Top 12 Most Harmful Chemicals In Cosmetics

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Top 12 Most Harmful Chemicals In Cosmetics

You might want to read the labels of your cosmetics products at home or that you buy in the store a little bit more carefully. While a lot of these products can do wonders for your face and skin, many of them also may contain harmful chemicals and toxins that you should try and stay far away from. Ironically, these products that are supposed to be helping you may in fact be hurting you! Here is our list of the Top 12 Most Harmful Chemicals In Cosmetics:

1. Parabens

Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics

Parabens are preservatives commonly found in a variety of cosmetics products which prevent the growth of bacteria and yeast in cosmetics products. They are the most commonly used preservative in cosmetics. One of parabens main uses is being used as a fragrance ingredient.  Some of parabens most dangerous properties include its ability to mimic estrogen. This ability is typically correlated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Paraben chemicals are also absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Places to keep a real look out for parabens include makeup, moisturizers, shampoos, and other similar cosmetic products. It is also especially important to look out for ingredients within cosmetic products that contain the name paraben in them. Some of these ingredients include methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, and ethylparaben. These ingredients are widely used despite it being well known that they are toxic.

2. Fragrances

Mixes of harmful fragrance chemicals have been shown to be associated with a number of medical conditions including allergies, dermatitis, potential effects on the reproductive system, and respiratory distress. Be sure to watch out for fragrance additives in a number of cosmetics products, including perfume, cologne, body wash, and moisturizer.

3. Synthetic Colors

Your cosmetics contain synthetic coloring if they are labeled D&C (which stands for drugs and cosmetics) followed by a color and a number (e.g. Blue 29). Synthetic colors stem from petroleum or coal tar. Worse than their source is that synthetic colors tend to be considered a human carcinogen, a skin irritant, and have been linked to ADHD in kids. In fact, this chemical has been considered so dangerous that the European Union has banned it completely.

4. Triclosan

Antibacterial Soap Can Contain Triclosan

Triclosan is a widely used antimicrobial chemical that is a well-known endocrine disruptor, especially for thyroid and reproductive hormones. Triclosan is also a skin irritant. Studies have shown that triclosan may also cause bacteria to be antibiotic-resistant. Keep a special look out for this chemical – especially in antibacterial soaps.

5. Phthalates

An assortment of chemicals used in a wide range of products to increase the softness and flexibility of plastics. Some of the main types of these chemicals found in cosmetics include dibutyl phthalate, which is commonly found in nail polish, dimethyl phthalate found in hair spray, and diethyl phthalate found in perfumes. These chemicals are also famous as being endocrine disruptors and have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. They have also been linked to reproductive birth defects for both males and females. Unfortunately, not all products explicitly state whether they include phthalates or not so it’s important to do your research and be especially careful that the cosmetics products you use do not contain them. Keep a good look out for these chemicals in the cosmetics products that they are most commonly found in: deodorant, cologne, perfume, moisturizer, and hair spray.

6. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Number six on our list brings us a surfactant found in over 90% of cleaning and personal care products (basically foaming products). These products are also known as lung, eye, and skin irritants. This surfactant is even more dangerous due to its ability to combine and interact with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, which is a type of carcinogen. Such combinations can lead to an array of other issues which include respiratory and kidney damage. Keep a close look out for these surfactants in the products in which they’re normally used, which includes shampoo, mascara, acne treatment, and body wash cleanser.

7. Toluene

This petrochemical is derived from coal tar sources or petroleum. On product labels these ingredients may be called by an array of different names including toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene and regular benzene. This petrochemical is a potent solvent that has the ability to both thin and dissolve paint – doesn’t sound very safe, does it? Other terrible side effects of this petrochemical may include damaging effects to your respiratory system, irritation to the skin, and nausea. Pregnant mothers should stay far away from exposure to any toluene vapors, as they have the ability to cause damage to the fetus. Toluene has also been shown to be correlated with immune system toxicity. Remember to also keep an extra special look out for this hazardous chemical in your nail polish, hair color/bleaching products, and nail treatments.

