Moving to the natural side is becoming increasingly 'popular' and companies are funneling money into marketing efforts to seem health conscious and environmentally friendly, rather than actually making efforts in the products you use. This is called greenwashing. Although tag lines like organic or all natural are plastered on commercials and bottles, the product you grab on your next store run may not be.
It is important to read labels, and educate yourself on what ingredients are inside of the products you use on a daily basis. Here's a quick list of 7 ingredients (in no particular order) to steer clear of and what their impact on your body might be.
Over 3000 chemicals are lumped into the category of fragrance, and unfortunately fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients (in the US). E.U. restricts the use of many fragrance ingredients (including two synthetic musks) and required warning labels on products if they contain any of 26 allergens commonly used as cosmetic fragrance.
MINERAL OIL (PETROLEUM BY-PRODUCTS)
Other names for this ingredient include: petroleum jelly, petrolatum, liquid paraffin.
Mineral oils and petroleum by-products coat the skin like plastic. This inhibits the skins ability to eliminate toxins, which increases the likelihood for acne and other disorders. The full refining history must be disclosed and show that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen in order for this ingredient to be used in E.U. In the U.S. the regulations are not in place.
Why Avoid: This ingredient does not leave the body. It cannot be metabolized which leads to a build up of this carcinogen; it disrupts hormones and mimics estrogen, increasing chances for cancer.
PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
PEG is typically used to aid the skin's moisture barrier in various personal care products. However, the creation of this synthetic ingredient is the root of the concern. As it is being created it could be exposed to ethylene oxide or 1,4-dioxane.
Why Avoid: Ethylene Oxide is classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is highly toxic to the non-reproductive organ system toxicity, and causes skin, eye and lung irritation. 1,4-dioxane is considered likely to be a carcinogen by the EPA. It can cause vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, skin and lungs in humans.
Other names for this ingredient include: Phenoxyethanol, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Euxyl K 400 (mixture of Phenoxyethanol and 1, 2-dibromo-2, 4-dicyanobutane), and PhE.
It is used as a preservative in cosmetics in the US, but banned in E.U.
Why Avoid: Cause skin irritation (rashes/hives), and have adverse effects on the peripheral and central nervous systems.
SODIUM LAUREL SULFATE (SLS)
Used as a foaming agent in personal care products, and very common in the U.S. for anything that suds up or lathers.
This ingredient is banned in E.U. because of its potential exposure to
Why Avoid: Irritant for skin, eyes, mouth, lungs, as well as the other dangers we discussed above for PEG.
Believe it or not it is probably the first ingredient that will appear in your makeup. Although there was a huge case against this use of this ingredient in baby powder, somehow we missed it in makeup?
Why Avoid: Chest pain, wheezing, difficulty breathing, cancer
A synthetic antibacterial agent that is found in personal care products. More commonly known for being in hand sanitizers; however, bacteria grows resistant to triclosan so it loses effectiveness.
This ingredient is banned in the E.U. and Canada.
Why Avoid: Endocrine disrupter that can lead to a variety of health problems involving our hormones, including obesity and fertility issues.