What we put on our skin is just as important as what we are consuming, as our skin has the ability to absorb particles that it comes into contact with. Research indicates that many harsh chemicals we are exposed to in our environment, cosmetics and skincare can have potential side effects, an array of allergic reactions, are potentially carcinogenic and are a burden on our organs of elimination. It is best to use a natural skincare regimen in order to minimally disrupt the skin’s normal pH balance and oil production, this can be achieved while avoiding detrimental chemicals which is a lot easier these days due to public awareness and many products available on the market. Although there are thousands of chemicals that can be discussed, it is important to be aware of the most common and the ones best to avoid.
Commonly found in most skincare especially shampoos and foaming cleansers as well as toothpastes. The most prevalent is Sodium Laureth (or Lauryl) Sulfate which has been linked to irritation of the skin and eyes and found in the bloodstream due to scalp exposure. It has also been linked to ulceration of the mouth. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate can cause irritation to skin, eyes and respiratory system.
This includes methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, etc. It is used as a preservative in cosmetics and skincare, especially shampoos, deodorants, shaving gels, spray tanning solutions, makeup and toothpaste. Can cause contact allergic skin reactions and have been found to interact with estrogen receptors and potentially contribute to estrogenic cancers such as breast and endometrial. Parabens used topically may also contribute to DNA damage caused by UV rays and age the skin.
Used in many household items however also used in personal care products, nail polish, hairsprays and shampoos. The most commonly used are dibutylphthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalata (DMP) and diethylphthalate (DEP). There is potential for phthalates to affect reproductive organs and fertility, traces are found in the urine when exposed to this chemical. Although most evidence is inconclusive, it is best to avoid as it a synthetic chemical that hasn’t been proven to be 100% safe.
Some of these ingredients used also contain DEA: Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA , stearamide MEA , triethanolamine and DEA-cetyl phosphate. This ingredient is used as an emulsifier and foaming agent in cosmetics and has been linked to carcinogenic activity in animals therefore is regarded as potentially cancer causing.
A naturally occurring mineral, it is often used in makeup as an anti-caking agent however may potentially contain asbestos which is a known carcinogen.
With every skincare product and cosmetic you purchase, do your research on the company and become familiar with ingredients. There are some that are synthetically made and some derived from plants, however any chemical has the potential to cause a negative reaction in sensitive individuals. Look for organic ingredients and the less listed, the better. There is always a safer and more natural alternative to skincare that you can be certain won’t be unsafe to your body if ingested or absorbed.