Harmful Chemicals to Look Out for in Skin Care Products

We know the power of food as medicine and believe that what you consume has a huge effect on your health, hence, the famous quote “You are what you eat”. Skincare and makeup products like face washes and lipsticks are widely used by many people to maintain a healthy, younger-looking beautiful skin.

Harmful Chemicals to Look Out for in Skin Care Products, Harmful Chemical in skincare, skincare, harmful chemical, beauty
Harmful Chemicals to Look Out for in Skin Care Products
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Skin is our body’s largest and most sensitive organ, it can easily absorb anything we apply on it including all the beauty and skincare products we’re putting on every single day. Skin looks clear, healthier and feels good, if right care is taken.

Most women use around twelve personal care products in a single day, many of which  contain various harmful chemicals.

Why should you watch out for chemicals in products?

What we put on our skin should be as clean as what we eat, but most people don't care enough about it enough. A research showed that skin absorbs up to 60% of the chemicals in products and comes in contact with the bloodstream.

The products we put on our skin can actually be more damaging than what we ingest, as anything you apply on your skin absorbs into your bloodstream faster than anything that you eat.

Even though a small amount of the product is used, chemicals commonly found can have tremendous health and hormonal impact, and we are a long way from understanding their consequences.

Choosing safer skincare and cosmetic products is something we can control, which means removing harmful ingredients can have a big impact and cause more harm than doing any good at all.

Big brands hide some nasty chemicals in their products behind attractive advertising campaigns and clever marketing techniques. Lots of people buy products based on this, without even knowing the actual contents that are potentially harmful toxins.

Harmful Toxins to avoid in cosmetics

You must be aware of which chemicals to watch out for then, read beauty labels before you buy products. Here’s some commonly used substances that are toxic in the long run and you may want to avoid.

1. Parabens

Parabens are preservatives used in different skincare products to increase shelf life and keep the product fresh. They resist the growth of bacteria, fungi, yeast and other microorganisms in skin care products, particularly in hot and humid conditions. Studies say that parabens can lead to cancer but it’s not yet proved. Leading brands are facing immense pressure from consumers to eliminate or reduce the use of parabens.

Parabens appear in different products in various forms like butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben. Phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate or benzoic acid can be used otherwise.

2. Sodium Sulphates

Sulphates are used as skin-conditioning agents, solvents, synthetic detergents and emulsifiers. Sulphates traps dirt and makes it easier to rinse off the dirt. This way the product can be applied easily and smoothly on your skin.              

Sulphates can cause dry and flaking skin, allergies and redness. It is a harsh detergent that removes the natural oils from your skin when used, for people with sensitive skin, the effects of SLS can be very damaging. So look out for SLS, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium lauryl sulfate, Sodium dodecyl sulfate in your products before purchasing or using them. 

3. Lead

Lead is a heavy metal and a toxin to the nervous system. It can cause serious behavioral and learning problems, like lowered IQ but many skincare and cosmetic products still contain lead.

Lipsticks, lip gloss and lip balms mostly contain lead and plenty of it gets absorbed and ingested. Lead is extracted from paint and gas to make our lipsticks more colorful and that's something you definitely don’t want to use on your lips!

4. Alcohol

Alcohols are specially found in nail polish removers and even skin toners. It feels refreshing on your skin and dries quickly, but alcohol dries out your skin and can cause irritation. It’s especially bad for those with sensitive skin, as it can make your skin sting and leave you with dry skin.

Using alcohol based products frequently could result in your skin losing its natural ability to fight germs and bacteria. Look out for ingredients like alcohol, isopropyl, methanol and ethanol.

5. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone acts as a skin lightening agent that is also an aromatic compound in skincare products. It helps in treatment of different forms of hyperpigmentation by bleaching the skin. Loss of melanin could result in temporary whitening of the skin because of the lack of pigment cells.

