The 3 Most Harmful Skin Care Ingredients.
There's a silent killer lurking in the shadows. Its minions are found in almost everything we breathe, eat and touch.
Nope, it's not the Kardashians.
I'm talking about toxins, and the dark side of beauty. Cosmetic companies all know we are suckers for a pretty colour and a nice smell, and love exploiting this fact. Do you assume the levels of toxins in your favorite products are too low to do any real damage? I did. Until I realised the cumulative effect ALL the products I was using had. Here are the top 3 ingredients to look for...and avoid!
1 . Fragrance & Preservatives
Most products contain synthetic fragrance, in fact it's something we take for granted. Fragrance is added to cover up the unpleasant chemical smell which makes sense because who in their right mind would slather their face in something that smells like you've scraped it off a car engine? Preservatives are added to the majority of products to extend their shelf life and stability.
The most common culprits are parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and formaldehyde. All have the ability to penetrate the skin, all are known allergy triggers and all may be lurking in your skin care.
Let's look at DMDM hydantoin briefly. It's a formaldehyde releaser, an accurate name as it releases formaldehyde into the air and allows it to permeate the skin. Formaldehyde is carcinogenic and affects the respiratory system with long term exposure.
A high price to pay for a pretty scent and a longer shelf life.
LOOK FOR: 'Fragrance Free' labels or stick with pure essential oils.
2 . Antibacterial & Antimicrobial Agents
You'll find these in soaps, cleansers, deodorant, toothpaste and hand wash. The most common are Triclosan, Triclocarban, Iodophors (Iodine-containing ingredients) and Methylbenzethonium chloride.
Many countries have recently banned their use, however Colgate still includes Triclosan in its toothpaste.
Research has proved the dangers of widespread use having an impact on hormonal disruption, allergies and suggests that it contributes to the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
LOOK FOR: Natural antibacterial agents like Tea Tree, Lavender and Lemon Essential Oils, and consider switching to natural cleaning products. (Good old vinegar and bicarb will always be around!)
3 . Parabens
Parabens are preservatives and are found in over 85% of skin care products. You might see them labelled as benzylparaben, butylparaben or propylparaben. Why are they so dangerous? Research has linked parabens with the growth of breast cancer cells. Previously it was thought the low level of parabens found in breast tissue was harmless, however scientists discovered that when parabens and heregulin (a growth-promoting substance that’s normally found in breast tissue) are both present the amount of parabens needed to trigger cancerous growth was 100 times lower.
Those 'too low to worry about' levels were frighteningly deceptive. Because parabens can also be found in food, packaging and drugs, our exposure to them is higher than we realise. Scary right?
LOOK FOR: 'Paraben Free' labels or stick with simple DIY skin care and natural products. Read labels and use your considerable power as a consumer to demand change.
If you'd like to make a change and reduce your body's toxic load, check out our blog here for DIY recipes and some brilliant problem skin solutions.
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