It can be so difficult selecting the right beauty and skincare products! And, let’s be honest, researching all the ingredients can be time consuming and totally confusing.
I’ve put together a top 10 list of ingredients to avoid and why. This will help you choose everything from your deodorant to your shampoo and skin elixirs. It’s a great place to start when considering new products. Alright, let’s get to it…
- 1) Parabens
First introduced in the 50’s, these are shamefully common in all kinds of beauty products. They are in everything from shampoos, conditioners & moisturizers to face masks. They are commonly used as a preservative to extend shelf life by preventing mold and bacteria, but are considered dangerous as they could disrupt the hormonal balance of your body.
These are listed as: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben & thylparaben.
- 2) Phthalates
These colorless, odorless chemicals have been used for years to stop plastic from getting stiff or brittle. Lots of brands use it for products like nail polish and hair spray. Phthalates made the list because they have been linked to hormone disruption. Not only that, they’ve been linked to birth defects and are being monitored by the FDA.
- 3) Synthetic Colors & Fragrance
Synthetic colors and fragrance have the potential to irritate your skin. Safer to avoid these. Fragrance in particular can be used to describe a blend of (unknown) ingredients that could include allergens, carcinogens and irritants. In fact, the name “fragrance” or “parfum” was created to protect trade secrets under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966.
- 4) Mineral Oil
Beware of mineral oil! Some companies love it because it’s cheap, colorless and fragrance free. Many brands use this in products as a filler for lotions, creams and oils. Exposure to these mineral oils has been associated with an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. It also has the potential to cause acne and pimples as it can clog pores. Look for it listed as: paraffinum liquidum, ceresin paraffin, paraffin, synthetic wax, petrolatum, cera microcristallina, microcrystalline wax or ozokerite.
- 5) Formaldehyde
Very dangerous! Most commonly used in things like nail polish and eyelash glue to keep them fresh and prevent microbiological growth. If this is inhaled it can lead to skin irritation and affect your respiratory tract! Formaldehyde also has been linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, cancer and developmental toxicity.
Look for it listed as: formic aldehyde or methanethiol.
- 6) Butylated Hydroxytoluene or “BHT”
This synthetic chemical is often used to prevent products from changing color or even texture when they are exposed to the air. You can find it in moisturizers, exfoliators and even antiperspirants. Careful, as it can be listed as an antioxidant, but it can cause skin irritations and disrupt testosterone levels and hormones. Some say it could potentially be a carcinogen.
- 7) Sodium Laurel Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (aka SLS or SLES)
These ingredients are what many products use to create a lather or foam. Think face wash and shower gels. These are on the list because they can irritate the skin.
- 8) Lead
Believe it or not lead is found in lot of beauty products including eyeliner and lipstick. What’s scary is that trace amounts of it can actually be ingested when you reapply your lipstick or lick your lips. Lead exposure has caused cognitive and behavior related issues, so stay away!
- 9) Aluminum
These are very commonly used in antiperspirants as they can block sweat ducts and minimize odor. Exposure to high aluminum levels may contribute to developing Alzheimer’s disease (some studies show), so in my opinion, you are better safe than sorry. Look for: aluminum, aluminum zirconium, aluminum chlorohydrate and tetrachlorohydrex GLY.
- 10) Polyethylene Glycols (PEG Compounds)
These petroleum based ingredients are used in lots of grooming products to thicken, soften and/or moisturize. They have the potential to cause toxicity and irritation. They can reduce skin’s moisture levels and speed up the aging process! Listed as: polyethylene oxide & polyoxyethylene.
This is just a start, but it’s a good one. Whenever in doubt, I always recommend researching any ingredients you aren’t familiar with. A few minutes of research can save you so much frustration and potentially your health.