The Toxic Ten
With the cosmetic industry being one of the least regulated industries in the US, it’s scary to think of all the harmful chemicals you may be using on a daily basis. As one of the leading countries in the world, the US is far behind others when it comes to this issue. The European Union has banned over 1300 chemicals for cosmetic use, while the FDA has only banned 11. That’s only 11 ingredients out of the hundreds that have been scientifically proven to be detrimental to our health. It’s on us to educate ourselves and loved ones about which ingredients to avoid when buying skincare and beauty products. We’ve highlighted 10 toxic ingredients that are legal in the US and commonly found in cosmetics that you should know.
Found in many skin and hair products, parabens are a preservative that can have an extremely negative effect on your hormonal system. They have been linked to breast cancer and can even lead to fertility issues. It may be listed as any of the following names: benzylparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, phenylparaben, pentylparaben, methylparaben.
A preservative commonly found in hair straightening treatments, eyelash glue or nail polish, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can cause lung issues, including asthma and more.
A chemical derived from the same property as the gas that fuels your car. Not a surprise that your body can’t metabolize it. Petroleum may be found in moisturizers or lip balms, labeled as mineral oil, petrolatum or paraffin oil.
Any time this loosely used ingredient is listed on a label, stay far away. Manufacturers often use this term as a loophole to include any ingredient they don’t want to disclose. The EU banned this ingredient to prevent it from being further abused.
This chemical is often found in oil absorbing cosmetics and hair products, including dry shampoo, powdered make-up and deodorants. Talc can contain asbestos and greatly increase your risk of lung problems.
This is a property that is added to plastic to increase flexibility and softness. Similar to parabens, phthalates can cause hormonal and reproductive problems, as well as increased risk of breast cancer, damaged liver, kidneys and lungs.
A harmful chemical found in many sunscreens, known to alter thyroid functions and disrupt our endocrine system. In addition, oxybenzone has been scientifically proven to be damaging to coral reefs. Hawaii is the first state in the US to ban the sale of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octitnoxate which will go into effect January 1, 2021.
SODIUM LAURYL SULFRATE/SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE
SLS/SLES are foaming agents that can be found in 90% of personal care and cleaning products. These chemicals can cause skin, eye and lung irritation, as well as trigger allergies. When SLS’s interact with other chemicals they can form nitrosamines, a major carcinogen.
An antibacterial agent that has been banned from being used to produce antibacterial soaps but is still legally allowed to be used in personal cosmetics. Triclosan can lead to antibiotic resistance and gut inflammation.
Commonly found in most personal care products, especially antiperspirant deodorants, this toxic metal can negatively affect the functioning of our endocrine systems. Always look for an aluminum free deodorant.