10 Toxic Ingredients in Your Skincare

Toxic chemicals are everywhere. You can find them in your shampoo, store-bought soap, fragranced candles, nightly moisturizer, and even your body lotion. It's near impossible to avoid toxic ingredients without reading labels, double checking, and proper research.

Watch out for these common, cancer-causing chemicals. 

1. Fragrance

The cosmetic industry is NOT required to disclose the ingredients they use. In 1938, the industry was granted self-regulation. Since then, over 25,000 chemicals are marketed without government intervention. They could be using cyanide… nobody would know!

Fragrance is found everywhere. It's highly toxic and has been linked to countless health issues. The chemicals used to make fragrance are classified as allergens, hormone disruptors, asthma triggers, neurotoxins & carcinogens. 

When product’s containing fragrance are used, toxic chemicals are absorbed into the skin.

As our body's largest organ, our skin absorbs everything, within a short 20 seconds. Further, entering the bloodstream. These chemicals do not leave our bodies! These chemicals store in our cells and break down our immune system, leading to cancer, immune deficiency, and infertility.

2. Triclosan

Introduced in the early 70's for hospital use, triclosan has become a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. This toxic chemical is found everywhere, specifically your bathroom and cleaning products. 

Recent studies by Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) found triclosan in 75% of urine samples. And furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention detected triclosan in 58% of US waterways.

According to the FDA, "Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In light of these studies, the FDA is engaged in an ongoing scientific and regulatory review of this ingredient.

3. Parabens

Commercialized in the 1950s, parabens are a group of synthetic compounds used as preservatives in health, beauty, and personal care products. Such synthetic compounds include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben.

These compounds are used to stop the growth of fungus, bacteria and other potentially damaging microbes. However, parabens have been known to disrupt hormone function, an effect linked to breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells, triggering reactions such as increased breast cell division and the growth of tumors.

According to Scientific American, "Researchers have also found that some 90 percent of typical grocery items contain measurable amounts of parabens, which is why even those who steer clear of potentially harmful personal care products also carry parabens around in their bloodstreams."

For years, health advocates have been pushing the FDA to ban parabens in the U.S. - like the European Union did in 2012. Unfortunately, there's been no change within the industry. As conscious consumers, we've taken matters into our own hands, by reading and researching product labels. 

4. Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is most commonly found in sunscreen, but also a handful of personal care and skincare products. It's known for its effective UV-ray blocking, but is a cornucopia of negative side effects. 

Currently under scrutiny for it's irreversible damage on coral reefs, this chemical inhibits their ability to reproduce and causes physical deformities - making them extremely susceptible to coral bleaching and even death. Now, imagine what this chemical is doing to our bodies. 

97% of Americans have this chemical just lingering in their bodies. Not only does oxybenzone cause reproductive issues in coral reefs, but also in humans. It's been proven to result in low sperm count in men, an excess of estrogen, and, in rare cases, infertility. As if this isn't scary enough, according to Environmental Working Group (EWG), studies have also linked oxybenzone to skin cancer, breast cancer, and more!

5. Phthalates

Phthalates are found in everything from skincare, personal products, and makeup to household cleaners, food packaging, and plastics. This is the everywhere chemical. 

According to a Harvard study, "In 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of eight ortho-phthalates in children's toys and child-care articles. But in terms of their use in vinyl plastics and personal care products, there's currently no specific legislation by other governmental agencies."

Researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. Wow! That's a lot. And the list goes on...

To avoid this 'everywhere' chemical, it's important to read product labels. Avoid plastic products with recycling codes 3 and 7 may contain phthalates or BPA. Look for plastic with recycling codes 1, 2, or 5. Eat organic foods, grown without pesticides. Be aware of your lifestyle choices, as they affect your health. 

6. Formaldehyde (and formaldehyde releasing preservatives)

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling, flammable chemical that is produced industrially and used in building materials such as particleboard, plywood, and other pressed-wood products. It's also used as a germicide, fungicide, and disinfectant. In cosmetics, this ingredient is known to cause allergic skin reactions and rashes. 

According to the National Cancer Institute, "Studies of workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde, such as industrial workers and embalmers, have found that formaldehyde causes myeloid leukemia and rare cancers, including cancers of the paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, and nasopharynx."

Formaldehyde contributes to the pathological progression of neurodegenerative disorders. Not to mention, this is a common ingredient found in several modern day vaccines. The 2020 flu vaccine is made up of egg protein, stabilizers, Polysorbate 80, and (You guessed it!) Formaldehyde. Nasty!! 

Personal care products, household supplies, and everyday products that contain formaldehyde make an unnecessary contribution to an individual's exposure to this chemical. 

