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We all use tens of beauty products everyday that contain hundreds, if not thousands, of ingredients. I read in a report that beauty companies that there are about 82,000 ingredients that are used in several beauty products. And the sad news is that 1 in 8 of these ingredients are industrial chemicals, including toxins, hormone disruptors and even pesticides!
I was generally doing some online study and came across many shocking truths behind these companies and so-called safe products and I thought let me share the wisdom with fellow IMBBians. So, here I am going to tell you about some common ingredients that are widely used in cosmetics and that may cause some or major harm to us. Read on.
These are the most commonly used ingredients. Even I have seen people discussing about it on IMBB though I am not sure if we are really aware of what they actually do or can do.
These are often listed as methylparaben, benzylparaben or some other chemical ending with the word paraben. These are mainly used as preservatives and can be found in lipsticks, lotions and creams. It is estimated that around 75%-90% of the cosmetics use parabens.
These are known to disrupt the endocrine system of the body and can reduce the sperm count in males and can cause breast cancer in women. They penetrate the human skin very easily. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed parabens as Category 1 priority substance as they hugely interfere with hormone function. Studies also suggest that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB of the sun rays leading to DNA damage and fast ageing of the skin.
It was noticed that parabens used in underarm toiletries penetrated through the underarm skin to the breast and thus was linked with breast cancer!
Though companies argue that a small amount of parabens used on the skin through the cosmetics may not interfere with hormone balance. The FDA also says parabens are safe to use on skin. But I still have doubts. 🙁
For eg. Ambika Pillai lip gloss contains phenoxythanol instead of parabens. Though it has mineral oil too. 🙁
Substitutes: Phenoxythanol, Potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are considered to be far safer than parabens.
As the name suggests these are the synthetic colors that impart color to our skin and hair.
The most dangerous of these are coal-tar dyes (listed as 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine[4-MMPD] or as CI followed by a number). P – Phenylenediamine is extensively used in hair dyes. And darker the hair dye, higher the concentration of this hair dye.
This dye is associated with causing cancer and tumors in animals. The European Union classifies p-phenylenediamine as toxic (in contact with skin, by inhalation, or if swallowed), and as very toxic to aquatic organisms, noting that it may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.
For eg. Have a look at this product – Loreal paris HiP concentrated Shadow duo. It is loaded with synthetic colors and contains BHA, BHT, petroleum jelly and parabens as well. Phew! Another Loreal lippy with loads of colors.
Substitutes: go for natural colors.
BHA and BHT
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers. These are mainly used to preserve oil and fats in the cosmetics.
These can induce allergic reactions in the skin. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has also listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance, based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function. These are also said to be associated with causing tumor and disrupting hormone functions. Though these are also said to have anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
For eg.– Loreal company seems to top the list in using BHA, BHTs. Pick any Loreal lipstick for that matter.
Substitutes: Rosemary extract is said to be an effective and safer substitute of BHA and BHTs.
Petrolatum or Mineral Oil
It is obtained from the refinement of crude oil. This is basically anything related to petroleum jelly.
These are often used in products for dry skin care. Though the companies claim that manufacturers eliminate the contaminants via chemical process, some studies have found traces of few PAHs in many petroleum jelly products. EU has restricted its use in cosmetics. Over exposure to PAHs can cause skin disease.
For eg. NYX round lip gloss contains mineral oil and BHA.
Substitutes: natural oils are a good substitute for chapped, dry skin. For eg. Burt Bee’s lip balm contains natural oils.
OMG, I dread these. I remember how, when I was young, I read in a magazine that with nail paints, one should not prepare dough! I at once asked my mommy to remove her nail paint and since then she hardly applied it. I am glad I did it.
This chemical is mainly used in nail paints and fragrances. It is of two types – DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEHP (di [2-ethylhexyl] phthalate).
It is also related with causing cancer and liver injuries. It is absorbed through the skin and it can enhance the capacity of other chemicals to cause genetic mutations. The European Union bans DBP in cosmetics, as well as in childcare articles and toys.
I know most of you would be worried or rather concerned about their daily cosmetics usages. And I also understand that in our country particularly, there are no strict regulations and companies are smart in bypassing these regulations, if any. Also it is not possible to totally avoid these chemicals as our world today is laden with heavy chemicals. So what to do?
Best thing to do is to look for safer alternatives. And use these products sparingly. Minimize the use of cosmetics if you are not sure of their ingredients or their safety of use. Consuming 0.1% of a chemical over a period of 6 months wont cause much damage. 🙂
I just checked that Loccitane shampoo is free from most of the harmful chemicals.
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