It helps reduce acne scars, age spots, freckles, melisma, and post-inflammatory marks. Over time, due to prolonged use of hydroquinone it destroys the skin through its forced and harsh alteration. Look out for Hydroquinone or tocopheryl acetate in your products.

6. Fragrance

The word fragrance is used as a trade secret which means that companies don’t have to disclose what ingredients are inside the product, on the label. These ingredients can be potential toxins and we aren’t even aware of it.

Very often these ingredients can cause allergies and further even cause health problems. The lack of information could become quite dangerous because fragrance could contain other hidden sources of chemicals.

7. Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that help beauty products, such as perfumes and makeup, stick to skin. It’s also called plasticizer, many skincare products and cosmetics contain phthalates to keep them soft as it makes cosmetics flexible and less prone to breaking.

Phthalates may disrupt hormones, especially in men and children, it can cause adverse effects on the reproductive system and also lead to kidney damage. It’s not mandatory for production companies to list phthalates on the labels. Look out for phthalates in color cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body washes, hair care products, and nail polishes.

8. Coal Tar

Coal tar is a thick, light black, viscous liquid with a characteristic smell in its natural form. Coal tar is mostly found in lipsticks to give it vibrant colour and we are aware of the never-ending demand for a new colour range of lipsticks.

It's  a heavy substance that weighs down the skin, causes skin irritation, resulting in acne and allergic breakouts. Studies have shown that coal tar is a carcinogen that can cause neurological damage, skin tumours and cancer. 

9. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a preservative used to prevent the growth of bacteria. It’s a colorless gas that's also a carcinogen when fumes are inhaled. When inhaled, formaldehyde can cause dizziness and suffocation.

This is an irritant and allergen, linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Formaldehyde is also associated with developmental toxins, hair loss, scalp burns, and asthma.

To steer clear of formaldehyde, check out your nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue, hair gel, hair-smoothing products, baby shampoo, body soap, body wash, lotions, shampoos, and color cosmetics.

10. Petrolatum

Lip balms and moisturizers contain petrolatum, because of its softening effect. Petrolatum is a rich emollient and FDA-approved commonly used skin protectant. Petrolatum present in skincare products is not quite recommended for usage.

Petrolatum lacks moisturizing properties; it just creates a barrier to prevent water from escaping, retains the moisture, it also prevents absorption of moisture from the air. But the skin dries out eventually and we are tempted to reapply the product.

It’s a potentially harmful skincare product. There is risk of contamination when using this ingredient. Petrolatum based products are fast-acting and give quick but temporary results. This ingredient keeps the skin  soft and hydrated.

11. Triclosan

Triclosan is effective against microbes because of its strong anti-bacterial properties, also used as a preservative to prolong shelf life. It can also avoid the growth of bacteria. Triclosan is linked to several allergies and can also cause skin and eye irritation. It is closely associated with hormone disruption in the human body. These issues can have adverse effects on the body, especially in the long run.

Triclosan is an environmental hazard, it accumulates in the environment due to its slow breakdown rate. It is a toxic substance to marine life and can have adverse effects on the ecosystem.

12. Toluene

Toluene is a petrochemical byproduct present as an ingredient in most dyes and nail enamels. Toluene is known to affect the human central nervous system and can also lead to fatigue, headache, nausea, and drowsiness.    

They can tamper with your immune system and also may carry the risk of birth defects. You should also note that it is carcinogenic in nature and can cause blood cancer.

13. Talc

Talc is a naturally affecting softest mineral. Talc is used to absorb moisture and is majorly found in baby powders, eye shadows, blush, deodorants, and some soaps. It’s also used as setting powders while doing a full face of makeup. Talc is directly associated with causing ovarian cancer. When inhaled, talc can cause lung tumors. 

Because there is little to no regulation of harmful ingredients in personal care products, it is up to us to choose safer products that can cause no harm in the long run. Examine the labels before making any purchases, so you can make informed choices about what you put on your skin.

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