Are you aware of what’s going inside the products that you put on your face? Are these chemical ingredients safe for your skin and body.

1. Sulfates

Sulfates are salts that are formed when sulphuric acid (H2SO4) reacts with another chemical. Sulphates are highly powerful chemical detergents, The same detergents used to degrease car engines! They act as surfactants and are used for lathering purposes.Sulfates can irritate your eyes and skin. They can prematurely clear off dye from your hair.There is also an ongoing debate about their use due to potential threats to the environment. Found in Shampoos, Bodywash, Hand wash, Toothpastes, even lotions and Mascaras! SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) are the common sulfates that you spot on the labels of your shampoos and other personal care.

2. Parabens

Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives for skincare and Haircare products, to prolong their shelf lives. They do this by hindering the growth of mold and microorganisms like bacteria in the products. Research shows that they cause increased production of the hormone estrogen (female sex hormone) and interfere with reproductive and brain function.Some studies explain that parabens enter your skin and mimic estrogen that triggers excessive cell division in the breast. This eventually leads to breast cancer.Chemicals under methyl, butyl, propyl classes fall under parabens.

3. Phthalates

Phthalates are salts or plasticizing chemicals used for the spreadability of a product. They are used in nail polishes, perfumes and lotions to name a few. Also used as softeners in shampoos. They are known to be endocrine disruptors that is linked to breast cancer and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Phthalates is also known to have some possible effects on hormones. Unfortunately, this is included in many “fragrances” so it is hard to detect in products. 

4. Synthetic colors

Synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar. Coal tar is made of hydrocarbons, carbon and water. It is a thick, dark and viscous liquid with a characteristic smell. Have you been looking for deeply pigmented lipsticks? Now is the time to think about what goes into these pigments. The heavier the pigment, the higher the chances of increased coal tar percentages. Coal tar is also present in many of the commercially available eyeshadows. Synthetic colors can cause skin irritations, cancers, acne breakouts. FD&C or D&C represent artificial colors. F means food and D&C means drugs and cosmetics.

5. Silicones

Silicones are a group of semi-liquid substances derived from silica, Silica is the main component of sand, but that doesn’t mean that silicones fall under the “natural” umbrella. Silica has to go through a significant chemical process to become silicone.Silicones are best known for their occlusive properties, which is a fancy way of saying that they form a barrier-like coating on the skin that’s resistant to both water and air. They are mostly used in skin care products to give gleam and texture to it.

Does your after applying certain products your Skin instantly had a soft, slippery feel? Well, in many cases that soft feeling is not from improving your skin but actually from the silicone in the products. Many cosmetic companies use silicone mainly because it gives customers a false feeling of skin improvement and smoothness. It gives instant gratification, but unfortunately, it does not have long-term benefits. Silicones can cause breakout, irritation, acne, clog skin pores, block other ingredients from getting absorbed, accelerate aging.

As a basic rule – any ingredient listed on a product that ends in ‘cone or ‘one’ is a non water soluble silicone which can damage your hair.
● Dimethicone
● Cyclomethicone
● Amodimethicone
● Pheryl Trimethicone
● Ceteraryl Methicone
● Dimethiconol
● Stearyl Dimethicone
● Amodimethicone

However these days many Cosmetic brands may label their products SILICONE-FREE and still include PEG abbreviation for POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL

6. Triclosan

Triclosan is a common chemical found in tubes of toothpaste, antibacterial soaps and deodorants. It is effective against microbes, but it is also an endocrine disruptor and a skin irritant. Some studies reported that triclosan can lead to gut inflammation and tumor growth in mammals.Triclosan breaks down slowly and hence, is considered a potential threat to the environment. Like sulfates, triclosan too is dangerous for aquatic life.

7. Toluene

Toluene is a petrochemical solvent found in most hair dyes and nail polish. They can be dangerous for your immune system and may carry the risk of birth defects and blood cancer. Refrain from using hair dyes and nail polish if you are an expectant mother as it can cause damage to the developing fetus.Toluene can affect the human central nervous system and can lead to fatigue, headache, nausea and drowsiness. Toluene is often labelled as benzene, phenylmethane, toluol and methylbenzene.

