it’ list of ingredients:
These are common in hand soaps and deodorants. They wipe out the good bacteria that protect against germs like E. coli, salmonella, and staph. Ironically, children reared in an overly sterile environment experience more allergies, asthma, and eczema because the body’s immune.
Toxic ammonia compound. Ingestion can be fatal. Concentrations as low as 0.1% can be irritating to the eyes and cause necrosis (tissue death) of mucus membranes.
Coal Tar/Dyes/FD&C Colours
This is a huge catch-all category of artificial colourings. Coal tar is a human carcinogen. Yet dyes made from coal-tar can be found in scalp treatments, cosmetics, tooth products, and food. Coal tar is an active ingredient in dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams. Watch for coal-tar based dyes such as FD&C. Synthetic colours made from coal tar, especially Blue 1, Green 3, D&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Yellow 6, all of which have shown to be carcinogenic in studies.
Blue 1 and FD&C Green 3 which sneak into your toothpaste and mouthwash.
DEA, TEA and MEA (diethanolamine, triethanolamine, and monethanolamine)
Common in shampoos, body washes, and soaps. Used to adjust the pH balance, but toxic and causes eye problems, and dryness of skin and hair.
TEA causes various allergic reactions and is toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.
Repeated use of DEA-based detergents has resulted in a major increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer.
One study found that the topical application of DEA in rodents resulted in anemia, kidney degeneration, and nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. (Melnick et al., 1994) Even more disturbing was that several animals died before the study ended. Approximately 200 million pounds of DEA are produced annually in the U.S., most of which goes into personal care products. (USITC, 1990).
These amines have been found to be carcinogenic and are restricted in Europe.
Diazolidinyl Urea or Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
It is chemically related to imidazolidinyl urea and is a formaldehyde releaser used as a preservative. It was International Agency for Research on Cancer to its highest toxic class, IARC 1 (known human carcinogen). Formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which provides sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The label on your skin care product may not list “formaldehyde”. The following ingredients break down and release formaldehyde: diazolidinyl urea (or 3-diol diazolidinyl urea) 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1 (or bronopol) DMDM hydantoin.
It has been banned in Europe, after studies concluded that effects can result in: carcinogen, causes allergic reactions and contact dermatitis; headaches, irritates mucous membranes, damaging to eyes, linked to joint and chest pain, depression, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and immune dysfunction.
A Petro-chemical used as an ANTI-FREEZE in cars. See Diazolidinyl Urea or Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
Explained in Diazolidinyl Urea or Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate above. It causes immune-system toxicity, respiratory irritation, and cancer in animals.
Cosmetic fragrance is made with cheap synthetic chemicals which replicate the natural aroma of products which already exist in nature. Brands can use this as a catchall term to mask harmful toxins such as phthalates, which act as hormone disruptors.
it can be composed of over 200 other ingredients which can cause a variety of symptoms including headaches, rash, dizziness, skin irritation. This ingredient is so unregulated that cosmetics companies don’t even have to list what is in their fragrances. Many fragrance ingredients are chemically-based, neurotoxin, and allergenic.
found skin cream and under-eye creams, this is a neurotoxic and allergen.
Found in many skin lightening products such particularly eye-creams. This product is a neurotoxic and allergen and a potential carcinogenic! At the very least, many people find it highly irritating. It has been banned in Europe, and is currently being reviewed in the US.
Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea
Used as a preservative, but a primary cause of contact dermatitis. You might see these toxic chemicals under the names Germall II and Germall 115, which may degrade to formaldehyde.
Lead and Mercury
Watch for hydrated silica, as lead and mercury can appear as a naturally occurring contaminant of this.
Lead. You may think that this well-known health hazard has been removed from all cosmetics, but certain types of hair dye still contain it. Lead acetate has been rated by Skin Deep as a number 10 toxin.
Mercury. Also called thimerosal, this is the controversial ingredient blamed for children’s autism because of its use in vaccines. While even the vaccine industry has removed most thimerosal from most of its products, some cosmetics still contain it, especially some cake-style mascaras.
Tiny particles used products to ease blending can actually penetrate the skin and head straight for brain cells. Of most concern are nano-particles zinc-oxide and titanium dioxide used in sunscreens.
In the cosmetic industry, nanoparticles of zinc and titanium are becoming more popular. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Animal studies have shown that some nanoparticles can penetrate cells and tissues, move through the body and brain and cause biochemical damage. But whether cosmetics and sunscreens containing nanomaterials pose health risks remains largely unknown, pending completion of long-range studies recently begun by the FDA and other regulating organisations.
PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)
This used to be a common ingredient in many products, including sunscreen, until its possible carcinogenic properties were discovered. Yet you can still find it in some lip balms, shampoos, and body washes! PABA has been linked to cancer, developmental damage, reproductive damage, cell level changes, and neurotoxicity.
Parabens commonly known as Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, Isobutyl, Benzyl and Ethyl Paraben
Parabens are among the most common harmful ingredients and are found in almost every conventional personal care product. Widely known to be highly toxic and cause allergic/skin reactions. Parabens mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. This is a process that has been linked to breast cancer, infertility and endometriosis.Companies use this dangerous ingredient, because it is extremely cheap and extends the shelf life of the product by inhibiting microbial growth.
The chemical form of the parabens found in 18 of 20 tumors tested indicated that they originated from something applied to the skin, the most likely candidates being deodorants, anti-perspirants, creams, or body sprays.
