The first step in transitioning your skin care and cosmetics products to non-toxic is educating yourself on ingredients. What should I look for? What should I avoid? When you start your research, it can definitely be intimidating since the list of toxic ingredients found in U.S. cosmetics is lengthy. I want to share with you my top five toxic ingredients to avoid, their health effects and what to look out for when skimming through labels and the list of ingredients.
Why Should We Lookout For These Toxic Ingredients In The Product Labels?
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. So, why is this in cosmetic products? Good question, especially since these chemicals are banned from cosmetics in the EU, but still remain prevalent in U.S. products. *sigh.* Phthalates are disruptive to the endocrine system, toxic for the development of the reproductive system, and are linked to certain cancers. They are commonly found in products ranging from fragranced lotions to nail polishes, so make sure to check every label for phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and fragrance to be safe!
Parabens are most commonly used as a preservative in cosmetic products to avoid the growth of microbes. It is one of the most common ingredients found in cosmetics today. Yikes. Why should you avoid it? Because these toxic chemicals are harmful to your endocrine system, especially for pregnant women and young children. Look for products labeled “paraben-free” and READ INGREDIENTS!! Thankfully many natural and organic cosmetics manufacturers have found alternatives to parabens, but you can never be too safe. Bottom line, avoid products that have ingredients ending in -paraben.
Sodium Laureth Sulfates and Sodium Lauryl Sulfates
Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS) are both extremely irritating to the skin and toxic endocrine system. Check your cleansing products, specifically your shampoos, face washes, and soaps for these ingredients!
Often found in lotions and moisturizing skin care products, Petrolatum, also known as Petroleum Jelly, is used as a moisturizing agent. If it is properly refined, Petroleum Jelly is known to have no health concerns. However, it’s usually not refined in the U.S., which means it’s likely contaminated with toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Come on U.S., do better!!! The most common health concern is cancer, specifically breast cancer. Avoid products with petrolatum, unless the company CLEARLY indicates petrolatum is refined as white petrolatum.
Butylated Hydroxytoluene and Butylated Hydroxyanisole
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) are used as preservatives in both personal care products (lip balms, makeup, sunscreen, deodorant, etc.) and food. They prevent oxidation and free radical formation. However, they can greatly affect your organ and endocrine system. Avoid products that contain BHA or BHT.
The list unfortunately goes on. Check out this list of more toxic ingredients to avoid and make sure to always check your ingredients list! Don’t be deceived by the hundreds and thousands of dollars companies spend on marketing their toxic products. Put your outer and inner health first and support the non-toxic businesses that are trying to make a change, like Sacred Child Beauty, who has self-banned over 27, 000 ingredients that have been questioned as unsafe or unethical for humans and/or the environment.