8. Talc

Remember how soft talcum powder feels? This is because talc is the softest mineral occurring naturally. Talc is used to absorb moisture and is majorly found in baby powders, eye shadows, blush, deodorants and some soaps.Talc can be contaminated with asbestos fibers, posing risks for respiratory toxicity and cancer. Studies by the National Toxicology Panel demonstrated that cosmetic-grade talc free of asbestos is a form of magnesium silicate that also can be toxic and carcinogenic.

9. Lead

Lead is found in lipsticks, eye-liners, foundation and whitening toothpastes. Lead is not directly added to lipsticks but is a major contaminant in colorants used in lipsticks.Lead is a heavy metal that is naturally found in the earth’s crust. We are already exposed to enough lead in our air, food and water. The U.S. FDA (food and drugs association) regulates cosmetics and has allowed lead in 0 to 20 parts-per-million (ppm).

10. Chemicals In Sunscreens

Chemicals like PABA, benzophenone, oxybenzone, ethoxycinnmate and homosalate are used in sunscreens. They are believed to absorb light, but they cause more damage to the body instead of protecting. These sunscreen chemicals are endocrine disruptors.

11. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

PEG is used as a thickening agent in skincare products like lotions, sunscreen and shampoos. It can cause cancer and respiratory disorders. It can also strip off the natural oils (sebum) from your skin and trigger the sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) to make more sebum that can make the skin greasy.PEGs can be spotted as numbers like 100, 120, 14M, 30, 32, 40, 75 and so on.

12. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is often used as a preservative in skincare. It is a colorless gas and is used to prevent the growth of bacteria. Formaldehyde can be found in nail polishes, hair straightening treatments, hair gels, nail hardeners, shampoos, deodorants, lotions and makeup. It is associated with developmental toxins, hair loss, scalp burns, asthma and neurotoxicity. When inhaled, formaldehyde can cause dizziness and suffocation.Formalin, formaldehyde, glyoxal and bronopol on the labels of skincare products indicate formaldehyde.

13. Diethanolamine (DEA) 

We love the foaming cleansers, body washes and shampoos. Don’t we? But are you aware of the ingredient that helps in foaming. It is diethanolamine. It is a foaming agent that is commonly found in body washes, shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. It is a cancer-causing agent and a respiratory toxin.Diethanolamine is abbreviated as DEA on skincare and haircare products.

14. Alcohol

Alcohol is a common solvent in skincare products. It is helpful in absorbing the products better and hence, a great fit for certain creams and lotions. But alcohol is a toxic skincare ingredient. Alcohol (drying alcohol) in skincare can leave the skin dry and flaky. It disrupts the skin renewal process. However, not all alcohols are bad for your skin. Fatty alcohols are derived from natural fats and oils and are great moisturizing agents. Ethanol, methanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol are all drying alcohols.

15. Petrolatum

Petrolatum has a softening effect and is recommended for dry skin. Lip balms and moisturizers contain petrolatum. While it creates a barrier to prevent water from escaping, it also prevents absorption of moisture from the air. Your skin drys out eventually and this is the reason why you are tempted to reapply your lip balm. Also, if not refined well, harmful chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be retained in it.Mineral oil, benzene, paraffin wax and compounds that end in -eth are also petrolatum ingredients.How Do I Know If A Product Contains Harmful Chemicals?Read the labels on your skincare products before you buy them.Look for beauty brands that are transparent and disclose all their ingredients.Consider natural brands that are not just safe, but also contain potent ingredients.Don’t be quick in judging a natural brand as some of the natural, plant-derived ingredients can also turn out to be an irritant for you.Most of the natural ingredients from plant sources come under the category of non-toxic skincare and cosmetic ingredients.The makeup and skincare industry will not make it a priority to make us aware of what goes into their products. But we should. Do your own research, switch to safer ingredients for a healthy skin and body.

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