8. Sunscreen Chemicals

Unsafe Chemicals Can Be Found in Sunscreen

A number of chemicals make great sunscreen agents and are able to absorb ultraviolet light, but are harmful to the body as well. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and are said to have an easy time being absorbed into the body. These chemicals can also be serious players in causing cancer and cellular damage to your body. Common names for these chemicals include PABA, avobenzone, ethoxycinnmate, homsolate, and benzophenone. They are most commonly found in sunscreen products.

9. Propylene Glycol

A small organic alcohol that is typically used as a skin-conditioning agent. Classified as a penetrator and skin irritant, this organic alcohol has also been shown to be correlated with hives in humans, as well as dermatitis. Even worse, these sensitization effects can already be seen when propylene glycol concentrations are as low as 2%. Be aware of the potential presence of these chemicals in such cosmetics products as sunscreen, makeup, moisturizer, shampoo, hair spray, and conditioner.

10. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, along with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, are used in a range of cosmetics products to prevent the growth of bacteria. Additionally, this chemical was categorized as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens and has been previously linked to occupational related cancers including nasopharyngeal and nasal cancers. To make things even worse, Formaldehyde has also been shown to cause allergic skin reactions and may be harmful to your immune system. Places to keep watch for formaldehyde include nail polish, conditioner, body wash, shampoo, eye shadow, and various cleansers.

11. DEA, Cocamide DEA and Lauramide DEA

These hazardous chemicals are typically found in creamy and foaming products, including shampoo and moisturizer. They are able to react to form cancer-causing nitrosamines and are considered harmful to both fish and other types of wildlife. These chemicals are generally used to make cosmetics creamier or sudsier. DEA also functions as a PH adjuster and counteracts the acidity of other ingredients.  DEA is mainly found in sunscreens and moisturizers, while Cocamide and Lauramide DEA tend to be more commonly found in cleansers, shampoos, and soaps. More industrial application of DEA is usually found in oil refineries to scrub hydrogen sulphide from processed gas emissions.

Be careful though. These chemicals also have a number of health and environmental hazards associated with them. DEA and its compounds have been shown to cause mild to moderate skin and eye irritations. Different experiments have proven that when exposed to high doses of these chemicals, people are more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancers, as well precancerous changes in their skin and thyroid. The European Union has even gone as far as categorizing DEA as dangerous due to the serious damage prolonged exposure to it can cause to your health.

DEA compounds are also reactive when paired with nitrites in cosmetics to form nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are especially dangerous and have been shown to be a possible human carcinogen, or cancer-causer. These Nitrites are also sometimes added to a variety of products as anti-corrosive agents that can be contaminants. The degradation of different chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetics can also release nitrites when the product becomes exposed to air. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has also classified Cocamide DEA as hazardous due to its acute toxicity to aquatic organisms and its potential to be involved in bioaccumulation.

12. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

BHA and BHT Are Found in Cosmetics

These chemical compounds are closely related synthetic antioxidants that are typically used in moisturizers, makeup, and other similar cosmetics products. They are generally used as a preservative in lipsticks and moisturizers as well as other cosmetics. Be careful, though; these chemical compounds have the potential to induce allergic reactions in your skin and may possibly be a human carcinogen. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has classified it as a category 1 priority substance because it interferes with hormone function.

Long term exposure to high doses of BHT has also been shown to be toxic for mice and is able to cause liver, thyroid, and kidney problems. BHT also negatively affects lung functioning and blood coagulation and in certain scenarios is involved in the promotion of tumors. BHA has also been classified as highly toxic for aquatic organisms. More so, BHT has a moderate to high ability to cause bioaccumulation in aquatic species, but has been deemed safe for human beings.

Thank you for reading our harmful chemicals in cosmetics feature! For more interesting features, such as our columns on Natural Hair Loss Treatments, The Importance of Safe Sunscreen, and Sulfates in Hair Care Products, check out the rest of our blog here at Innovative Private Label!

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