7. Ethanolamines

Ethanolamines are found in soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, lotions, makeup, pharmaceutical products, and more...

The European Union has completely prohibited the use of this chemical, due to concerns about the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.

Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) are key examples of ethanolamines - a chemical group composed of amino acids and alcohols. When ethanolamines are used as preservatives that break down into nitrogen, they can form nitrosamines. These nitrosamines are a class of more than a dozen different chemicals, which according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, lists as known carcinogens.

According to the FDA, "The National Toxicology Program completed a study in 1998 that found an association between the topical application of DEA and certain DEA-related ingredients and cancer in laboratory animals." There's no reason to believe this chemical doesn't cause harm to humans. 

8. Dioxane

Dioxane can be identified as dioxane, dioxan, p-dioxane, diethylene dioxide, diethylene oxide, diethylene ether, or glycol ethylene ether. It's found in laundry detergents, soaps, cosmetics, and even our waterways. Once in water, this chemical doesn't breakdown, resulting in contaminated groundwater, surface water, and tap water. 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, "Dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in humans. It may also irritate the skin. Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically (long-term) exposed in their drinking water. In three epidemiologic studies on workers exposed to 1,4-dioxane, the observed number of cancer cases did not differ from the expected cancer deaths.  Tumors have been observed in orally exposed animals."

In Canada and the European Union, this chemical has been banned from use in all cosmetics. However, the US still uses this compound in several commercial products. The EU Cosmetics Directive was adopted in January 2003 and most recently revised in 2013. The EU law bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects.  In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics.

The US has much to learn from the progressive industries of the EU.

9. Synthetic Colors

Synthetic colors are found in absolutely anything and everything that's brightly colored. From foods to toys, candy and cosmetics, synthetic colors are difficult to avoid. Within the past 50 years, the amount of synthetic dye used in foods has increased by over 500%!

Look for ingredients, such as;

  • Blue 1 (Brilliant Blue)
  • Blue 2 (Indigo Carmine)
  • Citrus Red 2
  • Green 3 (Fast Green FCF)
  • Orange B (No longer used in the U.S., but was never officially banned)
  • Red 3 (Erythrosine)
  • Red 40 (Allura Red)
  • Yellow 5 (Tartrazine)
  • Yellow 6 (Sunset Yellow)

Derived from petroleum ether, acetic acid, ammonia, butanol, n-propanol, methanol, and ethanol; these colors may look far more inviting than the reality of such harmful toxins. The safety of artificial colorants is controversial. However, it's been proven to cause cancer. 

Avoid highly processed, bright colored products. Including store-bought soaps, candies, flavored drinks, and many more. The list goes on... Luckily, Handmade Soap Club has found several botanicals to use in our soaps. These superfoods, such as spirulina, turmeric, and charcoal create all natural, vibrant colors. Without the nasty side effects.

10. Sulfates

Sulfates are found everywhere, claiming to be a “surfactant and emulsifier to add foaming & sudsing benefits in hand soaps.” Though this is true, does that mean a toxic chemical is used for no other reason than aesthetically pleasing bubbles?? If that’s the case, we must be 5… My little brother always asks for a bubble bath, because it’s pretty. I watch my dad throw out toxic ‘bubble bath’ all the time. It is not worth it!
 
Sulfates are known to cause extreme skin, eye, and lung irritation. Also concerning, the contaminant produced as a by-product of the manufacturing process, Dioxane, is a well known carcinogen. (See No. 8 of our Toxic Skincare Ingredients.)
 
My soap bars do NOT contain sulfates… And they still bubble! No need for chemicals. By using certain oils and precise chemistry, I am able to configure the perfect soap bar - luscious lather, rich and creamy, silky smooth, and luxuriously moisturizing. Without the cancer-causing chemicals!

How Do I Know If A Product Contains Harmful Chemicals?

It's important to read the labels. Buy organic, pesticide-free products. And find brands you trust. You don't want to sacrifice your health.

What Is "Greenwashing" And How Do I Avoid It?

Greenwashing is a marketing ploy, in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization's products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Several brands have done this, to keep up to date on consumer demands. Just because your shampoo is in a green bottle, with a tree logo, doesn't mean it's free of cancer-causing chemicals. READ THE PRODUCT'S INGREDIENTS!!

Where Can I Find Healthy, Non Toxic Skincare Products?

Do your own research. Your best bet is to make your own products. For example, essential oils and vinegar make a fantastic natural spray cleaner. Also, look for brands you trust. For example, my handmade luxury soaps contain absolutely no chemicals. Handmade with 100% essential oils and the finest butters. 

Ditch those cancer-causing chemicals. Preserve your skin. Protect your family. 

Click here to get soap!


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