Skin/Body Care, Beauty and Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

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Also see: Skin Care article #1

Did you know that applying skin products and cosmetics is not unlike eating them, because they enter the bloodstream whether they are ingested through the mouth or absorbed through the skin?

With that in mind, here are some ingredients you don't want on you or in you!  You'll need to read labels in order to familiarize yourself with what's in what. Generally, cheaper and mainstream brands use these standard chemicals (mostly petrochemicals and synthetics) liberally, as do many of the conventional "high-end" beauty products. They're cheap and convenient for the company, but awful for YOU!

Happily, you don't have to eat/soak up these toxic chemicals to enjoy great, effective, quality skin care.  Whether you want budget or high-end, there are plenty of truly natural choices. See the beauty/cosmetic section of the site Eco-Shopping page!)

The list below is adapted in part from this article at Organic Health and

1) Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl Parabens
Some combination of  these synthetic ingredients are in almost every skin and hair product made today (except for the brands recommended here). Widely known to be highly toxic and cause allergic/skin reactions. Companies use this because it is extremely cheap and extends the shelf life of the product by inhibiting microbial growth.

2)  Propylene Glycol
This petroleum byproduct is a synthetic petrochemical used as a humectant. Also used in industrial antifreeze.  This toxic ingredient causes many allergic reactions.  Research data states that through skin contact it can cause "liver abnormalities and kidney damage."

3) DMDM Hydrantoin
A petrochemical used as an ANTI-FREEZE in cars.

4)  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This toxic synthetic (used for its lathering properties) is a harsh detergent believed to case urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections, genital disorders, eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp problems similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions. Almost every "regular' conventional shampoo contains it.     It is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetic explanation  that the source is " from coconut."

5)  Synthetic Colors
Labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color number (such as FD&C Yellow 6). These highly toxic substances are usually coal-tar based are known carcinogens. (When you wear lipstick with these colors--and most contain them--you are EATING them!)

6) Synthetic Fragrances
When a label simply lists "fragrance," it can refer to any combination of the hundreds of cheap, synthetic, toxic ingredients that can cause ills of all kinds.

7)  Triethanolamine (TEA)/Diethanolamine (DEA)
Used to adjust the pH balance, but toxic and causes eye problems, and dryness of skin and hair.  DEA has been linked with kidney, liver and other organ damage according to several government-funded research.  One study found that the topical application of DEA in rodents resulted in anemia, kidney degeneration, and nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. (Melnick et al., 1994) Even more disturbing was that several animals died before the study ended.  Approximately 200 million pounds of DEA are produced annually in the U.S., most of which goes into personal care products. (USITC, 1990).

8) Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea
Used as a preservative, but well established as a primary cause of contact dermatitis (American Academy of Dermatology).  Some release formaldehyde at just over 10°. These are the most commonly used preservatives after the parabens.

9) Behentrimonium Chloride
Toxic ammonia compound.  Ingestion can be fatal.  Concentrations as low as 0.1% can be irritating to the eyes and cause necrosis (tissue death) of mucus membranes.

10. Petrolatum
Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly, and mineral oil actually promotes sun damage),as well as coating the skin and interfering with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism. Mineral oil creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.

Buy your beauty products and cosmetics at natural food stores and outlets.Learn the brands you can really trust by reading labels. Find out what works for you. Know that there ARE good companies that make perfectly wonderful and effective products without these cheap chemicals, which are used for the convenience of the company and their contribution to the bottom line.

Also be careful of products that CLAIM to be "all-natural" but still contain some of these
ingredients. Educate yourself. Don't settle for half-natural products.

Also see: Skin Care article #1

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   Generally, cheaper and mainstream brands use these standard chemicals (mostly petrochemicals and synthetics) liberally, as do many of the conventional "high-end" beauty products. They're cheap and convenient for the company, but awful for you.

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