After reading an article on toxic chemicals in mainstream skin care products I was devastated to find that my trusted and go-to skin care products like Cetaphil, Cereve, and Neutrogena had ingredients I could no longer ignore. I turned to the FDA and Environmental Working Group to see just how harmful these chemicals really are.
Some are proven as known human carcinogens, some are regulated in other countries but not in the US, some “may” be harmful, any way research shows that the buildup of these chemicals could have serious long term effects on our health and the health and development of children.
The easiest way to go through your bathroom shelf and identify these chemicals is to get the Think Dirty app. It will scan a product’s barcode to see how toxic it is and will point out the bad ingredients.
Ingredient Watch List
No Phthalates (Diethylphthalate (DEP)) – Known to make plastics more flexible and harder to break this chemical compound also helps skin care ingredients absorb into the skin. It can change hormone levels, cause birth defects and harm male reproductive systems, lowering sperm count.
No Parabens (Propylparaben, Butylparben, Ethylparaben, Isobutyl) – Known as a preservative and found in thousands of products, the CDC suggests they are in our body too. Parabens can mimic estrogen and have been found in breast cancer tumors. They can also lead to early puberty in adolescents and make men sterile, look for “paraben-free” labels!
No Triclosan (TSC) – FDA banned the use of Triclosan in hand and body washes but these chemicals are still found in other products like Colgate Total Toothpaste, shaving cream and cleaning products. It’s a synthetic antibacterial compound, known to kill bacteria and odor. It is a contaminant to our water, can cause our thyroid hormone levels to decrease and cause bacterial resistance.
No Fragrance – The problem with fragrance or perfume is that companies do not have to disclose the actual list of fragrance ingredients they use to make the product smell good, so it could be one or many of the toxic fragrance chemicals out there, we really don’t know!
No 1,4-dioxane – EWG reported 1,4-dioxane was found in 46% of skin care products tested. While you won’t see this on the ingredient list, this unwanted byproduct is formed in production and is a probable human carcinogen that vastly penetrates the skin and suggests major health risks like cancer, birth defects, miscarriages and nervous system defects. The problem occurs when companies don’t use vacuum stripping as a method to fully remove the impurity before the product is sold. PEGs and SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) are ingredients that can cause contamination.
No Formaldehyde – A human carcinogen, less prevalent today but still present in hair straightening and nail strengthening products. Formaldehyde causes cancer.
No Formaldehyde Releasers (DMDM hydantoin, Quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2 nitropropane-1, 3-diol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea) – Unfortunately found in thousands of products today, these cosmetic preservatives stop bacteria from forming and slow release the carcinogen.
No Ethanolamine (Diethanolamine (DEA), Cocamide DEA, Triethanolamine (TEA)) – Easily absorbed into the skin, these ammonia compounds are added to products to make them creamy or foamy. The toxins can accumulate in your organs and your brain and can cause respiratory issues and irritate skin and eyes.
No Petrolatum (Mineral Oil or Parraffin) – If refined properly, petrolatum is safe to use but in most cases it is not fully refined in the US and can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This is a probable human carcinogen linked to cancer.
Read my recommended skin care products that are free from these toxins here!