All those big word ingredients on your skincare, makeup and haircare products can be overwhelming. Do you know what all of those ingredients mean?
Clean beauty has recently come into the spotlight as concern is raised over some popular skincare and makeup ingredients. The cosmetic industry is a 60 billion dollar a year business, as the average woman uses 12 products a day with over 168 ingredients in them (EWG). There are practically no regulations in the United States regarding ingredients, as the last law for cosmetics was passed in 1938 and only approximately 30 ingredients are prohibited. When we compare to the EU, they have over 1328 ingredients banned from use.
There are safety standards on almost every product in the United States, so why not cosmetic and skincare ingredients?
Here’s the rundown on six toxic ingredients still found in US cosmetic products today:
Ingredients derived from petroleum are known as petrochemicals. Petroleum is a fossil fuel, proving we are using fossil fuel derived ingredients and using them on our bodies in the United States. Petroleum products have been known to generate a chemical known as 1,4-dioxane, an ingredient that may contribute to cancer. Additionally, petroleum contaminates groundwater and is toxic to your brain, kidneys and respiratory system. Ingredients that are derived from petrochemicals include:
- Paraffin Wax (Common in the nail salon and spa treatments)
- Mineral Oil
- Parfum or fragrance (many fragrances are derived mainly from petroleum)
- Butanol and words containing ‘butyl’ as well as ‘propyl’
Long term use of petrochemicals is “questionable” and to be safe, petrochemical derived products should be avoided whenever possible.
Propylparaben (Propyl Paraben)
Paraben builds up in the human body has been associated with reduced fertility. Parabens are known to mimic hormones, disrupting your body’s natural hormone balance. The EWG rates propylparaben at a 7, which is a high warning. The EWG also sites strong evidence that this ingredient is a human immune toxicant or allergen and is harmful to the environment as well. The Breast Cancer Action organization suggests that humans should avoid all parabens and use strictly paraben free cosmetics to reduce risk of breast cancer. Propylparaben is found in makeup, skincare and haircare products.
Check out the EWG’s full report of Propylparaben here:
Oxybenzone is an ingredient used in sunscreen and is known to significantly absorb into bodies it comes into contact with. According to the EWG and the CDC, oxybenzone can be found in 97% of Americans. The EWG gives this ingredient a rating of an 8, proving that it poses a high health hazard. The EWG also states that there is moderate evidence of this ingredient being an endocrine disruptor and is suspected to accumulate in people. While oxybenzone has been phased out in many products because of its concerns, it’s still widely used in sunscreens available on the market today.
Check out the EWG’s full report on Oxybenzone here:
Triclosan is found in more than skincare and makeup products, it’s most often found in antibacterial hand soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and first aid items. Triclosan has a 7 rating by the EWG, ranking it as potentially hazardous. The EWG cites evidence that proves it’s an endocrine disruptor, can bioaccumulate in wildlife and is expected to be toxic or harmful to non-reproductive organs. There are also major contamination concerns with triclosan, and it could possibly be contaminated with chloroform or dioxins, both of which have the highest toxicity rating of 10 from the EWG.
Check out the EWG’s full report on Triclosan here:
The fragrance is found in almost every skincare and makeup product in the United States market. Fragrance receives a score of 8 from the EWG, citing it as a high overall hazard to human health. The fragrance is a word beauty companies hide behind, and the ingredient of “fragrance” can actually include 3,163 different ingredients. According to the EWG’s analysis of this long list of ingredients, 1 in 20 earned high hazard scores and 1 in 6 earned moderate hazard scores. Many ingredients included in “fragrance” are known human immune system toxicants or allergens, are human respiratory irritants and are toxic to wildlife. When you come across a product containing fragrance, contact the company to find out what exactly is used in their product(s). Avoid all products containing fragrance if you want to be as safe as possible.
Check out the EWG’s full report on Fragrance here: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702512/FRAGRANCE/
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