Here’s a short list of the top five nasties that I now avoid when shopping for beauty products. Now if these could only be bolded in red on the labels…
1. Parabens – anything with the word paraben in it, like methylparaben, butylparaben should be avoided due to its estrogen mimicking action and potentially cancer causing nature in long term use. Cover Girl, Lorac, Neutrogena use it in some products.
2. Sulfates – this high foaming carcinogen can also be irritating to the skin. Sulfates are often in your shampoo, body wash, face wash – anything that foams up could have it. Names include: Lauryl sulfate(SLS), Sodium laureth sulfate(SLES). One concern is a by product in making it could be harmful and is undisclosed, Ethylene Oxide.
3. Pthlalates – Endocrine disruptors that can cause hormonal problems (think man boobs and girls w/ early menses). Have been banned in California in babies toys in 2009 due to this chemical turning up in high levels in children. Still found in many beauty products and hidden in the broad term ‘fragrance’. Unless the product states pthlalate-free or that the fragrance is from essential oils, I’m skipping it. Look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) to avoid.
4. Formaldehydes – harder to identify, but there are cancer causing preservatives in a ton of cosmetics that release formaldehydes when applied. Some names you might find are: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15
5. PEG/PG – Propylene / Butylene Glycol This is used as a cream base for lotions, conditioners, deodorants etc… They can contain ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane which are possible carcinogens. Oh, and oil dissolving polyethylene glycol (PEG) is used in oven cleaner, and Propylene Glycol (PG) in antifreeze. Very reassuring.