Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Know Your Label - Ingredients to Avoid

I mentioned few times my preference for the natural beauty products and I try always share the ingredient list with you in my reviews. I think it is important to know what you are paying for and what you are putting onto your skin. At first it might be difficult to find what is good and what isn't, but I can tell you, if you can't read and understand the ingredient list it is most likely not a good sign.

So here are some ingredients you should to watch out when you buy your beauty products or at least know what are they and make knowledgeable decision to buy or to avoid. It may surprise you to find out what goes into your toiletries and cosmetics. Certain ingredients should always ring alarm bells - especially those that are carcinogenic, which means they are linked to cancer; or neurotoxic, meaning that they are capable of causing damage to the body's nervous system.

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Ingredients to avoid

Parabens such as Methyl-, Propyl-, and Ethyl-Paraben. These are the most widely used preservatives in the cosmetics industry. Parabens are found in shampoos, shower gels, make-up, body lotions, scrubs and facial toners. Parabens can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. Parabens easily absorb into the skin; studies show they are oestrogen mimics that have been found in samples of breast tumours.

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives such as MDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. These artificial preservatives are used to help prolong the shelf life of products and cosmetics. In low doses, these preservatives can cause eye and skin irritations and can trigger allergies. In larger doses, formaldehyde fumes are carcinogenic.

BHA and BHT Preservatives. These artificial preservatives are commonly found in cosmetics to extend shelf life, such as in make-up, body lotions and soaps. BHA and BHT can cause allergic skin reaction. BHA is also a hormone disrupter - it mimics the natural action of hormones in the body (in the case of oestrogen). This can raise the risk of oestrogen-dependent cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer. As such BHA and BHT are potential carcinogens.

Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral oil). A cheap and abundant ingredient, paraffinum liquidum is found in face creams, make-up, body lotions and baby oils. It makes the products easy to apply and forms a film on the skin to prevent water loss. Research suggests that it can interfere with body's own natural moisturising mechanism, which over time leads to dryness and chapping.

Petrolatum (Petrileum jelly). This mineral-oil derivative is used for its emollient (film-forming) properties. It is found in lipsticks and balms, hair-care products, moisturisers, depilatories and deodorants. Studies show that, like paraffinum liquidum, it can interfere with the body's own natural moisturising mechanism, which over time leads to dryness and chapping.

Sodium Lauryl or Sodium Laureth Sulfate Detergents. These are detergents and foaming agents found in shampoos, body washes and toothpastes. These detergents can cause eye irritation, scalp "scurf" (similar to dandruff), skin rashes and allergic reactions. Sodium Laureth Sulphate may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.

Propylene Glycol, PEG (Polyethylene Glycol), and PPG (Polypropylene Glycol). These combinations of syntetic petrochemicals are found in moisturisers, deodorants, make-up, depilatories and soaps to keep product moist and drive other ingredients deeper into the skin. Studies have linked these to allergic reactions, hives and eczema. Propylene Glycol can be derived from natural sources, I will share them in my next post as a natural alternative. PEG compounds may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.

Synthetic Colours ( numbers with the prefix CI). These add colours to most toiletories and cosmetics but add nothing to the effectiveness of some products, such as shampoos and cleansers. Many synthetic colours are carcinogenic. Exceptions are mineral-based colours, watch out for my next post on the matter.

There are many more ingredients, but I don't want to make this post a very long one. I found one useful website online, you just need to type the ingredient in the search bar and it will give you information about it. Just click here to go onto the website. I tried to share with you the most common ingredients you can find in your toiletries and you should try to avoid.

Personally, I try to use more natural products, but sometime I find some of them don't work as I want them to. I am not promoting to buy only natural and organic, I would like you to know what is in your bottle and that tube. I think it is important to have a choice and I try to reduce the amount of products with toxic ingredients I use.

What ever your philosophy on the matter, knowledge is the power! Make the best use of it!

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