Petroleum/Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/Liquid Paraffin
Manufacturers love these because they are so cheap. These are possibly cancer causing and have been banned or restricted for use in cosmetics in other countries. These products, often used as emollients, or skin moisturizers, actually create drying of the skin and promote sun damage. These are typically used as foaming agents to create lather.
The most used ones are sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol or cocamidopropyl betaine, which many claim to be derived from coconut oil, but it is actually produced with petroleum-based chemicals to manufacture it.
Studies have found that oral and topical application of petrochemicals in rodents resulted in anaemia, kidney degeneration, and nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. Are you shocked that people still use these chemicals on their body?
Some synthetic colours, such as FD & C Blue No. 1, are suspected carcinogens. Behentrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydrosypropyltrimonium Chloride, Linoleamidepropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate are toxic ammonium compounds for which concentrations as low as 0.1%. In the past little, was known about the long-term exposure to petrochemicals. However, today we know that many of the household cleaning products, home furnishings and our food supply is loaded with petrochemicals, and this is linked to the rise in cancer, along with other diseases.
To avoid this, look for terms – petroleum and liquid paraffin.
Read more about petrochemicals at The Ecology Center.
This is an ingredient commonly found in hair-dyes. This can damage the nervous system and can cause lung irritation, allergic reactions, and blindness if it enters the eyes. Also look for 1,4-Benzenediamine, p-Aminoaniline, and 1,4-Diaminobenzene.
PEG (Propylene Glycol)
This Petroleum by-product is a synthetic ingredient used as a humectant. Also used as an INDUSTRIAL ANTI-FREEZE to de-ice airplanes!! This toxic ingredient causes many allergic reactions. Research data states that through skin contact it can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. This one is used in many personal care products and cosmetics as well as in commercial cleansers and oven cleaners.
Phthalates (pronounced tha-lates)
Phthalates (DEP – diethylphthalate, DBP – dibutlyphthalate, DMP – dimethylphthalate, and BBP – butyl benzylphthalate): A plasticizer commonly found in hair care products, perfumes, nail polish, and lotions often listed as fragrance. Dibutylphthalate (DBP, DEP, also butyl ester) helps skin care absorb into skin.
Studies have shown possible adverse effects in human reproduction and development. Phthalates are controversial because high doses of many phthalates have shown hormonal activity in rodent studies. Studies on rodents involving large amounts of phthalates have shown damage to the liver and testes and cause birth defects.
We prefer skin care that may take longer to absorb, rather than a product that absorbs rapidly, while injecting phthalates into our skin cells. Do not use it.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
This highly toxic synthetic substance is commonly used as a detergent agent. This is the second most concentrated ingredient in shampoos. It causes urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections, genital disorders, eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions.
It is used in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car wash detergents, and just about every soap and shampoo on the market. In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, sodium lauryl sulfate also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, Vol. 2, No. 7, l983, SLS is a mutagen. In sufficient amounts, it is capable of changing the information in genetic material found in cells. It has been used in studies to induce mutations in bacteria. It denatures protein, impairs proper structural formation of young eyes, creating permanent damage. SLS can damage the immune system. It can cause separation of skin layers and cause inflammation to the skin. If it interacts with other nitrogen bearing ingredients. Do your own research – there have been many studies done on these chemicals.
It is a chemical frequently used in hair conditioners and creams. It was initially developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener. It is supposed to make hair shinier and cuts tangles, easing combing. The substance generally considered to be toxic and unsafe for use. However, it continues to be used in even “natural” hair care products, as the stearic acid used to make it can come from natural fats or oils. The substance is believed to damage hair in the long term. Companies continue to use them because simply put, they are cheaper than using proteins and herbals.
Labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a colour number such as FD&C Red 6.
FD&C colors are currently approved for food, drug and cosmetics.
D&C colors are approved for drugs and cosmetics only.
These highly toxic substances are usually coal-tar based and have been linked as cancer causing agents.
FD&C has already been banned in the European Union.
This is an ingredient that clogs pores and causes skin irritation. It has been linked to cancer and respiratory problems. (Has been banned in Europe and is closely related to asbestos). Several studies have established preliminary links between talc and pulmonary issues, lung cancer, skin cancer and ovarian cancer. This is a major concern considering talc’s widespread commercial and household use.
In 1993, an US National Toxicology Program report found that cosmetic grade talc caused tumors in animals, even though it contained no asbestos-like fibers. Scientists have been aware of the toxicity of talc since the late 1960s, and in 1971 researchers found particles of talc embedded in 75 percent of the ovarian tumors studied.
Talcum powder for babies and adults can easily be substituted with corn flour and so forth. Be sure to check facial powders and all powder cosmetics for talc.
Titanium, Zirconium, Benzalkonium, Bismuth, Antimony (*1), Barium (*2), Aluminum, Tin, Chromium, Benzene and PCBs.
According to Dr. Hulda Reghi Clark, all of these ingredients are extremely dangerous. *1 – Breast cancer cases show Titanium, Zirconium, Benzalkonium, Bismuth, Antimony, and Aluminum accumulation in the breast. *2 (Barium) is described in the Merck Index as a “caution”. ALL water or acid soluble Barium is POISONOUS! 10ed. P.139, 1983.
This is a carcinogenic contaminant found in nearly half of personal care products (including baby care products). It is commonly found in shampoos and body wash as well as other products containing sodium laureth sulfate. This chemical is readily inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Some effects of over-exposure may include liver and kidney damage and blood disorders.
The next time you go shopping, take this list along and save the health and well-being of yours and your family.
Ruh for earthbornbeauty.net